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.

Bookmakers Quiet During NFL Championship Week

Bookmakers are seeing different kinds of action this week leading up to the kickoff of the NFL Conference Championship games on Sunday.

With the kickoff only hours away for the two conference championship games, many books such as Bovada and topbet are reporting they are very quiet.

The week has been steady for many books on other sports, but since Wednesday, not much has moved for the NFL on betonline, or other online sits.

The line has not moved at all and that it what it takes to create good volume and that has not happened since earlier in the week.

In the NFC title matchup the Seattle Seahawks are a strong 7.5-point favorite at home, while in the AFC, New England is a home favorite by 6.5 points.

Amongst the two title games, Seattle is being bet the most said two online sites, both with straight bets as well as parlays.

Other books are seeing it differently. One online site said they have twice the action on New England with a number of parlays.

The Patriots opened at -7.5 but money on the Colts pushed that down to the current -6.5.

Sharp money has still not arrived at many bookmakers but that will come in Sunday morning and up to just prior to the opening kickoff.

Depending upon how or if the public money moves the line, sharp money will follow looking for the best possible place to put its money.

Many books were thinking during the early part of the week that the volume would give them a chance to topple the high handle they enjoyed in last season’s championship games.

People last year liked the Brady and Manning matchup, but this season the Luck and Brady matchup and the Seattle and Green Bay game has not drawn the interest.

The injury to Aaron Rodgers could have something to do with that as he played well last week, but it is still somewhat of an uncertainty going in.

Both of the point totals have remained steady. The Green Bay at Seattle game is 46.5 and the Indianapolis at New England game is 54.

The sports books will likely see as much as 70% of their overall handle for both games bet during the final 24 hours prior to kickoff.

Many public bettors are just waiting until the end to make their final decision and will all head to the computer or betting window at the last minute.

As for sharp money, it has a small portion already down and is just waiting to see if the spread comes back to them, giving them a chance to strike again.

Betting Line NFC Championship Green Bay vs. Seattle

The NFC Championship Game kicks off Sunday in the Pacific Northwest between the visiting Green Bay Packers and the host Seattle Seahawks.

With a win, Seattle will return to the Super Bowl for the second straight season. Last year the Seahawks defeated Denver in the Super Bowl to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The Packers have not been to the Super Bowl since 2010.

The line currently has Seattle favored by 7.5 points with the point total sitting at 47.

The line has bounced back and forth between -7 and -7.5 in favor of Seattle. The total has gone from an opening of 46.5 to its current 47.

Seattle 13-4 SU and 11-6 ATS has a winning streak of 7 games both straight up and against the spread. Seattle defeated Green Bay in Week 1 of the season 36-16.

Overall Seattle is 25-2 SU and 20-7 ATS since 2012 at CenturyLink Field.

Green Bay 13-4 SU and 9-7-1 ATS is adjusting to playing with its superstar, Aaron Rodgers, injured. Rodgers the star quarterback for the Packers has an injured calf muscle. However, he engineered Green Bay’s comeback win over Dallas last weekend by tossing for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns.

However, having success against the Dallas defense is not the same as facing Seattle’s stingy defense.

Since 2012, Seattle is 14-3 SU and 9-7 ATS when a favorite at home by 7 or more points.

The UNDER cashed out 5 times in the past 7 games for Seattle.

Green Bay is 4-4 SU while 3-5 ATS this season on the road.

The key to this game will be if Rodgers can be effective passing the ball with his limited mobility against such a high caliber defense for Seattle.

The Green Bay defense must also come up big. During the loss in Week 1, Green Bay gave up 4 touchdowns on defense to Seattle.

Russell Wilson is playing strong at quarterback for Seattle. During the Seahawks seven-game streak, Wilson is throwing for 246 yards and running for 42 yards per game.

With the exception of Rodgers, Green Bay is healthy. Seattle has had injuries all season, but for the large part, their core players currently are healthy.

The weather forecast calls for rain and temperature in the 50s.

The 7.5 points seem too high for this game. The dog looks like it has good value.

I like Green Bay and the points, with the total cashing on the UNDER.

Bookmakers Release 2016 Super Bowl 50 Futures

Super Bowl 49 is scheduled to kick off on February 1, 2015. Four teams remain in contention and after Sunday, just two will be left standing. The futures board for this year’s Super Bowl has the Seattle Seahawks at the top with New England a close second.

