Well, there goes one weekend of playoffs in the books, and boy was it was memorable. If you didn’t pay attention you would have thought Tim Tebow and the Broncos played the only game last weekend. Sure, that was a nice win by the Broncos as 9.5 point underdogs and I’m sure some people made nice money on the Broncos moneyline (+300), but there were a few other games on the slate. The Giants knocked off the hapless Falcons, the Saints won a shootout in the dome against the Lions, and then there were the Texans.
Our pick last weekend was the Texans -3 at home over the Bengals. The game pretty much played out just as I wrote it up, Houston used Arian Foster and the running game along with Andre Johnson to get some scores, and they shut down the Bengals on defense for an easy 31-10 win as 3 point favorites.
You might say that the pick six by defensive tackle JJ Watt at the end of the first half was lucky, but was it really? Houston had a much better defense and it was just a matter of time before Bengals rookie QB Andy Dalton folded under pressure on the road. And fortunately for us, it happened at the perfect time. What should have been a 10-10 tie at half quickly turned into 17-10 Texans, and from there is was all over.
We’ll take the win, it moved us to 24-17 on the season, and a whopping 8-1 in our last 9 picks. It’s been a nice run, so let’s keep it up. Here we go with the Round 2 pick…
Bet #1: (a.k.a the “OK, I can definitely cheer against the Giants” pick)
Green Bay Packers -7.5 over New York Giants
The old saying goes ‘perception is reality’, and whether you agree with it or not perception is going to play into our favor this weekend.
Everyone watched the Giants beat up on the Falcons last weekend and come away with a nice 24-2 win. And as a result, the public is all over the Giants (like white on rice). The line opened at Green Bay -9 and is currently at Green Bay -7.5, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it dropped to Green Bay -7 by kickoff. Everyone is betting on Big Blue. And the local media is driving the badwagon. The Newark Star-Ledger is screaming “New York Giants football is back!”
Yes, the Giants won. Yes, their defense looked pretty good. But the Falcons put up one of the ugliest performances in playoff history, failing on two 4th-and-inches plays, getting only 247 yards of total offense, and after missing that second one it seemed like they just gave up. The Giants played well, but the public is acting like they beat the 1985 Bears. Relax, it was only the Falcons (who played like crap), but this week the Giants will get a wakeup call when they visit Lambeau Field.
Green Bay has the best offense in the NFL. There, I said it. Maybe you can argue the Saints are better, or the Patriots, but for my money it’s the Packers. And getting them at home, off a bye week, playing a team in it’s 4th straight ‘must win’ game is a good spot to bet on.
The Giants have been fighting for their lives ever since they lost to the Redskins (for the 2nd time this season, I might add) in Week 15. Week 16 they had a ‘win or go home’ against the Jets, they won. Week 17 it was ‘winner takes all’ vs. Dallas, the Giants won that one too. Last week it was the wildcard game, and the Giants stepped up and beat a ‘not playoff ready’ Falcons team. This week is a major step up in class.
You’re probably already sick of hearing how this Giants team is just like the Giants team in 2007-08. You know, the one that got hot at the end of the regular season, beat the Packers in Lambeau to win the NFC and then pull the mother of all upsets over the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl. As they like to say on the internet, cool story bro. But it ain’t happening again.
The Packers are rested, they are 15-1, they are undefeated at home, 6-3 ATS in their last 9, 7-1 ATS at home this season. And how about this list of points scored by the Packers at Lambeau this season (reverse from Week 17): 45/35/46/35/45/24/49/42. Wow.
The Giants come in with the #8 offense, #3 passing, #20 rushing and to be fair, that rushing rank included weeks where Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs were hurt, so they are a little better than that. So there is some firepower there, and the Packers defense isn’t great but has played well at home, and I think this will be more of an ‘outscore the Giants’ than a ‘shut down Eli’ type of game.
There is an added layer of emotion on the Packers bench this weekend. Michael Philbin, son of Packers Offensive Coordinator Joe Philbin was found dead this week after drowning in a lake. He was 21. Joe Philbin will not be at the game this weekend, but I don’t expect that to impact the Packers at all. I see this as a rallying point for the Packers to win the game so somehow they can turn a tragedy into something positive for their coach. I don’t see Aaron Rogers letting up this weekend, it could be a huge game for #12.
