Prop Bets for the NFL Championship Games

Wilson
Wilson
Think Russell Wilson gets into the end zone on Sunday? It might be worth your money.

Thanks to our friends at Bovada, I’m providing you with a bevy of prop bets coming from both games this Sunday. My best advice on wagering these is to consider this; I believe you will significant scoring in both games. When I say “significant” I would look for the NFC Title game to be played in the mid to upper 20’s and the AFC Title Game to be played in the 30’s.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Who will record the most Passing Yards?

Andrew Luck (IND) QB 5/4

Tom Brady (NE) QB 2/1

Aaron Rodgers (GB) QB 3/1

Russell Wilson (SEA) QB 7/1

 

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Who will record the most Rushing Yards?

Marshawn Lynch (SEA) RB 10/11

Eddie Lacy (GB) RB 11/10

Dan Herron (IND) RB 7/1

Russell Wilson (SEA) QB 10/1

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Who will record the most Receiving Yards?

Rob Gronkowski (NE) TE 3/1

Jordy Nelson (GB) WR 4/1

Randall Cobb (GB) WR 5/1

T.Y. Hilton (IND) WR 5/1

Julian Edelman (NE) WR 6/1

Brandon LaFell (NE) WR 9/1

Doug Baldwin (SEA) WR 10/1

Jermaine Kearse (SEA) WR 15/1

Dan Herron (IND) RB 15/1

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Which game will have the higher TV rating?

GB vs SEA EVEN

IND vs NE -140

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Which market will have the higher TV rating?

Green Bay 5/4

Seattle 9/5

Indianapolis 5/1

Boston 3/1

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Will either game go to Overtime?

Yes +750

No -1500

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – How many calls will be overturned both games combined?

Over 1½ (-120)

Under 1½ (-120)

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Will anyone from the Patriots besides Tom Brady attempt a pass during the game?

Yes +1000

No -2000

(GB @ SEA) – Total Passing Yards – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Over 260½ (-125)

Under 260½ (-105)

(GB @ SEA) – Total Completions – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Over 22½ (-125)

Under 22½ (-105)

(GB @ SEA) – Total Passing Attempts in the game – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Over 34½ (-125)

Under 34½ (-105)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Over 1½ (-180)

Under 1½ (+150)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Over 2 (+110)

Under 2 (-140)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Over 2½ (+140)

Under 2½ (-170)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

0 4/1

1 21/10

2 11/5

3 3/1

4 or more 7/1

(GB @ SEA) – Total Interceptions – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Over ½ (-155)

Under ½ (+125)

(GB @ SEA) – Total Interceptions – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

0 6/5

1 7/5

2 9/2

3 or more 9/1

(GB @ SEA) – Total Passing Attempts in the game – Russell Wilson (SEA)

Over 27½ (-130)

Under 27½ (EVEN)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Russell Wilson (SEA)

Over 1½ (-140)

Under 1½ (+110)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Russell Wilson (SEA)

Over 2 (+140)

Under 2 (-170)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Russell Wilson (SEA)

Over 2½ (+240)

Under 2½ (-300)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Russell Wilson (SEA)

0 3/1

1 7/4

2 11/5

3 5/1

4 or more 9/1

(GB @ SEA) – Total Interceptions – Russell Wilson (SEA)

Over ½ (-130)

Under ½ (EVEN)

(GB @ SEA) – Total Interceptions – Russell Wilson (SEA)

0 1/1

1 7/5

2 5/1

3 or more 15/1

(GB @ SEA) – Total Rushing Yards – Russell Wilson (SEA)

Over 39½ (-125)

Under 39½ (-105)

(GB @ SEA) – Total Rushing Attempts in the game – Russell Wilson (SEA)

Over 7½ (-115)

Under 7½ (-115)

(GB @ SEA) – Will Russell Wilson (SEA) score a Rushing TD in the game?

Yes +250

No -325

Luck
Like Andrew Luck for two or more TD passes? Then lay some money down!

(IND @ NE) – Total Passing Yards – Andrew Luck (IND)

Over 295½ (-125)

Under 295½ (-105)

(IND @ NE) – Total Completions – Andrew Luck (IND)

Over 25½ (-130)

Under 25½ (EVEN)

(IND @ NE) – Total TD Passes – Andrew Luck (IND)

Over 2 (-140)

Under 2 (+110)

(IND @ NE) – Total Passing Yards – Tom Brady (NE)

Over 285½ (-115)

Under 285½ (-115)

(IND @ NE) – Total Completions – Tom Brady (NE)

Over 24 (-115)

Under 24 (-115)

(IND @ NE) – Total Passing Attempts in the game – Tom Brady (NE)

Over 36½ (-115)

Under 36½ (-115)

(IND @ NE) – Total TD Passes – Tom Brady (NE)

Over 2 (-150)

Under 2 (+120)

 

 

 

AFC South Battle Takes the Top Spot for Thursday Night

Luck

 

Luck
Andrew Luck and the Colts face the Texans in Houston tomorrow night.