However, on Wednesday bookmakers such as Bovada and topbet released the futures for Super Bowl 50 scheduled for February 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium in San Clara, California.

Three of the four teams that are still in this season’s postseason lead the way on the 2016 Super Bowl futures board.

Seattle is at the top with 5 to 1 odds, following by New England with odds of 6 to 1 and Green Bay at 7 to 1. The three are the top three of the 32 teams, while this season’s other team still in the playoffs, the Indianapolis Colts are 16 to 1 to win next year’s Super Bowl.

The Philadelphia Eagles at 16 to 1, are the team with the shortest odds for next year’s Super Bowl that did not make the postseason this year.

Following the Seahawks, Patriots and Packers on the list is Denver at 8 to 1 and Dallas at 12 to 1.

Super Bowl 50 will be played at Levi’s Stadium, which is home to the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers, on betonline and are 25 to 1 to win Super Bowl 50.

While it might seem quite early to have odds posted for a Super Bowl that is 13 months away, bookmakers are not that worried about any huge shift in power balance because of free agency, the draft or injury.

The NFL is not like the NBA where a trade, one such as LeBron James leaving Miami to play for Cleveland, has a huge impact on the futures prices. However, that dynamic does not take place in football.

It is rare that a rookie will have a big impact on prices on the futures board, said on bookmaker. Usually for something to move the futures board in the NFL, a number of trades or multiple free agent signings need to occur first.

Of course, if could happen and has happened, but odds are it will not and thus bookmakers released the futures for the 2016 Super Bowl and will make any adjustments as needed.

Super Bowl 50 Odds February 7, 2016

ST. LOUIS RAMS 25 to 1

Breaking Down Sunday’s NFL Divisional Playoff Games

As vulnerable as Aaron Rodgers is, Tony Romo could be in the same position with his bad back.

On Thursday I gave you the breakdown of today’s games while right now I’m giving you an up close look at tomorrow’s game. Let’s get to it.

Dallas (+6) at Green Bay – If the forecast holds, it’s going to be extremely chilly in Green Bay and that will favor the hometown Packers unless the Cowboys resist the temptation to throw it too much and stick the ground game. DeMarco Murray can in fact lead the Cowboys to victory if that offensive line gets rolling.

The Packers will hope that Aaron Rodgers’ bad calf has had enough time to heal but we’re hearing he hasn’t practiced and the calf is “strained.” This means there are definitely tears in the calf muscle. Either way, I expect them to stay as balanced as they can be behind Eddie Lacy. Of all the games this weekend I think turnovers will dictate more about the outcome than the others. This could favor Green Bay because Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception at home since Bill Clinton was in office.

OK, that’s an exaggeration but you get the point. One thing we can’t forget here is that Tony Romo has been playing a bad back for most of the second half of the season. One hit in the frigid cold and Romo could be out.

Trends: Dallas is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games at Green Bay… The total has gone OVER in five of the Packers last seven games at home against the Cowboys… The Cowboys is 8-0 on the road in 2014… Green Bay is 8-0 at home in 2014.

Key Injuries: Dallas T Doug Free DOUBT/Knee, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers PROB/Calf

The Pick: I like Dallas getting the points but Green Bay wins a tight one.

If Luck gets time to throw, he could be all smiles by game's end.

Indianapolis (+7) at Denver – Don’t be a bit surprised if the Colts come into Denver and pull off the upset. Yes the running game is pathetic and the defense is susceptible to getting beat either on the ground or through the air but if any game has the feel of an upset it’s this one. The Broncos have relied heavily on C.J Anderson in the second half of the season and I’m guessing the Colts will look to take him away first.

That will more than likely give us a passing duel between Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. While I believe Luck will turn the ball over once or twice, I’m also not convinced that Manning is 100% especially with regards to his arm strength. If the Colts can bottle up Anderson enough to force the Broncos into second and third and long situations then that will test my theory about Manning’s arm strength.

The Denver defense could make any of my thoughts useless because if they can force the Colts into sacks and early turnovers then things could ugly early and often but I see a competitive game in this one.

Trends: The Colts are 6-1 straight up in their last seven games against Denver… The Broncos are 0-5 against the spread in their last five games against Indianapolis… The total has gone OVER in four of Indy’s last six games at Denver… Denver is 5-0 SU in their  last five games at home.

