cnotes Posts:33167 Followers:38
On 01/03/2012 05:51 PM in NFL


Packers And Patriots Top NFL Future Odds

The Packers and Patriots were each 6/1 favorites to win it all back in August.
It took until the final gun on the final Sunday of the regular season to decide, but the 12 teams are set for the NFL playoffs. The list of teams vying for the Super Bowl XLVI crown doesn't include a couple of preseason favorites like the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets, and it does include a couple of surprise entries such as the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals.

The final dozen also includes the defending NFL champion Green Bay Packers, and the oddsmakers like their chances to make it two in a row and bring home the Vince Lombardi Trophy for a fifth time in franchise history. Green Bay, seeded No. 1 in the NFC, begins the second season as a +155 favorite after beginning the season as a 6/1 co-favorite to capture the title.

Those 6/1 odds back in late-August were shared with Philadelphia and New England. While the Eagles didn't make it, the Patriots followed through as the AFC's top seed and are now +210 to pick up a fourth Super Bowl title. The Pack and Pats met at Super Bowl XXXI in Jan. 1997, a 35-21 Green Bay win.

New England and Green Bay represent half of the crews that will enjoy time off during the first round of action, with the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers filling out the quartet getting the bye. Baltimore is third on the NFL betting board to win it all at +395, with the 49ers sixth (+775).

The two teams sitting between the Ravens and Niners are the New Orleans Saints (+500) and Pittsburgh Steelers (+700). New Orleans will be home this Saturday to host the Detroit Lions (+2500) while the Steelers travel to face the biggest long shot left, Denver (+6000), on Sunday. The Saints are 10-10½ point favorites against Detroit; Pittsburgh is laying 8-8½ on the road against Tim Tebow and the Broncos.

Houston is in the NFL playoffs for the first time in franchise history, and will host the Cincinnati Bengals in the postseason opener Saturday afternoon. The Texans are favored by a field goal in that game, and +3000 to win the Super Bowl. Cincinnati is +4000 to continue its surprising run into the playoffs and win the team's first NFL title.

The New York Giants earned their way into the postseason with Sunday night's win over the Dallas Cowboys, and are +2400 to win a fourth Super Bowl. New York is also a 3-point favorite for this Sunday's battle at home against the Atlanta Falcons, +3000 to win a franchise-first championship.

Super Bowl XLVI is schedule for Sunday, Feb. 5, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33167 Followers:38
01/03/2012 05:54 PM

Houston Texans Host Bengals To Kick Off Playoffs

It is going to be a game full of firsts on Saturday afternoon at Reliant Stadium, where the Houston Texans will look to beat the NFL betting odds against the Cincinnati Bengals.

This is the first playoff game of the year, and it will be seen nationally on NBC at 4:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday.

This is the first time that the Texans (10-6 SU, 9-5-2) are going to be in the postseason and the first time that they have played a home game in the playoffs. Houston is also coming off of its first AFC South title in franchise history. Though all 31 other teams have made at least one appearance on NBC, this is the very first time that the Texans will ever be on the network.

Houston's TJ Yates will also be making his first postseason appearance. Yates was the third-string quarterback for Houston at the start of the year, and he didn’t suit up for the first time until Week 12 after Matt Schaub was placed on IR. He was thrown into the action right away against the Jacksonville Jaguars when backup QB Matt Leinart was injured, and he has started ever since.

Yates’ best game was against these Bengals. He threw for 300 yards and two TDs against just one INT that day, and his best moment was in the dying seconds of the game. Yates led an 83-yard drive down the field in just over two minutes, capped by a touchdown pass to Kevin Walter with just 0:02 remaining at Paul Brown Stadium in the game that ultimately clinched Houston’s first playoff bid.

Of course, Yates hopes not to have to throw for 300 yards again this time around. This Houston team is one that prefers to do its damage on the ground. The team averaged 153.0 YPG rushing this year, No. 2 in the league, with Arian Foster and Ben Tate combining for over 2,100 rushing yards and a total of 16 TDs.