Indianapolis (-3.5) at Houston (O/U 46) – These two AFC South rivals meet for the first time in 2014 and with both tied at 3-2 atop the division, the game takes on even greater significance. They won’t meet again until the Texans visit Indianapolis in mid-December.

Even though this is just week six, the game is significant because division foes Jacksonville and Tennessee are a combined 1-9 which means that both teams will stand really good chances of making the playoffs as division champs and a wild-card. The assumes they both hod serve against both the Jags and Titans.

Through the first five Thursday night games, the average margin of victory is over 20 points and only once was one of those winners a road team (Giants two weeks ago over Washington). This stat obviously bodes well for the Texans but I really think the string of blowout games on Thursday nights comes to an end tomorrow night.

Watt
J.J. Watt will do his best to slow down the Colts' offense.

The Texans will do their best to stop the run and force Andrew Luck into poor decisions with pressure up the middle from J.J. Watt and company. The Colts will follow a similar gameplan because I have to believe they don’t think Ryan Fitzpatrick can beat them without a solid running attack.

Indianapolis was pretty impressive in defeating Baltimore last weekend as the Colts defense held the Ravens to just 13 points. The Texans have to be kicking themselves for letting one slip away against in-state rival Dallas in overtime.

Trends: Indy is 2-6 against the spread in their last eight games when playing on the road against Houston… The total has gone OVER in seven of Houston’s last nine games when playing the Colts at home… Indianapolis is 20-4 straight up in their last 24 games against the Texans… Houston is 3-7 ATS in their last ten games at home.

Key Injuries: Colts DT Arthur Jones, OUT (ankle)… Texans Jadeveon Clowney LB OUT (knee)

The Pick: I like Indy to cover and the OVER but I expect a close game.

BYU at Central Florida (-3.5) – The Cougars will come to Orlando with the memories or what might have been in their minds. While they dropped a 35-20 game to Utah State, the bigger concern was the loss of do-everything quarterback Taysom Hill. Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall said this week that Hill’s broken leg, suffered late in the first half, is much worse then originally thought.

His surgery required a plate and eight screws and he had severe ligament damage as well. Back-up Christian Stewart will get the start after a less-then solid relief role against the Aggies. Stewart completed just 10 of 29 passes and had three interceptions.

The Knights aren’t exactly going to feel sorry for Hill and the Cougars. They are coming of a very nice conference win at Houston last week to get to 2-2 on the season. UCF’s two losses are to Penn State on a last-second field goal and to Missouri who beat them up pretty good.

Nothing tests a team and head coach like a injury to the quarterback especially one who is so well-thought of by his teammates. Can the Cougars rebound?

Trends: BYU is 2-7-1 against the spread in their last ten games… The total has gone UNDER in four of UCF’s last five games at home.

The Pick: UCF’s offense concerns me and that’s why I’m taking BYU getting the points and I like the UNDER.

Odds for the AFC South Division for 2014

Luck

 

Luck
Andrew Luck should have the Colts in the top spot in the AFC South in 2014.

The AFC South is on tap today!

Indianapolis -200 – Talk about having everything in place for a division title… The Colts have Andrew Luck in his third year and let’s be honest, he needs to produce another playoff win or two as he was one horrendous choke job by Kansas City from being 0-3. The biggest question I have regards Trent Richardson. If he can be  the running back he’s capable of being then the Colts will be tremendous. If not, they could struggle to remain balanced.

Last time we saw the defense, the Colts were getting run over by LeGarrette Blount and the Patriots in the divisional round of the AFC Divisional Playoffs. The unit has to be better and has to create pressure on opposing quarterbacks as well. I don’t find the schedule that difficult other than the final four games three of which are on the road in Cleveland, Dallas and Tennessee.

Season Projection: 11-5

Clowney
The Texans hope Jadeveon Clowney plays a great 'Robin' to J.J. Watt's 'Batman.'

Houston +200 – Hard to believe a team that finished 2-14 last year is the second favorite to win the division. The Texans and new coach Bill O’Brien will enter 2014 with a clear plan in place. With Ryan Fitzpatrick the QB, the running game has to be good because Fitzpatrick can’t win games with his arm. The other clear plan is to attack on defense and the selection of Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick was a clear indication of that.

Clowney has already flashed his explosiveness and will create an incredibly scary tandem with J.J. Watt. If they can create enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks to the point where the secondary can just ‘ball-hawk’ then look out. The Texans schedule is not difficult but they do have five of their first eight games on the road and some of those stops include Dallas and Pittsburgh.

