cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
01/12/2012 07:10 PM


Division Round

NFL Spread Sheet: Beware of the bye week

The team that needed a bye the most, Pittsburgh, didn’t get one.

So how much will it benefit Green Bay, San Fran, New England and Baltimore?

Teams with rest and homefield advantage are 11-17 against the spread -- just 14-14 straight up -- since 2005. They went 2-2 last year.

The 14-14 mark is striking when you consider how many points teams often lay in this round. (See chart below).

In three of four games this weekend, the favorite is laying over a touchdown against a dog that just won convincingly (Texans, Giants) or pulled off a huge upset (Broncos).

Undoubtedly, the bye helps injured players like Greg Jennings return to the field, and helps banged-up players get closer to full strength. But on the whole, bettors may be over inflating its value.

“Many of these teams had little to play for on the final week of the regular season, so it’s almost like having back-to-back weeks of not being in the usual playing rhythm,” Covers Expert David Malinsky said. “That has an impact in a sport in which playing rhythm is so important.”

In today’s pass-happy NFL, precision and timing are key.

“When you look at the Green Bay game, Aaron Rodgers has not taken a snap at game speed in three weeks, and he’s got to bring Jennings back into the offense,” said Todd Fuhrman, senior race and sports analyst at Caesars Entertainment. “If it takes a quarter to get your feet underneath you, and you’re laying more than a touchdown, it becomes much harder to cover the number.”

Of the four rested teams, only Green Bay had nothing to play for in Week 17. Rodgers has not played since Christmas. So the Pack had the longest layoff from a normal game.

But Covers Expert Scott Rickenbach said even missing a week can be disruptive.

“When you go from playing every week for weeks on end and develop nice momentum, a week off can be the last thing a team needs,” he said. “Every situation must be analyzed as a standalone but I do believe this is part of what has led to the 11-17 ATS mark.”

The NFL is far more specialized than it used to be. For many running backs, receivers and defensive players, 35 snaps comprise a full workload. So the bye isn’t as critical as before.

Take the Saints’ backfield, for example. Darren Spoles played 39 snaps last Saturday against Detroit, Pierre Thomas played 37 and Chris Ivory 21. All should be fresh when they face the Niners.

Out of 65 defensive snaps in the Falcons-Giants game, Justin Tuck played 45, Osi Umenyiora 42, Chris Canty 33 and Mathias Kiwanuka 25. They should have plenty left in the tank.

Biggest divisional round spreads

The 13.5-point spread in Denver-New England ties the 2008 Jacksonville-New England game for the highest divisional round spread since 1999.

Here are the biggest spreads since 1985. Favorites went 8-8-1 ATS.

Jan. 7, 1995: Chicago at San Francisco (-17, 44): 49ers 44, Bears 15

Jan. 10, 1999: Arizona at Minnesota (-16.5, 53): Vikings 41, Cardinals 21

Jan. 3, 1998: Minnesota at San Francisco (-14, 43): 49ers 38, Vikings 22

Jan. 4, 1998: Tampa Bay at Green Bay (-14, 39): Packers 21, Buccaneers 7

Jan. 4, 1997: Jacksonville at Denver (-14, 47): Jaguars 30, Broncos 27

Jan. 9, 1999: Miami at Denver (-14, 48): Broncos 38, Dolphins 3

Jan. 16, 1994: Green Bay at Dallas (-14, 42.5): Cowboys 27, Broncos 17

Jan. 7, 1996: Philadelphia at Dallas (-13.5, 45.5): Cowboys 30, Eagles 11

Jan. 12, 2008: Jacksonville at New England (-13.5, 51): Patriots 31, Jaguars 20

Jan. 4, 1992: Atlanta at Washington (-11.5, 42.5): Redskins 24, Falcons 7

Jan. 20, 2002: Green Bay at St. Louis (-11.5, 55.5): Rams 45, Packers 17

Jan. 5, 1992: Kansas City at Buffalo (-11, 42.5): Bills 37, Chiefs 14

Jan. 4, 1986: Baltimore at Miami (-11): Dolphins 24, Colts 21

Jan. 10, 1988: Minnesota at San Francisco (-10.5, 46.5): Vikings 36, 49ers 24

Jan. 7, 1996: Indianapolis at Kansas City (-10.5, 40): Colts 10, Chiefs 7

Jan. 13, 2008: San Diego at Indianapolis (-10.5, 46): Chargers 28, Colts 24

Jan. 7, 1990: Pittsburgh at Denver (-10.5, 39.5): Broncos 24, Steelers 23

Snowball factor

In the last 20 divisional round games, a team has covered the spread by double digits 12 times, underdogs included. It happened twice last year.

Malinsky said playoff games can snowball and “bring extreme results.”

“When you fall behind by a big margin, you know your season is over and often lose heart,” he said. “In the regular season you keep playing because there is a lot ahead, and you want to stay in focus. But when you know the end is in sight, that can be a crushing psychological blow.”

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
01/12/2012 07:11 PM

Where the action is: Mid-week NFL playoff line moves

Bettors aren't wasting any time digging into this weekend's Divisional Playoff odds.

We have already seen significant moves in every matchup so we tracked down Todd Fuhrman, senior sports analyst for Caesars Palace, to shed a little light on the situation.

New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers - Open: +3, Move: +3.5

The Saints are the sexy pick here, of course, with Drew Bees leading the way. That's why we're seeing this early move, but don't expect this number to be there by game day. Fuhrman is thinking the same.

"The public came in early to bet the road favorite," Fuhrman says. "I fully expect the professionals to wait until the number hits its peak before we see money on the dog. It's been a long time since there was a home dog in the divisional round and fully expect the dog to see money later in the week."

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots - Open: -14, Move: -13.5

Tebowmania in full effect here. After his heroics last week, the books had to come out with a big number but it's going to be interesting to see where this number settles when the sharp money starts coming in.

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens - Open: -9, Move: -7.5/Total Open: 38, Move: 36

This one is a little tricky. With rookie T.J. Yates taking snaps for Houston on the road, you'd expect more support from Ravens bettors early. As for the total, both teams allow fewer than 17 points per game.

The total and side seem somewhat correlated given that both of these teams may struggle to score in bunches," Fuhrman says. "I'm still not sure the move to the dog is actually a true position while the under took steam early in the week."

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers - Open -9, Move: -7.5

The Giants nearly shocked the Packers in the regular season and early bettors seem to like their chances again this week.