Foster only played in 13 games this year, but he had 1,224 rushing yards and was second on the team in reception (53) and receiving yards (617).

This game will also be a first playoff action for Cincinnati rookie Andy Dalton. They said that a redhead quarterback couldn’t get the job done in the NFL, but the former TCU Horned Frog has proven them all wrong.

Dalton threw for 3,398 yards and 20 TDs against 13 INTs this year, and led the Bengals (9-7 SU, 8-6-2 ATS) to a winning record in a season in which many thought that they would be the worst team in the league.

The worst news of all for Cincinnati is that it didn’t beat a playoff team this year. The Bengals' only win against a team that finished above .500 was a win in the first week of November against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. All seven losses this year came against postseason teams, and the Bengals only went 1-5-1 ATS in those duels.

Houston has owned this series of late, winning three straight SU and four straight ATS. The 20-19 win at Paul Brown Stadium marked the second time in three years that the Texans have gone on the road and won a game in the Queen City.

Cincinnati is 6-1-2 ATS in its last nine road games, but in the only trip to Reliant Stadium since Houston’s expansion season, the Bengals were crushed 35-6 in 2008.

The Texans, despite of a three-game skid to end the regular season, are 3-point favorites in their first postseason tilt. The total opened on Sunday night at 39, and has quickly dropped to 38.

The roof should be open at Reliant Stadium on Saturday. Temperatures are expected to top out around 70, and the game should be contested under mostly sunny skies.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33167 Followers:38
01/03/2012 05:55 PM

Detroit Lions In Big Easy To Face New Orleans Saints

Detroit’s Calvin Johnson topped all NFL receivers with 1,681 yards.
The Detroit Lions have to be kicking themselves as they visit the New Orleans Saints in a wild-card weekend matchup Saturday night at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The opening NFL odds are out and Detroit is a 10½-point underdog with a big total of 58½-59. NBC will broadcast the second half of its doubleheader at 8:00 p.m. (ET) after Cincinnati (+3) at Houston.

The Lions (10-6 straight up, 7-7-2 against the spread) could have clinched the No. 5 seed in the NFC with a win at Green Bay yesterday, but lost 45-41 despite the Pack having nothing to play for and sitting several starters, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Backup Matt Flynn incredibly still threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns, both team records.

The loss snapped a 3-game winning streak for coach Jim Schwartz’ Lions. They were 6½-point closing favorites and are 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 games after starting 4-0-1 ATS.

Detroit would have faced the Giants with a win, a tough assignment in the cold weather, but not as tough as this one. New Orleans’ home games have been its own mini Mardi Gras, going a perfect 8-0 SU and ATS, including a 45-17 win over Carolina on Sunday. The average score is 41-18.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has his work cut out for him, but he’s answered challenges all year. The 23-year-old became one of three signal callers to break the 5,000 yard mark (5,038) and did it with the 29th ranked rushing attack (96.7 YPG). Kevin Smith is the featured back with Jahvid Best out for the year, but Smith doesn’t scare opposing defenses.

The defense has to answer for that embarrassing performance against Green Bay. Defensive tackle Corey Williams (hip) and safety Louis Delmas (ankle) were both out, but that is no excuse. They are each listed as questionable this week.

Detroit is 5-3 SU and 3-3-2 ATS away. The offense can score both home (30.4 PPG) and away (28.9 PPG). However, the defense allows a touchdown more on opposing turf (27.9 PPG) versus Ford Field (20.5 PPG).

The ‘over’ is 7-1 in Detroit’s road games this year.

New Orleans (13-3 SU, 12-4 ATS) did its part to wrestle the No. 2 seed from San Francisco, but the 49ers held on by beating St. Louis (34-27). The Saints will travel to the Bay Area if they win on Saturday night in a great potential matchup.

Coach Sean Payton’s guys first need to take care of business against Detroit. Quarterback Drew Brees had already broken Dan Marino’s single-season yardage mark in Week 16, but added 389 more against Carolina on SUnday to finish at a whopping 5,476. He also threw for 46 TDs with his previous high just 34.

