Category Archives: Playoffs

SUPER BOWL XLIII

I could spend a lot of time talking about this game, but most of that would be a waste of time.

The consensus numbers are showing that Arizona could be slightly public. An NFL underdog getting over 60% on Wagerline is very rare. Other consensus sites have Pittsburgh getting between 38 and 45% of the action. For a favorite they surprisingly low numbers.

Take into account that the Steelers have been a vastly superior team to the Cardinals for the duration of the season and I am giving them a serious look. However, I have heard enough the Steelers have been the best team in football all season long arguments to give me second thoughts on this.

Something about going against an overall bad team like the Cardinals on a hot streak seems too easy for this to be a play. Is it strange that I had no problem backing the Raiders for about 10 straight weeks, yet I am extremely hesitant to back the Steelers here?

I’m still undecided at the moment, and there is no chance this will be for anything more than a standard play.

On the biggest gambling day of the year, this one is probably a pass.

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Filed under Arizona Cardinals, NFL, pittsburgh steelers, Playoffs, super bowl

HAHA WORST. SUPER BOWL. EVER.

The Steelers have already opened up as 7 point favorites at Pinnacle and the Greek.

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NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

I have seen to many people this week with legitimate opinions leaning to the Eagles, but I still do.

I know the historical advantage that a home dog has. I’ll even admit that the Eagles last 4 or 5 games have not been as impressive as the final scores, or public, have made them out to be. I’ll admit that I am terrified of backing Andy Reid in this game.

However, the opinion on the Cardinals is heavily based on the last two games. Who says the last two games has more impact on today’s game than the final games of the regular season when the cardinals were awful. I have seen too many people backing the Cardinals because “they weren’t trying” in the final three weeks of the regular season. Is there any proof of this? I have a feeling this is what it looked like to the public so people attached this reason.

In my opinion the story of this game is that the Eagles were a much better team over the course of the entire season and I am giving that more weight. For that reason, I lean to the Eagles.

This game is basically a split action game, there is stupid, meaningless logic floating around in support of each team. So I am going to pass this game because it lacks the all-important against the public angle.

Quick note 1: I played Lasalle +14.5 against Xavier, but forgot to post it, so IT WILL NOT COUNT in the record.

Quick note 2: I have seen and read a fair number of articles about the dissappearance of home field advantage in football this year. The same thing happened in baseball earlier this season. Home teams either won or lost(I can’t remember) at an alarming rate for about a month. In the end, It returned to the historical average. One Football season is a pretty small sample size, and I have a feeling that home field advantage will return back to normal in time. Home teams with byes have won about 70% of their games all time. Last week they went 1-3, although I doubt there were many times in history where these games feature to matchups where the teams were basically even(Philly/NYG, Balty/Tenny).

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NFL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

NFC: Eagles -4 @ Arizona
Lean: Eagles
Wagerline: 51.01%
SIA: 56%
SI: 60%
VI: 72%

The Eagles are certainly getting more of the action on the various consensus sites around the web. But, it is not considerably more(except on VI) considering the Eagles are 4 point favorites in this game.

In the end, I think this game will end up being a pass for me. I am certainly not taking the Cardinals coming off their two best games of the year. With the exception of last year’s Giants I doubt betting on a wild card team that got hot in the playoffs and played their two best games is ever a good idea.

Let’s break down the Cardinals last two games:
v Atlanta: W 30-24, +107 yards gained, +2 Turnovers.
@ Carolina: W 33-13, +91 yards gained, +5 Turnovers.

I certainly won’t say Arizona benefited from luck in these two games, as based on the yards they probably deserved to win both. However, the actual scores were definitely inflated by huge turnover margins.

On the other side of it the Eagles come in very hot as well. Blowout wins over Dallas and then two road wins in the playoffs make them a very hot team too.

Looking at the Eagles past three games:
v Dallas: W 44-6, +5 yards gained, +4 Turnovers
@Minny: W 26-14, +49 yards gained, +0 Turnovers
@NYG: W 23-11, -31 yards gained, +1 Turnover.

The Eagles have not been as domniant as the scores may indicate.

I just keep wavering back and forth on this game. I tilt to the Eagles because of a season’s worth of love from DVOA over a recent hot stretch from the Cardinals. However, recent wins over Dallas, @Minny and @NYG make the Eagles a lot less attractive.

Almost positive this will be a pass.

Pittsburgh -6 v. Baltimore
Lean: Pittsburgh
Wagerline: 36.86%
SIA: 33%
SI: 36%
VI: 43%

Football Outsiders has these two teams at basically dead even. That would indicate a -3 or so spread. However, I tend to doubt their ratings in this case.

Much of the Raven’s success the past two weeks has come from forcing a lot of turnovers. Now, I will accept that the Ravens defense is good enough to actually influence the QB to throw more interceptions. But, +4 Turnovers against the Dolphins and +3 last week against the Titans are unsustainable rates.

My guess would be, the Ravens are getting a ton of love for winning their last two games in convincing fashion. I would argue that it really hasn’t been all that convincing at all. Especially last week, where the Ravens almost certainly won that game because of fumbles.

Here is a comparison against similiar opponents.

Pittsburgh is 1.5 points better, which added to home field advantage is 4.5 points. When you factor in the Ravens success forcing Turnovers and Pittsburgh not being as good in that area that probably moves the true line to around 6. Hmm…what was Vegas Thinking?

