Road Dogs in the Spotlight Today in the NBA

Tim Duncan and the Spurs host the Chicago Bulls today in the Lone Star State.

I’m looking at three games in the National Basketball Association that have playoff and playoff positioning at stake. Let’s take a look.

Chicago (+9.5) at San Antonio – Despite the loss of both Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose, the Bulls have been able to hang tough by winning six of their last ten but Chicago finds themselves in a battle with the Cavs and Raptors for that second seed behind the Atlanta Hawks.

The defending champion Spurs have won four in a row and six of their last ten games. They are now securely in the seventh seed ahead of eighth place OKC. I don’t believe Gregg Popovich and the Spurs are content with the seventh spot though. Right now, they are less then two games out of the fifth spot and are looking to advance.

Chicago has a very good 19-11 road record while the Spurs are 22-7 at home. I see no reason for this game not to be physical and highly competitive.

Trends: Chicago is 9-4 straight up in their last 13 games…San Antonio is 4-1 SU in their last five games… The Bulls are 4-11 SU in their last 15 games against the Spurs in San Antonio… The Spurs are 2-5-1 against the spread in their last eight games.

The Pick: Take the Spurs to win but I like the Bulls getting the points.

Steve Clifford and the Hornets come to Detroit looking to stay hot.

Charlotte (+1) at Detroit – When Brandon Jennings went down with a torn Achilles’ tendon, most figured the Pistons playoff chances were over. Despite a brief flirtation, this appears to be the case. Detroit has fallen to four and a half games behind the eighth and final playoff spot. With about 20 games to go, there is time but they must win games like this one today.

The Hornets are among the teams the Pistons have to jump and they’re in no hurry to allow that to happen. Charlotte is actually tied for the seventh and eighth spots right now but based on tie-breakers is the odd team out. Both teams are headed in opposite directions as the Hornets have won four straight and the Pistons have dropped five in a row.

Trends: Charlotte is 5-1 straight up in their last six games… Detroit is 2-4 SU in their last six homes games… The Hornets are 8-16 against the spread in their last 24 games at Detroit… The Pistons are 12-6 SU in their last 18 games at home versus the Hornets.

The Pick: Detroit ends the skid today Take them to cover.

Toronto (+7) at Oklahoma City – The Raptors enter the Sooner State having lost seven of their last ten and they’ve dropped from the second seed in the East to the fourth as both Chicago and Cleveland have leaped them for the time being.

Meanwhile, the Thunder have won seven of ten and have ridden Russell Westbrook’s hot-hand. With Kevin Durant still recovering from foot surgery, Westbrook’s heroics of late have been needed. OKC has climbed into the eighth spot in the Western Conference but only has a one half game lead over New Orleans who has Anthony Davis back on the floor.

Trends: Toronto is 1-7 straight up in their last eight games… The Thunder is 5-0 SU in their last five home games… The Raptors are 2-6 against the spread in their last eight games on the road in Oklahoma City… The Thunder is 10-3 SU against the Raptors in their last 13 games games in OKC.

The Pick: Take the Thunder to cover today.

Road Favorites Highlight My NBA Games for Tonight

Can John Wall and the Wizards turn things around tonight against the Pistons?

Detroit (+3.5) at Washington – Both the Pistons and Wizards have chosen poor times to hit losing streaks. Washington has dropped six straight games and eight of their last ten while Detroit has gone just 5-5 over their last ten and has dropped two in a row.

While the Eastern Conference is the weaker of the two conferences, the playoff race is unbeatable. Right now Detroit is in the 12th spot but amazingly, they are just one game out of the eight and final playoff spot. The Wizards are currently in the fifth spot and despite their poor play shouldn’t fall any further than sixth but stranger things have happened.

Trends: Detroit is 1-5 straight up in their last six games on the road… Washington is 0-5 SU in their last five games… The Pistons are 7-3 SU in their last ten games on the road at Washington… The Wizards are 2-8 against the spread in their last ten games versus Detroit.

The Pick: It’s hard not to like the Pistons tonight getting the points as well.

Toronto (-12) at New York – The Knicks have dropped eight of their last 10 games and as you know are now without Carmelo Anthony for the remainder of the season. I’m glad he was able to get so many minutes in the All-Star Game before shutting it down. Did you sense the sarcasm there?