Season Projection: 8-8

Tennessee +700 – This is the make or break year for quarterback Jake Locker who has battled injury and sub-par play so far in his career. What’s going for him though is the fact that new head coach Ken Whisenhunt knows how to get the most out of quarterbacks. He did it with Ben Roethlisberger and he did it with Kurt Warner in Arizona. Can he now work his magic with Locker?

The defense wasn’t atrocious by any stretch finishing in the middle of the pack overall, in rushing and in passing. They have the ability to keep things close is the offense can be balanced and take care of the football. The schedule features a fairly ugly stretch in November when the Titans have three road games in four weeks. Those trips are to Baltimore, Houston and Philly with a home against the Steelers.

Season Projection: 7-9

Jacksonville +1400 – Head Coach Gus Bradley has a tough choice to make in terms of the quarterback position. Does he stay with veteran Chad Henne knowing what that he’ll get some big plays but also turnovers or will he go with rookie Blake Bortles? The original plan was to sit Bortles this season but he has been so impressive so far in the preseason that he’s making the choice difficult.

Regardless of who is at the helm, they need the running game to get going and take pressure off of the passing game. The defense is coming together nicely in Jacksonville but I think it’s a couple of studs away from really making a serious dent in the division. The Jags have a brutal opening schedule with three of four on the road in Philly, Washington and San Diego plus a visit from Pittsburgh.

Season Projection: 5-11

Overall: I just don’t know how the Colts lose this division outside of a significant injury to Luck. Take them and don’t look back.

AFC Division Winner Odds for 2014

Gronk
Gronk
Rob Gronkowski's health may be the difference for New England's success in 2014.

I gave you the odds on NFC Division winners on Sunday and today it’s the AFC’s turn. I’ll tell you right now I’ve got two big surprises for you. Lets get to the AFC.

AFC East

New England -250 – The window on Tom Brady getting his elusive fourth Super Bowl title is closing. Even if Rob Gronkowski is healthy, does he Brady have enough weapons to get another division title?

Miami +450 – The biggest question is whether or not the Dolphins can survive the early season without center Mike Pouncey. Related to that, have they gotten past the Richie Incognito situation?

NY Jets +750 – Don’t laugh, but this team could challenge for a playoff spot. Why? Because of defense and a running game and more experience at quarterback.

Buffalo +850 – The Bills suffered a horrible blow when LB Kiko Alonso went down last week with a knee injury. My question for Buffalo is can E.J. Manuel stay healthy and take advantage of a ton of weapons?

PICK: NY Jets

AFC North

Cincinnati +200 – Andy Dalton will have even better regular season success under new coordinator Hue Jackson. Can that translate into postseason success? If it doesn’t, Dalton could be gone.

Pittsburgh +200 – The Steelers haven’t missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons since the late 1990’s. If they can get more pressure defensively and find a legitimate #2 receiver then anything is possible.

Baltimore +250 – The pending Ray Rice suspension might not be that big of a deal considering Rice didn’t play well in 2013. Still, can the Ravens play well on both sides of the ball consistently enough to win the North?

Cleveland +500 – Josh Gordon won’t see the field in 2014. Johnny Manziel continues to make partying a priority. There is talent in Cleveland but I don’t think this is the year it comes together.

PICK: Cincinnati

Luck
In his third year, expectations are higher than ever for Andrew Luck in Indianapolis.

AFC South

Indianapolis -140 – Everyone talks about Andy Dalton’s playoff woes, but Andrew Luck is a miracle comeback away from being 0-2 himself. The Colts need to shore up the run defense and get something out of Trent Richardson before we can hand them the division.

Houston +260 – Bill O’Brien will have this team competitive I guarantee that. The defense may be the funnest in the league to watch but will the quarterback play be enough?

Tennessee +475 – I think Ken Whisenhunt is a really good coach and I believe he will get this team in the thick of the South race. The issue is of course QB, but if Jake Locker can stay healthy, he will play better under Whisenhunt’s tutelage.

Jacksonville +1,400 – I really do like the direction the Jags are headed but I don’t see this year being the one for them to win. Chad Henne makes to many mistakes for the young team to overcome.

PICK: Indianapolis

AFC West 

Denver -275 – The Broncos should survive the post-Super Bowl hangover due to veteran leadership but Denver has a brutal schedule that could cause problems. How much does Manning have left in the tank too?

Kansas City +500 – I fully expect the Chiefs to slip a bit this year and it could be worse if Alex Smith doesn’t get the contract he desires. Andy Reid always has tough teams but this will be a step back in 2014.

