The NFL Lines – Divisional Round

Filed in NFL, NFL Tips by on January 9, 2013

The NFL playoffs continue with one of the season highlights – divisional playoff week.  New England host Houston and Denver host Baltimore in the AFC, while San Francisco host Green Bay and Atlanta host Seattle in the NFC. Nick Tedeschi and Cliff Bingham assess week two of the playoffs.

Results from Wild Card Weekend

NT – 1 selection, 1 unit bet, return of 0.00 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -100%

CB – 2selections, 2 units bet, return of 1.92 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -4%

Total – 3 selections, 3 units bet, return of 1.92 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -36%

Overall Results

NT – 66 selections, 74.5 units bet, return of 74.73 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +0.3%

CB – 45 selections, 43.5 units bet, return of 35.43 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -19%

Total – 111 selections, 118 units bet, return of 110.16 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -7%


NT Recommended Bets


Here is a fun fact to kick off this week's selection: New England have covered the number in just one of their last nine playoff games. There is no question that the Patriots are a very public team but they are heavily overvalued when it comes to covering big numbers in playoff games. Houston have struggled in recent weeks but were much more solid – particularly defensively – against the Bengals. Forget the blowout loss to the Patriots a few weeks back: this Houston team matches up reasonably well with New England. Don't be surprised to see the Texans keep this to one score.


CB Recommended Bets


Ordinarily, betting against Aaron Rodgers is a bad move, but there’s a trick here. I’d argue that the Packers, Patriots and 2011 Saints are/ were all built much the same way – a high octane offense built around a phenomenal QB, and some defensive frailties. Meanwhile, the Niners, Ravens, Giants (when they weren’t quitting on their season) and 2012 Seahawks are all built around a smash-mouth defence and a strong running game – albeit that an on-song Eli Manning is a much more dangerous QB than the other three on that list.

Why does all of this matter? Well, in the past two seasons the Packers have gone 1-4 against the Niners, Giants and Seahawks (they haven’t played the Ravens) and 26-3 against everyone else. Over the same period the Pats are 1-5 against those four teams and 26-3 against everyone else. They are the closest thing you can find to Rodgers’ and Brady’s kryptonite. For those reasons, I love the Niners here.


I’ve been waiting patiently to hedge my “Atlanta NFC Champions at $16.00” bet and the moment has arrived.

The Falcons haven’t taken on a playoff team since week 5. Indeed, the only two they’ve faced all season were Denver in week 2 (Manning’s second regular season game with a new team, as they were en route to a 2-3 start to the year) and Washington in week 5 (on their way to a 3-6 record before turning it all around) – that’s about as easy as schedules get. They’re 7-1 at home this year, but that includes barely falling over the line against the likes of Carolina, Oakland and Arizona. They’ve gone 7-2 this season in games decided by a touchdown or less, implying that their season has enjoyed its fair share of luck. Their 3.7 YPC rushing the ball this season is 29th in the league, putting added pressure on Matt Ryan. The Mike Smith/ Matt Ryan combination has been to the playoffs twice…. for two immediate exits and a combined score of 23-72. I don’t trust them in the slightest against elite teams, even at home.

The Seahawks are an elite team. Including last week, they have a 5-1 record against playoff teams this season and an OT road win against the eventual 10-6 Bears. They’ve won six straight games, including three against 10+ win teams. All five of their losses this season have been by a touchdown or less. They have an elite running back to take on the Falcons’ shoddy run defence (conceding 4.8 YPC, 29th in the league). I made the point earlier about the Rodgers/ Brady kryptonite (of which Seattle are such a team) – if you squint hard enough, Atlanta look like a poor man’s Packers or Pats. Seahawks to roll here.


Thanks to Joe Robbins/ Getty Images North America for use of the photo


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