Bookmakers NFL Conference Championship Sunday Hurt by Seattle

For the second consecutive season, both No. 1 seeds from the AFC and NFC conferences advanced to play in the Super Bowl.

Each of the teams however took different routes to arrive at Super Bowl XLIX.

While the New England Patriots routed the Colts, the Seattle Seahawks pulled off a shocking comeback to win in overtime.

Bookmakers did not enjoy their NFL Conference Championship Sunday. New England winning big hurt many of them, as not much money came in over the weekend on the Colts.

Most of the sharp money arrived early on the Colts +7, which happened after the announcement of the injury to Bryan Stork the rookie center for Patriots.

However, on a number of levels, the big surprise was in Seattle.

Green Bay could have won at +325 on the moneyline for Bovada and sportsbook.com, leading 19-7 with under three minutes to play.

The UNDER sitting on 45 also seemed quite safe at that point, even after a touchdown by Seattle cut the Packers lead to 19-14.

However, after the Seahawks scored an improbable touchdown to lead 22-19 with just 90 seconds remaining, the UNDER died on a field goal of 48 yards by Green Bay to force overtime.

The moneyline bets for Green Bay were then killed when Seattle scored a touchdown only 4 minutes into the OT period.

However, the Packers were able to cash in as dogs by 8.5 points, which for sportsbooks such as topbet and betonline was much worse. Seattle winning the game outright late and the OVER cashing at the end of regulation, was not good for most books.

The Seattle win also triggered a number of moneyline bets as well as teasers.

The Patriots are now -1 on most books for Super Bowl XLIX to be played in Arizona. Seattle opened as 2.5-point chalk, but before the AFC Championship Game was even over, support on New England came in to bet it down to the current New England -1.

This is the third time a Super Bowl has been played in Arizona. It will be the second played at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX in 1995 27-17 to claim their third Super Bowl in four years.

However, Pittsburgh was able to cover as a 13.5-point dog, while the UNDER cashed on 51 with a point total for the game of 44.

In 2007, New England lost its opportunity to go 19-0 when the New York Giants beat them 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII. The Giants were 12-point dogs in the game. The UNDER, at 55, easily cashed on a point total of just 31.

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.

Opening Point Spreads in AFC and NFC Title Games are Similar

Both conference championships in the NFL feature point spreads of about a touchdown. The New England Patriots on Sunday night opened as a favorite by between 7 and 7.5 points over the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC title next Sunday.

Earlier Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks opened at -7 for their NFC title game against the Green Bay Packers next Sunday.

The opening line in the AFC title game on Bovada and topbet was similar at Patriots -7, minutes after the Colts have upset Denver.

The point total for the Colts vs. Patriots title game opened at 54 on both betonline and sportsbook.com.

On the different money lines, New England is the favorite at -300 and the Colts are the underdog at +250.

On Saturday, the Patriots struggled in their 35-31 win over the Baltimore Ravens. The Pats did not cash as the favorite by 7 points.
New England is now 3-11 against the number in its past 14 postseason games.

While New England has been asked to cover yet another large number in a huge game, the task is against an Indianapolis team they defeated last November by a score of 42-20 as a road dog of 3 points.

The move in the line from the Patriots +3 away from home to -7 playing at home represents a large adjustment since the Week 11 head-to-head game.

The two teams met as well last year during the playoffs with an identical point spread. New England easily defeated the Colts in that game 43-22.

Thus far, in his career Andrew Luck has lost each of his three head-to-head games against Tom Brady and New England. Each of the three has been a blowout. In his rookie season, Luck lost to New England by the score of 59-24.

While Seattle opened at -7 over the Packers the line was quickly bet up on Sunday night to -7.5.

The point total was posted at 46.5 and has been seen at 47 as well.

The money line has Seattle favored at -280 with Green Bay available at +240.

Seattle covered its 13-point spread in their 31-17 win over the Carolina Panthers. It was the seventh consecutive win as well as cover for Seattle.

Green Bay did not cover as the favorite by 5.5 points in its 26-21 win over Dallas.

Green Bay is also 0-3 SU and ATS as a road dog this past season.
One of the three losses came in Week 1 at Seattle 36-16. In that game, Seattle was only a favorite by 4.5 points and the point total was at 47.

As the weekend approaches, the lines will move, with the majority of the betting not until Friday and the weekend prior to kickoff.

Point Spread and Total Movements for Four NFL Playoff Games

Another week of NFL playoff means another week of betting action. There are plenty of plays that are sharper than some others are; the trick is to find the sharpest plays.

The Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots have loads of postseason history between them. This will be the fourth time the two have played in the postseason since 2009.

The first three games and now this one have all been played in New England at Gillette Stadium.

New England is 1-2 straight up and 0-3 against the spread in the previous three, so it natural the public would lean toward Baltimore and that has been the case thus far.

It has been reported by Bovada and topbet that 57% of the bets on this matchup are behind Baltimore, but the line stayed firm all week at -7 for the Patriots.

The point total, currently at 47.5 has dropped which is likely because of the cold weather forecasted. The number opened at 49.

The Carolina Panthers are 10.5-point underdogs on the road against the Seattle Seahawks this weekend.

Carolina has been given double-digits even though they have won five straight games.

The line opened at -11.5 for Seattle. It has come down a point, even though almost 60% of the bets are behind Seattle.

Seattle does not allow points. The Seahawks have not given up over 14 points in any one game for the past two months. Six of Seattle’s last seven opponents have scored 7 or fewer points. That is the biggest reason the point total has dropped to 37 from its opening 39.5.

In the Dallas vs. Green Bay matchup, bettors are uptight because of the torn calf muscle Aaron Rodgers has.

The percentage of bets in this one are nearly split down the middle. According to betonline and sportsbook.com, 54% of all wagers on this one are behind Green Bay.

However, in the past two days, with Rodgers not practicing much, the line has been bet down from Green Bay -6.5 to -5.5.

Green Bay is also 1-3 SU in its past four games in the postseason. Two of the three losses have been at Lambeau Field.

The point total has fallen one point from its open of 53.

In the Indianapolis vs. Denver game, there has been zero movement on the line since it opened. The line was out Sunday night a Denver -7 and has stayed there since.

The total moved up a half point to 54.

Each team has half of the total bets in this one and with Andrew Luck trying to come out from under the shadow that Peyton Manning left at Indy, this game has the makings of the best of the weekend.

Saturday’s NFL Divisional Round Games for Your Betting Pleasure

Brady
Brady
Tom Brady has seen his Super Bowl chances crash before because of the Ravens.

Both of Saturday’s National Football League Divisional Playoff games have stayed pretty stagnant in terms of their lines and I don’t think you’ll see too much in the way of changes. The only exception might be the night time tilt where the Carolina Panthers will be without a key defensive player.

Baltimore (+7) at New England (O/U 48) – Tom Brady has lost just three times at home in the NFL Playoffs but two of those losses were to the Baltimore Ravens who come to town yet again. The Patriots are typically very good coming off of a well-deserved bye, but questions will certainly arise about whether they are all in sync with the time off.

The Ravens come to Gillette Stadium with nothing to hide. They know they have a pedestrian secondary and will rely heavily on the pass rush to slow down the Patriots. Offensively Joe Flacco will need to be his unflappable-self in order for the Ravens to win and advance. Ultimately however, the Patriots’ offensive line will do a better job than did Pittsburgh’s and Tom Brady will expose that secondary.

Trends: The total has gone UNDER in six of Baltimore’s last eight games on the road in New England… The Patriots are 16-1 straight up in their last 17 games at home… The Ravens are 3-4-1 against the spread in their last eight games on the road in New England… The Pats are 2-3-1 ATS in their last six home games against the Ravens.

The Pick: There is no reason this game shouldn’t be another close one. It’s just what these two teams have done in the playoffs and I don’t see this being any different. I like New England to cover but it’s going to be with a late score and take the OVER.

Lynch
With Star Lotulelei out, will Marshawn Lynch have an easier time running?

Carolina (+11) at Seattle (O/U 40) – This is more than likely going to be the least interesting game of the weekend yet somehow it has garnered the Saturday night primetime spot. That probably isn’t fair because if the Carolina defense can limit the Seahawks’ offense then there’s a chance this could be a close game.

My gut tells me otherwise though. Cam Newton is less than 100% and running back Jonathan Stewart can only do so much. I have to believe the Seahawks will be primed for this game as a return to the playoffs has been their top goal since day one.

As I mentioned in the opening, the Panthers will head to Seattle bigger underdogs then they had planned as stud defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is out with a broken foot. The Carolina defense was already facing an uphill challenge in stopping the running of Marshawn Lynch and QB Russell Wilson. Whether or not Lotulelei’s absence will force the line to move I can’t say, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see it bump another point.

Trends: The total has gone OVER in six of Carolina’s last seven road games… Seattle is 6-1 straight up in their last seven game at home… The Panthers are 2-4-1 straight up in their last seven games on the road… The total has gone UNDER in nine of the Seahawks’ last 13 games at home.

