Vegas Odds: Betting the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs
Will the Cardinals continue their recent playoff success as underdogs this week in New Orleans and extend Kurt Warner's great career one more game?
Can the Ravens, and their great ground game, knock off MVP Peyton Manning and his No. 1-seeded Colts to advance to within one game of the Super Bowl?
Is it possible that Tony Romo could win TWO playoff games in the same year and send Brett Favre home (possibly forever)?
And something has got to give in San Diego, where Rex Ryan's Jets feel like favorites while Mr. December, Phillip Rivers, will try to lead his Chargers to a 12th straight victory.
Last week's NFL games might not have satisfied the avid fan, with a lack of close games and exciting plays (okay, there might have been enough in the second half in Arizona to last a weekend). But this week should prove to give fans everything they are looking for.
There are many questions to be answered in this weekend's NFL playoffs. With four exciting matchups on schedule for the Divisional Round, Evan Petty gives his two cents on what he sees happening in each game.
If you are going to Vegas, Atlantic City, your local bar or just wagering with your son on who shovels the driveway the next morning, Petty gives his tips on who he likes as well as a reach bet that could bring back large winnings.
Here are his picks going against the spread, the over/under and much more.
All odds and bets are courteous of http://sports.williamhill.com/bet/EN as of the morning of Wednesday, January 13.
Not a deep enough look? A pick that you think is a disaster straight from the start? Post your thoughts on what will unfold this weekend on the gridiron and tune in next week for picks on who will advance to the big game.
Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints
The Arizona Cardinals come off their wild win over the Green Bay Packers last Sunday, and now will travel to New Orleans to face the top-seeded Saints.
The Saints are rested and are looking to bring their fans their first Super Bowl ever. Their first task will not be easy as the reigning NFC champions come to town. New Orleans is still in midst of a three-game losing streak to end the season.
Both of these offenses are great and everybody is expecting a shootout. On the other side of the ball, both defenses could use some work.
A month ago, I would have said the Saints have a huge advantage on the defensive side of the ball. But they certainly lost their edge to end the regular season, especially defending the pass. Then again, the Cardinals gave up 35 points to the Packers in the second half on Sunday.
For this reason, the key to the game is which defensive unit can step up and be just solid enough to hold the opposing team to the mid-20's. I think the Saints are in a better position to accomplish this.
New Orleans (-7) over Arizona
Over/Under 57: UNDER
Special of the Game:
New Orleans Winning Margin: 13-18 points (+550)
Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts
A week removed from dominating the New England Patriots, the Baltimore Ravens will come to Indianapolis looking to hand the Colts their first legitimate loss all year.
With the perfect season dream gone in Indy, the Colts will be under a hefty amount of pressure to get to the Super Bowl.
Both teams will be trying to expose the other team's weakness with their strength. The Colts will use their aerial attack to expose the questionable Ravens' secondary, and Baltimore will try to run over the Colts' run-stopping attack.
While Ray Rice and Willis McGahee have been terrific all season, it is very tough for me to bet against Peyton Manning with an extra week of preparation.
Look for the Colts to come out early and toss the ball around against the Ravens' secondary and try to get up early. If they do this and make the Ravens one-dimensional, the Colts should be able to advance.
Indianapolis (-6.5) over Baltimore
Over/Under 44: OVER
Special of the Game:
First Score of the Game: Indianapolis Touchdown (+138)
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings
Very interesting game between two teams that are coming off of impressive performances.
After dismantling the New York Giants in Week 17, the Minnesota Vikings come into this game with expectations of at least getting to the NFC Championship next week.
On the other side, not many teams have been playing better than the Dallas Cowboys of late. A week after cruising past the Philadelphia Eagles, the 'Boys are hoping to make Minnesota one-and-done.
On the surface, it would look like the Cowboys should beat the Vikings through the air. However, it will be crucial that they develop the running game.
With speed rushers such as Jared Allen off of the edge, the Vikings could be susceptible to runs to the outside and on draw plays—two ways Dallas loves to run.
This is where both Felix Jones and Tashard Choice could play huge roles in this game.
Not only could Dallas be effective on the ground, it will also force Allen and others to play more contain and give Tony Romo more time to throw and avoid blindside pressure.
Dallas has not played many teams lately that feature a ground attack as good as Minnesota's, with Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. They will certainly have their hands full, but I think Wade Phillips' crew will be up to the challenge.
Dallas (+2.5) over Minnesota
Over/Under 45.5: OVER
Special of the Game:
Double Result: Dallas Cowboys/Minnesota Vikings (+650)
New York Jets at San Diego Chargers
Winners of 11 straight, there is no team in the NFL hotter than the San Diego Chargers.
Paying them a visit will be Rex Ryan's New York Jets, who have seemingly discovered the swagger that makes a great team.
The talk all week has been how the Chargers' tall receivers will be too much for the Jets' defense. The Jets may not be able to depend on Darrelle Revis to be one-on-one so much on the outside when he is covering a receiver as talented and big as Vincent Jackson.
If this is the case, look for Antonio Gates, LaDanian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles to get involved in the short passing game against mismatched linebackers.
While this is how the Chargers should be able to exploit the Jets' defense, do not expect New York to break easily.
On the flip side, the Chargers do not have a fantastic run defense. As long as Mark Sanchez continues to be serviceable, the Jets should be able to keep this game close on the ground.
I am looking for a Chargers win, but not by enough points to cover this week.
New York (+7.5) over San Diego
Over/Under 42: OVER
Special of the Game:
New York Score Each Quarter: Yes (+400)