Brees is so dangerous because of his accuracy (71.2 percent) and that his favorite receiver is the ‘open one.’ Tight end Jimmy Graham (1,310 yards) is arguably the most dangerous weapon, but seven guys have at least 425 receiving yards, including two running backs.

The Saints running game (132.9 YPG, ranked sixth) did get some bad news yesterday with Mark Ingram (toe) out for the playoffs. However, the rookie won’t be missed too much with the stable of Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Darren Sproles more than keeping opposing defenses honest.

The rest of the injury report has receiver Lance Moore (hamstring) and middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma (knee) both questionable. Vilma appears to be the healthier of the two and should play.

Coordinator Gregg Williams saw his defenders finish 24th in the NFL in total yards allowed (368.4 YPG), but 13th in points (21.2 PPG). They do an even better job limiting points at home (17.9 PPG) where they seem to play much faster.

Detroit and New Orleans already played once in the Bayou on Dec. 4, with the Saints winning 31-17 as 9-point favorites. Stafford threw for 408 yards and the Lions won time-of-possession 35-25 minutes. However, 11 penalties for 107 yards killed their chances.

The Saints won the Super Bowl two years ago, shocking Indianapolis 31-17. Last year, they were upset 41-36 as 9½-point favorites during wild-card weekend at Seattle.

The ‘over’ is 6-1-1 in New Orleans’ last eight playoff games, 4-0 at home.

The Lions haven’t made the postseason since 1999 and must withstand the wave of energy that will come from the New Orleans’ fans and players in the first quarter.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33167 Followers:38
01/03/2012 05:59 PM

Wild Card Openers

January 2, 2012

Saturday, Jan. 7
Cincinnati at Houston (NBC, 4:30 p.m.)

Line: Texans -3 (39)

Movement: Couple offshore outfits dropped the number to 2 ½ while the Las Vegas shops have the number at 3 (Even). The total is hovering around 38 ½ at some sports books.

Notes: Houston has never made it to the playoffs, while the Bengals return for the first time since 2009. Cincinnati hasn’t won a playoff game since 1990. The Texans beat the Bengals 20-19 in Week 14 on the road. Houston closed the season with three straight losses. On the road, Cincinnati went 5-3 straight up and 5-2-1 against the spread this season.

Detroit at New Orleans (NBC, 8:00 p.m.)

Line: Saints -10.5 (58)

Movement: The Greek opened New Orleans as a 10-point favorite before the hook was added. The total has held steady at 58 ½ points, with a few places going to 59.

Notes: Detroit hasn’t been to the postseason since 1999 and it hasn’t won a postseason game since 1991 when the likes of Barry Sanders and Herman Moore suited up for the team. New Orleans was bounced in the first round of the playoffs last year (Seattle, 41-36) but that was on the road. At home in the playoffs with Drew Brees, New Orleans is 3-0, but two of the wins came by exactly three points. The Lions closed the season with a 1-3 SU 0-4 ATS mark in their last four road games. The Saints beat the Lions 31-17 in Week 13 on MNF from the Big Easy. Brees has been golden to bettors lately, cashing tickets in the final eight games of the season.

Sunday, Jan. 8

Atlanta at N.Y. Giants (FOX, 1:00 p.m.)

Line: Giants -3 (49)

Movement: Most books hung the extra juice (-20, -25) on New York, which tells you they wanted to open 3 ½. The number has dropped to 3, while the total is hovering between 48 1/2 and 49.

Notes: The Falcons are the only team in the Wild Card round to own the better record (10-6) than their opponent, but still listed as ‘dogs. Atlanta’s Mike Smith has coached in two playoffs games and lost both of them. The Giants haven’t been to the postseason since 2008, when it lost in the first round to Philadelphia (23-11) at home. The pair met in 2009, with the Giants capturing a 34-31 victory in overtime at home. The Giants were 2-4-1 ATS this season as home favorites.

Pittsburgh at Denver (CBS, 4:30 p.m.)