The Pick: While anything is possible the playoffs, I just don’t see the Panthers hanging around with the defending champs. Take Seattle to over and the UNDER.

 

An Early Look at the NFL Divisional Playoff Lines and Latest Super Bowl Odds

Suggs
Suggs
If Suggs has the same impact in New England that he had in Pittsburgh then another Ravens' win is possible.

Things are liable to change slightly as injury reports come out later this week, but right now I’m focusing on the lines for the Divisional Playoffs as they stand today. Below, you’ll find the latest Super Bowl odds as well.

Baltimore (+7) at New England – Tom Brady has lost just three times at home in the NFL Playoffs but two of those losses were to the Baltimore Ravens who come to town yet again. The Patriots are typically very good coming off of a well-deserved bye, but questions will certainly arise about whether they are all in sync with the time off.

The Ravens come to Gillette Stadium with nothing to hide. They know they have a pedestrian secondary and will rely heavily on the pass rush to slow down the Patriots. Offensively Joe Flacco will need to be his unflappable-self in order for the Ravens to win and advance. Ultimately however, the Patriots’ offensive line will do a better job than did Pittsburgh’s and Tom Brady will expose that secondary. I like the Pats to cover as of right now.

Newton
Cam Newton will need a Superman-type performance if his Panthers are to pull the upset in Seattle.

Carolina (+11) at Seattle – This is more than likely going to be the least interesting game of the weekend yet somehow it has garnered the Saturday night primetime spot. That probably isn’t fair because if the Carolina defense can limit the Seahawks’ offense then there’s a chance this could be a close game.

My gut tells me otherwise though. Cam Newton is less than 100% and running back Jonathan Stewart can only do so much. I have to believe the Seahawks will be primed for this game as a return to the playoffs has been their top goal since day one. Right now, I like Seattle to cover.

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. 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.

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

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 isn’t 100% especially with regards to his arm strength. If you’re looking for a game to go with the underdog then I love the Colts in this one.

Latest Super Bowl Odds

Seattle 2/1

New England 10/3

Green Bay 11/2

Denver 6/1

Dallas 7/1

Indianapolis 16/1

Baltimore 18/1

Carolina 28/1

Final Two Games of Wild-Card Weekend on Tap

Dalton
Dalton
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.

Stafford
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.

Bettors: Beware of NFL Teams That Have Nothing to Play For

The final week of the NFL regular season has arrived. In less than a week, 20 of the 32 NFL teams will be home watching the postseason, while 12 teams will start their trek toward the Super Bowl in February.

Many teams will change coaches or players or even both. Hundreds of players that suit up this weekend will not be suiting up for their current team next season.

Some of the teams already eliminated from the playoff hunt are broken in both spirit and body.

Injuries have taken their toll, poor play selection, poor player decisions and overall bad luck have some teams just counting the days until their season ends and they can go home for the winter.

These types of situations both odds makers and bettors like to avoid.

When there is doubt, bettors are better off passing on those teams who cause doubt in their minds about the team’s motivation.

This week teams like Buffalo, Tennessee, Oakland, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans and St. Louis all could be considered as having a difficult time to put in a top-notch effort to cover a point spread or even win outright.

New Orleans, Philadelphia and Buffalo were all knocked out of playoff contention last Sunday, which makes figuring out their mindset for this weekend even more difficult.

Most sharp bettors will look to go with teams that still have something to play for. However, odds makers know that and because of that Houston, which has a long shot at a wildcard, and is starting its fourth quarterback is a favorite by 9.5 points against Jacksonville.

Big favorites, 7 points or higher, are not bad choices in the last week of the regular season. Since 1990, teams who were favored by 7 points or higher covered the number 55% of the team in the last weekend of the season. Those same teams are outright winners of those games since 1990, 85% of the time.

In games where both teams are out of playoff contention, the road team is tough to sell.

In games during Week 17 featuring two teams that are .500 or lower, the home teams are 62-27 SU and 51-38 ATS.

This according to Bovada and sportsbook.com is very prevalent the past five years as the home teams have posted 15-5 SU and 14-6 ATS records.

On Sunday, only two games fit the profile: Saints vs. Buccaneers and Bears vs. Vikings.

The Saints are favored by 3.5 points over the Bucs, but can anyone back New Orleans away from the Superdome with nothing on the line.

According to topbet and betonline, Week 17 is as tough to pick as Week 1 because of the uncertainty. In Week 1, no one is sure how teams will come out of the starting gate, while in Week 17 those teams with no postseason hope could pack it in for the season before the opening kickoff.