I am not entirely sold on Pittsburgh, because they have beaten the Ravens twice this season, Roethlisburger is one of the most overrated QBs in the league, and they are home favorites, but I think Pittsburgh is the right play. I will probably throw down a regular bet on it, but there are still a few days to decide.

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Filed under Arizona Cardinals, baltimore ravens, conference championship, NFL, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, pittsburgh steelers, Playoffs

NFL DIVISIONAL RD: ARIZONA @ CAROLINA

Much of the Attention that the Cardinals got after their round 1 win was because they stopped the run against Michael Turner and the “powerful” Falcons running game.

To the square eye, Atlanta’s 152.7 YPG looks like the second best running attack in the league. Going by DVOA, Atlanta has the 13th best run game in the league. So maybe Arizona’s rush defense didn’t step up to stop the run last week they just played an overrated running team.

Combined with the fact that Arizona only lost by four to Carolina earlier this year and people are really praising Arizona’s defense for last weeks performance, I think that will make Arizona public.

I decided to take a look at how Arizona’s suddenly vaunted defense did against Top-7 DVOA offenses, and Top-7 Run DVOA offenses this season. Blue means a team was both a top rushing team and top DVOA offense. Gold means only a top DVOA offense. Gray means only a top DVOA rushing offense. All yards stats are yards against. Turnovers are turnovers forced.
That was not what I expected to see from this. They certainly gave up their fair share of yards, but these were also the leagues best offenses. Arizona more than held their own yards wise, actually out gaining these opponents. Losing by about 7 points to these opponents is largely a result of a few blowouts due to a lot of turnovers.

So after seeing this, I decided to look at Carolina in a similiar way and take a look at how Arizona did against Top overall DVOA teams.
Same as above.

The only somewhat meaningful comparison you can make is the yards allowed by the defense is similar. I doubt this means anything, though, considering the vastly different circumstances of the games.

For a final meaningless comparison I decided to take a look at these teams against similar competition.

Again, this is almost meaningless, but the difference in points is about 7, which when you factor in home field advantage gives you about 9.5 or 10 where the line currently sits. However, the yardage differential tells a different story.

In the end, this game is solidly in the pass category for me. I expected when I started this to see that Arizona was just awful against top offenses in the league. However, they were not noticeably worse than Carolina. The head-to-head comparison suffers from a small sample size and I am not willing to base a pick off that.

The public right now is favoring Arizona at about a 60% clip on Wagerline. That is a lot, but I doubt the books will really need Carolina to win. My final prediction would be, that Arizona gets outgained by 50-80 yards(certainly within distance to cover) and it will come down to turnovers to see whether Carolina covers or not. I’m not willing to jump into the turnover guessing game.

If I had to guess, I would say Carolina by 14, but I’m not putting money on it.

Pass.

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Filed under Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, NFL, Playoffs

THE REST OF THE NFL LEANS

Carolina -10 v. Arizona:

This is doubtful, as are the rest, but right now Arizona is getting more action at wagerline as underdogs. They are also coming off a win last week against the very public Atlanta Falcons. I think most people’s most recent memory from the Panthers is losing on SNF to the Giants. According to DVOA, Carolina is much better than Arizona. Carolina’s defense has been very good against the pass this year(where Arizona’s offense is very good) They also should be able to run and throw all over what has been a weak Cardinals D.
Verdict: Probably not.

Tenny -3 v. Baltimore:

From everything I can tell, these are even teams. Baltimore’s getting a lot of attention, though, because of a flashy win last week against the Dolphins. Still, I hate to take the favorite here and this is probably a pass.
Verdict: Probably not.

Pittsburgh -6 v San Diego.

Yuck, this is a pass for sure. The small case I can build for Pittsburgh is that a)Ben Roethlisburger?’s health is a question(yes, that is a good thing) b)Pittsburgh failed to cover earlier this season at home against San Diego. c) San Diego beat the “world’s best team” last week. Pittsburgh gets the slight lean via Wagerline numbers, but Not near strong enough to be a play
Verdict: Definitely not.

Looks to me like I’ll be passing all the games this week. Opinion based leans to Carolina and slightly to Philly, but I probably won’t find the evidence I need to back them up.

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Filed under leans, NFL, Playoffs

EARLY NFL BETTING PREVIEW: GIANTS V. EAGLES

The Giants opened up as 5.5 pt favorites for their showdown next Sunday against their divisional rival the Eagles.

5-6 is probably a line set to draw even action for this game. Vegas needs to protect against the Giants because they are sure to draw lots of action as the top seed in the NFC, defending champs, and New York City media darlings. However, I doubt they will be too public for a favorite considering they lost several weeks ago to the Eagles and the Eagles are on a roll right now coming off a fairly convincing win against Minnesota.

I decided to start things off with a head to head look at the teams against similiar competition this season:

This is far from perfect but it definitely suggests to me that these teams are basically equal.

Looking at the final DVOA numbers, I get the same feeling that these two teams are roughly equal. When I just checked back at the Greek the line had jumped down to the -4 from opening at -5.5. I would lean to the Eagles, but slightly, and I definitely need to see more information before making a decision on this one. Most likely, this game is a pass.

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Filed under new york giants, NFL, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, Playoffs