Line: Steelers -7.5 (35)

Movement: The line has held steady in Las Vegas but 5Dimes and Pinnacle have both made Pittsburgh a nine-point favorite, with plus-money given back. The total has dropped a half at a few outfits. As of Monday afternoon, the Steelers are 8 everywhere and still 9 (EVEN) at the major offshores.

Notes: The Steelers are 6-2 under head coach Mike Tomlin in the playoffs. Total players should note that all eight of these games have gone ‘over’ the number. Since John Elway retired, Denver is 1-4 in the playoffs with the last appearance coming in 2005. The Broncos were 1-3 both SU and ATS as home ‘dogs this season, while the Steelers were 5-0 SU as road favorites yet only 2-3 ATS.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33167 Followers:38
01/03/2012 06:01 PM

Wild Card Concepts

January 2, 2012

Handicapping the NFL Playoffs can be a bit tricky.
The knee-jerk reaction is to back home teams. After all, they have been a solid-moneymaker, going 161-131-6 (55.1%) dating back to 1980.

Today, however, that would be a mistake as the success of home teams in the playoffs has dissolved faster than an Alka Seltzer in a cold glass of water.

A closer look finds home teams just 108-98-5 ATS (52.4%) since 1990 and, even worse, 55-57-1 ATS (48.1%) since 2000. Thus, like the economy, NFL playoff hosts have fallen on hard times.

The key is breaking the playoffs down into rounds. And in doing so it’s wise to remember the linemakers have made the visiting teams more attractive (read: value-laden) than ever before.

Let’s break down opening round games involving unrested, No. 3 or lower seeded teams, in opening round playoff games with these three time-tested theories. Note: all results are ATS (Against The Spread) and are since 1980, unless noted otherwise.

Stun Guns

Teams in NFL Wild Card round contests playing off a straight up season ending loss as a favorite tend to bounce back up off the carpet, going 20-10-1 ATS - including 0-2 ATS last year. (Detroit, Denver)

Better yet, dress them up as 'dogs and they improve to 14-5 ATS. (Detroit, Denver)

Division Downers

Wild card road teams have a difficult time after dueling a division opponent in their season ending finale, going 20-36-1 ATS – including 3-1 ATS last year. (Cincinnati, Detroit)

Bring these highwaymen in off a double-digit division loss and they drop to 2-11 ATS.

ATS Diabetes

NFL Wild Card teams off a season ending blowout win in which they beat the spread by 10 or points suffer from more than a sugar rush, going just 21-33-1 during this round – including 2-0 ATS last year. (Atlanta, New York Giants)

These same unappealing teams are even less palatable when playing off a straight up underdog win, going 4-16-1 ATS.

Notice that all three of these Wild Card angles defied each theory in a major way last season. Will they revert back to form or continue their stubborn ways in 2011? Stay tuned.

There you have it. I’ll be back next week with a peek at the Divisional Round playoff matchups.

Good luck as always.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33167 Followers:38
01/03/2012 06:12 PM

Books gear up for Playoffs

January 2, 2012

After all the excitement generated last week with the wild scenarios to make the playoffs, two of the teams backed in with losses thanks to everything unfolding their way. The Broncos lost their third game in a row Sunday, but got helped by the Raiders losing to the Chargers and claimed the AFC West. The Bengals lost once again to a team with a winning record, but were helped by the Jets losing to Miami and Oakland losing.
The Tim Tebow-mania train has seemed to have lost a lot of momentum much to the delight of all his skeptics. A combination of defenses figuring out better ways to defend him and the Tebow magic not occurring at key moments have led to the Broncos recent demise.

However, it’s a new season now. Everybody starts from scratch. Denver gets a Steelers team limping into the playoff themselves, not in the win-loss department like Denver, but in the health department. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on his sprained ankle was sluggish in the Steelers 13-9 win at Cleveland Sunday. The Steelers also got bad news as starting running back Rashard Mendenhall may have torn his ACL and is listed as ‘out’ for Sunday‘s game.

The Las Vegas Hilton was the first to post the number in town with the Steelers opening as 7 ½-point favorites. By Monday morning the game had moved to -8 with the total standing still at a low number of 35.