The Giants are the talk of the town and have become the trendy underdog," Fuhrman says. "If anyone has a desire to lay the points with the Packers, they're going to wait this out rather than jump in and lay the worst of it right now. I still believe the Packers are being undervalued in this spot but the betting public only remembers what they saw last - three straight dominating performances from the New York Giants.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
01/12/2012 07:15 PM

Last week's 'over/under' between the Saints and Lions closed at 59 ½ points, which was the highest postseason total ever. According to VI expert Marc Lawrence and his database, since 1980 the highest NFL total was 62 in the Rams-49ers game on Oct. 29, 2000. St. Louis earned a 34-24 victory and the game stayed 'under' the number. With the top three scoring units (Packers, Saints, Patriots) still alive in the playoffs, we could see that number eclipsed this postseason. We reached out to head oddsmaker Jay Kornegay at the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book and he believed that you could see a Super Bowl 'over/under' of 64 if the Saints or Packers met the Patriots in this year's finale.

Divisional Playoff History

Prior to last year, the second round of the postseason usually saw the 'under' dominate. However, the 'over' went 4-0 last year but it could've easily been 2-2 if it wasn't for some serious bad beats. The Bears beat the Seahawks 35-21 in a game that saw a combined 28 points posted in the fourth quarter. And if you thought that was tough to stomach, the Jets upset the Patriots 28-21 on the road and the combined 49 points barely slid 'over' the closing number of 45. In that outcome, 17 points were posted in the final two minutes. Below are the recent results in the second round.

Total History (2004-2009)
2004 (Total 2-2) 2005 (Under 3-1)
Pittsburgh 20 N.Y. Jets 17 - Over 35 Denver 27 New England 13 - Under 44
Atlanta 47 St. Louis 17 - Over 48.5 Seattle 20 Washington 10 - Under 41
Philadelphia 27 Minnesota 14 - Under 47.5 Carolina 29 Chicago 21 - Over 30.5
New England 20 Indianapolis 3 - Under 52.5 Pittsburgh 21 Indianapolis 18 - Under 47.5
2006 (Total 2-2) 2007 (Total 2-2)
New Orleans 27 Philadelphia 24 - Over 49 Green Bay 42 Seattle 20 - Over 44
Indianapolis 15 Baltimore 6 - Under 41.5 New England 31 Jacksonville 20 - Under 51.5
Chicago 27 Seattle 24 - Over 37.5 San Diego 28 Indianapolis 24 - Over 46.5
New England 24 San Diego 21 - Under 46.5 N.Y. Giants 21 Dallas 17 - Under 47
2008 (Under 3-1) 2009 (Under 3-1)
Arizona 33 Carolina 13 - Under 49.5 New Orleans 45 Arizona 14 - Over 57
Baltimore 13 Tennessee 10 - Under 33.5 Indianapolis 20 Baltimore 3 - Under 44
Pittsburgh 35 San Diego 24 - Over 38 Minnesota 34 Dallas 3 - Under 45.5
Philadelphia 23 N.Y. Giants 11 - Under 39 N.Y. Jets 17 San Diego 14 - Under 42.5
2010(Over 4-0) 2011
Pittsburgh 31 Baltimore 24 - Over 37.5 New Orleans at San Francisco
Green Bay 48 Atlanta 21 - Over 43.5 Denver at New England
Chicago 35 Seattle 21 - Over 42.5 Houston at Baltimore
N.Y. Jets 28 New England 21 - Over 45 N.Y. Giants at Green Bay

Bye, Bye Scoring

We kept track of this during the regular season and will bring it up again since all four games fit the situation this weekend. This season, the 'under' went 24-8 (75%) in games that featured at least one team playing with rest.

Coaching Trends

For those of you who followed the Mike Tomlin 'over' trend last week, congrats! For those that didn't, make a note that the Pittsburgh Steelers coach has been on the sidelines for eight playoff games and all eight have went 'over' the number. This week, we have another good angle and it was perfect up until last season. Since taking over for the Patriots in 2000, Bill Belichick has coached in seven divisional round games and the 'under' has cashed in six of seven. It would've been seven out of seven but the as mentioned above, the Jets and Patriots snapped the streak. Of the seven games, five were played in Foxborough and New England has only surrendered an average of 15.6 PPG.

Saturday, Jan. 14

New Orleans at San Francisco: Something has to give in this matchup, when the Saints' high-powered offense (34.8 PPG) meets the 49ers' stout defense (14.3 PPG). Who do you put your money on? New Orleans has busted 40-plus points in its last four games, but San Francisco's defense has surrendered 10 points in its last three home games albeit to inferior attacks. The opener was 46 ½ points but the number is hovering between 47 and 48 at most books. This is the highest total that the 49ers have seen all season, and the second-lowest 'over/under' for the Saints. On the road, New Orleans saw the total hold steady at 4-4 with its offense averaging 27.3 PPG. If you're looking for a solid trend, make a note that Saints QB Drew Brees has played in seven playoff games with his current team and six have gone 'over' the number. The one 'under' came in Super Bowl XLIV victory over the Colts (31-17), which had a total of 57.

Denver at New England: This total is bouncing back and forth between 50 and 51 points. New England ran past Denver 41-23 on the road in Week 14 and the 'over' cashed (47.5) in the third quarter. The Patriots' offense put up seven scores (5 TDs) in the win and it's hard to see the unit slowing down. New England closed the season with six straight 'over' tickets. Including last week against Pittsburgh, Denver has squared off against five playoff teams this season and all five of those games have gone 'over.' There are no early signs of precipitation for the primetime affair, but temperatures are expected to be in the twenties.

Sunday, Jan. 15

Houston at Baltimore: The total on this game has seen the most action so far. The line opened at 38 ½ points before dropping quickly to 35 ½. Most shops push the number back up to 36 as of Thursday. In Week 5, Baltimore handled Houston 29-14 and the 'over/under' closed at 43 ½ points. Due to injuries, the Texans are a completely different team, especially on offense. Since QB Matt Schaub went down, the team averaged 19.8 PPG. Defensively, Baltimore (16.6 PPG) and Houston (17.4 PPG) are ranked fourth and fifth respectively in scoring. At home, the Ravens have seen the 'over/under' go 4-4 this season. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh has been in seven playoff games and the 'under' has gone 4-3 in those tilts but all of them were played on the road as well. Will we see a different Ravens team in the playoffs at home?