Toronto is feeling heat right now from both the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers. They have a one half game lead over the Bulls and a one game lead over the Cavs as the teams battle for the second spot in the East. The tight predicament is due to the Raptors four-game losing streak.

Trends: Toronto is 1-4 straight up in their last five games… New York is 1-4-1 against the spread in their last six games… The Raptors are 4-8-1 ATS in their last 13 games on the road… The Knicks are 1-8 SU in their last nine games.

The Pick: This is a good place for the Raptors to get back on track but I like the Knicks getting all those points.

Jeff Teague and the Hawks head to Miami to play the Heat tonight.

Atlanta (-5) at Miami – Lost in all of the discussion about Cleveland’s big win over Golden State is the fact that the Hawks continue to lead the Eastern Conference. They’ve won six of their last ten but they’ve won three straight as they head to South Beach.

The Heat are trying to survive without Chris Bosh as they currently reside in the seventh spot in the East. The problem is that there are five teams within two and a half games of them.

Trends: Atlanta is 21-4 straight up in their last 25 games… Miami is 1-4-1 against the spread in their last six games… The Hawks are 1-5 SU in their last six games on the road in Miami… The Heat are 7-15 SU in their last 22 games at home.

The Pick: I love the Hawks to cover tonight.

Memphis (-5) at Minnesota – Despite winning six of their last ten, the Grizzlies have dropped two in a row and continue to hold down the second seed in the Western Conference. The T-Wolves may have gotten Kevin Garnett back but they have the worst record in the West and Memphis comes in having played well in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Trends: Memphis is 2-4 against the spread in their last six games… Minnesota is 8-17 straight up in their last 25 games… The Grizzlies are 6-2 SU in their last eight games on the road in Minnesota… The T-Wolves are 3-14 SU in their last 17 games versus the the Grizzlies.

The Pick: I like Memphis to cover this evening.

Four Games on the NBA Schedule this Evening

Golden State Head Coach Steve Kerr has plenty to smile about a his Warriors travel to D.C.

With four NBA games on the schedule tonight, why not take a look at each one of them?

Golden State at Washington – The Wizards have slipped to the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference having lost three in a row and eight of their last ten games. There isn’t much concern of missing the playoffs as they have a large lead over the seventh and eighth seeds. Still, with the best team in the league coming to town this could be a good time to get things back on track.

Golden State has won seven of their last ten games and has maintained their 3.5 game lead over second-seeded Memphis in the tough Western Conference. The health of Stephon Curry is in question but it appears just to be a sore ankle he’s dealing with right now.

Trends: Golden State is 1-5 against the spread in their last six games… Washington is 2-8 straight up in their last ten games… The Warriors are 16-7 SU in their last 23 games on the road… The Wizards are 1-4 SU in their last five games at home against the Warriors.

The Pick:

Kevin Love is playing better in recent weeks amid rumors he might be elsewhere in 2015.

Cleveland (-6.5) at Detroit – The Cavs have closed to within one half game of the third-seeded Bulls in the Eastern Conference. They’ve two straight and eight of their last ten games. Their chances of catching the Atlanta Haws for the top seed in the East are impossible with about 25 games to but the second seed isn’t out of the question.

Detroit has won two in a row and six of their last ten to close within one half game of eight seed Brooklyn and within one game of seventh-seeded Miami. The Pistons have to be happy with where they are considering they were given up for dead following the injury to Brandon Jennings.

Trends: Cleveland is 16-2 straight up in their last 18 games… The Pistons are 8-4 SU in their last 12 games against the Cavaliers… The Cavs are 2-4 against the spread in their last six games on the road in Detroit… The Pistons are 1-4 SU in their last five games against the Cavs.

The Pick: I like the Pistons to keep it close tonight.

Indiana (+7) at Oklahoma City – The Pacers have made a really nice run of late winning three-straight and seven of their last ten games. They are dead even with the Pistons and reside in the ninth spot. While the Eastern Conference is much weaker than the West, the chase for playoff positioning may be more exciting in the East.

Just as the Thunder got themselves into the eighth spot in the West, star Kevin Durant is out for at least a week following another procedure on his injured foot. Russell Westbrook can carry the Thunder only so far so if Durant is out for an extended period I see trouble for them down the stretch.

Trends: N/A

The Pick: The Pacers have been hot lately but I like the Thunder behind Westbrook to cover.