This will be by far Tebow’s biggest test of the season facing the league’s No. 1 defense. The Broncos biggest win of the season came against a pretty good Jets defense, but the Steelers are an entirely different story. The player that may have the most impact on who wins the game is Broncos safety Brian Dawkins who has missed the last three games. His tackling and intelligence has been sorely missed on the Broncos defensive side that has led to the three straight losses.

It’s hard to tell who backed into the playoffs more convincingly in the Bengals-Texans matchup. It was Week 14 when the two teams met in Cincinnati where Texans third-string QB T.J. Yates led the team on last minute drive to win 20-19. At that point, most of us thought the Texans QB situation would be okay with the rookie, but since then the Texans haven’t won a game.

The Bengals get credit for beating the teams they’re supposed to, but when matched up against a team with a winning record, they don’t do so well. They’ve gone 3-5 over their last eight games with their only wins coming against Cleveland, St. Louis and Arizona. The Arizona win can be considered a quality win because of how well the Cardinals have played in the second half of the season, but even with that win, there’s no denying that the Bengals are not the same team they were when they reeled off five straight wins early in the season.

The Hilton opened the Texans a short price of -3 (EVEN) while others opened them -3 flat. This will be the Texans first playoff game in team history and they have the luxury of being able to rely on the league’s best running back in Arian Foster and the No. 2 ranked defense. If they can somehow limit Yates contributions to just handing the ball off to Foster and not getting himself into trouble, the Texans should be okay here. The ‘under’ 38 total points might be a good play here as well.

The Saints completed their season sweep at home going 8-0 both straight up and against the spread. We saw the Lions travel to New Orleans in Week 13 on Monday Night Football where the Saints were nine-point favorites and win convincingly 31-17 thanks to a 21-0 outburst in the second quarter. This time around the Saints are laying -10 ½ with a total of 59 points.

The Lions came into Green Bay last week on a three-game winning streak (their last loss was at New Orleans) and were 3 ½-point favorites because QB Aaron Rodgers, LB Clay Mathews and DB Charles Woodson all sat out the game. However, Matt Flynn shredded the Lions secondary passing for over 400 yards in a 45-41 win, which makes you wonder what Drew Brees will do to them this week.

The Giants opened a strong 3-point favorite for their home game against the Falcons. The Falcons have been a hard team to figure out this season. Most of us consider them a good team, but there’s something missing from their make-up that would make them a great team.

Meanwhile, the Giants have almost the same look of the team that went from the Wild Card to Super Bowl champs in 2008. After losing four in a row with their playoff chances slim, the Giants have now won three of their last four and have gotten great play from QB Eli Manning and the defense. Wide receiver Victor Cruz has become a superstar, making one big play after another. The combination of Cruz and Hakeem Nicks gives the Giants one of the best receiving duos in the league.

The home teams look to be the right side this week with leans to the ‘under’ in all of them. The Broncos-Steelers game has the making of being a 16-13 game coming down to the wire with Tebow given an opportunity to steal the game.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33167 Followers:38
01/03/2012 06:15 PM

Public starts 2012 on a roll

January 2, 2012

New Year, Same Story for Sports Books
The sports books were happy to see 2011 go away, but the first Sunday in 2012 turned out to be much of the same, another break even or losing day. Favorites went only 8-8 ATS on the day with five underdogs winning outright, but the entire day hinged on the Giants-Cowboys game where the public happily laid -3 and got paid with the Giants 31-14 win.

“Everyone jumped on the Giants,“ said MGM resorts VP of race and sports Jay Rood. “I couldn’t get any Cowboys money and with it being the last game of the day, all the parlay risk from the early games made it a pretty substantial decision for us.”

The public also did well with the Ravens winning and covering at Cincinnati and the Patriots smoking the Bills. Buffalo jumped out to a 21-0 lead on the Patriots and if you had a ticket on the Patriots, it may have found its way to the garbage early. This was an important game for the Patriots to secure home field and no one expected Buffalo to win as evident by hardly anyone betting them.

“It was a pretty one-sided bet game, all Patriots money,” said Rood.