San Diego +550 – Philip Rivers continues to carry the mantle of ‘only first round QB from the 2004 draft not to win a Super Bowl.’ Manning and Roethlisberger each have two and Rivers’ isn’t getting any younger. The good news is that if the defense plays well, he could get his shot.

Oakland +1,800 – The Raiders continue to be the team that just can’t put things together and this season won’t be much different.

PICK: San Diego

Saturday NFL Playoff Games Could Be Classics

Wilson
Wilson
Russell Wilson points the way for the Seahawks who host the Saints on Saturday in the NFL Playoffs.

New Orleans returns to Seattle while Indianapolis goes to New England for what seems like the millionth time. I expect both games to be highly competitive and exciting with both going down to the fourth quarter. Let’s dig in.

New Orleans (+8) at Seattle – Back in week thirteen of the NFL season, New Orleans traveled to the upper Northwest to play Seattle on a Monday night. They knew it would be a litmus test of just where they were as a team. What they found out was that there was work to do as they got hammered 34-7. The Saints went on to split their final four games and wound up the wild-card rather than the NFC South champion.

The Saints return to the scene of the crime on Saturday and believe they are more prepared than they were in early December. I have to give Sean Payton and his team credit for finally winning a playoff game on the road and in colder temperatures. This however, will be a much greater challenge than the Eagles.

Seattle showed a little bit of vulnerability at home by losing to Arizona in week 16. Was that just a blip on the radar screen or did the Cardinals reveal a blueprint for winning in Seattle? Despite Carson Palmer throwing four interceptions that day, the Cardinals controlled the clock and the ball with a running game that outgained Seattle by roughly 50 yards.

They also sacked Russell Wilson four times and held him to just 11 of 27 passing. If the Saints are to have any chance, they must copy the blueprint Arizona laid out. Whether starting running back Pierre Thomas is back or they go with Mark Ingram, pounding the ball will be crucial for time management but also will keep the pressure off of Drew Brees.

The over/under is listed currently at 46 and I think the under is a good play with a 100% chance of rain on Saturday. The Saints are 1-6 against the spread in their last seven road games and are 2-5 ATS in their last seven versus the Seahawks. Seattle is 19-4 straight up in their last 23 contests. I believe the Saints put up a better fight this time around and will take them getting the points. I think Seattle wins the game though.

Luck
Andrew Luck gets his first crack at Tom Brady and the Patriots in the playoffs Saturday night.

Indianapolis (+7.5) at New England – The teams are familiar and the scene in Foxboro is familiar as well but the guy playing quarterback for Indianapolis is no longer Peyton Manning. The Colts go on the road behind Andrew Luck following their 28-point comeback last week at home against Kansas City. The faces in New England have changed too but not where it matters. Quarterback Tom Brady and Head Coach Bill Belichick are looking to erase some painful memories of recent playoff failures Saturday night.

The formula for Indy is simple in my opinion. They must not turn the ball over and they must get to Tom Brady the way they came after Alex Smith in the second half last week. Sprinkling in some solid running from Donald Brown would help the Colts’ cause as well. For the Patriots, the team must follow the lead of Tom Brady who is a seasoned playoff veteran.

I think you’ll see heavy doses of the running game from the Patriots in an effort to slow down Robert Mathis and that Colts’ front seven. I expect Brady to rely heavily on Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola before spreading the ball around more. Stevan Ridley and LaGarrette Blount each rushed for over 770 yards this season and I expect that type of balance to be on display.

With the over/under at 52, I’m really torn. I think Indy can win a shootout, but I expect New England to make it a lower scoring game by taking away T.Y. Hilton and staying with a short passing game and rushing attack. The Pats are 1-4 ATS in their last five games at home against the Colts while Indy is 8-15-2 ATS in their last 25 games against New England.

I suspect another memorable night playoff game in Foxboro and I like the Colts with the points but will take New England to win.

Sunday Thoughts Around the Sports World

Luck
Luck
Luck led the Colts back from 28 points down to defeat the Chiefs.

As the snow and cold continues to pound away outside, today seems like a perfect day hit some of the major stories around the sports world so let me put the coffee down and get to it.

You certainly could not have asked for two more exciting games to open the National Football League Playoffs. The Indianapolis Colts rallied from a 28-point second half deficit to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44 in the opening game yesterday. While the Chiefs’ defense will take a large portion of the blame and rightfully so, the offense didn’t help much in the second half either.

With running backs Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis both knocked out of the game, the Chiefs were forced to try their already short passing game in order to move the ball and it just wasn’t happening. The Colts survived two Andrew Luck interceptions in the second half which turned out OK considering he sprinkled in four touchdown passes.

The Colts will await the winner of today’s Cincinnati-San Diego game to see if they head to Denver or New England next week.

Graham
Graham kicks the Saints past Philly in the NFC Wild-Card Game last night.