How about the Giants hang in the game for a while but fail to stay in a track meet with the Packers at Lambeau. Green Bay wins it 37-20.
The Line: Green Bay -7.5, O/U 52
The Pick: Green Bay -7.5
Game Trends (via Covers.com): Green Bay: 8-1 ATS vs. teams with a winning record. New York: 4-12 last 16 games on grass.
Divisional Round Props
Here are some props to chew on. Last week I gave out a winner with Arian Foster getting most rushing yards. If you took Arian Foster +450 and Andre Johnson +700 like I wrote you would end up with a nice +250 profit. Props are fun to play, but for small wagers. No need to get carried away.
Highest Scoring Team
San Francisco 49ers (+1200)
Denver Broncos (+2500)
New York Giants (+1500)
Green Bay Packers (+160)
New England Patriots (+150)
Baltimore Ravens (+1000)
New Orleans Saints (+350)
Houston Texans (+3000)
First choice has to be the Patriots, but at +150 it’s not worth the money. Same with the Packers at +160. No real value in these, I don’t see any other team really rolling up points. If you think Eli can pull the upset, then maybe the Giants at +1500 looks tempting, but I’ll pass.
Most Passing Yards
Aaron Rodgers (Packers) (+350)
Alex Smith (49ers) (+1200)
Drew Brees (Saints) (+130)
Eli Manning (Giants) (+450)
Joe Flacco (Ravens) (+800)
Tj Yates (Texans) (+2000)
Tim Tebow (Broncos) (+2000)
Tom Brady (Patriots) (+250)
I’m going with Aaron Rodgers at +350. You read what I wrote above, I think Aaron Rodgers will have a huge game. Not only is he capable of throwing 400 yards, this could be the week he makes it a priority to rack up yards. And at +350? I’ll take it.
How about Tebow at +2000? Wow. That shows you how much faith Vegas has in his arm, he’s coming off a 316 yard game last week and now going against the worst pass defense in NFL history, no respect.
Most Rushing Yards
Ahmad Bradshaw (Giants) (+650)
Arian Foster (Texans) (+350)
Benjarvus Green-Ellis (Patriots) (+2000)
Chris Ivory (Saints) (+650)
Frank Gore (49ers) (+350)
Ray Rice (Ravens) (+200)
Ryan Grant (Packers) (+1000)
Willis Mcgahee (Broncos) (+350)
I would love to say Arian Foster again at +350. But Baltimore has the #7 rush defense, so I have to pass on him. No real value here.
Most Receiving Yards
Andre Johnson (Texans) (+800)
Anquan Boldin (Ravens) (+1500)
Demaryius Thomas (Broncos) (+600)
Hakeem Nicks (Giants) (+450)
Jermichael Finley (Packers) (+1500)
Jordy Nelson (Packers) (+450)
Marques Colston (Saints) (+300)
Michael Crabtree (49ers) (+1000)
Rob Gronkowski (Patriots) (+1000)
Vernon Davis (49ers) (+2000)
Victor Cruz (Giants) (+300)
Wes Welker (Patriots) (+600)
This is a tough one, no real favorite in this either, no stud WR waiting to get yards against a bad pass defense. Throw out Andre Johnson, Boldin and Colston as they are facing solid pass defenses. If you are looking for a play maybe Hakeem Nicks at +450. I think the Giants will be playing from behind and Eli will be tossing it all day. Between Cruz (+300) and Nicks (+450), I’ll take Nicks. But I’m passing on this one.
So for props, the only one I’ll go with is Aaron Rodgers for Most Passing Yards at +450. It’s going to be a Packers weekend. Bet the game, bet the prop, pop a few cold ones, and enjoy the game.
Oh, and I just wrote 1300 words and didn’t mention the Eagles or Andy Reid once. You’re welcome.
…and before I let you go, I LOVE this Sixers song. #ShowYaLuv
2011 Regular Season + Playoffs Record: 24-17.
You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.
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