And then the comeback came! One touchdown after another by the Patriots, as gamblers watched them reel off 49 unanswered points en route to the 49-21 victory. It was a pretty impressive performance by the team favored to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

“That’s pretty much how the season has gone for us,” said Rood. “We’ve had maybe half-a-dozen winning weeks this season.“

The final tally on the year has favorites going 122-126-6 with the bettors getting the best of the sports books in about 10 of the 17 weeks, almost the complete opposite of 2010 when the sports books rolled strong.

Everything cycles around so that should mean the books are in store for a great playoffs and a winning Super Bowl. The Packers hurt just about every sports book in town last year all the way through the playoffs and Super Bowl.

Lost Ticket

For all my years behind the counter I never could understand how so many people lost their tickets. Most of the time, it was the same people who routinely lost winning tickets. I would tell them to treat the ticket like cash and handle with care. If someone finds the ticket and cashes it, it’s gone and nothing can be done.

For the first time, I found myself in need of help and understanding from the book as I stupidly lost a ticket. I felt so embarrassed and ashamed to have to fill out a lost ticket claim, but was treated with much more respect than expected.

Kitt Langvad, manager of the Arizona Charlies West book and her supervisor Terry, found my lost winning Breeder’s Cup ticket, locked it out and never once treated me like I was a dummy. So I just wanted to thank them for the way they handled the situation.

I also wanted to let bettors who may not know that if you lose a ticket, there still is a chance you can get paid. If you find yourself in the situation, go to the supervisor and request to fill out a lost ticket claim form. Put all the details of the bet, amount, date, time and what window you remember betting from. If you have another ticket bet from the same sequence (winner or loser), you can include that as well because it helps find the ticket faster.

As long as it hasn’t been cashed by the lucky finder, the ticket can be locked out and after a wait of 60 to 90 days you can collect. Should the finder of the ticket come in and attempt to cash while the ticket is locked and say the ticket is his, then Gaming will get involved and hear both stories. If the finder admits to having found the ticket, he loses immediately. If the finder says he bet the ticket himself, than surveillance will tell the truth. In most cases, the finder of the lost ticket never wins.

Treasures at Treasure Island

The NTRA National Handicapping Championship will be held at Treasure Island on Jan. 27- 28 with $1 Million in cash given away for those who pick the ponies the best. If you’d like to get in on some the cash, you still have a last chance to get in by competing in their Jan. 25 tournament with an entry fee of $500. Contestants can enter a maximum of four times with the tournament being limited to 150 total entries.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33167 Followers:38
01/04/2012 11:57 PM

New York Giants Host Atlanta Falcons NFL Playoffs

Two NFC teams that took very different paths to the playoffs will meet on Sunday when the New York Giants host the Atlanta Falcons in a Wild Card matchup.

The fourth-seeded Giants (9-7) needed to beat Dallas 31-14 on Sunday Night Football to win the NFC East, while the Falcons (10-6) avoided a third meeting with New Orleans by routing Tampa Bay 45-24 last week to claim the fifth seed after finishing second to the Saints in the NFC South.

Game time is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. (ET) with television coverage provided by FOX. New York opened as a 3-point favorite and has remained there with the total falling from 48½ to a low of 47.

Some of that early action on the total might have something to do with the weather forecast that calls for a high temperature of 43 and a 40 percent chance of showers in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the home of MetLife Stadium.

The Giants were one of the hardest teams to figure out during the regular season, winning six of their first eight games only to lose five of six before finishing up with consecutive victories. Led by quarterback Eli Manning, who threw for nearly 5,000 yards (4,933) and 29 touchdowns, New York seemed to be at its best offensively when running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs were both healthy.

Wide receiver Victor Cruz also emerged this season in just his second year, setting a franchise record for receiving yards with 1,536 and scoring nine touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Atlanta was the top seed in the NFC a year ago but lost at home to Green Bay and hopes to atone for that disappointing ending this postseason. The Falcons rebounded from a 2-3 start in 2011 that saw them fail to cover the spread four times in five games, going 8-4 the rest of the way. Their 23-16 win at Detroit in Week 7 kept them from visiting New Orleans. The team had a balanced offense during the regular season behind QB Matt Ryan (4,177 passing yards and 29 touchdowns) and RB Michael Turner (1,340 rushing yards and 11 TDs) and owned the NFL’s sixth-ranked run defense, allowing 97 yards per game.