The night game wasn’t quite as exciting as the opener but still had some drama at the end. New Orleans, desperate to kick the ‘can’t win outside’ moniker, did just that by beating Philadelphia 26-24. The win came off the foot of recently acquired Shayne Graham who nailed the winning field goal as time expired.

Both teams struggled to put points on the board in the first half and Philly didn’t take their first lead until the fourth quarter. Drew Brees, himself under the gun to play well outdoors, did that in the second half after two first half interceptions. Credit must go to Sean Payton and the dedication to the running game despite not having leading rusher Pierre Thomas who was out with a chest injury.

Back-up Mark Ingram rushed 18 times for 97 yards and a touchdown. New Orleans will now travel to Seattle for a second shot at the Seahawks.

It appears Charlie Strong has finally decided to accept the job at the University of Texas after a period of about 48 hours where he seemed unsure about leaving Louisville. On the surface, we outsiders were thinking, “Why are you waiting Charlie?” Louisville is and always will be a basketball school and in Austin, good seasons will make you a god.

Strong is a great defensive mind and is a tremendous recruiter which appeals to Texas who needs to keep its’ homegrown talent in Austin. That will be Strong’s first challenge although winning the Big 12 will help too.

Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers is out three to five weeks after he separated his shoulder the other night. The loss of Paul hurts for obvious reasons but also because the Clips are trying to hold off both Golden State and surprising Phoenix in the Western Conference’s Pacific Division. They lead those teams by a half and full game respectively.

The injury comes at time when trade rumors are surrounding a ‘Blake Griffin for Carmelo Anthony’ deal. Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers called the rumors “stupid” which doesn’t mean it won’t happen but I tend to think it won’t happen either.

Also in the NBA, the Pau Gasol for Andrew Bynum deal appears to be getting closer. The Lakers would save about $20 million by trading Gasol and then cutting Bynum after the trade. Bynum is currently suspended by the Cavaliers for ”conduct detrimental to the team.’ I honestly don’t know why any team would want the troubled big man on it’s’ roster.

Richardson Trade Will Garner Your Betting Attention

Richardson
Richardson
Trent Richardson will now do his celebrating for the Colts after being dealt last night.

Last night one of the biggest in-season National Football League trades in the league’s history went down when the Cleveland Browns sent last year’s number one pick Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for next year’s first round selection. This trade gives the Colts an immediate upgrade at running back while the Browns are essentially going ‘all-in’ for a franchise quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Many will look at this trade like the Browns have cashed in their 2013 season and perhaps they have but the Cleveland front office and coaching staff clearly believe that Brandon Weeden is not the guy going forward to play quarterback.

With two first-round picks in the ’14 draft, the Browns will more than likely have their choice of Tajh Boyd, Teddy Bridgewater and possibly Johnny Manziel if he comes out early as a third-year sophomore.

With this trade in mind, how does it affect your wagering on the National Football League?

Luck
I'd be happy too if I were Andrew Luck. A running game will make his life easier.

That requires a little bit of breakdown and here it is. By adding Richardson to the backfield, the Colts now have a legitimate running threat behind quarterback Andrew Luck. Vic Ballard was recently lost for the season with a knee injury and while Ahmad Bradshaw is a worthy fill-in, his presence won’t keep defensive coordinators awake at night.

Enter Richardson who isn’t exactly a speed merchant, but rather, is a guy who can get and create yards and can move the sticks. If he is successful early in games at running the ball then that will set up Luck in play-action. To this point, Luck has not really been fortunate enough to have a running back who can compliment him as well Richardson can.

No longer will teams be able to just sit back and play pass defense against the second-year QB from Stanford. Defenses will be forced to respect the run threat from the Colts which will make passing lanes bigger.

If you’re betting the Colts over the next few weeks, keep an eye on a number of things. First, look at the over. With the addition of Richardson, the over comes into play a little more. Depending upon the opponent, pay attention to the spread. Leads for the Colts will mean heavier doses of Richardson late in ball games.

With Luck not having to throw it as often, that could mean less scoring opportunities.

What does the trade mean if you’re betting the Browns? Well, first of all, why are you betting the Browns? No, I’m kidding…. The Browns’ offense under Norv Turner was expected to be significantly better than in recent seasons and perhaps it still might. With Richardson gone from the backfield that will put a greater emphasis on throwing which we know Turner likes to do.

Don’t forget too that Cleveland announced today that 3rd stringer Brian Hoyer will start at QB on Sunday in place of injured Brandon Weeden. Why Jason Campbell didn’t get the nod is a question, but considering how poor he looked in relief of Weeden this past Sunday, there is probably your answer.