N.Y. Giants at Green Bay: Another rematch here as the Giants will look to avenge a 38-35 home loss to the Packers in Week 13. The 'over' hit midway through the third quarter, yet this week's opener (51) was lower than the first meeting (53.5). The number has spiked up since and it's hard to argue an 'under' play considering Green Bay's offense (35 PPG) is the best in the league and its defense (22.4 PPG) isn't exactly a brick wall. At Lambeau Field, the Packers have put up 35 or more points in seven games and 40-plus in five contests, which has produced a 7-1 mark to the 'over.' The high-powered attack could be tempered on Sunday against a Giants' defense that has only given up 23, 14, 14 and two points the last four weeks. To no surprise, the 'under' has gone 4-0 during this stretch. We mentioned a player-based trend on the Giants QB Eli Manning last week and we'll revisit it again. In his eight playoff starts, New York has never scored more than 24 points, which has helped the 'under' produce a 7-1 record.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
01/13/2012 10:42 PM

Broncos And 49ers Aim For Saturday Upsets

NFL Division Round action commences this weekend with a pair of battles on both Saturday and Sunday. Although history suggests this round belongs to the home teams/favorites (usually one and the same), results in recent years don’t necessarily indicate as such.

That should come as good news to Saturday’s underdogs, San Francisco (at home vs. New Orleans) and Denver (at New England).

Indeed, since the 2003 NFL postseason, underdog sides stand a respectable 19-13 against the number in Division Round games. Nothing earth-shaking, but an advantage nonetheless, and a departure from the many previous years when the host/favorites were dominating.

The 49ers (13-3 straight up, 11-4-1 against the spread) kick things off on the NFC side Saturday afternoon when hosting the surging Saints (14-3 SU, 13- ATS) at Candlestick Park. A quick check of the Don Best odds screen notes that New Orleans is priced as a 3½-point favorite at the majority of Las Vegas wagering outlets, with the total mostly sitting at 47½. Kickoff time is slated for 4:30 p.m. (ET), with TV coverage provided by FOX. Marv Albert’s son Kenny, plus Moose Johnston and Tony Siragusa, will be on hand at Candlestick to describe the action.

Right off the bat, we note the 49ers’ home underdog status, a rarity in this playoff round in which the host team is almost always the favorite. Indeed, the 49ers are the first home dog in the Division Round since Carolina’s 1996 team was +3 vs. Dallas, a game the Panthers won, 26-17.

Of course, the Saints’ recent form has something to do with the spread, considering how devastating they've been the past two months. New Orleans has neither lost a game nor dropped a pointspread decision since Halloween, winning and covering nine straight since. Moreover, the Saints have scored 42 points or more in four straight games, and their win margin is a whopping 20 ppg over the last seven outings.

It must be noted, however, that New Orleans has been compiling most of those numbers at home, where the Saints have won and covered all nine of their games this season (including last week’s wild card win over the Lions) at the Superdome. On the road, the Saints are a less than overwhelming 5-3 straight up and 4-4 against the number. Further, three of their five road wins have come by five points or fewer.

We caution, however, reading too much into those trends, much as we mostly dismiss the fact the Saints have not won as a visitor in their playoff history. Until last year’s wild card round loss at Seattle, the Saints had never been favored on the road in the playoffs, and had only played a handful of such games in their history. Besides, New Orleans won the most-important game in franchise history, Super Bowl XLIV, over the Colts two years ago, and that one was played in Miami, not the Superdome.

The key to this game will be if Drew Brees and his record-setting passing game can similarly damage the stout 49er defense. That might not be as easy as it seems, considering how Vic Fangio’s San Francisco stop unit ranked first against the run this season, allowing just 77 ypg and 3.5 ypc, not to mention a mere three rushing TDs. Although New Orleans does most of its damage via the pass, the ability to complement the aerial show with a capable infantry allows Brees to use play-action more effectively and buy himself an extra tick in the pocket. And the Saints were not quite as overwhelming on offense away from the climate-controlled conditions of the Superdome.

Still, even if the 49ers slow down Brees somewhat, questions remain whether San Francisco can keep pace. And the answer to that remains elusive.

Specifically, it’s because most keen observers are not sure that Jim Harbaugh’s “small-ball” strategy will translate effectively into postseason success. The 49ers’ formula of ball control offense and smothering defense worked effectively vs. lesser opposition all season but was rendered ineffective in a late-season showdown at Baltimore and further exposed in a subsequent loss at Arizona.

The Saints’ rush defense was not too bad this season (ranked 12th) and figures to be able to withstand the pounding thrusts of 49er RBs Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. Much like Baltimore and Arizona were able to do down the stretch, the Saints will try to force QB Alex Smith to beat them through the air. Smith has been marginally more effective with his downfield throws as the season has progressed.

The key will thus be San Francisco’s ability to avoid third-and-long situations that could expose Smith to Gregg Williams’ exotic variety of blitz packages, where the Saints’ big-play defense usually excels. The 49ers’ ongoing inability to convert red-zone trips into touchdowns – they settled for a staggering 52 field-goal tries this season, with David Akers breaking the all-time NFL mark with 44 converted FGs along the way – could come back to haunt them in the postseason.

Later on Saturday, the Broncos (9-8 SU, 8-9 ATS) travel to Foxborough for a date vs. the AFC East champ Patriots (13-3 SU, 9-7 ATS). The Don Best odds screen notes New England as a hefty 13½-point favorite in this matchup. Kickoff time at Gillette Stadium will by 8:00 p.m. (ET), with CBS providing TV coverage. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be on hand to describe the action.

We don’t need to amplify too much more on the Tim Tebow phenomenon that recurred again last week in Denver’s unexpected win over the Steelers. Unexpected, indeed; Tebow’s 316 passing yards (on just 10 completions!) shocked Pittsburgh and anyone else who saw Tebow and the Bronco “O” struggle in recent weeks.

This is also a rematch of a December 18 game in Denver won by the Patriots, 41-23. New England, as it was prone to do late in the season, fell behind early that afternoon, this time by a 16-7 count, before a spate of Bronco turnovers in the second quarter opened the gates for Bill Belichick’s team to assume a 27-16 halftime edge. That lead was maintained by the Patriots quite comfortably in the second half, as Tom Brady repeatedly burned the depleted Denver pass defense with underneath throws to tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

The Broncos will have some confidence, not only after the Pittsburgh upset, but because Tebow moved the offense fairly well in the first meeting. Tebow’s own stats were acceptable (93 rush yards and 194 pass yards), although he contributed to the Broncos’ fumble issues that doomed them in this matchup four weeks ago.