Key Injuries: Indianapolis LB Jerrell Freeman PROB/Abdomen, Denver LB Brandon Marshall QUEST/Foot

The Pick: The Colts have had pretty good success against the Broncos in recent years and despite leaking oil into the playoffs I like the Colts and the OVER.

Rodgers’ Calf a Concern for Bettors Plus an Amazing Story of Survival

This is not where you want to see Aaron Rodgers if you've taken the Packers to cover Sunday.

Wisconsin has long been known as “America’s Dairyland” and that of course means the cheese state possesses a large number of cows. The most important calf in all Wisconsin however has nothing to do with producing milk.

This calf is one of the two inhabiting the body of Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Last we saw the potential league MVP, he was leaving the field on a cart at home against Detroit. He eventually returned to lead the Packers to a division title while being stepped on by the Lions’ Ndamukong Suh.

That will have been two weeks ago this Sunday when Rodgers takes the field in the NFC Divisional Playoffs Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. As of this writing, Rodgers has yet to practice with the team and I don’t think that’s the end of the world but how good will his timing be with his receivers?

It was revealed on Thursday that Rodgers had a slight tear in his calf muscle and while it sounds alarming, anytime you have a muscle strain, essentially the muscle has tears so that wasn’t overwhelming news.

This leads me to two questions: First is how effective can Rodgers be if he is unable to use one of his finest assets which is to be mobile? He can certainly beat Dallas by standing in the pocket and throwing the ball but that isn’t what he or Coach Mike McCarthy wants to see.

Eddie Lacy could be the key to Aaron Rodgers' success on Sunday.

The second question has to do with you. Right now this line has dipped to Dallas +6.5 in lieu of the Rodgers’ news. Previously, the line was at +7. If you intend to bet this game, how much faith can you put in Aaron Rodgers’ ability to stay on the field and be effective?

If he were 100% healthy heading into this game then I wouldn’t hesitate to go with Green Bay to cover but now things are in serious doubt. Perhaps this will send the money to the Dallas side and I expect it will. Remember this is a match-up of a team with an unbeaten road record against a team with an unbeaten home record.

What you have to decide is whether you think Rodgers can play the full game and at what level and do you have any confidence whatsoever in his back-up Matt Flynn?

I think the wild-card in all of this is Eddie Lacy. If the Packers can establish him as a viable running threat early on then that will take pressure off of Rodgers. I still like the Packers to cover in this one but I have a whole lot less confidence than I did a few days ago.


Did You See this?

Former Miami Dolphins’ running back/fullback Rob Konrad was a nice player during his six-year NFL career but he wasn’t anything spectacular. What he did earlier this week was worthy of a Hall of Fame vote in my opinion.

Konrad was fishing alone in his 36-foot boat when he fell into the Atlantic Ocean while trying to reel in a catch. With his boat on auto-pilot and going away from him, he was forced to swim roughly nine miles to shore. At one point, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter actually flew right over him.

He eventually reached a beach in West Palm and was being treated for hypothermia.

The only word I have for Rob Konrad is “stud.”

Final Two Games of Wild-Card Weekend on Tap

All eyes will be on Andy Dalton today as he looks for his first playoff win.

The opening games of the National Football League’s Wild-Card Weekend left us wanting more as both games were lacking in my opinion of big plays and “down-to-the-wire” drama. The Carolina Panthers held the Arizona Cardinals to less than 100 yards of total offense in their win in the NFC while the Baltimore Ravens went into Pittsburgh and knocked off the Steelers.

The Panthers will find out their destination today while the Ravens will head to New England where they’ve had some good playoff success. On to my thoughts for today’s action.

Cincinnati (+3) at Indianapolis (O/U 49) – Last time the Bengals came to Indianapolis they left without even scoring a single point. I have to believe they will have watched that tape a great deal this week to see where things went wrong. I definitely think you’ll see heavy doses of Jeremy Hill in order to set up play-action.

The Colts have leaked serious oil heading into the postseason and they have to hope they can find their groove. The rushing attack for Indy has been a struggle all season but they’ll need to find some semblance of it in order for Andrew Luck to have time to throw.

Let’s face it; all eyes will be on Andy Dalton who is 0-3 in the playoffs. He hasn’t played well in any of the three previous postseason games. The good news? He plays much better during day games than he does night games.

Key Injuries: CIN WR A.J. Green OUT/Concussion, TE Jermaine Gresham QUEST/Knee… IND G Hugh Thornton OUT/Shoulder

Trends: The total has gone UNDER in six of the Bengals’ last eight games… Indianapolis is 5-0 straight up in their last five games at home against the Bengals… Cincy is 2-5 against the spread when on the road in Indy.

The Pick: I like the Colts to cover and the OVER.

Matthew Stafford has to shake off an average regular season and play well today in Big D.

Detroit (+7.5) at Dallas (O/U 48) – The Lions received some good news when Ndamukong Suh’s suspension was overturned earlier this week which means he will play against the Cowboys. I believe his presence will have serious impact on the game but only if his team’s offense can find some success and that hasn’t been easy in recent weeks.

The Cowboys will do nothing special. They will run the ball with DeMarco Murray and Tony Romo will look for Dez Bryant in the passing game. If the Dallas defense plays well, this game could get ugly early. The only way it doesn’t is if the Lions’ top-ranked rushing defense can force Romo to be the only source of offense.

Matthew Stafford needs a signature win and his play this season doesn’t make me think this is the week but the talent is there. He must avoid the bone-headed plays that seem to haunt him. If he can, a close game may be in store today.

Key Injuries: DET G Larry Warford OUT/Knee, DT Nick Fairley DOUBT/Knee…DAL T Doug Free DOUBT/Knee, G Zack Martin PROB/Ankle

Trends: The total has gone UNDER in 14 of Detroit’s last 19 games… Dallas is 2-4 against the spread in their last six games at home… The total has gone UNDER in eight of the Lions’ last nine games on the road.

The Pick: Take Dallas to cover and I like the OVER.

Lions visit Cowboys as 6.5-Point Road Dogs

Sunday the Dallas Cowboys are hosting the Detroit Lions in an NFC wildcard round playoff game where two of the top players on the field will be wide receivers from both teams.

The NFC East champion Cowboys have Dez Bryant, while the Detroit Lions have who is considered the top receiver in all of football Calvin Johnson.

Fans of the NFL will be treated to a special game with both receivers.

On the Bovada and betonline prop boards, Bryant is sitting on 86.5 receiving yards while Johnson is on 94.5.

Each of the two receivers is capable of putting up huge number on the day, but Detroit’s Johnson and Matthew Stafford the Lions quarterback have not clicked this season, as they did so successfully last year.

In 8 of the 13 games Johnson played during the regular season, he was under 94.5 yards. Part of the problem this season has been an injured ankle he suffered during midseason.

In addition, the Dallas defense has allowed a receiver to gain over 94.5 yards receiving only seven times this season.

On the Detroit side, the Lions have allowed opposing receivers to pass 86.5 yards receiving only seven times.

Many feel the UNDER on that will cash since Dallas is dedicated to establishing a running game with the NFL’s top back in DeMarco Murray.

The number of receptions each will get and any touchdowns they will score will be equally important to their respective clubs.

Dallas is favored by 6.5 points with the point total sitting on 48.

Dallas is 12-4 straight up and 10-6 against the spread and has been one of the NFL’s better teams to play this season.

Detroit on the other hand is 11-5 SU and 7-9 ATS and the only playoff team with a losing season record against the spread.

Dallas under Jason Garrett as head coach, is 13-2 SU when a favorite by 6.5 points or more. However, against the spread in that role, the Cowboys are just 4-11.

Since 1978, favorites playing at home with a point spread of 6.5 points or higher are 26-10 SU and 21-15 ATS during the wildcard round.

Dallas is 3-5 against the number at home on the season, and 6-5 against the spread on the season as a favorite.

On the road, Detroit is 2-6 against the spread. The Lions are 0-3 ATS in their past three games.

Dallas is 22-18 outright and 21-19 against the spread during the playoffs since 1978.

Detroit is 1-9 SU and 3-7 ATS during the postseason since 1982.

Detroit is winless in the postseason since 1991, when they defeated Dallas during the divisional playoffs.

Wild card Weekend Teams are Long Shots to Win the Super Bowl

Wildcard weekend opens the NFL playoffs on Saturday and bettors are wondering if the winner of Super bowl XLIX will come out of this weekend.