Toronto (+3.5) at Dallas – This could be the best game of the night as the Eastern Conference’s second seed comes to Big D. The Mavs are in the sixth spot out West but are actually just one half game out of the third seed.Basically, this is the Western Conference in a nutshell.

Both teams have won seven of their last ten games as the Mavericks look to defend their home court.

Trends: N/A

The Pick: I like Dallas to cover.

With No NBA Tonight, My Focus is on the College Hardwood

Jay Wright's Villanova Wildcats look to avenge an earlier loss to Seton Hall.

The National Basketball Association is still on their All-Star Break which means I turn my attention to the college scene. Believe it or not, we are already getting close to conference tournament time for some of the smaller conferences and before you know it, the big boys will be on stage as they prep for the tourney.

Seton Hall (+16.5) at Villanova – The Wildcats score five more points per game than do the Pirates and they give up five points less per game than does Seton Hall. That doesn’t bode well for the Pirates. Head-to-head the two teams have seen Villanova win seven of the last ten meetings but the Pirates own a two-game winning streak right now.

Trends: Seton Hall is 1-11 straight up in their last 12 road games at Villanova… The Wildcats are 12-3 SU in their last 15 games against Seton Hall… The Pirates are 2-5 SU in their last seven road games… The Wildcats are 2-4 against the spread in their last six game at home versus the Pirates.

The Pick: The Pirates rebound better than ‘Nova does so I like them getting the points but I like the Wildcats to win.

Jamie Dixon and the Panthers have a tough assignment at Virginia.

Pittsburgh (+13) at Virginia – The Panthers are coming off of a very important home win over North Carolina but this road test is a different monster altogether. Both teams are scoring in the upper 60’s each game but the Cavaliers are allowing a paltry 50 points per game defensively while Pitt gives 65 per game. The Panthers are a little board on the offensive glass than is Virginia but everything else favors the Cavs tonight.

Trends: Pitt is 1-5 straight up in their last six road games… UVA is 1-5 against the spread in their last six games… The Panthers are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five road games… The Cavs are 13-1 SU in their last 14 games at home.

The Pick: I like UVA to cover considering Pitt’s road woes of late.

Kansas (+1) at West Virginia – There really isn’t a stat to point to in this game that makes you jump on one side or another. Both teams score over 70 points per game and both give up about 65 per game. KU is a little better on the defensive boards while the Mountaineers hold an edge in offensive rebounding.

Trends: Kansas is 4-2 straight up in their last six road games… WVU is 15-3 straight up in their last 18 games at home… The Jayhawks have won three of the last four times they’ve played the Mountaineers… West Virginia is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games.

The Pick: I like the Mountaineers to cover at home but I expect a close contest throughout.

Clemson (+4) at Georgia Tech – This is a contest of two ACC teams who are not always used to being also-rans but that’s where they find themselves in 2015. The Tigers are 15-10 and are holding out hope of an NCAA berth but an NIT bid is more likely. Georgia Tech is under .500 and is going to need to pull off a miracle in the ACC Tournament in order to advance to the NCAA Tournament in March.

Trends: The Tigers are 8-17 straight up in their last 25 road games… Georgia Tech is 2-11 straight up in their last 13 games… Clemson has won five of the last six games in Atlanta straight up versus the Yellow Jackets… GT is 1-5 against the spread in their last six games at home against the Tigers.

The Pick: I love Clemson here getting the points.

The NBA Slate Offers Some Potential Pitfalls

D.J. Augustin has done his best to replace the injured Brandon Jennings in Detroit.

There are some really interesting lines tonight and just as interesting are some of the trends too. As the Knight of the Templar told Indiana Jones, “Choose wisely.”

Detroit (+2) at Charlotte (O/U 191.5) – The Pistons were playing so well following the dismissal of Josh Smith and then Brandon Jennings went down with his season-ending injury. D.J. Augustin has actually played pretty well in his absence averaging over ten points and almost five assists per game. Still, the Pistons are two games out of the final playoff spot and it’s not going to be easy.

The Hornets are in the seventh seed but have lost two straight despite winning six of their last ten. With Kemba Walker out indefinitely and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist day-to-day, Hornets could be in trouble.

Trends: The total has gone OVER in four of Detroit’s last five games… The total has gone UNDER in six of Charlotte’s last seven games… The Pistons are 5-1 straight up in their last six games at Charlotte… The Hornets are 1-7 against the spread in their last eight games at home versus Detroit.