Denver was also running roughshod through the porous Patriot defense, amassing 167 rush yards in the first quarter alone that afternoon in the Mile High city. The Broncos’ infantry pace slowed thereafter as they finished with 252 rush yards, but the turnover issues in the second quarter also had something to do with play selection changing course as that game proceeded.

Belichick will likely mass his defense to stop the run and dare Tebow to throw downfield, although such strategy proved risky for the Steelers last week. Tebow’s deep ball is adequate, and WR Demaryius Thomas burned Pittsburgh badly last week when the Steelers gambled on one-on-one coverage on the flanks. Tebow, however, will have his chances to throw deep again on Saturday.

Trading points with the Tom Brady-led Patriots might be asking a bit much, however. Brady tossed for 320 yards in the first meeting and posted stats almost equal to Brees this season, passing for a near-record 5,235 yards. The Pats also equaled an NFL record by scoring 30 or more points on 12 different occasions, and uncovered a new running threat in recent weeks with LSU rookie RB Stevan Ridley gaining better than 5 yards per carry.

Brady’s quick release also figures to negate some of Denver’s pass rush pressure from the edge, and his ability to locate Gronkowski and Hernandez, as in the first meeting, would be a big plus for New England.

The Patriots are hungry, too, having lost at this stage of the playoffs at home both of the last two seasons vs. the Ravens and Jets. We aren’t, however, putting much significance in Belichick’s recent enlistment of former aide Josh McDaniels, also Denver’s coach in 2009-10, to his staff, ostensibly for more insight in the Broncos. We note that teams associated with McDaniels are 7-32 over a 39-game stretch since mid-2009, and the Broncos are running a completely different offensive package than when young Josh was in town.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
01/13/2012 10:46 PM

NFL poolies cheat sheet: Divisional Round betting notes

New Orleans (-3.5) at San Francisco 49ers

Why Saints cover: These guys are hotter than a supermodel on the sun. Drew Brees & Co. have won and covered nine straight games, including seven by double digits, and they rolled Detroit 45-28 laying 10.5 last week in the wild-card round.

Why 49ers cover: Yeah, the Saints are the second-best spread-covering team in the league this year, but guess who’s No. 1? San Fran at 12-3-1 against the spread (ATS). And Jim Harbaugh’s defense could be just the antidote for New Orleans’ high-octane offense – the Niners allow a stingy 14.3 ppg, second in the NFL.

Total (47.5): Over has hit in four straight for Saints and is sturdy 7-1-1 in New Orleans’ last nine postseason tilts. And in this rivalry, over is 4-1-1 last six overall and 7-0 in the City by the Bay. But San Fran, with its stout defense, is on under runs of 8-3 overall and 4-1 at Candlestick.

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (-13.5)

Why Broncos cover: Denver on pointspread streaks of 5-1 on the highway, 6-1 catching points and 9-1 on Saturday. And the Pats definitely struggle in Vegas against big numbers, with ATS slides of 5-16 overall laying more than 10 points and 3-14 giving more than 10 points at home. Plus, New England is on an 0-6 playoff ATS skid.

Why Patriots cover: They’re nearly as hot as the Saints, as winners of eight in a row straight up (SU), and their five covers in that stretch have all come in double-digit routs. New England has one of the most consistent passers of all time in Tom Brady. Tim Tebow, on the other hand, is perhaps most consistent at being inconsistent.

Total (50.5): New England is built for overs. The Pats score lots of points (32.1 ppg, second), and they give up a fair amount of points and a ton of yards (411.1 ypg, 31st). They’ve allowed 20 points or more in each of their last six outings – all of which went over. That includes a 41-23 win at Denver three weeks ago. Total has also gone over in 15 of Denver’s last 18 vs. winning teams.

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-9)

Why Texans cover: They already covered easily in a playoff game against an AFC North foe, whipping Cincinnati 31-10 last week, and they’re the fourth-best ATS team in the league (10-5-2 ATS). Add to that the No. 2 yardage defense (285.7), No. 4 scoring defense (17.4 ppg), and some guy named Arian Foster – the stud RB had 153 yards and two TDs last week.

Why Ravens cover: They aren’t the Bengals and they’re on a roll, having won seven of their last eight SU. They’ve got their own star RB (Ray Rice) and, like Houston, Baltimore has a sterling defense, allowing just 16.6 ppg (second) and 288.9 ypg (third). Plus, the Ravens have already dumped Houston once this year, 29-14 as 7-point home chalk in October.

Total (36.5): Two elite defenses could keep this score low, and the under for Ravens is on streaks of 4-1 after an ATS win and 4-1 with Baltimore as playoff chalk. Texans, however, are on number of over stretches, including 5-0 in January, 12-3-1 catching points and 27-9 vs. winning teams.

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers (-8)

Why Giants cover: Eli Manning & Co. have done this before in near identical circumstances. In the playoffs following the 2007 season, they went on the road and downed the Packers 23-20 as 7.5-point underdogs. And how about these pointspread streaks: 6-0 as a pup, 6-1 in the postseason and a superb 6-0 in road playoff games. New York also covered while nearly upending Green Bay in a 38-35 December home loss.

Why Packers cover: These guys aren’t the defending NFL champs for nothing. Aaron Rodgers leads the league’s No. 1 scoring attack (35.0 ppg) and No. 3 yardage attack (405.1 ypg). And while going a spotless 8-0 SU at home this season, the Packers went 7-1 ATS - scoring 35 points or more seven times and winning by an average score of 40.1-20.4. Men in Green went 4-0 ATS in rolling through last year’s playoffs and are on further ATS streaks of 18-7-1 at Lambeau and 8-1 vs. winning teams.