The eight teams playing this weekend in the NFL’s opening round of the postseason are all 10 to 1 or longer on futures boards on Bovada and topbet.

The Dallas Cowboys have the shortest price at 10 to 1 with each of the other seven teams 20 to 1 or higher, including the four teams playing in the AFC as Pittsburgh and Indianapolis are both 20 to 1, Baltimore is sitting on 30 to 1 and Cincinnati is at 40 to 1.

When looking at Indy Andrew Luck gives the bettor, an idea the Colts could win it. Ben Roethlisberger has won the Super Bowl before and knows what it takes at Pittsburgh, while Joe Flacco has been a Super Bowl MVP and could lead the Ravens back there again.

Andy Dalton at Cincinnati does not have the same stats as the other three and has struggled for the Bengals during the postseason.

However, Cincinnati has defeated Denver this season with its talented defense and strong running game, which makes it high on the list for some.

New England is 5 to 2 and Denver 6 to 1, but both have gone through stretches where they looked vulnerable.
Denver’s injury list is long, and can Peyton Manning come through in the end?

That is what makes it interesting on wildcard weekend as the four AFC teams, might just surprise in the second round, if they survive the opening round.

Injuries are concerning to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Le’Veon Bell for the Steelers and A.J. Green for the Bengals likely will not play.

Nonetheless, the bottom four AFC seeds have more appeal than the bottom four in the NFC of Detroit, Dallas, Carolina and Arizona.

The big problem for the bottom four in the NFC is the Seattle Seahawks. On betonline and, Seattle is sitting at 9 to 4 to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Dallas can stay out of the Seahawks sites until the NFC Championship game, but Arizona and Carolina are not as lucky, and if the Lions defeat Dallas this weekend, they get to travel to Seattle for round two.

Dallas is a tough choice even at 10 to 1. The Cowboys must travel to Green Bay if they defeat Detroit this weekend. Green Bay is 8-0 at home this season.

The road for anyone of the four NFC teams this weekend is a tough one, but if Dallas can defeat Detroit and then Green Bay, they likely would face Seattle.

They have already beaten Seattle in Seattle this season, but who would bet on that happening for the second time in one season, few, if any.

Seattle Tops the Futures Board for Super Bowl XLIX

The long road to the Super Bowl begins this weekend with the NFL Wildcard games that start the postseason.

The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks have wrapped up home field advantage throughout the playoffs in the NFC and have been named the favorite to win February’s Super Bowl XLIX.

The latest odds on Bovada and shortened the Seahawks odds from 5 to 2 to 9 to 4. New England, the No. 1 seed in the AFC, is the second choice in the Super Bowl futures board at 5 to 2 according to topbet and betonline.

That price for the Patriots is unchanged from the previous week, as New England has already clinched home field throughout the AFC playoffs prior to Week 17.

Green Bay and Denver are the only two other teams listed that have prices in the single digits, followed by the 10 to 1 Dallas Cowboys.

One way to make a strong bet on the Super Bowl winner is taking the money line during each week of the postseason and then rolling those winnings over each week.

The six teams in each conference are very equally matched heading into the postseason. Dallas is playing at the top of its game, but many are still not sure if their game is good enough to beat Seattle or Green Bay if they were to meet in the NFC Conference Championship.

In the AFC, the Patriots led by Tom Brady have played well for most of the season. Their Sunday loss to Buffalo should not affect the team as reserves played a huge part in that game.

In the NFC, Seattle has found its game again after a midseason hiccup that nearly cost them their division title, but the Seahawks have won 6 straight heading to the postseason.

The Super Bowl will be played on February 1 in Glendale, Arizona at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The current line in the game is with the NFC as a favorite by 1.5 points. The point total is sitting on 49 at the moment.

Below is a list of the odds for the 12 teams that remain in contention for Super Bowl XLIX.

Super Bowl XLIX Futures
Seattle Seahawks 9 to 4
New England Patriots 5 to 3
Green Bay Packers 5 to 1
Denver Broncos 6 to 1
Dallas Cowboys 10 to 1
Indianapolis Colts 20 to 1
Pittsburgh Steelers 20 to 1
Baltimore Ravens 30 to 1
Detroit Lions 40 to 1
Cincinnati Bengals 40 to 1
Carolina Panthers 40 to 1
Arizona Cardinals 75 to 1