This weekend would have been a lot more exciting and fun for me had the Steelers or Seahawks made it and kept one of my futures alive, as it is I think we have to pretty interesting games where the public definitely likes the favorites. This is the last time we will see Manning v Brady in a truly meaningful game and even though I get as tired as everyone else of the media constantly fawning over both of them, it does seem fitting that it would end this way for one of the greatest rivalries.
2015 Playoffs: 3-2
2015 Reg Season: 57-35-3
Game 1: NE @ Den +3.5
Bet% NE 74% Den 26%
Note- I got +3.5 at -115, the line has bounced around all week between the 3 and 3.5 and I would suggest buying the hook has value even at -120 or -125 if necessary but I think it is pretty widely available at -120.
It’s been really interesting how unanimous everyone (fans,media) have been that NE is going to the Superbowl and that the Broncos do not have much of a chance here. We see 75% of the bets on a road fav of a full FG or a little more depending on the juice.
First lets just look at the line. Last week the Patriots were 4.5 to 5 point favorites vs KC at home, if we give 3 pts for home field that means the Pats were 1.5-2 pt favorites over KC on a neutral field. Here, we have NE as a 3 pt fav on the road, so if we give Denver 3 points for home-field, and I think Denver has one of the truest home-field advantages with the elevation, then this line makes NE 6 point favs over Denver on a neutral and makes KC 4-4.5 points better than Den. All of which seems way off.
Betting lines in the playoffs are certainly different than the regular season and I get why this number has to be here with so much public money but there certainly is value. I also think that defensive teams will always be undervalued. Denver was the #1 defense by a pretty large margin but because there were games like the Patriots game, like the Steelers game where they gave up a lot of points, the narrative becomes that they aren’t really that good. Its funny, because if a great offensive team has a down game, we are usually very eager to throw those games out as an outlier.
In the end this is simply a bet against the consensus view, we get the best defensive team in the NFL, at home, with 3.5 points while the fav has 75% of bets. It just seems too easy to look at the game as Brady vs Manning’s corpse and Belicheck vs Kubiak and say how can you not bet the Patriots?
Game 2: Ari @ Car Over 47
Bet% Over 70% Under 30%
I think the line here is pretty much right on but think there is some value on he total. We have the 2 highest scoring teams in the league from the regular season, both teams averaged over 30 points per game, coming off of games where they both felt they weren’t aggressive enough.
The Panthers put up all 31 of their points last week in the first half and then spent he second half just holding on. Cam Newton has been very vocal this week to his coaches and the media about that being a mistake and needing to be aggressive for the full 60 minutes.
In Arizona, Bruce Arians had his own mea culpa as he admitted to being very safe in the GB game last week and that playing that way was out of character. I think Arians wanted to not put the game on Carson Palmer who had come into last week with 0 playoffs wins and that clearly was weighing heavy on him. Now with a win under his belt I expect Palmer and Arians to loosen the reins and have a game plan more in line with what we saw all season.
Both teams have excelled in big plays this season, Car ranked 4th in Big Play percentage (8.96% of total plays were passes of 20 yards or more or rushes of 10 yards or more) and the Cardinals were 10th at 8.17%. I think those plays become extra important in the playoffs when the games get tighter and long drives become more and more difficult.
The Panthers were the best redzone team in 2015 (scoring TDs on 69% of RZ trips) and as the favorite I think they will set the pace for the Cardinals who finished 10th in RZ TD% at 59.4%. I also think the field conditions will only help the over, we saw numerous players slipping and giving up big plays last week, with the huge storm this weekend the turf should be even tougher to handle for DBs.
I think the Panthers will win a close one but regardless of who wins I think the winner will score at least 30 and get this total comfortably over 47.