Total (52.5): Total has gone low in four straight overall for Giants and in seven of their last eight postseason affairs. But Packers are on abundance of over streaks, including 8-2 overall, 27-11 at home and 4-1 in the playoffs at Lambeau. Plus, the last four Giants-Packers meetings have gone high, with last month’s game (73 points) sailing over the posted total of 53.5.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
01/13/2012 10:49 PM

Armadillo's Write-Up

Division Round

Saints (14-3) @ 49ers (13-3)—This is just second outdoor game for Saints since October 16; we saw how well that worked for Falcons in similar spot last week. Big question here is how Saints’ offense translates to outdoor game; in their last seven red zone drives outdoor, NO has just one TD/five FGs; their points/drive in red zone is 1.5 ppd lower outdoors (3.73) than in a dome. That said, Saints have won/covered nine games in row since hideous Week 8 loss to Rams in St Louis; they’re 6-0 vs Niners since teams stopped being divisional rivals in 2002- they won here 25-22 LY. 49ers finished with a ludicrous +28 turnover ratio, turning ball over only 10 times all year (none in last five games); they had a 10+-yard advantage in field position in seven of their last nine games. Must be noted that only five of their 16 games were played against teams with winning record (4-1, lost at Ravens). Been over a decade since home team in this round is home dog; Niners are 3-1-1 as an underdog this season. Saints are 3-3 as a road favorite. Over last 20 years, NFC’s #2 seed is 7-3 SU against #2 seed in this round (12-4 in AFC, so 19-7 league-wide).

Broncos (9-8) @ Patriots (13-3)— AFC’s #1 seed has covered this game just once in last eight years; league-wide, #1 seed is 4-12 vs spread in this game the last eight years. Not sure if it means anything, but Patriots fell behind 17-0/21-0 in last two regular season games, rallying to beat non-contending division rivals both times; NE won its last eight games, but covered once in last three played here. New England (-6) won 41-23 at Denver in Week 15, despite Broncos running ball for 252 yards. Tebow was 11-23/141 passing; three lost fumbles led to Patriots’ 24-yard edge in average field position, which is almost impossible to beat. Belichick is 4-1 in this round with a bye, losing to Jets LY; he’s 0-3 vs spread in this round as #1 seed, beating Jags 31-20 (-13.5) in ’07, Titans 17-14 (-6.5) in ’03- he also beat Fox 32-29 (-7) in Super Bowl eight years ago, when Fox was in Carolina. Tebow’s Broncos are 5-2 SU this year as an underdog (6-4 overall). Over last 20 years, Denver is actually 5-2 in Foxboro, losing 41-7 in last visit here, three years ago.

Texans (11-6) @ Ravens (12-4)—Houston won first-ever playoff game last week, now rookie QB Yates has first-ever road playoff start at Ravens’ squad playing first home playoff game under Harbaugh (had seven on road). Back in Week 6, Ravens (-7.5) overcame -2 turnover ratio and beat Houston 29-14, holding Schaub to 4.9 ypa in game where first Texan TD came after turnover on short 17-yard drive- Baltimore was also coming off a bye in that game, while Texans hadn’t had theirs yet. Ravens were just 1-3-1 vs spread in last five home games, after covering first three- they ran ball for 162/221 yards in last two regular season games, would expect to see more of that, to take heat off suspect-QB Flacco. Texans covered last four tries as an underdog; they’re 2-2 as road dogs this season. Over last 20 years, AFC’s #2 seed is 12-4 SU against #2 seed in this round (7-3 in NFC, so 19-7 league-wide); underdogs are 4-4 vs spread in this game the last eight years, 8-8 league-wide. This is just second time since October 23 that Texans are playing an outdoor game that isn’t in Florida.

Giants (10-7) @ Packers (15-1)—Been six years since defending Super Bowl champ won playoff game (lost last four); Giants (+8) upset Pack 23-20 in OT in frigid NFC title game here four years ago (after Pack had beaten them in regular season), two stats fueling Big Blue optimism, but Green Bay is 8-0 at home this year, 7-1 as home favorite (only non-cover was 35-26 win over Bucs). Packers (-6.5) beat Giants 38-35 at Swamp Stadium in Week 13, scoring TD on pick-6 in game where total yardage was 449-447- they crushed Giants 45-17 at Lambeau LY. Giants won four of last five games, as defense has come alive, allowing only four TDs in last three games- they’re 5-2 as an underdog this season, 3-2 on road (Jet game was technically road game, but not really). Packer OC Philbin isn’t with team, after tragic death of his 21-year old son last week. This is Giants’ first game on grass since 27-20 loss at Candlestick in Week 10 (Nov 13). #1 seeds are just 4-12 vs spread in this round last eight years, 3-5 in NFC. Over last six years, #1 seeds are just 5-7 SU in this round, so certain amount of pressure on Pack to make home field count.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
01/13/2012 10:51 PM


Division Round

Saints at 49ers: What bettors need to know

New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers (+3.5, 47)

THE STORY: Does defense still win championships in today's pass-happy NFL? Drew Brees and the high-powered New Orleans Saints will test that notion when they pay a visit to the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday afternoon. The game is a purist's dream, matching the league's top offense against its best defense in the only one of this weekend’s four playoff games that is not a rematch of the regular season. Brees eclipsed Dan Marino's single-season record for passing yards in putting up offensive numbers rarely seen this side of a video game. Third-seeded New Orleans arrives in the Bay Area riding a nine-game winning streak and having scored 45 points in each of its last three games, including last week's 45-28 demolition of the Detroit Lions in the wild card round. No. 2 seed San Francisco counters with a defense that allowed an NFC-low 14.3 points per game. The 49ers can also point to one critical stat: The Saints have never won a road playoff game, including last season’s 41-36 loss at Seattle.

TV: FOX, 4:30 p.m. ET.

LINE: The Saints opened as low as 3-point favorites and have since climbed to as high as -4. The total opened at 48 points and has dropped to 47.

WEATHER: Clear skies are in the forecast for the Bay Area, with temperatures in the high 50s and winds blowing slightly, NNE, at speeds of up to 4 mph.

ABOUT THE SAINTS (14-3, 13-4 ATS): Brees threw for 466 yards and three TDs as New Orleans amassed a postseason-record 626 yards against Detroit. The Saints trailed at halftime before reeling off 35 second-half points. Brees has not been intercepted in 215 attempts – another playoff record – and is the only quarterback to throw for 400 yards in back-to-back postseason games, although one came in a loss at seven-win Seattle last season. New Orleans also showed great balance last week by getting 164 rushing yards from the trio of Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Chris Ivory. While Marques Colston is Brees’ favorite target, the biggest matchup nightmares are third-down back Sproles and TE Jimmy Graham. They had a combined 185 receptions and scored 20 TDs between them in the regular season.

ABOUT THE 49ERS (13-3, 12-3-1 ATS): San Francisco is in the postseason for the first time since the 2002 season, rebounding from last season’s 6-10 mark under first-year coach Jim Harbaugh. The 49ers’ formula is pure smash-mouth football, utilizing the running of Frank Gore and an unyielding defense that surrendered only 308.2 yards per game. The first-round bye had to help Gore, who rushed for 1,211 yards and had five straight 100-yard games before injuries limited him over the second half of the season. QB Alex Smith threw for 3,144 yards and was intercepted only five times, but he also had only 17 TDs for a team that too often settled for field goals. K David Akers set an NFL mark with 44 FGs.


* Over is 7-0 in the last seven meetings in San Francisco.
* Saints are 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings in San Francisco.
* Over is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings.
* Saints are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 meetings.
* Favorite is 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings.


1. The Saints have beaten the 49ers six straight times, including a 25-22 victory in San Francisco last season on a field goal as time expired.

2. New Orleans was 5-3 on the road and was held to 26 points or less in four of its last five away from home.

3. The 49ers allowed a league-record three rushing touchdowns for the season.

PREDICTION: Saints 24, 49ers 16. San Francisco manages to slow New Orleans somewhat, but failure to capitalize on its scoring chances makes the difference.



Division Round

Broncos at Patriots: What bettors need to know

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (-13.5, 50)

THE STORY: Tom Brady is hardly ever knocked out of the spotlight, which is saying something when you're married to a supermodel. However, the husband of Gisele Bundchen – and quarterback of the New England Patriots – has been relegated to second billing this weekend with the arrival of Tebowmania in Foxborough. Media lightning rod Tim Tebow will look to pull off a second straight stunning upset when he leads the visiting Denver Broncos against Brady and the Patriots on Saturday night. It will be a rematch of a Week 15 game in Denver, in which the Patriots erased an early deficit and rolled to a 41-23 victory – the first of three straight losses to close the regular season for the Broncos. Denver rebounded from the late swoon to shock the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-23 last week on Tebow’s 80-yard scoring pass on the very first play of overtime.

TV: CBS, 8 p.m. ET.

LINE: The Patriots opened as two-touchdown favorites, but have been bet down to -13.5. The total opened at 51 points and has dropped to 50.

WEATHER: Temperatures in Gillette Stadium will fall into the mid teens while winds will blow NW at 7 mph.

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (8-8, 8-9 ATS): Tebow rose from the ashes of two dreadful performances by throwing for a career-high 316 yards in the upset of the Steelers. Pittsburgh dared Tebow to beat him with his arm – and he did with four completions of at least 30 yards, including tosses of 51, 58 and 80 yards to Demaryius Thomas, who had four receptions for 204 yards. RB Willis McGahee rushed for 70 yards on seven carries before he was hurt in the first meeting with New England. The Broncos gashed the Patriots for 252 yards on the ground, including 167 in the opening quarter, but three lost fumbles that forced them into catch-up mode. Leading WR Eric Decker is not expected to play due to a knee injury.

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (13-3, 9-7 ATS): Despite an eight-game winning streak and last month’s comfortable victory at Denver, New England has plenty of reasons not to feel overconfident. The Patriots have lost their playoff opener – at home – in each of the past two seasons and developed a disturbing habit of falling behind early in their last three games of the regular season. New England fell behind 17-0 to Miami and 21-0 to Buffalo – both at home – before rallying. The one constant has been two-time MVP Brady, who threw for 5,235 yards and 39 touchdowns while getting picked off only 12 times. He has 19 TDs and two interceptions during the winning streak. The main concern is a defense that ranks 31st in the league, getting trampled for 411.1 yards per game.


* Broncos are 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings in New England.
* Under is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings in New England.
* Under is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings.


1. The No. 1 seed is no guarantee of success in the AFC, compiling a 12-9 record since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990.

2. Brady is tied with Terry Bradshaw for the best postseason record (14-5) by a quarterback with at least 15 starts.

3. Ex-Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, who drafted Tebow and Thomas, joined New England’s staff this week.

PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Broncos 17. The magic finally runs out on Tebow as Brady guides New England into AFC title game.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
01/13/2012 10:53 PM

Where the action is: Saturday's NFL line moves

Sportsbooks have been getting busier as kickoff approaches. We talked to Jay Rood, sportsbook manager at the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas, about the flow of action coming in on Saturday’s NFL Divisional playoff games.

New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers – Open: +3, Move: +4

It’s been all public money on the Saints, driving the spread past the 3.5 hook to its current stand. Rood says good two-way action is starting to come in at that number, but is wondering if sharps will come back on the home side if the line moves to 4.5.

“We’re trying to find out where the high-water mark is on this game,” he says. “(Sharps) may be waiting on 4.5 and if we do go there, it will be a quick move to see if they come in with offsetting money.”

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots – Open: -14, Move: -13.5

Tim Tebow is making believers out of bettors. After the public faded Denver during its strong second-half run, last weekend’s win over the Steelers seems to have won over the gambling community. Rood says he’s taking more action on the Broncos heading into Saturday. Denver plays outnumber New England plays by 2.5-to-1.

“Straight up, parlays and moneyline bets are all coming in on the Tebow Team,” says Rood. “While a win Saturday isn’t plausible, neither were most of Denver’s wins this season. But they just took down the top defense in the AFC, so anything can happen.”

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
01/13/2012 11:37 PM

Las Vegas Money Moves

January 13, 2012

There may quite a few of you who are tired of the Tim Tebow talk whether it be on TV, radio or print, but I think I’m going to milk out everything I can out of it while he’s still a hot topic. By the end of Saturday night, it could all be over and then we can all focus our attention on real football quarterbacks with perfect throwing motions, someone like Joe Flacco of the Ravens who finds that he can’t even watch ESPN anymore because he’s so irked about all the attention Tebow gets.
Most of us can’t explain it, but for whatever the reason, Tim Tebow is a hot topic in the sports world. If ESPN can devote nearly half of their news updates to the phenomenon of Tebow due to public demand, than I’m hopping on board too.

We have had it embedded in our minds what the successful conventional quarterback is supposed to be. We measure all the greats by statistics and Tebow doesn’t match up with even the most mediocre quarterbacks in league history, but there’s no denying that despite all his flaws, he’s got something working that has led to wins. And isn’t winning ultimately what it’s all about?

Las Vegas sports books have given the Broncos the longest odds on the board to win the Super Bowl, but sports books are finding that they are at severe risk if Denver does the unthinkable by running the table.