Atlanta has dropped the last three meetings with the Giants, the latest coming in a 34-31 overtime loss on the road back in 2009. New York won the previous two meetings away from home and covered the spread in both.

The Giants are 4-1 against the spread in their past five games overall with the total going ‘under’ in the last three, all between 45 and 48 points. The Falcons are 3-1 straight up and ATS in their past four overall with the ‘over’ cashing each time.

Atlanta could be without starting linebacker Stephen Nicholas who is listed as doubtful on the Don Best injury report due to a bum knee suffered in the Dec. 15 game against the Jaguars. New York's two biggest injury concerns, halfback Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and defensive end Justin Tuck (shoulder) are both listed as probable.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33167 Followers:38
01/05/2012 12:00 AM

Steelers Favored In Battle With Denver Broncos

Even the most diehard of Denver fans can be excused for wondering how their favorite team ever managed to qualify for the playoffs. But the Broncos are indeed into the postseason for the first time in six years as the AFC West champions, one of the most unlikely developments we can recall in recent pro football annals.

How long Denver lasts in the playoffs is another question. The fun might not last beyond Sunday, when the Broncos (8-8 straight up, 7-9 against the spread) host Pittsburgh (12-4 SU, 7-9 ATS) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. A quick check of the Don Best odds screen notes that money at Las Vegas wagering outlets has generally been flowing in the Steelers’ direction since Sunday night, with Mike Tomlin’s team listed as an 8½-point favorite at most sports books at midweek. The total is mostly sitting at a rather-low 34 points.

TV coverage will be provided by CBS, with the network’s top broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms on hand to describe the action.

Although Denver is in the postseason, we are hard-pressed to recall a postseason entrant looking any worse in recent memory. The Broncos absolutely backed into the playoffs on the heels of a season-ending 3-game losing streak, saved in the end by Oakland’s loss to San Diego on the final weekend which awarded the AFC West to Denver almost by default. Tiebreaking procedures (which had to progress to the "results in common games" stage) broke the 3-way deadlock between the Raiders, Chargers and Denver in the Broncos’ favor.

During their earlier and very improbable 6-game win streak that roughly coincided with Tim Tebow’s entrance into the lineup as the starting QB, the Broncos were able to parlay a low-risk offense and Tebow’s playmaking ability to pull out several unlikely wins in the late going. Tebow has three overtime wins to his credit, and head coach John Fox deserves loads of credit for changing the Bronco offensive formula to fit Tebow, introducing the read-option and a ground-based assault that caught several foes unsuspecting in the win streak.

Opposing stop units, however, seem to have caught on to the Denver recipe, and have been playing much better assignment defense in recent weeks. The read-option is not a major element of the Bronco offensive package these days that mostly relies upon between-the-tackles pounding by RB Willis McGahee instead.

The Broncos were also playing rather mistake-free football in their uptick, but that hasn’t been the case in the current three-game losing streak in which Denver has been guilty of nine giveaways. That’s hard enough for a team such as Green Bay or New Orleans to overcome; for the Broncos, it’s almost impossible.

Moreover, Denver was banged up down the stretch, especially in the secondary, where vet Brian Dawkins has been battling a pinched nerve in his neck in recent weeks, sometimes requiring Fox to start a pair of rookies (Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter) at the safety spots. Offensively, Fox has injury concerns, too, especially regarding FB Spencer Larsen and OG Chris Kuper, both hurt last week vs. the Chiefs. Their absence would not help the Broncos’ ground-based formula this week.

Assuming Denver is fortunate to be here, we must also wonder if Pittsburgh is in any condition to take advantage. The Steelers have been hurting in recent weeks, too, especially QB Ben Roethlisberger, alternately held out and severely limited in recent weeks after a left ankle sprain suffered vs. the Browns on December 8. Big Ben’s passing accuracy has left something to be desired in his compromised state.