The Pick: Take Detroit and the OVER.

David Joerger has the Grizzlies in great shape in the Western Conference.

Brooklyn (+11.5) at Memphis (O/U 190) – The Nets are dead even with the Miami Heat for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference but would lose the tie-breaker if the season ended today. Brooklyn has actually been better on the road than they have been at home but I’m not sure that will help here.

Memphis continues to put pressure on Golden State in the West. Right now, the Grizzlies are three games back. What’s gone in Memphis has been impressive and I don’t see this team going away any time soon.

Trends: The Grizzlies have won nine of their last ten games… The Nets have lost six of their last ten games.

The Pick: Take the Nets getting those points and the OVER.

Houston (+2) at Phoenix (O/U 214.5) – The Rockets come to the desert six games out of the first seed in the Western Conference but they have teams breathing down their necks. Portland, Dallas, the LA Clippers and the defending champion Spurs are all within three games of Houston.

The Suns find themselves currently hanging on to the final playoff spot by the skin of their teeth. New Orleans is a game back and Oklahoma City is two games behind. Phoenix must win games at home and needs to try and beat teams ahead of them in the standings.

Trends: The Suns have won four of their last ten games… The Rockets have won seven of their last ten games…

The Pick: Take the Rockets getting the points and the OVER.

Denver (+2) at LA Lakers (O/U 198.5) – These two teams have combined to lose nine straight games and they’ve also combined to win just two games in their last 20. The Nuggets are just 7-19 on the road this season and they are a full eight games out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. In other words, they aren’t making the playoffs.

The Lakers are a mess on and off the court as disgruntled players have started to speak out a little more than the Lakers’ front office would like. Between injuries and an overall lack of talent, this has just not been a good run for the purple and gold.

Trends:  The Lakers have lost four in a row and nine of their last ten… Denver has lost five straight and has lost nine of their last ten.

The Pick: I’ll take the Nuggets getting the points and the UNDER.

Four Really Good NBA Games for Sunday

Paul Griffin
Paul Griffin
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin need to right the ship after the Clips have drooped three straight.

I’m sure if I really sat down and looked it over I could probably find another Sunday with four better match-ups in the National Basketball Association but the ones I have for you today are pretty darn good.

LA Clippers (+3) at Oklahoma City (O/U 209) – The Thunder are three games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and have gone just 5-5 over their last ten games. The Clippers come to town having lost three straight and are dealing with Chris Paul’s comments about a female official.

I don’t think that will linger much longer now that he’s been fined $25,000 but LA needs to be careful. They are after all a half game from slipping into the seventh spot in the West.

Trends: The Clippers are 1-4 straight up in their last five games… The total has gone UNDER in six of Oklahoma City’s last eight games… LAC are 1-5 against the spread in their last six games against the Thunder… OKC is 7-3 straight up in their last 10 games at home against the Clippers.

The Pick: I like the Thunder today and the UNDER.

Atlanta (+3.5) at Memphis (O/U 196.5) – The Hawks have won nine of their last ten games and are coming off a defining win over Golden State. They’ve stretched their lead in the Eastern Conference to eight games over second-seeded Toronto.

Memphis has won eight of their last ten games and is in second out West just three games behind the Warriors. The Grizzlies have also been very good at home where they’ve gone 21-5 this season.

Trends: The total has gone OVER in six of the Hawks last seven games… Memphis is 8-1 straight up in their last nine games… Atlanta is 5-2 SU in their last seven games on the road in Memphis… The Grizzlies are 4-11-1 against the spread in their last 16 games against the Hawks.

The Pick: Don’t be surprised if the Grizzlies win but I like the Hawks getting the points and I like the OVER.

Gregg Popovich's Spurs aren't likely to be a top seed but they will be a tough out for any opponent.

San Antonio (+1.5) at Toronto (O/U 201.5) – The Spurs come to Canada having had some good recent success over the Raptors and they’ve won eight of their last ten games which puts them in the eighth spot in the very competitive Western Conference.

Toronto has had a very nice stretch of 7-3 in their last ten contests but seven of their 17 losses have come against the West. I have no doubts that they’d like to get some quality wins over the better Western teams.

Trends: The Spurs are 1-5-1 against the spread in their last seven games… The total has gone OVER in six of Toronto’s last eight games… San Antonio is 4-1-1 against the spread in their last six games against Toronto… The Raptors are 0-5 straight up in their last five games against the Spurs.

The Pick: Take the Spurs getting the point and a half take the OVER.

Portland (+4) at Houston (O/U 204) – These two teams have combined to win 15 of their last 20 games and are separated by a mere game in the Western Conference. It’s difficult to ignore the success Houston has had against the Blazers in Clutch City.

Trends: Portland is 0-4-1 against the spread in their last five games versus Houston… The Rockets are 6-1 straight up in their last seven games… The total has gone OVER in six of the Blazers last seven games when on the road against the Rockets… Houston has won 20 of their last 25 games straight up against the Blazers at home.

The Pick: I like the Rockets to cover at home and I like the OVER as well.

The Latest 2015 Heisman Trophy Odds

Ezekiel Elliott's Heisman chances could depend on who is playing quarterback in front of him.

The most recent Heisman Trophy odds for 2015 are some of the more interesting I can recall in recent years. I say this because among the guys I’ve listed, courtesy our friends at Bovada, four of them hail from Ohio State. It’s not uncommon at all to see two guys from a school among the top favorites but four? That’s pretty impressive.

I also feel that could be a detriment as well and I’ll get into that as I break down the list.

Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State 6/1

The biggest thing in Elliott’s way is the fact that regardless of who it is at quarterback for the Buckeyes, that guy will take plenty of attention away from him. That said, it doesn’t mean he can’t have a big year and still win the trophy.

Dak Prescott, Miss. State 7/1

Leonard Fournette , LSU 7/1

Both of these SEC players should garner plenty of attention as often as they’ll be on television. Prescott will benefit from having the ball in his hands more often than Fournette but don’t count out this LSU Tiger. He will slide into the top running back spot for Les Miles and he returns kicks as well.

Trevone Boykin, TCU 15/2

Boykin led the team I thought should have been in the College Football Playoff ahead of Ohio State this past season and he gets the benefit of having nine other offensive starters back with him.

Cody Kessler, USC 12/1

Nick Chubb, Georgia 12/1

Paul Perkins, UCLA 12/1

Of these three guys, you have to like Chubb’s chances the best. With Todd Gurley in the NFL, he will get the heavy share of the workload in Athens in 2015. Kessler has a shot simply because he plays at USC, but his numbers will need to be exceptional.

Cardale Jones could be a Heisman front-runner or the second QB off the bench in Columbus.

Cardale Jones, Ohio State 14/1

Derrick Henry, Alabama 14/1

Samaje Perine, Oklahoma 14/1

Jones is obviously an interesting bet here having started just three career games yet two of them were for a conference title and a national title. Even if he gets the nod to open the season at QB, who is to say he doesn’t share time with either Miller or Barrett? Perine burst onto the scene with his record-setting performance late last fall. Will he pick up where he left off?

J.T. Barrett, Ohio State 16/1

Jeremy Johnson, Auburn 16/1

I’ve read where there is some speculation that Johnson could actually run Gus Malzahn’s offense better than Nick Marshall did. If he does, then by all means he’ll be in contention. Barrett will be falling under the same situation as Jones and Miller at Ohio State. Who starts and who gets the playing time?

Braxton Miller, Ohio State 18/1

We know what Miller can do but will he be in the scarlet and gray when he does it?

Connor Cook, Michigan State 20/1

Deshaun Watson, Clemson 20/1

Cook will more than likely have good efficiency numbers but he’ll probably lack the gaudy numbers usually needed. Watson offers the ability to both run and pass but I’m not sure his consistency will be there all season.

Royce Freeman, Oregon 25/1

Freeman’s biggest issue will be the guy in front of him. If Marcus Mariota’s replacement is solid, then Freeman’s numbers could be significant.

Long-Shots I Like

Jared Goff, Cal 50/1

Sonny Dykes’ offense can be down-right explosive and Goff could benefit.

Scooby Wright, Arizona 66/1

The linebacker won’t win it but if he has some big impacts in early games and maintains that consistency he could get a trip to New York.


Breaking Down Super Bowl XLIX

I believe Super Bowl XLIX will come down to a final drive and Tom Brady will be under center for it. Will he be successful?

My favorite part of the the two weeks leading up to the playing of the actual Super Bowl is… The playing of the actual Super Bowl.

On Sunday night, we will be able to finally stop worrying about deflate-gate, what Marshawn Lynch says or doesn’t say and whether Idina Menzel has messed up the national anthem or not. In short, it will finally be time to play football.

Choosing who to go with in Super Bowl XLIX has not been easy. There are so many factors that must be considered for both teams and of course we can never predict turnovers or how the game is called by the officials. Nevertheless, I think I have a good read on this game so see whether you agree or not by reading on.

Super Bowl XLIX New England Patriots (-2) vs Seattle Seahawks (O/U 47.5) – Let’s take everything off the field off the table. That means let’s focus on the two teams and not deflate-gate or Marshawn Lynch’s hat.

Tom Brady is making his sixth start in a Super Bowl and he’s lost his last two which were both against the New York Giants. In the prior five Super Bowls, the game has come down to the final drive and I feel this one will be no different.

Look for both Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas to be involved with covering Rob Gronkowski.

If we analyze both of the Patriots’ losses, the Giants were able to get consistent pressure up the middle on Brady and most of that pressure came from just the front four defensive linemen. The Seahawks are significantly better than the Giants were in the secondary but can they get the same type of pressure the Giants did?

My assumption is that the Patriots will learn from Denver’s struggles last year in the Super Bowl and they will not abandon the run. The problem is whether Josh McDaniels chooses to use LeGarrette Blount or another running back like Jonas Gray. Seattle must also decide how they are going to cover Rob Gronkowski. Will they attempt to keep a linebacker on him or will Kam Chancellor or Earl Thomas be stuck with that assignment?

When the Seahawks are on offense, they will know that Bill Belichick typically likes to take away his opponent’s best player. Common sense points us to that being Russell Wilson or Marshawn Lynch. Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will be prepared and I think you’ll see more read-option from Seattle than we’ve seen recently from them this season.

If they find any success with that, the passing game will open up, especially on the edges and to the tight ends. Will that be enough to keep New England on it’s heels defensively?

Obviously the one area we can’t forget is special teams. Turnovers or major mistakes here are likely to be disastrous as close as I expect this game to be.

Trends: The total has gone UNDER in six of New England’s last eight games… Seattle is 6-2 straight up in their last eight games against New England… The Patriots are 2-6 against the spread in their last right games against the Seahawks… Seattle is 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games.

Key Injuries: NE C Brian Stork QUES/Knee, CB Brandon Browner QUES/Knee… SEA S Earl Thomas QUES/Shoulder

The Pick:  No one holds a lead as well as the Seahawks but I think they will fall behind early. Tom Brady has an opportunity to seal his legacy as an all-time great with a win and to do it, he’ll need a touchdown to win the game late. I think Seattle takes its’ first lead in the second half and holds on to win 27-23. Take the Seahawks and the points and take the OVER.

Some Super Bowl Betting History for You to Consider

Super Bowl XIII has become known as "Black Sunday" because Vegas took a beating.

As we have now entered the official “Super Bowl” week, I think it’s important to share some history of betting the big game. Obviously, there is no event in America that has more action in a given year than the Super Bowl.

The amount of money wagered on this game every winter is enough to run most nations for a calendar year if not longer. If you are going to be one of those millions of folks who are going to lay money on the championship of American Professional Football then let’s check the history books for some perspective and analysis. Any piece of information you can get your hands on is is crucial.

Favorites in the Super Bowl have gone 33-15 straight up in the previous 48 games. They are also 26-18-2 against the spread. The National Football Conference holds a 26-22 advantage and has won five of the last seven Super Bowls.

The largest upset in the game came way back in Super Bowl III when the New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts 16-7. The Jets entered as 18-point underdogs.

Seattle entered last season's Super Bowl as an underdog and it looks like more of the same this season.

In terms of the Over/Under, the Over has ruled in 25 of the 48 games. Super Bowl I did not have an O/U so means the Under was the right play 22 times. The Over has won three of the last four and is tied with the Under with five victories each in the last ten Super Bowls.

In terms of the recent history of underdogs, they have won six of the last seven Super Bowls including last year when Denver entered as a -2.5 point favorite over the Seahawks. The only favorite to win during that stretch was Green Bay in Super Bowl XLV.

The most infamous Super Bowl in terms of betting was Super Bowl XIII. This was the second of three Super Bowl meetings between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. The Steelers opened at -4.5 but as the game neared, it fell to -3.5 with heavy action on Dallas. The Steelers were victorious 35-31 so Vegas bookies were hit hard.