Golden Nugget sports book director Tony Miller can be put in the category of someone hoping that the Tebow from the Week 16 and 17 losses against the Bills and Chiefs shows up quickly, rather than the Tebow who shredded the top-ranked defense of the Steelers last week.

“We posted odds on the Broncos to win the Super Bowl at 500/1 after they started 1-4, just before Tebow made his first miracle at Miami,” said Miller, “and we’ve been dropping them ever since because of money taken.”

“We currently have the Broncos at 20/1 to win the Super Bowl just because of all the risk accumulated throughout the season. They are our biggest risk of all the remaining teams. Needless to say, I am not rooting for any more magic to occur.”

Admittedly, Miller knows his odds aren’t even close to what the value should be on a team that is looking at being close to double digits in each of their final three games should they make the Super Bowl. But Miller’s job as a bookmaker is to eliminate risk for his properties and with the Broncos, the risk is large. It’s almost as if he’s put a closed sign on the team.

I recently had Jay Rood, VP of race and sports for MGM Resorts, on Sports Book Radio and talked about his futures with the Broncos and he’s in the same boat with Miller where the demand is far exceeding the supply.

“Before the playoffs started I was going to post the Broncos at 60/1 and your buddy, Gregg Fisher (Supervisor at MGM Grand), said the odds shouldn’t be lower than 100/1 so I made them 99/1 and we got all kinds of small bets that turned into pretty big risk,” said Rood. “Right now, we’re down to 20/1 on the Broncos and people are still betting it.”

Mathematically, Fisher was absolutely correct, but math doesn’t account for the massive overflow of action on one side. With three games to go, and figuring the Broncos would be double-digit underdogs against whoever they face, Denver should be about 139/1 right now to win the Super Bowl (+600 x +300 x +400). To get those odds, the only way to grab it is betting the money-line on Denver and rolling the winnings over in each of the next three games.

When I posed the question to Rood of how big the handle would be if Tebow happened to make the Super Bowl against anyone, Rood didn’t hesitate with an answer, “It would set an all-time record.”

Between the crossover appeal Tebow has, he would have everyone from priests to bible belt Moms, who never bet on football, getting their $10 and $20 bets to Las Vegas somehow. We see that crossover appeal in huge TV ratings whenever Tebow plays and we see the same appeal over the counters at the sports books.

The LVH Super Book offered the Broncos at 65/1 following the Patriots loss, odds that are the best in the city, despite being well below what rolling over the money-line weekly would be. I asked LVH assistant sports book manager Jeff Sherman about what Tebow in the Super Bowl would mean for his book and he had the same sentiment as Rood.

“The handle would be through the roof and likely set a record,” said Sherman. “Not only would we get all the action from new bettors that have been watching football again because of Tebow, but we’d also get that segment of the market that dislikes him to come in and bet against him.“

Just like Flacco, there are a growing number of people who don’t like Tebow. Most of it stems from him just being unconventional, yet so publicized on our favorite sports shows. When listening to callers on sports talk radio shows discuss Tebow, it’s almost like hearing passionate crusaders debate the subject of abortion.

However, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the league couldn’t be happier with the wholesome image portrayed by Tebow in light of all the other jurisprudence stories routinely going on with his other players, not to mention the trauma the lockout gave fans.

In the midst of all the hype and publicity Tebow gets from the media, we’ve almost forgotten about the 15-1 Packers and their very likable and marketable quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a QB who get‘s ‘A‘s‘ in every category of what most of us think a typical slinger should be.

Yet, in an ESPN poll, Tebow is voted as the most liked professional athlete above Rodgers and the likes of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and Saints QB Drew Brees.

We have become a reality-television driven society and love the immediate shock value and watching drama unfold among unique personalities, whether it be in a pawn shop, storage unit, bakery or fishing boat. Our sports television programming has taken all the weekly miracles Tebow has been involved in and turned it into their own reality sports show.

Unlike the Snooki’s or Dave Hester’s of the reality TV world, Tim Tebow actually might be as genuine as he portrays which makes him even more endearing to those who have been captivated.

The 13 ½-point spread may suggest that the Tebow show comes to an end this week in New England, but sharp money was quick to jump on any +14 with Denver, and why not? It’s not like Tom Brady has won more playoff games than Tebow over the last three years. Home losses in this round the last two seasons by the Patriots have some questioning how hungry the three-time champs really are.

The Patriots’ 41-23 win in week 15 at Denver was aided by three key turnovers in the second quarter, but Denver basically did what they wanted offensively except for holding onto the ball. For Denver to have a chance in this game, they are going to have to be very aggressive with their pass rush on Brady. Dropping seven defenders back in coverage didn’t work the first time, so send the kitchen sink at him on almost every play and make him feel the pain like the Ravens and Jets did the last two postseasons. Easier said than done, but Denver can’t trade scores with Brady.

The Saints have been bet up from the opening line as 3-point favorites to -4 just about everywhere in town. The public has been correct with the Saints against-the-spread in their last nine games and their fast paced offensive attack seems impossible to stop.

As if the Candlestick Park turf wasn’t soggy enough, reports have been coming from San Francisco that the grounds crew have been mysteriously watering the field a little bit more than usual which seems odd since the below sea level field almost waters itself. The 49ers might be trying to use home field advantage to its fullest by creating quick-sand to help slow the Saints and win the game in the trenches. New Orleans has shown to be a completely different team away from the dome and have gone 2-3 against he spread on grass fields this season.

The Saints are tied with the Ravens as the most publicly bet teams of the week. Unlike the Saints, the Ravens-Texans line has stayed steady at -7 ½ despite all the small money. The biggest move on the game was the total, which initially opened 38 ½ and was bet down to 35 ½. The LVH Super Book currently has it at 36.

Public opinion is split down the middle on the Giants and Packers. Sharp money took all the +9, +8 ½ and +8 that was out there and the line has been sitting at 7 ½ all week. In Week 13 the Packers were 7-point road favorites versus New York and won 38-35. A lot has changed since then. The Giants were on a three-game losing streak coming in while the Packers were undefeated.

Now we have a healthy Giants squad that has won four of their last five, which were essentially playoff games, while the Packers have been on hiatus for three weeks. Most bettors want to believe that the 2007 season’s NFC Championship game can repeat itself, but we could be jaded by recent events and forgetting about how good this Packers offense is.

Enjoy the games this week, good luck!