Further, top RB Rashard Mendenhall went down with a season-ending knee injury last week at Cleveland, though Isaac Redman was serviceable in relief vs. the Browns when gaining 92 yards on the ground. The Steelers will also be without safety Ryan Clark, who will sit out this game due to past serious health complications resulting from games at the higher Denver altitude.

Still, it is tough to envision Tebow, who completed just six of his 22 passes last week vs. the Chiefs, burning Dick LeBeau’s zone-blitzing defense, which ranked tops in the NFL. Steelers OLBs James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley figure to keep tabs on Tebow and his improvising, while S Troy Polamalu could wreak havoc for Denver’s run-centric offense as he hangs around the line of scrimmage.

The keys to this battle are likely when Pittsburgh has the ball. Big Ben, who can at least avoid traffic when playing on two good wheels, can’t be expected to even do that much in his current condition, which could pose problems vs. an active Bronco pass rush that’s adept at collapsing the pocket from the edge with Elvis Dumervil and rookie LB sensation Von Miller, who have combined for 21 sacks.

Thus, don’t be surprised for the Steelers to spread the field and rely mostly on short, quick drops by Roethlisberger out of the shotgun to help avoid the Denver pass rush. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians will want Roethlisberger to probe Denver’s nickel and dime backs as much as possible and not risk too much against veteran big-play corners Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman. The Broncos will like their chances if they can win the turnover battle, which was their m.o. through most of their six-game win streak.

Denver can be run against, too, but it remains to be seen how effective the Steelers can be without Mendenhall and counting upon the journeyman Redman instead.

Playoff experience would figure to be a plus for the Steelers and Roethlisberger, who has won nine postseason gams (inclduing two Super Bowls in his career). Tebow has experience on the big stage, too, but that was in college; he’s about to participate in his first pro playoff game on Sunday.

Before dismissing Denver, however, please note that the rare home underdogs in this playoff round have covered 12 of 16 opportunities since the extra wildcard round was introduced in 1978. Overall, underdogs are a 56 percent play in the wild-card round since 1978, and covered all four chances a year ago.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33167 Followers:38
01/05/2012 12:12 AM

Playoff Tested?

January 4, 2012

The Proof Is In The Pudding

One of the most important elements in handicapping sports is comparing apples to apples.

This is especially true when in comes to the postseason when teams enter into either playoff or tournament competition.

In football games one key component is weighing each team’s performance against other like opposition.

In the college bowl games we compare bowler versus bowler results to gain a better handle on how teams fared throughout the regular season. In the NFL we put playoff teams on the scale in games they played against other playoff teams throughout the season.

Often times the results are eye opening, especially when stacked against one another.

For your perusal, here are the findings of NFL playoff teams in games played versus other playoff teams this 2011 season, which includes 'over/under' results as well.

Team Straight Up Against the Spread Over-Under

Baltimore 6-0 5-0-1 4-2

Cincinnati 0-7 1-5-1 5-2

Denver 1-3 0-4 4-0

Houston 3-2 3-2 3-2

New England 1-2 1-2 1-2

Pittsburgh 3-4 3-4 3-4

Team Straight Up Against the Spread Over-Under

Atlanta 1-4 1-4 1-4

Detroit 1-5 1-5 2-4

Green Bay 6-0 5-1 4-2

New Orleans 5-1 5-1 4-2

New York Giants 1-3 2-2 3-1

San Francisco 4-1 4-1 1-4

Betcha Didn’t Know

The Bengals were 9-0 SU versus non-playoff teams and 0-7 SU versus playoff foes.

The Saints were 4-0 SU and ATS in the Superdome.

The Packers were 3-0 SU and ATS at Lambeau, scoring 42 or more points in each game.

The Texans were 2-0 SU and ATS at home, playing ‘Under’ in both games.

The Steelers were 1-3 SU and ATS away.

Forewarned is forearmed. Good luck as always.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: