January 8, 2012
Saturday, Jan. 14
New Orleans at San Francisco (FOX, 4:30 p.m. ET)
Line: Saints -3.5 (47)
Movement: All of the major offshore outfits (Pinnacle, Greek, CRIS, 5Dimes) sent out New Orleans -3 with the money being flat (EVEN) or listed at (-125). The total came out at 46.5 and was pushed up to 47 at most shops.
Notes: Will gamblers give the points with New Orleans again? It's hard not to bet on the Saints, considering the team has won and covered nine straight games. It shouldn't be easy, considering San Francisco went 7-1 SU and 7-0-1 ATS from the Bay Area and the lone loss came by three points, an overtime decision to Dallas (24-27) in Week 2. New Orleans went 5-3 SU and 4-4 ATS on the road this season. The Saints have won six straight (4-2 ATS) against the 49ers, with their last meeting coming (25-22) in the 2010 season on MNF. San Francisco hasn’t won or been to a playoff game since 2002, when they rallied past the N.Y. Giants for a 39-38 victory. Make a note that Saints QB Drew Brees has never won a road playoff game in his career, unless you count the Super Bowl victory over the Colts, which was played in South Florida.
Denver at New England (CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET)
Line: Patriots -13.5 (51)
Movement: New England opened at -13 and the hook was added quickly. 5Dimes opened 14, jumped to 15 ½ real quick. The total started at 51 dropped to 49 ½ and danced back to 51.
Notes: After a slow start, New England ran past Denver in Week 15 for a 41-23 road victory. The Pats covered as seven point favorites and the combined 64 points easily jumped ‘over’ the closing number (47). The Patriots went 7-1 SU and 4-4 ATS at home this season, with the lone loss coming to the N.Y. Giants (20-24) in Week 9. New England was 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS as a double-digit favorite this season. Prior to the win over Pittsburgh (29-23) in the Wild Card round, Denver was 1-3 SU and 0-4 ATS versus playoff teams. The Broncos went 5-3 SU and 6-2 ATS on the road, but were 5-1 with Tim Tebow as the starting quarterback. Bill Belichick and the Patriots have lost their last three playoff battles, including the last two at home.
Sunday, Jan. 15
Houston at Baltimore (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)
Line: Ravens -7.5 (35.5)
Movement: Depending on who you like and where you play, you could shop for a good number here. Baltimore opened at -7 in Las Vegas and offshore. The lowest number you can get right now is 7.5 but there are 8s and even 9s as of Sunday evening. The total got slammed from 38.5 to 35.5 points, where it seems to have settled.
Notes: These two squads have met five times and Baltimore has come away with victories in all five (4-1 ATS), including an encounter this season. Baltimore stopped Houston 29-14 in Week 5, covering as a seven-point home favorite. The Ravens only led 16-14 after three quarters, but they also saw five drives end with field goals. Baltimore was a beast at home this season, going 8-0 (4-3-1 ATS). Meanwhile, Houston was a respectable 5-3 both SU and ATS on the road. Baltimore has never lost a playoff opener since John Harbaugh has taken over as coach in 2008. Ironically, this will be the first postseason game at home for the Ravens under Harbaugh.
New York Giants at Green Bay (FOX, 4:30 p.m. ET)
Line: Packers -8.5 (52)
Movement: This is another number that has some solid range. The opener was sent out at 9.5 at both Greek and Wynn, but 5Dimes opened 11, which has dropped to 10. The consensus is sitting at 8 ½ but there are a couple 9s (EVEN) out there. The total opened at 51 and has jumped up to 52 at the majority of shops.
Notes: The Packers held off the Giants 38-35 for a road victory in Week 13, but they failed to cover as seven-point favorites. Green Bay averaged 40 points per game at Lambeau Field, which help the team produce an 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS mark. New York was 5-3 both SU and ATS as a visitor this season. Gamblers have some good coaching trends for this matchup. Tom Coughlin is 5-3 in the postseason with the G-Men and that includes a 4-1 road record (5-0 ATS) outside of New York. And for the Packers, Mike McCarthy is 7-0 versus the number with a bye week.