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  1. #16
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    Giants at Packers best matchup as opening lines released for wild-card weekend

    "(Giants at Packers) will no doubt be the most popular game at the betting windows.”

    It took until the final minutes of the final game of the regular season, late Sunday night, but the seedings and the matchups are all set for wild-card weekend next Saturday and Sunday. We talk with Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports for the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, about the opening lines on the quartet of postseason contests.

    Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (Open: -2.5; Move: -3)

    Oakland went into its regular-season finale at Denver with a chance to get the AFC’s No. 1 seed, stick at the No. 2 seed or drop to the No. 5 seed. The Raiders, minus star quarterback Derek Carr (broken leg), ended up with the worst of those scenarios. New starter Matt McGloin was hurt in the first half Sunday, rookie Connor Cook finished it out, and Oakland never got going in a 24-6 loss as a 1-point underdog.

    So a team that went 12-4 SU (10-6 ATS) will be on the road as a wild card against AFC South champion Houston, in a 4:35 p.m. Eastern kickoff on Saturday.

    The Texans (9-7 SU, 6-9-1 ATS) lost to Tennessee 24-17 as a 3-point road ‘dog Sunday. Despite that loss – along with that of new starting QB Tom Savage to a first-half concussion, putting erstwhile starter Brock Osweiler back on the field – the Texans opened -2.5 at the Superbook and were quickly bet up to 3 late Sunday night.

    “Oakland looks defeated, but we’ve seen this Texans team lose this game before,” Kornegay said, alluding to last year’s wild-card round, in which host Houston got blown out by Kansas City 30-0 catching 3 points.

    Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks (Open: -7; Move: -7.5)

    Seattle alternated SU wins and losses over the last seven weeks, but it was still enough to win the NFC West and earn the No. 3 seed. On Sunday, the Seahawks (10-5-1 SU, 8-8 ATS) erased an early 14-3 deficit to lowly San Francisco and held on for a 25-23 victory as a hefty 11.5-point road chalk.

    Detroit could have been that No. 3 seed, or at least the No. 4 seed, were it not for an 0-3 SU and ATS skid to end the regular season. On Sunday night, in that aforementioned final game, the Lions fell to Green Bay 31-24 as a 3.5-point home pup. That dropped the Lions (9-7 SU, 8-8 ATS) to the No. 6 seed as a wild card.
    Much like the Texans line, this one went up a half-point shortly after it was posted, to Seattle -7.5 for Saturday’s 8:15 p.m. Eastern matchup.

    “Detroit looks like Oakland, except they still have their starting quarterback,” Kornegay said, while noting the Seahawks’ inconsistent play of late. “Seattle isn’t the team we’ve seen before. The Seahawks are definitely vulnerable.”

    Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers (Open: -9.5; Move -10)

    Pittsburgh is arguably the hottest team in the NFL right now, along with AFC No. 1 seed New England and perhaps Green Bay. The Steelers (11-5, 9-6-1) were 4-5 in mid-November, but haven’t lost since then, ripping off seven consecutive wins (5-1-1 ATS). In Sunday’s meaningless finale, Pittsburgh rested Ben Roethlisberger and fell behind Cleveland 14-0, but rallied for a 27-24 overtime victory to push as a 3-point home favorite.

    Miami (10-6 SU, 9-7 ATS) made a 7-1 SU run to clinch a wild-card spot after Week 16, then got blasted by New England in Week 17, losing 35-14 as a 7.5-point home pup. The Superbook expects it to be tough sledding to draw Miami money this week, even with the high opening number for Sunday’s 1 p.m. Eastern kick.

    “I might have to give out a free beer with every Dolphins bet to attract money on them,” Kornegay said. “I stocked up and have my 12-pack ready!”

    New York Giants at Green Bay Packers (Open -4.5; Move: -3.5)

    Several weeks ago, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers intimated his 4-5 team could win out. Then the Packers did just that. On Sunday, the Pack completed a 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS surge by beating Detroit 31-24 giving 3.5 points on the road to clinch the NFC North crown at 10-6 SU (9-6-1 ATS).

    Meanwhile, New York went on an 8-1 SU spree (7-2 ATS) from mid-October to mid-December. The Giants (11-5 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) slipped up at Philadelphia in Week 16, but with nothing on the line Sunday, they capped the season with a 19-10 victory at Washington as a 9-point underdog.

    “Best matchup of wild-card weekend could be a doozy,” Kornegay said of this 4:30 p.m. Eastern Sunday clash. “The Giants have a lot of confidence going into Green Bay. The Packers will have to overcome injuries to defensive backs (Quinten Rollins, Makinton Dorleant). This will no doubt be the most popular game at the betting windows.”
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #17
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    Wiseguys are advising that these NFL wild-card lines are going to move

    Early betting has favored the Dolphins, with the public perhaps thinking that any time a playoff team is getting double-digits, it’s worth a sniff.

    Game to bet now

    New York Giants at Green Bay (-3.5)

    Since mid-October the Giants have been one of the best teams in the league, going 9-2 SU and 8-3 ATS. The surge started, coincidentally, after New York went into Lambeau and laid an egg in Week 5 – being held without a touchdown until late in the game and passing for only 178 yards against a Packers defense that gives up 270 yards per game through the air. NY’s problem is that the Packers are also playing better. The NFC North champs come in with six straight wins (three of which came against playoff teams), and the Packers have scored more than 30 points in each of their last four games. This one could tilt toward the Giants if they can get to Aaron Rodgers, but NY was just middle of the pack in total team sacks this season (34). With equal money on both teams, the 3.5 line is unlikely to budge.

    Game to wait on

    Miami at Pittsburgh (-10)

    Early betting has favored the Dolphins, with the public perhaps thinking that any time a playoff team is getting double-digits, it’s worth a sniff. Yes, Miami did look awful against the Patriots in their final regular-season game – but the Patriots (8-0 on the road this season) tend to do that to opponents. And Pittsburgh’s defense is nowhere near as good as New England’s, so Miami should at least be able to move the ball against the Steelers’ mediocre D. Pittsburgh will no doubt be game-planning all week in an effort to prevent a repeat of their Oct. 16 game in Miami, when Jay Ajayi went off for 204 yards and Miami won easily. There are rumblings that starting QB Ryan Tannehill might be back for this one, and there might not be a decision until late in the week, or even just prior to kickoff. So unless you’re a huge Matt Moore fan, it might be a good idea to hang on for a bit before wagering.

    Total to watch

    Oakland at Houston (37)

    Anyone with a spare quarterback is asked to contact the Raiders or Texans immediately. Oakland is down to QB No. 3 (rookie Connor Cook) after Sunday’s injury to backup Matt McGloin. Houston is somewhat better off, with backup Tom Savage apparently OK after suffering a head injury on Sunday. Oddsmakers don’t figure any QB will light it up too much this weekend and have set one of the lowest totals of the year. One book has the number as low at 36.5, which is unheard of in today’s NFL.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  3. #18
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    NFL Wild-Card Weekend lines that make you go hmmm...

    The Seahawks have been inconsistent all season, especially against the spread. Should Seattle bettors be worried in the Wild-Card round?

    Longtime Las Vegas oddsmaker Peter Korner sizes up this week’s NFL Wild-Card schedule and tells you why these postseason lines are making him go “hmmm…”

    Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-3.5, 36.5)

    This line indicates a Houston win of 20-17. This is a tough game to dissect as Oakland’s success or failure lands on third-string shoulders that are unproven and have little track record.

    What we do know is that Houston does not score much and both teams have good defenses. Most of the betting public gets scared of going Under in general but there are reasons a total is very low. Most times, it’s due to inclement weather. However, Houston failed to score 37 points in four of its past six games overall. Facing an Oakland team that failed to score 37 points in its last three road games overall, sends a strong trending flag where we are going with this one.

    I made this total closer to 34 or 35. Our only hesitation here would be unwanted defensive bombs (fumbles and interceptions turning into immediate scores) but they’re usually far and few and we just can’t count on those.

    Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks (-8, 42.5)

    We we find another game that will favor the bookmaker over the bettor in this one.

    Seattle’s inconsistencies have bettors wondering which team is going to show up: the one we know, or the one that’s been playing the past 16 games? That observation alone has wondering why the spread is so high. I made this no higher than -7.

    Seattle has lost four of its past six against the spread with the only caveat being that the Seahawks pretty much knew they were going to win this rather weak division well in advance. But being able to just flick a switch on, particularly when you are playing a quality team playing for their lives, seems like a stretch here.

    Detroit did not finish well but in its defense the Lions did play some tough teams (Giants, Cowboys, Packers) with the first two on the road. Bettors aren’t asking them to win here, they’re just asking them to hang around. And with +8 (and even +8.5 out there) we liken this battle of two standout defenses to keep this under control. Detroit backers should take the visitors with as many points as you can get and maybe – just maybe - we could see the first upset of the playoffs.

    Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers (-10, 47)

    This one seems like a no-brainer. Miami’s season looks to be over here.

    The line is high for a reason and we all know why. Miami won’t move on with QB Matt Moore. He’s now going to be facing tough teams in tough venues. A telltale sign for this matchup is looking at the Dolphins’ last five games. Miami picked up wins against the weaker teams (Cardinals, Jets, Bills) and lost by an average of 26 points against the tough teams (Ravens and Patriots).

    I made this line closer to -12 bordering -13, so 10 seems like a gift. My vision is a 24-3 or 30-13 final score – a game we won’t have to worry about the backdoor cover. Fans of the favorite should roll with the Steelers and let the wiseguys finesse a loss, taking the big number and keeping the line down for the rest of us.

    New York Giants at Green Bay Packers (-5, 44)

    This is a game of polar opposites, when sizing up each team’s offensive sets and game flow. That’s mostly reflected by each team’s results in respect to their totals.

    Green Bay has gone Over in eight of its past 10 games, most notably the past four when scoring 38, 30, 38 and 31 points. The Giants have been Under in seven of their last eight games, while scoring 14, 10, 17, 19 and 19 in their last five games overall.

    Be it as it may, we liken the trend of the Packers’ overall big-game plays and I don’t think the Giants are going to be able to hang with the Green Bay’s offense. I made this game -6.5 and even -7 (Even) so you can feel pretty confident about liking the Packers in this spot. They’re hot, they’re at home, and they’ve beaten the Giants here by seven points earlier in the year. What’s not to like?
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  4. #19
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    NFL
    Long Sheet

    Wild-Card Round

    Saturday, January 7

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    OAKLAND (12 - 4) at HOUSTON (9 - 7) - 1/7/2017, 4:35 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    HOUSTON is 14-5 ATS (+8.5 Units) as a favorite over the last 3 seasons.
    OAKLAND is 30-15 ATS (+13.5 Units) as a road underdog of 3.5 to 7 points since 1992.
    OAKLAND is 12-4 ATS (+7.6 Units) in road games over the last 2 seasons.
    OAKLAND is 12-4 ATS (+7.6 Units) in road lined games over the last 2 seasons.
    OAKLAND is 11-2 ATS (+8.8 Units) in road games against conference opponents over the last 2 seasons.
    OAKLAND is 6-0 ATS (+6.0 Units) in road games off a division game over the last 2 seasons.
    OAKLAND is 12-3 ATS (+8.7 Units) in road games in games played on a grass field over the last 2 seasons.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    HOUSTON is 1-1 against the spread versus OAKLAND over the last 3 seasons
    HOUSTON is 1-1 straight up against OAKLAND over the last 3 seasons
    2 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    DETROIT (9 - 7) at SEATTLE (10 - 5 - 1) - 1/7/2017, 8:15 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    DETROIT is 84-112 ATS (-39.2 Units) in road games since 1992.
    DETROIT is 84-112 ATS (-39.2 Units) in road lined games since 1992.
    DETROIT is 63-89 ATS (-34.9 Units) in road games against conference opponents since 1992.
    DETROIT is 130-168 ATS (-54.8 Units) when playing with 6 or less days rest since 1992.
    DETROIT is 5-19 ATS (-15.9 Units) in road games against NFC West division opponents since 1992.
    SEATTLE is 13-4 ATS (+8.6 Units) in home games when playing with 6 or less days rest over the last 3 seasons.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    DETROIT is 1-0 against the spread versus SEATTLE over the last 3 seasons
    SEATTLE is 1-0 straight up against DETROIT over the last 3 seasons
    1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sunday, January 8

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    MIAMI (10 - 6) at PITTSBURGH (11 - 5) - 1/8/2017, 1:05 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    PITTSBURGH is 100-70 ATS (+23.0 Units) as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points since 1992.
    PITTSBURGH is 87-62 ATS (+18.8 Units) in home games when playing with 6 or less days rest since 1992.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    MIAMI is 1-0 against the spread versus PITTSBURGH over the last 3 seasons
    MIAMI is 1-0 straight up against PITTSBURGH over the last 3 seasons
    1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NY GIANTS (11 - 5) at GREEN BAY (10 - 6) - 1/8/2017, 4:40 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    GREEN BAY is 13-5 ATS (+7.5 Units) as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points over the last 2 seasons.
    GREEN BAY is 17-8 ATS (+8.2 Units) in all games where the total is between 42.5 and 49 points over the last 2 seasons.
    GREEN BAY is 10-1 ATS (+8.9 Units) off a division game over the last 2 seasons.
    GREEN BAY is 25-13 ATS (+10.7 Units) in games played on a grass field over the last 3 seasons.
    GREEN BAY is 10-2 ATS (+7.8 Units) off a win against a division rival over the last 3 seasons.
    GREEN BAY is 92-65 ATS (+20.5 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record since 1992.
    GREEN BAY is 69-41 ATS (+23.9 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season since 1992.
    NY GIANTS are 52-32 ATS (+16.8 Units) in road games off a division game since 1992.
    NY GIANTS are 54-33 ATS (+17.7 Units) off a win against a division rival since 1992.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    GREEN BAY is 1-0 against the spread versus NY GIANTS over the last 3 seasons
    GREEN BAY is 1-0 straight up against NY GIANTS over the last 3 seasons
    1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------




    NFL
    Short Sheet

    Wild-Card Round

    Sat – Jan. 7

    Oakland at Houston, 4:35 PM ET
    Oakland: 11-2 ATS in road games against conference opponents
    Houston: 14-3 OVER in home games after scoring 17 points or less in 2 straight games

    Detroit at Seattle, 4:40 PM ET
    Detroit: 5-19 ATS in road games against NFC West division opponents
    Seattle: 34-19 ATS after gaining 99 or less rushing yards in 2 straight games


    Sun – Jan. 8

    Miami at Pittsburgh, 1:05 PM ET
    Miami: 3-13 ATS after allowing 6 or more yards/play in their previous game
    Pittsburgh: 9-1 ATS in home games after a home game where both teams scored 24 or more points

    NY Giants at Green Bay, 4:40 PM ET
    New York: 7-1 UNDER as an underdog
    Green Bay: 10-1 ATS off a division game




    NFL
    Armadillo's Write-Up

    Wild-Card Round

    Saturday's games
    Raiders (12-4) @ Texans (9-7)— Two teams with QB issues; rookie 3rd-stringer Cook is making his first NFL start this week- he was 14-21/150 in relief in Denver LW, his NFL debut. Raiders won 8 of last 10 games but loss of QB Carr and loss to Broncos LW cost them first-round bye and any real chance of getting to Super Bowl. Oakland (-6.5) beat Houston 27-20 in a Monday night game in Mexico City Nov 21 (week after Raiders’ bye). Oakland is 6-2 on road, 3-2 as road underdog but that was with Carr playing. Osweiler starts at QB for Texans, after he was benched for #2 QB Savage, who then got a concussion. Houston won three of last four games, is 7-1 at home, 3-2-1 as home favorite. Oakland is in playoffs for first time since losing Super Bowl 14 years ago. Texans are in playoffs for 4th time in last six years. Home side won #4-5 seed AFC game four of last five years.

    Lions (9-7) @ Seahawks (10-5-1)— Detroit lost its last two games to miss out on winning NFC North for first time since 1993; they’ve won one playoff game since 1957, are in playoffs for 3rd time in last 17 years. Stafford has an injured finger on throwing hand; Detroit scored 17 pts/game in losing last three games, were -7 in turnovers in last four. Lions have trailed in 4th quarter in every game but one this season; they’re 3-5 on road, 3-4 as road dogs. Seahawks split last six games, are 4-3-1 as home favorites this year- they played only four playoff teams this year, going 3-1. Detroit lost weird 13-10 night game in Seattle LY, when Seahawks scored controversial late TD. Lions are 5-8 overall vs Seattle, 1-6 here, with only win back in 1999. Under is 8-2 in Detroit’s last ten games, 1-4 in Seattle’s last five. Road team is 4-4 in NFC #3-6 game last eight years; underdogs covered four of last six years.


    Sunday's games
    Dolphins (10-6) @ Steelers (11-5)— Dolphins were 1-4 when Steelers went to South Beach and lost 30-15; TY was 474-297, Pitt had only 15 first downs. Fish are 4-4 on road, 3-3 as road underdogs, but 4 of last 5 teams they visited either fired their coach or half their assistants. Miami is in playoffs for first time since ’08; their last playoff win was in 2000. Dolphins have rookie coach, backup QB starting; they’re 9-2 in last 11 games, losing mostly meaningless game to Patriots LW. Pittsburgh is in playoffs for 3rd year in row and 11th time in last 16 years; they won last seven games overall but covered only one of last five at home. Three of last four Steeler games went over total; last six Miami games (and 9 of last 10) went over. Miami is 2-1 all-time vs Steelers in playoff games, but last one of those was in ’84. Road team won AFC #3-6 game last three years and six of last eight; underdogs covered five of last seven.

    Giants (11-5) @ Packers (10-6)— Giants won playoff games in Lambeau in both 2007/2011, so have to be confident here. New Jersey (+7) lost 23-16 at Lambeau back in Week 4, running ball 15 times for 43 yards in game where Packers outgained them by 189 yards. Green Bay allowed 153 points in a 4-game midseason skid, then recovered, won its last six games; they’re 6-2 at home, 4-2-1 as home favorites. New Jersey went 9-2 after the Lambeau loss; they’re 4-4 on road, 1-3-1 as a road underdog, with only cover LW in meaningless win over Redskins. Giants held five of last seven opponents under 17 points; they’re 2-5 this season when allowing 23+ points, 9-0 when allowing less than 23. Last four Green Bay games went over total; under is 7-1 in Giants’ last eight games. Road team won NFC #4-5 seed game three of last four years, but favorites covered four of last five.




    NFL

    Wild-Card Round

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trend Report
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Saturday, January 7

    5:35 PM
    OAKLAND vs. HOUSTON
    Oakland is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games
    The total has gone OVER in 7 of Oakland's last 10 games
    Houston is 1-3-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home
    The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Houston's last 12 games at home

    9:15 PM
    DETROIT vs. SEATTLE
    The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Detroit's last 10 games
    Detroit is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games
    Seattle is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Detroit
    Seattle17-7-1 SU in its last 25 games


    Sunday, January 8

    2:05 PM
    MIAMI vs. PITTSBURGH
    Miami is 9-2 SU in its last 11 games
    The total has gone OVER in 4 of Miami's last 6 games when playing Pittsburgh
    The total has gone OVER in 4 of Pittsburgh's last 6 games when playing Miami
    Pittsburgh is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Miami

    5:40 PM
    NY GIANTS vs. GREEN BAY
    NY Giants are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games when playing Green Bay
    NY Giants are 9-2 SU in their last 11 games
    Green Bay is 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games when playing NY Giants
    Green Bay is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  5. #20
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    NFL
    Dunkel

    Wild-Card Round

    Saturday, January 7

    Detroit @ Seattle

    Game 103-104
    January 7, 2017 @ 8:15 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Detroit
    124.930
    Seattle
    139.814
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Seattle
    by 15
    48
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Seattle
    by 8
    43 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    Seattle
    (-8); Over

    Oakland @ Houston

    Game 101-102
    January 7, 2017 @ 4:30 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Oakland
    133.061
    Houston
    130.602
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Oakland
    by 2 1/2
    43
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Houston
    by 3 1/2
    36 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    Oakland
    (+3 1/2); Over


    Sunday, January 8

    NY Giants @ Green Bay

    Game 107-108
    January 8, 2017 @ 4:40 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    NY Giants
    136.020
    Green Bay
    137.517
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Green Bay
    by 1 1/2
    40
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Green Bay
    by 5
    44 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    NY Giants
    (+5); Under

    Miami @ Pittsburgh

    Game 105-106
    January 8, 2017 @ 1:00 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Miami
    126.164
    Pittsburgh
    143.279
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Pittsburgh
    by 17
    52
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Pittsburgh
    by 10
    46
    Dunkel Pick:
    Pittsburgh
    (-10); Over
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  6. #21
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    NFL's biggest betting mismatches: Wild Card edition

    Rodgers finished the year with 2,183 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and just four interceptions in eight home starts.

    Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-4, 36.5)

    Raiders' strong first-half D vs. Texans' rough offensive starts

    The Raiders and Texans do battle this weekend in a game even the most die-hard NFL fans are having a hard time getting jazzed about. Neither team is playing particularly well at the moment, with the Raiders having stumbled into the postseason on the tide of a 24-6 loss to the Denver Broncos and the Texans having prevailed in one of the worst divisions in football. But if season trends continue, Oakland should find itself in great shape at the half - which could spell disaster for favored Houston.

    The Raiders did a lot of things well in what was a breakout season for the perennial AFC doormat, and first-half scoring defense is surprisingly near the top of that list. While Oakland coughed up 17 first-half points in last week's uninspiring loss in Denver, that still wasn't enough to knock the Raiders out of the top-10 in points allowed prior to the half (10.6). Six of the nine teams ahead of them are also in the postseason, so they find themselves in great company despite their late-season struggles.

    As for the Texans, they were downright miserable in the first halves of games over the course of the regular season (and yes, you can probably blame quarterback Brock Osweiler for most of that.) No team in the NFL managed fewer first half points per game than Houston (7.6), thanks to a three-game season-closing stretch in which the Texans managed a total of five points prior to half. If Oakland gets up early, the Texans might not have the firepower to make a game of it.

    Daily fantasy fade: RB Lamar Miller


    Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks (-8, 43)

    Lions' third-down D struggles vs. Seahawks' drive shutdowns

    Welcome back to the postseason, Detroit! Enjoy your road tilt against a Seattle team that boasts one of the top home-field advantages in sports. The Lions are certainly in tough having to travel three time zones to face Seattle, but that might not even be the worst of their problems. Detroit was one of the worst teams in the NFL during the season when it came to keeping opponents from extending drives, and they're facing a Seahawks unit that was far stingier on third downs.

    Detroit generated plenty of early-season buzz thanks to an elite passing offense led by quarterback Matthew Stafford. But the defense never did get untracked, particularly on third down. The Lions allowed opponents to convert an alarming 45.5 percent of their third-down situations into first downs or TDs, ahead of only the Washington Redskins (46.6%). That number climbed thanks to a 50-percent opponent conversion rate over the final three games of the season, worst in the NFL over that span.

    Seattle wasn't exactly a world-beater in the category over the course of 2016, ranking a modest 14th with a 38.9-percent opponent success rate on third downs. But down the stretch, no team shut down more third-down situations than the Seahawks, who limited teams to a minuscule 18.8-percent success rate over the final three games. Stafford and Co. can't afford to get stalled out on third down, with Seattle more than capable of doing plenty of damage on the other side of the ball.

    Daily fantasy fade: QB Matthew Stafford


    Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers (-10, 47)

    Dolphins' 1Q and 4Q letdowns vs. Steelers' early and late magic

    Few people are giving the Dolphins much of a chance in their AFC Wild Card showdown with a Steelers team that could afford to give its three offensive studs a much-needed Week 17 respite. That alone is cause for concern for Dolphins, but they'll also need to consider that Miami was one of the worst teams in football at keeping teams off the scoreboard in the first and fourth quarters - and is matched up against a roster that had no trouble beating teams down early and late.

    For all those lauding an often-stout Miami defense that helped halt an eight-year playoff drought, the numbers suggest that the Dolphins' D wasn't as strong as some might think. No team allowed more first-quarter points per game during the regular season (6.9), and Miami was only slightly more respectable over the final 15 minutes of games, ranking tied for 24th at 7.3 points allowed per contest. The latter stat is most disconcerting when it comes to evaluating a team at playoff time.

    The Steelers have no such problems; despite a late-season swoon that saw Pittsburgh score just 10 combined first-quarter points over its final three games, it still ranked fourth in the NFL in first-quarter scoring (5.9), behind only Atlanta, New England and Cincinnati. And the Steelers' offense saved its best for last, ranking second in the NFL at 9.1 fourth-quarter points per contest. With its offensive stars rested and home-field advantage in its pocket, Pittsburgh should make things miserable for Miami.

    Daily fantasy watch: RB Le'Veon Bell


    New York Giants at Green Bay Packers (-4.5, 44.5)

    Eli's road passing woes vs. Rodgers' home dominance

    The Giants and Packers face off this weekend in an NFC Wild Card tilt that could come down to how well the Packers' offensive line can protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers against a suddenly elite Giants pass rush. But those who have seen Rodgers and the Packers surgically dismantle opponents down the stretch would be wise not to underestimate him - especially in comparison to New York counterpart Eli Manning, whose road showing this year has been downright abysmal.

    It was an up-and-down year for Manning, who surpassed 4,000 passing yards but had just 26 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. He was particularly ordinary away from MetLife Stadium, managing just 1,788 yards through the air with 10 TDs and seven INTs. His 78.0 rating on the road ranked the Giants 24th among the 32 NFL teams, with only two other playoff teams faring worse. That includes a Week 5 loss in Green Bay in which Manning was held to just 199 passing yards and a score.

    If that weren't enough to send Giants fans into a panic, there's Rodgers' home splits, which are once again among the most absurd in the league. Despite a slow start, Rodgers finished the year with 2,183 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and just four interceptions in eight home starts. His 106.5 rating at Lambeau Field ranks him sixth in that category league-wide, with four of the five quarterbacks ahead of him having reached the postseason. With such a huge advantage at quarterback, Green Bay is in great position to advance.

    Daily fantasy watch: QB Aaron Rodgers
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL

    Saturday, January 7

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    NFL Wild Card betting preview: Raiders at Texans
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    With Derek Carr out Khalil Mack will have to lead the Raiders in rallying around rookie Connor Cook. Oakland is currently a 3.5-point dog.

    Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (3.5, 36.5)

    The highest-profile position on the field also will be the one surrounded by the most question marks when the Houston Texans host the Oakland Raiders on Saturday afternoon in the opening game of Wild Card Weekend. Oakland is down to its third-string quarterback in rookie Connor Cook while Houston turns back to Brock Osweiler, who was benched three weeks ago.

    The rematch from Week 11, when Oakland rallied for a 27-20 win in Mexico behind two fourth-quarter touchdown passes by Derek Carr, will have a decidedly different look after Carr broke his leg in Week 15 and backup Matt McGloin injured his left shoulder in the regular-season finale. That leaves Cook in line to become the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to have his first career start occur in the postseason, a welcome development for the AFC South champions' top-ranked defense. “That’s great, I hope we blitz him all game," Houston defensive end Jadeveon Clowney told reporters. Osweiler started the first 15 games for the Texans before losing his job to Tom Savage, who suffered a concussion last week to give Osweiler a second chance.

    TV: 4:35 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN.

    POWER RANKINGS: Raiders (0) - Texans (0.5) + home field (-3) = Texans -2.5

    LINE HISTORY: The Texans opened as field goal favorites and that number was bet as high as 4, before fading to 3.5 late in the week. The total opened at 37, has bounced back and forth between 37 and 36.5 all week, currently settling at 36.5. Check out the complete history here.

    WEATHER REPORT: Dome.

    WHAT BOOKS SAY - "Bettors began taking the Texans when news broke that Cook was starting for Oakland. We moved to -3.5 and then -4, but took some sharp action on that number so quickly adjusted back to -3.5. The total has dropped a full point down to 36.5 and we’ve got almost 75 percent of the handle on the under."

    WHAT SHARPS SAY: "This is the first time in NFL Playoff history during the Super Bowl era (past 51 years) that a quarterback will be starting a playoff game after not starting a single regular season game during his career. Oakland's third-string rookie QB Connor Cook played the majority of the game last week at Denver, after Matt McGloin was injured. Cook was decent, completing 67% of his passes for 7.1 yards per pass with a 83.4 QB rating. Cook has only taken the majority of the snaps in one other game this season and that was during the Preseason in Week 4 against Seattle's backups. Cook was terrible in that game, averaging just 4.8 yards per pass with a 50.0 QB rating."

    INJURY REPORT:

    Raiders - DT Stacy McGee (probable, ankle), WR Amari Cooper (probable, shoulder), WR Michael Crabtree (probable, ankle), S Karl Joseph (probable, toe), QB Matt McGloin (questionable, shoulder), OL Kelechi Osemele (questionable, knee), OT Donald Penn (questionable, knee), WR Andre Holmes (questionable, shoulder), LB Malcolm Smith (questionable, hamstring), OT Austin Howard (questionable, shoulder), S Nate Allen (doubtful, concussion), LB Aldon Smith (out for season, suspension), QB Derek Carr (out for season, leg), LB Shilique Calhoun (IR, knee)

    Texans - DE Jadeveon Clowney (probable, elbow), RB Lamar Miller (probable, ankle), CB Jonathan Joseph (probable, shoulder), LB Brian Cushing (probable, ankle), G Jeff Allen (questionable, ankle), CB A.J. Bouye (questionable, groin), S Quintin Demps (questionable, hamstring), TE Ryan Griffin (questionable, quadricep), FB Jay Prosch (questionable, ankle), LB John Simon (questionable, chest), OT Chris Clark (questionable, leg), QB Tom Savage (out, concussion)

    ABOUT THE RAIDERS (12-4 SU, 10-6 ATS, 11-5 O/U): Oakland, making its first postseason appearance since reaching the Super Bowl in 2002, is hoping to rally around Cook, a fourth-round draft pick out of Michigan State who finished 14-of-21 for 150 yards with a touchdown and an interception in last week's loss at Denver. "Obviously, playing at Michigan State, we played in some big-time games there," said Cook, who was inactive for the first 15 games. "So, I'm going to try and take whatever I did there, use it, put it to use out there Saturday." The Raiders have the league's No. 6 rushing attack at 120.1 yards per game and likely will try to ease the pressure on Cook by featuring a heavy dose of Latavius Murray and rookie DeAndre Washington. Defensive end Khalil Mack has recorded 11 sacks for a unit that ranked last in the league with 25.

    ABOUT THE TEXANS (9-7 SU, 6-9-1 ATS, 6-10 O/U): Coach Bill O'Brien finally ran out of patience with Osweiler, a high-priced free-agent signee in the offseason, after he tossed a pair of interceptions against lowly Jacksonville on Dec. 18. The injury to Savage - currently in the NFL concussion protocol - also gives Osweiler an opportunity to erase the memory of a year ago, when he was benched in Denver's regular-season finale in favor of Peyton Manning, who promptly led the Broncos to the Super Bowl title. "When you do become the backup, you're able to observe a lot more," O'Brien told reporters. "You're able to observe in practice. In the games, in the meetings, and I think it helped him." The Texans received a boost when running back Lamar Miller, who rushed for 1,069 yards this season, practiced fully on Wednesday after missing two games with an ankle injury.

    TRENDS:

    * Raiders are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 road games.
    * Texans are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
    * Under is 4-1 in Raiders last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
    * Under is 6-0 in Texans last 6 games following a ATS loss.
    * Road team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.

    CONSENSUS: Users are split 50/50 on this battle of inexperienced quarterbacks. As for the total, 53 percent of wagers are on the under


    ---------------------------------------------


    NFL

    Saturday, January 7

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    NFL Wild Card betting preview: Lions at Seahawks
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "Everything that's already happened doesn't matter at all,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who might be comforted by the fact that he has yet to suffer a playoff loss in the Pacific Northwest.

    Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks (-8, 43)

    The Seattle Seahawks are making their fifth consecutive playoff appearance on the heels of trading wins and losses over their last six games, while the Detroit Lions' bid to capture the NFC North title was dashed by three straight defeats to end the season. Both teams will look to get it in gear on Saturday night, when they meet in a wild-card tilt at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

    "Everything that's already happened doesn't matter at all,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who might be comforted by the fact that he - along with quarterback Russell Wilson - has yet to suffer a playoff loss in the Pacific Northwest while Detroit hasn't won a postseason game since 1991. Wilson (career-high 4,219 passing yards) threw a touchdown pass in a 25-23 victory over San Francisco on Sunday and found Doug Baldwin for a scoring strike in the last encounter with the Lions, resulting in Seattle's 13-10 triumph on Oct. 5, 2015. While Wilson reportedly is contemplating removing his knee brace for the playoffs, Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford said he hasn't been affected by wearing a glove on his throwing hand to protect an injured finger, although he has registered two touchdowns and three interceptions in his last three games after recording 22 TDs and seven picks prior to the injury. Stafford threw for 347 yards and two scores in a 31-24 setback against Green Bay on Sunday and has averaged 351.5 yards in two career playoff appearances.

    TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, NBC.

    POWER RANKINGS: Lions (0) - Seahawks (-2.5) + home field (-3) = Seahawks -5.5

    LINE HISTORY: The Seahawks opened this game as 7.5-point home favorites and that number has grown to 8. The total opened at 43 and briefly dropped to 42.5 before returning to the original number late in the week. Check out the complete history here.

    WEATHER REPORT: It is shaping up for an awful afternoon for football in Seattle. The forecast is calling for considerable cloud at kickoff and a little accumulation of snow and rain later in the afternoon. Temperatures will be in the high 30’s with winds between six-nine miles per hour coming from the east.

    WHAT BOOKS SAY: "The sharp bettors haven’t really taken much of a stand for this one as of yet. A few quickly grabbed on the -7 open most likely as a position play and hoping it balloons out of control. We have more than 65 percent of the action on Seattle as of now but we do expect to see some smart guys on the dog at some point."

    WHAT SHARPS SAY: "Seattle continues to possess a very strong home field, going 7-1 SU this season. This is a difficult scheduling situation for the Lions as they are traveling on a short week after playing the Sunday night game versus Green Bay. Detroit enters the playoffs on a 0-3 SU/ATS slide, while Seattle has alternated wins/losses in their past six games, going 3-3 SU (2-4 ATS) down the stretch of the regular season. The Seahawks have only won three of their past 12 games this season by more than seven points."

    INJURY REPORT:

    Lions - WR Andre Roberts (questionable, shoulder), LB DeAndre Levy (questionable, knee), C Travis Swanson (questionable, concussion), DE Ezekiel Ansah (questionable, undisclosed), WR Marvin Jones Jr. (questionable, concussion), OT Riley Reiff (questionable, hip), CB Asa Jackson (IR ankle), OT Corey Robinson (IR, foot), RB Ameer Abdullah (IR, foot), RB Theo Riddick (IR, wrist), DT Stefan Charles (IR, knee)

    Seahawks - DT Tony McDaniel (questionable, concussion), RB C.J. Promise (out, shoulder), LS Nolan Frese (IR, ankle), WR Tyler Lockett (IR, leg)

    ABOUT THE LIONS (9-7 SU, 8-8 ATS, 6-10, O/U): Former Seattle wideout Golden Tate overcame a horrendous start to the season to lead the team with 1,077 receiving yards, with 404 and two touchdowns coming on 33 receptions in his last four road games. Tate has made himself at home in his third season with Detroit after signing a five-year, $31 million contract on the heels of helping the Seahawks win Super Bowl XLVIII. "I thought they wanted me back. I thought I did everything I could to help them win a Super Bowl, was in the community, was a good guy," Tate told reporters. "But you know, it worked out. I'm happy where I am and excited about the future of this organization, and hopefully I'm here for a long, long time." Zach Zenner has given Detroit's 30th-ranked rushing game a jolt with 136 yards and three touchdowns in his last two contests.

    ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (10-5-1 SU, 8-8 ATS, 9-7 O/U): Seattle's ground game has struggled to get untracked since the retirement of Marshawn Lynch, with Thomas Rawls plagued by multiple injuries while Christine Michael (now with Green Bay) and C.J. Prosise (shoulder) also saw their paths to stardom slowed. "We just keep going," Carroll said on 710 ESPN Seattle. "We keep running. We have to keep running to make sure that we have the mix that we want." Wideouts Jermaine Kearse (six touchdowns in seven career playoff games) and Baldwin (four TDs in last six postseason contests) have come up large in the passing game. Former Lion Cliff Avril recorded six of his team-leading 11.5 sacks in his last six home games while fellow Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett has registered one in back-to-back postseason contests.

    TRENDS:

    * Lions are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. NFC.
    * Seahawks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
    * Under is 8-2 in Lions last 10 games overall.
    * Over is 5-1 in Seahawks last 6 playoff games.
    * Home team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.

    CONSENSUS: So far the public is backing the underdog with 61 percent of users wagering on the Lions. Meanwhile the Over is getting 58 percent of the action on the total.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  8. #23
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    SATURDAY, JANUARY 7

    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS

    OAK at HOU 04:35 PM

    OAK +3.5 *****

    U 37.5 *****


    DET at SEA 08:15 PM

    SEA -8.0 *****

    U 44.0 *****
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  9. #24
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    PLAYOFF RECORD:

    01/07/2017 2-2-0 50.00% -100


    Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday


    13) Texans 27, Raiders 14— Oakland was having such a great season until Derek Carr broke his leg, then the whole fell apart very quickly. Raiders were also without their LT, center and backup QB in this game, as Houston advances to play the Patriots in Foxboro next week.

    Back in Week 3, Texans were actually favored (-1) in Foxboro, but the Jacoby Brissett-led Patriots smoked Houston 27-0. New England will have a better QB playing next week.

    12) Seahawks 26, Lions 6— Detroit wound up 0-4 in outdoor games this season, scoring 13.3 pts/game in those four; they haven’t won a playoff game since 1991 and before that, 1957.

    Overall, Lions have lost nine straight playoff games, an NFL record; their last road playoff win was when Dwight Eisenhower was President. Oy.

    Cris Collinsworth was saying how the Lions “have something going now”, referring to their long-term contention, but they also trailed in 4th quarter in 16 of 17 games this season, so they conceivably could’ve been a 1-15 team, instead of a playoff team.

    11) Mississippi State 95, LSU 78— There was wintry weather in the south this weekend, so Miss State took a bus to Baton Rouge, rather than flying. On their way, they saw a car skid on the ice and turn over off the side of the road.

    Miss State coaches/trainers got an unconscious woman out of the car and she is reportedly doing well in the hospital. Then the Bulldogs went to LSU and drilled the Tigers, their best win of the year. Hopefully everyone got home safely.

    10) Baylor 61, Oklahoma State 57— Monday morning the Bears will be #1 in the country for the first time; they were lucky in this game— Oklahoma State was only 11-20 on the foul line. Baylor isn’t the best team in the country, but they’re having a surprisingly good season and figure to be a top 4 seed in the NCAA’s, as long as they stay healthy.

    9) Notre Dame 75, Clemson 70— Irish were 15-32 on the arc as the better team lost this game. Clemson was up 7 at the half but lost their second straight nailbiter. There were a total of only 14 foul shots taken in this whole game.

    Game was 70-70 with 1:10 left, so if you took 4 points with Clemson, this was a bad beat.

    8) Villanova 93, Marquette 81— Wildcats were a ridiculous 14-23 on the arc; Marquette was 14-31. Wildcats shot 69% inside the arc, scored 1.43 pts/possession, which is really good.

    7) Upset of the Day: Tex-San Antonio 69, Louisiana Tech 68— Roadrunners were a 16-point underdog; they trailed by 10 at the half.

    6) Weber State at Idaho State— Weber State led 13-2 less than 5:00 into the game, but then the game was suspended due to a leaky roof in Idaho State’s gym.

    5) Nevada coach Eric Musselman once coached the Rapid City Thrillers in the old CBA, which basically was the D-League before the D-League existed. One of his players in Rapid City was current Mew Mexico coach Craig Neal, who is 4-5 years older than Musselman.

    Now the two are Mountain West coaching rivals.

    4) NC State-North Carolina, Gonzaga-Portland and Wofford-Samford games were postponed and will be played today. There was cruddy weather all over the country Saturday.

    3) Butler 85, Georgetown 76 OT— Bulldogs were little flat with noon tipoff three days after they knocked off Villanova, but they shot 10-20 on the arc and survived a stunningly-soft Georgetown team that is now 0-4 in the Big East.

    Bulldogs never got on their flight home; the plane had mechanical issues, second road game in a row Butler had airplane issues trying to get back to Indianapolis.

    2) Georgia 71, Missouri 66— Assistant coaches from both sides got into a little fracas as the end of the first half. Players were milling around, but the coaches were more fired up than they were. I’m guessing there will be fines. Mizzou was 6-36 on the arc in this game; they’re not very good.

    1— Kid named Sam Cunliffe transferred from Arizona State after his first semester of college; think he scored 9.5 pts/game for ASU but now will be going to Kansas, where he’ll be eligible at this time next year.

    This transferring is getting ridiculous; an AVERAGE of two kids per team transferred after last year and there are 351 Division I teams. Teams are basically getting rebuilt on the fly, like an expansion team in pro sports.

    UNLV, Delaware basically had to cob together teams wherever they could find players last April/May after coaching changes and player defections. Hurts the quality of the product, for sure.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Dolphins (10-6) @ Steelers (11-5)— Dolphins were 1-4 when Steelers went to South Beach and lost 30-15; TY was 474-297, Pitt had only 15 first downs. Fish are 4-4 on road, 3-3 as road underdogs, but 4 of last 5 teams they visited either fired their coach or half their assistants. Miami is in playoffs for first time since ’08; their last playoff win was in 2000. Dolphins have rookie coach, backup QB starting; they’re 9-2 in last 11 games, losing mostly meaningless game to Patriots LW. Pittsburgh is in playoffs for 3rd year in row and 11th time in last 16 years; they won last seven games overall but covered only one of last five at home. Three of last four Steeler games went over total; last six Miami games (and 9 of last 10) went over. Miami is 2-1 all-time vs Steelers in playoff games, but last one of those was in ’84. Road team won AFC #3-6 game last three years and six of last eight; underdogs covered five of last seven.

    Giants (11-5) @ Packers (10-6)— Giants won playoff games in Lambeau in both 2007/2011, so have to be confident here. New Jersey (+7) lost 23-16 at Lambeau back in Week 4, running ball 15 times for 43 yards in game where Packers outgained them by 189 yards. Green Bay allowed 153 points in a 4-game midseason skid, then recovered, won its last six games; they’re 6-2 at home, 4-2-1 as home favorites. New Jersey went 9-2 after the Lambeau loss; they’re 4-4 on road, 1-3-1 as a road underdog, with only cover LW in meaningless win over Redskins. Giants held five of last seven opponents under 17 points; they’re 2-5 this season when allowing 23+ points, 9-0 when allowing less than 23. Last four Green Bay games went over total; under is 7-1 in Giants’ last eight games. Road team won NFC #4-5 seed game three of last four years, but favorites covered four of last five.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    WC - Dolphins at Steelers
    January 7, 2017

    The Dolphins and Steelers play in the second AFC Wild Card game coming up on Sunday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Miami started the season slowly, but went on a 9-1 run to clinch a playoff berth as this hot streak began with a home victory over Pittsburgh in October. The Steelers will be looking for revenge, while seeking their eighth consecutive victory since losing at home to Dallas in November.

    HOW THEY GOT HERE

    Miami (10-6 SU, 9-7 ATS) began this season under new head coach Adam Gase with a miserable September by losing road games at Seattle, New England, and Cincinnati. The only victory came in overtime against a Browns’ squad that finished the season at 1-15. Following a home loss in Week 5 to Tennessee, the Dolphins started their turnaround by beating the Steelers, 30-15 as Miami gained 474 yards of offense. The Dolphins would win their next five games, including comeback victories on the road at Los Angeles and San Diego.

    Although Miami dropped its season finale to New England, the Dolphins were covering machines on the road by cashing in five of their final six games away from Hard Rock Stadium. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill finished five yards shy of 3,000 passing for the season when Arizona’s Calais Campbell hit the Miami signal-caller in the knee and ending his regular season. Matt Moore stepped in and won road games over the Jets and Bills, as the veteran has thrown for eight touchdowns and three interceptions in three starts.

    Pittsburgh (11-5 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) went through a roller-coaster season en route to its second AFC North title in the last three season. The Steelers jumped out to an impressive 4-1 record the first five games, but dropped the next four contests, as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got hurt in the Miami loss and sat out a 27-16 home defeat to New England. Pittsburgh started its current hot streak in a Week 11 blowout victory of Cleveland, as the Steelers are on a 5-1-1 ATS run during this seven-game stretch.

    Roethlisberger finished under 4,000 yards passing for the second straight season (3,819), but threw 29 touchdown passes, the third-best mark in a season in his career. Running back Le’Veon Bell missed the first two games due to a suspension, as the former Michigan State standout eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in five of his last six games. Wide receiver Antonio Brown finished fifth in the league in receiving yards (1,284) and second in receptions (106), but doesn’t have a 100-yard receiving game since Week 10 against Dallas.

    HOME/AWAY STATS

    The Steelers compiled a 6-2 SU and 4-3-1 ATS record at Heinz Field this season, while the OVER hit in four of eight home games. Pittsburgh was listed as a home favorite of 6 ½ points or more twice this season, covering in wins over the Jets and Giants. Miami started the season at 0-3 away from South Florida, but won four of its final five road contests. The Dolphins didn’t beat any playoff teams on the road, while riding a 4-1 OVER streak in the past five away games.