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
01/13/2012 11:41 PM

Saturday's Playoff Primer

January 13, 2012

One of the best weekends in sports has arrived! Gamblers have a pair of doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday in the NFL Playoffs, including a showdown between the Tim-Tebow-led Broncos against Tom Brady and the Patriots in Foxboro in Saturday’s prime-time tilt.

But we start in San Francisco, where the NFC’s second-seeded 49ers will take on a red-hot New Orleans squad by the Bay. The Saints were 3 ½-point favorites for most of the week, but the number moved up to four on Friday morning. The total is 47 and Jim Harbaugh’s club is plus-170 on the money line (risk $100 to win $170)

New Orleans (14-3 straight up, 13-4 against the spread) has taken the cash in nine consecutive games, including last week’s 45-28 win over Detroit as an 11-point home ‘chalk.’ Drew Brees completed 33-of-43 passes for 466 yards and three touchdowns without throwing an interception.

Pierre Thomas had 14 ‘touches’ (eight rushes, six receptions) for 121 yards and one rushing score, while Darren Sproles had 85 yards on 14 touches (10 carries, four catches) with a pair of TD scampers. Marques Colston had a team-high seven receptions for 120 yards.

San Francisco (13-3 SU, 12-3-1 ATS) was the NFL’s biggest surprise this year under the leadership of Harbaugh, who has shattered the previous trend of college coaches flopping at the pro level. The former Stanford coach has instilled toughness into a team that thrives on defense and running the football.

The 49ers were nearly perfect at home this year, going 7-1 SU and 7-0-1 versus the number. The lone loss came to the Cowboys in an overtime game they led by 10 with seven minutes remaining.

Sean Peyton’s club went 5-3 SU and 4-4 ATS on the road. The Saints saw the ‘over’ go 10-7 overall, 4-4 in their eight road assignments.

San Francisco has seen the ‘under’ go 9-7 overall, 4-4 in its home games. This is the highest total the 49ers have had all year. The previous high was 45 in a 25-19 win at Detroit.

On the injury front, New Orleans WR Lance Moore (hamstring) has been ruled ‘out.’ LB Jonathan Vilma has been limited at practice but will play.

The bye week has allowed the 49ers to get completely healthy with the exception of TE Delanie Walker, who is ‘out’ with a fractured jaw.

Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Eastern on FOX.

New England (13-3 SU, 9-7 ATS) garnered the AFC’s No. 1 seed thanks to eight straight victories to close the regular season. The Patriots overcame a leaky defense thanks to their high-octane offense led by veteran quarterback Tom Brady, who enjoyed another sensational year with 5,239 passing yards and a 39/12 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Brady has utilized one of the best WRs in the game (Wes Welker) and two of the league’s top tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Welker hauled in an NFL-best 122 receptions for 1,573 yards and nine TDs. Gronkowski had 90 catches for 1,327 yards and 17 TDs, while Hernandez finished the regular season with 79 grabs for 910 yards and seven scores.

Denver (9-8 SU, 8-9 ATS) lost four of its first five games before finally turning to Tim Tebow in favor of Kyle Orton at the QB position. The two-time national-title winner at the University of Florida paid instant dividends, leading the Broncos to a 7-1 record in his first eight starts.

However, John Fox’s team faltered down the stretch with three consecutive losses, backing into the postseason with a .500 record. With Tebow struggling mightily in losses at Buffalo and vs. Kansas City to end the year, his critics roared with approval.

But No. 15 didn’t get the memo. Facing the NFL’s top-ranked defense in last week’s AFC quarterfinals, Tebow threw for 316 yards, including an 80-yard scoring strike on the first play of overtime to propel the Broncos to a 29-23 win over the Steelers.

Denver hooked up its backers as an eight-point underdog, cashing money-line tickets in the plus-350 range (risk $100 to win $350).

Tebow’s game-winning TD pass went to fellow second-year player Demaryius Thomas, who showed his speed and power by dealing out a ferocious stiff-arm to create a little distance before beating the Pittsburgh secondary to the end zone. Thomas was all about the YAC (yards after the catch), turning four catches into 204 yards.

These teams met in the Mile High City on Dec. 18 with the Patriots capturing a 41-23 win as seven-point favorites. Denver raced out to a 16-7 lead before three second-quarter fumbles turned the tide of the game.

Brady threw for 320 yards and a pair of touchdowns without an interception. Tebow completed 11-of-22 throws for 194 yards and also rushed 12 times for 93 yards and a pair of scores.

As of early Friday evening, most books were listing New England as a 13 ½-point favorite with a total of 50 ½. Neither number has had much movement since opening Sunday night. The Broncos are available to win outright for a plus-600 return (risk $100 to win $600).

New England has been a double-digit favorite three times, going 2-1 ATS. The Pats, who have won only three of their eight home games by double-digit margins, went 7-1 SU and 4-4 ATS at home during the regular season.

Denver has thrived on the road with a 5-3 SU record and a 6-2 ATS mark. This is the Broncos’ richest underdog situation of the year.

The ‘over’ is 11-5 overall for the Pats, 5-3 in their home games. They have seen the ‘over’ hit in six consecutive games. Also, they have watched the ‘over’ cash at a 5-4 clip in their nine games with totals in the 50s.

This is the highest total of the season for the Broncos, who have seen the ‘over’ go 3-1 their last four times out. For the year, the ‘over’ is 10-7 overall, 4-4 in their road contests. The previous high seen by Denver was 47 ½ in the aforementioned loss to New England.

CBS will provide the telecast at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Here are the updated NFL futures per Green Bay is the 7/4 (+175) ‘chalk’ and New England has the second-shortest odds at 5/2 (+250). The rest are as follows…Saints (4/1), Ravens (7/1), Giants (10/1), 49ers (12/1), Texans (20/1) and Broncos (50/1).

--Denver owns a 6-2 spread record in eight games as an underdog with Tim Tebow as its starting quarterback. has a slew of proposition wagers for all four NFL games this weekend. Tebow’s ‘over/under’ totals are as follows: passing yards (192.5), rushing yards (55.5) completions (11.5) and rushing attempts (9.5).

--Denver veteran safety Brian Dawkins remains ‘out’ and WR Eric Decker is also ‘out.’ Decker (44 catches, 612 yards, eight TDs) suffered a knee injury against Pittsburgh.

--Since the Brees-Peyton combo arrived in New Orleans, it has only played a pair of road playoff games. The Saints lost both times, at Chicago in 2006 and at Seattle last year.

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