College Football Bowl Games and NFL Action Highlight Saturday Lineup

Saturday’s football lineup has both NFL and college as the NFL enters Week 16 and college football starts its bowl season.

While the first round of college bowl games does not have the marquee names or matchups, every game can be riveting when there is a wager on the line.

According to data taken from Bovada and sportsbook.com, Saturday’s lineup includes two NFL games and five bowl games.

College Bowl Games

New Orleans Bowl – Louisiana Lafayette vs. Nevada

According to topbet and betonline, this matchup is a pick’em with the point total at 62. This is a neutral site, but ULL has a big edge playing in their home state. On any other neutral field, Nevada is a 3.5-point favorite.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl – Utah State vs. UTEP

The Utah State Aggies are 10-point favorites with a point total sitting on 44.5. The Aggies will start a fourth string quarterback but nevertheless will likely cover.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl – Colorado State vs. Utah

Utah is favored by 3 points with the point total at 58. Colorado State will be without Jim McElwain it head coach, but it will be the strong pass rush of Utah that will be the game changer. Utah looks too tough for CSU.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Air Force vs. Western Michigan

Western Michigan is favored by 1.5 points with a point total sitting on 56.5. Both teams will run and run effectively in this matchup. A number of points will be scored in this matchup and the OVER is the way to go.

Camellia Bowl – Bowling Green vs. South Alabama

South Alabama is favored by 2.5 points with the point total on 54. South Alabama will feel like this is a home game. Rain is expected which will push both teams towards a running game.

NFL Saturday Lineup

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins

The Eagles are favored by 7.5 points with the point total sitting on 50.5. Philly has the edge in motivation as they try to maintain pressure on the Dallas Cowboys and find a way to secure a wildcard berth if not the NFC East title. The Eagles will look to shut down the Redskins offense and use their up-tempo offense to put a number of points on the board.

San Diego Chargers vs. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers are favored by 1.5 points with the point spread on 41. The defense for the 49ers is always tough. The San Diego offense is not the best. The Chargers have not lived up to expectations, nor have the 49ers. The play here is the UNDER.

Previews for Two Saturday NFL Games

The NFL football schedule adds two Saturday games this week as it winds its way towards a conclusion. Week 16 features a matchup between NFC East rivals when the Philadelphia Eagles visit the Washington Redskins. In the other Saturday game, the San Diego Chargers visit the San Francisco 49ers.

Eagles vs. Redskins

The Philadelphia Eagles are 8-point road favorites over the Washington Redskins. The point total according to Bovada and betonline is sitting on 50.

After Philadelphia easily defeated Dallas on Thanksgiving, the Eagles controlled the NFC East title race.

However, two straight losses at home to Seattle and Dallas the last two weeks has dropped the team to a record of 9-5 and put their postseason hopes in jeopardy.

Now the Eagles will face two teams just playing out their seasons, starting Saturday with the 3-11 Redskins.

The Eagles gave up 21 straight points to start their game last Sunday versus Dallas, before scoring 24 straight to take a lead, only to see their defense fall apart again giving up 14 points more and losing 38-27.

Washington is 6-24 SU in its past 30 games played including its 24-13 loss last Sunday against the New York Giants.

The two teams played in Week 3 with Robert Griffin III out with an injury and Philadelphia was able to outscore the Redskins in a thriller 37-34.

Philly is 4-1 SU in its past four trips to Washington. This season the Eagles are 3-3 SU on the road. According to topbet and sportsbook.com, the Redskins are 1-8 SU as well as 2-7 ATS versus teams from the NFC East.

Chargers vs. 49ers

In the late game on Saturday, the 49ers are favored at home by 1 point with the point total sitting on 41.

San Diego has lost two straight games at home to drop to 8-6. The Chargers scored just 24 combined points in the two games.

Nevertheless, the Chargers playoff hopes are still alive and they won tiebreakers for the playoffs against Buffalo and Baltimore.

After starting the season 5-0 against the spread, the Chargers are 1-8 SU over their past 9 games played.

Last Sunday San Diego lost to Denver 22-10.

The 49ers are 7-7 SU and out of the playoff race after playing in the NFC Championship for three straight seasons.

Rumors are rampant that Jim Harbaugh the 49ers head coach will be gone after the season.

San Francisco’s offense has generated just 23 total points during a three-game losing streak.

These two teams played last in 2010 with San Diego routing the 49ers 34-7.

The UNDER has cashed in five consecutive games San Francisco has played in. At new Levi’s Stadium the UNDER is 5-1 in 49ers games.