Cleveland’s offense was anemic with Richardson so we should expect it to be worse right? Not so fast my friend. There is no concern now about having to get the former number one pick the ball, so Turner can run the offense more wide-open and with more of a speed back rather than a power one.

Obviously, paying attention to the opponent of the Browns is extremely important each week but considering the Browns have already thrown in a towel of sorts on this season, what do they have to lose?

Bet wisely my friends.

NFL Wild-Card Sunday Betting Tips

Playing his last game at home, Ray Lewis will hope to prolong his retirement with a Ravens win over Indianapolis in Sunday's early kickoff.

The NFL postseason got off to a good start for bettors backing favorites to cover the spread. Both Houston’s win over Cincinnati and Green Bay’s victory over Minnesota on Saturday saw the bookies’ favorites advance to the divisional round of the playoffs, scoring a win against the spread in the process. Both games saw the total go under.

Sunday sees the remaining two fixtures of the wild-card round and Casino Review has all the information you need. Let’s start with a matchup that pits Charm City’s past against its present.

 

Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens

1:00 PM ET

There’s little left to be said about an Indianapolis (11-5, 4-4 road) side that has defied the odds and the experts just to make it to the postseason. All that’s left to do is see how far Chuck Pagano, Andrew Luck and Co. can take this ride. Of course, the team has every belief it will be well beyond Sunday’s wild-card matchup in the Colts’ former home city.

Rather than concern itself with the Colts’ impressive run, Baltimore (10-6, 6-2 home) will look to put the skids on a run of poor form. The Ravens have dropped four of five and look like a wounded animal coming into the playoffs. The return of Ray Lewis – who will be playing his final home game after announcing he’ll retire at the end of this run – may be enough to buoy the Ravens. But then again, it might not.

Baltimore defeated Indianapolis the last time these two sides met (Dec. 2011), snapping an eight-game Colts winning streak. The two sides have met in the playoffs twice previously (following the 2006 and 2009 seasons) with Indianapolis running out victors both times. Of course, the team that took those wins, and those eight straight, included a certain Peyton Manning. Such records may as well be thrown out of the window at times like these.

There’s no denying that the Baltimore defense of old was not on show this season, but completed to the Colts, even this so-so Ravens defense is a beast. Baltimore outranked Indianapolis in points and yards allowed this season, including rushing and passing yards.

Surprisingly, a Baltimore offense that spluttered throughout the year also ranked better than Indianapolis, but there was a certain amount of magic surrounding Andrew Luck, who dragged the Colts back time and again. Doing the same this weekend would really set out a stall.

Odds: Baltimore opened as 6½-point favorites, a number that has risen to seven. The over/under is 47, up from 46 at opening.

Take: Baltimore – As has been the case with this opening round, it wouldn’t be that big a surprise to see either of these teams come out with a victory. Of course, were the Colts to win, it would prove the bigger story. But ultimately, Baltimore has a huge edge in experience, and somehow the Ravens always seem to find a way to win at this stage of the playoffs. The Ravens have won three straight wild-card games, and four straight playoff openers. You have to go back to Jan. 2004 to find a Ravens team that was one-and-done in the postseason. Take the Colts to cover the spread and keep this a close game however. An improved defensive display will keep the total from going over.

 

Seattle Seahawks @ Washington Redskins

4:30 PM ET

Andrew Luck isn’t the only rookie quarterback turning franchises around. In fact, two individuals that have done exactly that will meet at FedEx Field in Sunday’s late afternoon game.

Robert Griffin III may have been drafted behind Andrew Luck but more and more people are cottoning on to the idea that the Redskins’ triggerman may just be the best candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson may not have been a starter when the season commenced, but he’s certainly earned his spot, and again, is rated higher than Andrew Luck in many people’s eyes. Both will look to add to their legacy with a debut playoff win.

Washington (10-6, 5-3 home) outlasted Dallas and the New York Giants to win the NFC East, booking its first playoff trip since the end of the 2007 season. The Redskins provided the league’s best rushing attack, averaging 169.3 yards per game. The side ranked fifth overall in total yards gained (383.2 YPG) and fourth in points scored (27.3 PPG).

Seattle (11-5, 3-5 road) navigated some early road woes to finish the season strong. Really strong. The Seahawks averaged 42.5 points per game over the last four games of the season, stuffing opponents defensively to the tune of 10.8 points per game in the process.

The Seahawks were unbeaten at home this season, but will not get to play at CenturyLink Field after finishing one-half game behind San Francisco in the NFC West. Seattle’s early season road woes – which saw the team go 1-5 – seem to have turned around with wins in Chicago and Buffalo. Still, this is a side that will not be relishing a road game at this time of year.

Seattle has produced a 1-8 all-time road record in the playoffs, including seven straight. The last time the Seahawks won on the road in the playoffs was on Dec. 31, 1983, in Miami. For those too young to remember, the Seahawks were an AFC team until the 2002 expansion year.

Washington on the other hand has not lost a home playoff game since Dec. 30, 1984. Granted, the team has only played five games in that 18 year period, but that won’t dampen this side.

Washington is 11-6 all-time against Seattle, and has won six of the last eight. Worryingly for the Redskins though, the two losses that have fallen in that eight-game span both came during the playoffs (following the 2005 and 2008 seasons).

Odds: Seattle is the only road favorite of wild-card weekend. The spread opened at just one, but has subsequently risen to three. The over/under is 46, up from 45½.

Take: Seattle – History denotes that it is more likely than not that there will be one lower ranked seed beating a higher ranked seed during the wild-card round of the playoffs (see yesterday’s article). Well, this looks like this year’s candidate. Seattle is almost as solid as Washington in the running game – ranking third in the league (161.2 YPG) and much more effective defensively. No team in the league gave up fewer points than the Seahawks (15.3 PPG) this year. That may be just the advantage Seattle needs. Take the Seahawks to cover the close spread. Take the total to go over as these two teams look to run some points on to the board.

Another Record Breaking Week in the NFL?

Houston defensive end J.J. Watt will be one of those players looking to break a single-season record this weekend.

Playoff berths will be at stake this weekend as the NFL enters its final week of the season, but a number of the league’s finest players will also be looking to make an impact in the history books.

This past week, Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson secured a slot in the record books. The six-year veteran caught 11 balls for 225 yards, giving him 1,892 receiving yards on the season. That figure eclipses the single-season mark for most receiving yards (1,848 yards), set by Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers in 1995. Johnson has one more game to pad those numbers some more.

This weekend, Johnson may well be joined on the list of record breakers. Casino Review takes a look at some of the record breaking questions on tap ahead of Week 17.

 

Will Adrian Peterson break the single-season rushing record?

Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson has had an outstanding season. Recovering from ACL and MCL surgery, Peterson has ran for 1,898 yards, leading the Vikings to an unlikely 9-6 record and the verge of the playoffs. Peterson is second favorite to Peyton Manning in the MVP stakes.

This weekend, Peterson – taken in the same draft as Johnson – will look to break the single-season record for rushing yards.

Heading into play on Sunday, Peterson is 207 yards behind the record (2,105 yards) set by Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson in 1984. Securing 208 yards or more will be a tough task, but Peterson has already run for 210 yards against the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota’s opponents this weekend. Still, oddsmakers don’t like Peterson’s chances.

Bovada Odds: Yes +300, No -500

 

Will J.J. Watt break the single-season record for sacks?

On the defensive side of the football, Houston defensive end J.J. Watt is within touching distance of an 11-year-old record.

With 20.5 sacks this season, Watt needs two sacks against the Indianapolis Colts this weekend to tie or 2.5 sacks to surpass New York Giants legend Michael Strahan for the most sacks recorded in a single season. Strahan set the record in 2001.

Watt has had an outstanding season, and is considered by some as the MVP of the Houston Texans. That’s saying something on a team that has seen Matt Schaub and Arian Foster both excel this season.

Like Peterson, oddsmakers don’t like Watts’ chances, but there is one thing well worth considering. Two weeks ago, Watt registered three sacks against the Colts, the team he faces this week.

Bovada Odds: Yes +200, No -300

 

Will Russell Wilson break the record for touchdown passes by a rookie?

Finally, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson will look to ensure that his name is set firmly alongside the likes of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in Rookie of the Year conversations by doing something neither of his counterparts as.

With 25 passing touchdowns this season, Wilson sits just one behind Peyton Manning for most touchdowns thrown by a rookie. Manning threw 26 touchdowns in his debut season in 1998. Wilson needs two on Sunday against St. Louis to surpass that record.

Against the Rams in Week 4, Wilson threw no touchdowns and three picks. The Seahawks that take to the field on Sunday is very different to that side, with Wilson having thrown 17 touchdowns over the last eight games, including four last weekend against the 49ers.

Oddsmakers like Wilson’s chances against a St. Louis side that has been less than impressive this year.

Success for Wilson would have the rookie standing firmly alongside Andrew Luck, who passed Cam Newton’s record – set last year – for most yards by a rookie in a single-season last weekend.

Bovada Odds: Yes -175, No +135

Week 11 NFL Betting Tips

The impending quarterback Armageddon in New York could continue to chug along if the Jets get a win over the Rams this weekend.

Week 11 in the NFL sees the final four byes of the season, meaning from here on out we get a full slate of football all the way to the end of December. Week 11 also sees a quick turnaround for Thanksgiving games this coming Thursday, but before we get to that, we’ve got a few games worthy of your attention.