Many bettors took the Cowboys on that early -4.5 line while many jumped on the Steelers when it went to -3.5. This has since been known as “Black Sunday” to many in the sports gambling business.

As we move our focus to this year’s game, our friends at Bovada currently have the New England Patriots listed as two-point favorites over the defending champion Seattle Seahawks.

If we look at the pattern over the last ten Super Bowls we can come up with the following:

If we like the Patriots as the favorite at -2, then your chances are strong. Winning 33 of 48 is pretty solid.

If we like the AFC team (the Patriots), then we might want to move towards Seattle.

If we are talking about playing the Over/Under then we are going to suggest the Over based on recent results. If we go based on all of the Super Bowls, then this decision really does come down to a coin flip as we’re very nearly at 50%.

Since 2000, the NFC has been the Super Bowl favorite only four times. The St. Louis Rams twice (1-1), the Packers (1-0) and the San Francisco 49ers (0-1). Outside of the Packers win, the other three times saw the Rams not cover against the Titans, the Niners lose straight up to Baltimore and the Rams losing straight up to the Patriots.

With all that swirling around these Patriots, you have to ask yourself whether it will galvanize them or ruin them? That said, you must still look at the history because it tells an awful lot.

NFL Championship Game Picks for Today

While there are many other guys who can make a difference, if Aaron Rodgers isn't healthy the Packers can forget it.

The NFL Conference Title Games are on tap later today and here’s my selections for who advances to Super Bowl XLIX.

Green Bay (+7.5) at Seattle (O/U 47) – The Packers opened the season in Seattle and played valiantly but lost. Now the question is whether or not Green Bay ends its’ season in the same place where it began or will they advance to the Super Bowl? Then again, maybe the biggest question is just how close to 100% is Aaron Rodgers?

The Seahawks’ defense will not give Rodgers a chance to to get comfortable which is their goal regardless of who the play but today will be special. Coordinator Dan Quinn will more than likely test Rodgers early with some extra pressure just to see how well he can move. Either way, the Packers need Eddie Lacy to be a significant factor right away.

While under most circumstances Rodgers could carry this team, being less than full health tells me that he’ll need help.

Seattle will not do anything fancy on offense. The plan will be as it always is; run Marshawn Lynch and set up Russell Wilson in play-action. The Packers will attempt to take away Lynch, but they didn’t have a whole lot of luck with DeMarco Murray.

Trends: Green Bay is 2-4 straight up in their last six games in Seattle… The Seahawks are 4-0-1 against the spread in their last five games at home… The total has gone UNDER in four of the Packers last six games at Seattle… Seattle is 3-6 straight up in their last nine games against the Packers

Key Injuries: GB QB Aaron Rodgers PROB/Calf, SEA T Justin Britt QUEST/Knee

The Pick: I really think Green Bay can keep this close but I like a late Seattle score for the cover. Take the UNDER as well.

Can Tom Brady point the Patriots back to the Super Bowl?

Indianapolis (+7) at New England (O/U 54) – Last year in the divisional playoffs the Patriots rode the running of LeGarrette Blount to a big-time win over the Colts. Blount returns by way of Pittsburgh but things have changed a lot since they played a year ago. In fact, they met in the regular season where the Patriots’ Jonas Gray ran for 200 yards in a win over Indy.

Gray was late for practice later the following week and he’s hardly seen the field since. The one thing about the Bill Belichick-led Pats is that they rarely do what you think  they are going to. Just when you think they’ll go to the air, they go to the run and vice-versa. For the record, I expect them to throw.

For the Colts, the gameplan won’t change. They will ride the arm of Andrew Luck and they’ll do their best to pretend to they have a running game with Boom Herron. Don’t laugh because if Herron can find any success at all then Luck becomes even more dangerous.

The one thing you can never predict is turnovers. If the Colts can get a few, then this game becomes very interesting.

Trends: The total has gone OVER in five of the Colts’ last six games when playing in New England… The Patriots are 5-0 straight up in their last five games against the Colts… Indy is 2-13 SU in their last 15 games at New England… The total has gone UNDER in five of New England’s last seven games.

Key Injuries: IND CB Greg Toler QUEST/Groin… NE C Brian Stork OUT/Knee

The Pick: The Pats cleared a big hurdle in coming back to beat Baltimore last week and I think they win today but the Colts will find a way to keep it close. Take the OVER too.