Saturday, January 14, 2012

NFL 2011 - Betting Lines - Picks To Win, Versus the Spread and the Over/Under: Divisional Playoffs

It was a wild and unpredictable week in the Wildcard Round of the NFL playoffs last week.  At least half of people picked the Giants to win against the Falcons, but no one could have predicted they would shut them out offensively.  And, absolutely no one with any pro football acumen gave the Broncos any chance of beating the Steelers last week, but the Steelers made fatal mistakes on defense that led to the miracle upset.  Because of this, my picks last week were just 2-2, but anomalies like those are not common so I imagine I will be back on track with this week's picks.  Before we look at those, lets take a look at how I did last week and my overall record for the 2011 NFL season, including last week's games...

Winner: 2-2   :-/
Winner w/ Spread: 1-3  :-(
Over/Under: 2-2 :-/
Trifecta: 0
Strikeouts: 1
Perfect Team Score Predictions: 0
Perfect Game Score Predictions: 0


*2011 Overall Record*
Winner: 175-85 (.673)
Winner w/ Spread: 126-125-9 (.502)
Over/Under: 126-128-5 (.496)

Trifecta: 57
Strikeouts: 33
Perfect Team Score Predictions: 33   [Week 1]: Atlanta, St. Louis, Detroit  [Week 2]: Arizona, Tampa Bay, Minnesota  [Week 4]: San Diego  [Week 5]: Jacksonville, Denver  [Week 6]: Atlanta, Oakland  [Week 7]: Chicago  [Week 8]: Houston, Carolina, Denver, Cleveland  [Week 9]: Oakland, Tennessee  [Week 10]: Miami  [Week 11]: Oakland  [Week 12]: Tampa Bay, Chicago, Seattle  [Week 13]: Buffalo, Washington, Houston, New England  [Week 14]: Houston, Carolina  [Week 15]: Dallas, New York(A)  [Week 16]: Green Bay  [Week 17]: Jacksonville
Perfect Game Score Predictions: 2   [Week 1] Atlanta @ St. Louis  [Week 2]: Tampa Bay @ Minnesota

NOTE: The team with a negative number in parenthesis "(-3)" next to their name is the favorite to win the matchup and the number represents how many points the favorite has to score more than the underdog to count as a winning bet.  The over/under for the game is represented by a number in parenthesis with the letters o and u "(o/u 46)".  The number represents the amount of points you are wagering whether or not the two team's combined score will be in excess of or short of.  Official betting lines courtesy of

My picks for the Divisional Round Playoffs...

San Francisco vs. New Orleans(-3.5)  (o/u 47)
Savant Spread Pick: San Francisco to win ~ 23-21
Over/Under Pick: Under

San Francisco is the only home underdog in the playoffs this week, but that's not stopping me from picking the defense that can best match-up against the Saints high powered offense.  What makes the Saints offense so dynamic is their ability to use their rushing offense, 6th in the NFL, to setup their high flying aerial attack.  The 49ers were #1 in the league against the run and will make the Saints offense more one-dimensional.  In addition, the Saints were a perfect 8-0 at home this year, but were only 5-3 on the road including losses to two of the most atrocious teams in the NFL, the Tampa Bay Bucs and the St. Louis Rams.  The 49ers run game behind Frank Gore will burn clock and limit the number of possessions the Saints will get and the 49ers big time special teams that include the league's top kick returner, Ted Ginn and the now single season record holder for field goals in a season in 2011, David Akers will play a big part in the 49ers upset of the Saints at home.

Denver @ New England(-13.5)  (o/u 50.5)
Savant Spread Pick: New England and the points to win ~ 31-17
Over/Under Pick: Under

Denver came off of a miracle win against the Steelers last week, but it had more to do with  a terrible defensive game plan by the Steelers than it did with what the Broncos offense did.  The Broncos threw for 316 yards on just 10 completions which is a damnation of the defense they faced.  The Steelers respected the Broncos ability to pass the ball so little that they played in a Cover 0(no deep safeties) most of the game and this allowed Bronco receivers to get behind the defense for a few very long pass completions that made the difference in the game.  New England will not be so brazenly aggressive and maintain a more conservative game plan.  Expect Bill Belichick to create a new gameplan that will differ greatly from their win earlier this year against the Broncos where the Broncos rushed for 164 yards in the first quarter against them.  The New England Tight Ends will also be a nightmare for the Broncos to cover.

Houston @ Baltimore(-7.5)  (o/u 36)
Savant Spread Pick: Houston with the points; Baltimore to win ~ 20-13
Over/Under Pick: Under

Houston has come a long way behind 3rd string QB, T.J Yates in the last quarter of the regular season and last week's playoff win against the Bengals, but this week is where the Cinderella story ends.  The Ravens defense is notorious for taking advantage of inexperienced QB's and the Ravens are a perfect 8-0 at home with wins against a number of high ranked opponents.  Few teams in the NFL perform at a higher level at home than the Ravens.  The Houston rushing attack should put up numbers but I see them settling for Red Zone field goals instead of touchdowns on a couple of drives that will be the difference.  The Houston defense is one of the top in the NFL, but the Ravens rushing game behind elite RB Ray Rice will be too much for them to handle in the end.  It will be mostly a defensive struggle, but I trust the Ravens offense to break through more than I can trust the Texans offense, especially behind a 3rd string QB.

New York(N) @ Green Bay(-7.5)  (o/u 53)
Savant Spread Pick: New York with the points; Green Bay to win ~ 28-23
Over/Under Pick: Under

This will be more of a game than people expect.  The one thing that can bring any high powered passing offense to a halt is an outstanding pass rush and no team has a more dominant pass rushing front four than the Giants.  The game is in Green Bay where temperatures are expected to be very low and the Giants are a team that is better built to play in those conditions with their power running game than the Green Bay Packers who pass the ball a majority of the time.  The biggest difference will be the fact that the Packers have the worst rated pass defense in the NFL and that will give Eli and the offense opportunities to score, but the Packers are a hard team to keep up with when it comes to scoring points.  The Giants will push the Packers to the brink in a tightly contested game, but it will be the Packers who will make one or two more big throws with the NFL's league MVP, Aaron Rodgers, making the throws.

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