Here’s a look at three of Sunday afternoon’s most intriguing and noteworthy match-ups. There are important games across the slate, with teams bustling for position or just trying for a rare win, but these are the ones that have caught the eye of CasinoReview ahead of the weekend.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers

Tampa Bay (5-4, 2-2 road) looks to win its fourth game in a row Sunday, something it hasn’t done in four years. The Buccaneers will travel to Carolina (2-7, 1-4 home) to take on a Panthers side that has lost six of the last seven.

Tampa Bay will be looking to keep up the pace to make the postseason, a tough ask when you consider that Atlanta is streaking ahead and New Orleans may well be on the way back. But the Buccaneers have been tough of late, winning four of the last five. The Bucs also beat the Panthers 16-10 in Week 1.

Carolina’s 1-4 home record is only better than that of Kansas City (0-5) and Jacksonville (0-5). That’s not the sort of company you want to be keeping.

Odds: Carolina opened as 1½-point favorites but the momentum has swung in the opposite direction and now the Buccaneers are favorites (-2). The over/under is 48½.

Take: Tampa Bay – Number one in the league at stopping the run, Tampa Bay will force the Panthers, and Cam Newton, to throw which has been a less than successful tactic so far this season. The Buccaneers meanwhile are number three in the league in scoring, having put together a strong passing and rushing game. It could be a long day for the team from Charlotte. Take the Bucks to cover the spread, as they have done seven times this season, with the total going over.

 

New York Jets @ St. Louis Rams

You’d be forgiven for not realizing that the New York Jets (3-6, 1-3 road) took to the football field on Sunday afternoons, such is the comedy parade of off-field antics. This week unnamed players denounced Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez, and just about everybody else you can think off. This mishmash of egos and enemies will head to the Gateway City this Sunday.

St. Louis (3-5-1, 3-2 home) managed to snap a three-game losing streak last week, scoring a tie –yes, a tie – with San Francisco. The Rams will be looking to go one better and get a win this weekend. Better hold on to your hats.

New York defeated the Rams the last time the two sides met (2008), breaking a seven-game losing streak. However, the Jets have never beaten the Rams in St. Louis. New York’s one and only road win against the Rams came in 1970 – the first time the two sides met – when the Rams were located in Los Angeles.

Odds: The Jets’ turbulent week has seen the spread open up in this one. The Jets are now 3½-point underdogs, with the over/under at 38½.

Take: NY Jets – The thing the Jets need least right now is for this saga of discontent and uncertainty to continue. There needs to be a cutting of the chord and a restart. If the Jets were to lose, we might finally see such a move – whether it involves a certain Florida Gators quarterback or not – but if the Jets win, this sorry mess will continue to drag on. Take the Jets to win and cover the spread then, perhaps even on an almost solid performance by Mark Sanchez. Take the total to go under with these low-scorers on the field.

 

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots

Indianapolis (6-3, 2-2 road) had another emotional visit from head coach Chuck Pagano this week. These emotional meetings have tended to spur the Colts on to victory but this week could be a little different.

Indianapolis travels to New England (6-3, 3-1 home) to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots in what will be an enticing game. Brady will face-off against Andrew Luck for the first time, as both teams look to add to winning streaks of three and four respectively.

The Patriots have won two in a row against Indianapolis, and nine of the last 14. The Colts have not won in New England since 2006.

Odds: New England opened with a healthy eight point advantage which has since risen to nine. The over/under is 54.

Take: New England – The bubble that Indianapolis has encased itself within – and the hype that has followed – may be about to burst. Can Luck and Co. sustain an entire season of high tension and emotion, as well as the steep learning curve that comes with making the jump to the pros? Maybe, but not against Tom Brady who could be about to hit form. Nine points might seem a large spread, but take New England to cover it with a two touchdown victory. Take the total to go over, as it has in seven Patriot games this season.

 

There’s also the small matter of Baltimore’s match-up with Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football and Chicago’s trip to San Francisco for Monday Night Football. We haven’t forgotten about those games, we just want you to come back and read about them on Sunday and Monday.

 

Week 11 Schedule

Thursday: Miami 14-19 Buffalo

Sunday: (1 PM ET) Arizona @ Atlanta | Tampa Bay @ Carolina | Cleveland @ Dallas | Green Bay @ Detroit | Jacksonville @ Houston | Cincinnati @ Kansas City | NY Jets @ St. Louis | Philadelphia @ Washington; (4:05 PM ET) New Orleans @ Oakland; (4:25 PM ET) San Diego @ Denver | Indianapolis @ New England; (8:20 PM ET) Baltimore @ Pittsburgh

Monday: (8:30 PM ET) Chicago @ San Francisco

Bye: Minnesota, NY Giants, Seattle, Tennessee