    SERIES HISTORY

    In the most recent matchup at Hard Rock Stadium in Week 6, the Dolphins ripped the Steelers, 30-15 as 7 ½-point home underdogs. Miami running back Jay Ajayi ran all over the Pittsburgh defense for 204 yards and two touchdowns, one of three games in which he eclipsed the 200-yard rushing mark this season. Ajayi won the rushing battle with Bell, who was limited to 53 yards on 10 carries. Brown compiled only 39 yards receiving yards on four receptions, while Miami’s Jarvis Landry put up 91 yards on seven catches.

    Miami won its previous visit to Heinz Field in December 2013 by a 34-28 count as three-point underdogs. Both Tannehill and Roethlisberger each threw three touchdown passes, including a Big Ben 43-yard connection to Brown in the third quarter. The Dolphins and Steelers haven’t met in the postseason since the 1984 AFC Championship at the Orange Bowl when Dan Marino led Miami to a 45-28 triumph before losing Super Bowl XIX to the 49ers.

    PLAYOFF HISTORY

    Miami ended its seven-year playoff drought by qualifying this season with a Wild Card berth. The Dolphins’ last postseason appearance was one to forget, a 27-9 home defeat to the Ravens in 2008. In Miami’s last three playoff games, the Dolphins have scored a total of 12 points, while winning their last postseason contest in 2000 against Indianapolis.

    The Steelers have won only one playoff game since the 2011 postseason by beating the Bengals in last year’s Wild Card game, 18-16. Pittsburgh has dropped its previous two home Wild Card games to Baltimore in 2014 and Jacksonville in 2007. In 17 career playoff games, Roethlisberger is 11-6, including a 5-3 home mark.

    LINE MOVEMENT

    The Las Vegas Westgate Superbook opened the Steelers as 10-point favorites at even money, while the total opened at 47. Pittsburgh has been bet up to 10 ½ and even 11 at several books, as the total has dropped to 45 ½ with game time temperatures hovering in the teens at 13 degrees.

    HANDICAPPER’S CORNER

    VegasInsider.com handicapper Joe Nelson takes a look at Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin playoff history, which isn’t sterling, “Tomlin is 6-5 SU in his playoff career, but the Steelers are just 1-4 SU and 0-4-1 ATS in the past five postseason games going back to the Super Bowl XLV loss six years ago. This will be the biggest favorite spread for the Steelers in the playoffs under Tomlin and Pittsburgh’s largest playoff margin of victory under Tomlin is 11 points during the 2009 championship run with the last five Pittsburgh playoff wins coming by nine or fewer points.”

    Nelson points out an interesting trend involving heavy playoff favorites and their recent success, “Playoff favorites of 10 or more points are rare with this being the just the sixth instance over the last seven seasons with those teams going 5-1 SU and ATS. From 2000 to 2009 double-digit playoff favorites went just 7-6 SU and 2-10-1 ATS."

    PROPS – According to the Las Vegas Westgate Superbook

    Miami

    M. Moore – Total Gross Passing Yards
    235 ½ - OVER (-110)
    235 ½ - UNDER (-110)

    M. Moore – Total Touchdown Passes
    1 ½ - OVER (+120)
    1 ½ - UNDER (-140)

    Pittsburgh

    B. Roethlisberger – Total Completions
    23 ½ - OVER (-110)
    23 ½ - UNDER (-110)

    B. Roethlisberger – Total Touchdown Passes
    2 – OVER (-135)
    2 – UNDER (+115)

    L. Bell – Total Rushing Yards
    95 ½ - OVER (-110)
    95 ½ - UNDER (-110)

    A. Brown – Total Receiving Yards
    88 ½ - OVER (-110)
    88 ½ - UNDER (-110)

    SUPER BOWL ODDS

    The Dolphins began the season at 50/1 odds to win Super Bowl LI at the Westgate Superbook, but those odds have jumped to 100/1 with a visit to Pittsburgh, followed by a potential meeting with New England next week. Pittsburgh was one of the three favorites at 8/1 to start the season, as those odds have stayed at the same 8/1 odds heading into Sunday’s action.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    WC - Giants at Packers
    January 6, 2017


    Editor's note: Since Oct. 23, Brian Edwards owns a 36-22 NFL record (62%, +11.6 units), so don't miss out on his Sunday selections that are poised to hit big!

    Eli Manning has the same amount of postseason wins at Lambeau Field as Aaron Rodgers does. The Giants have gone into Green Bay and twice sent the Packers to vacation early since 2007. The G-Men will get a shot at the hat trick Sunday when they invade the frozen tundra to face Rodgers and Co. at 4:40 p.m. Eastern on FOX.

    The weather is going to be brutal, but it won’t be on the level it was in January of 2008 when Tom Coughlin’s face appeared as if it was going to need reconstructive surgery. As of Friday, the forecast was calling for a low temperature of seven degrees Sunday night. Winds could reach nine miles per hour and bring the wind chill down to one degree.

    As of Friday afternoon, most betting shops had Green Bay listed as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 44.5. Gamblers could take New York on the money line for a +185 return (risk $100 to win $185). For first-half wagers, the Packers were three-point ‘chalk’ (with a -115 or -120 price attached to it) with a total of 22.5 points.

    Green Bay (10-6 straight up, 9-6-1 against the spread) lost four straight games and five of six to leave it with a 4-6 record in mid-November. The sky was falling in Wisconsin and the critics were out in force.

    Since then, however, Mike McCarthy’s squad has ripped off six consecutive victories to win the NFC North. The Packers are 5-1 ATS during this span, winning three of those games by double digits and five by at least seven points.

    Green Bay went to Ford Field last Sunday night with the division title on the line and captured a 31-24 win at Detroit as a 3.5-point road favorite. The 55 combined points slipped ‘over’ the 50.5-point total with 13 seconds remaining when Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford hit Anquan Boldin for a 35-yard scoring strike.

    Rodgers completed 27-of-39 throws for 300 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. He also scrambled for 42 yards on 10 attempts in a flawless performance. In the last seven games, the University of California product has carried his team to the postseason by throwing 18 TD passes without being intercepted.

    Geronimo Allison hauled in four receptions for 91 yards and one TD, while Jordy Nelson had six catches for 66 yards against the Lions. Davante Adams had six grabs for 31 yards and two TDs, and Jared Cook brought down four catches for 56 yards. Aaron Ripkowski rushed for 61 yards on nine carries, while Ty Montgomery had 44 rushing yards on eight attempts.

    Green Bay has won six of its eight home games while compiling a 5-2-1 spread record at Lambeau. When listed as single-digit home ‘chalk,’ the Packers have posted a 4-2-1 spread record with a pair of outright defeats.

    McCarthy’s offense is ranked fourth in the NFL in scoring, averaging 27.0 points per game. The Packers are eighth in total offense, seventh in passing and 20th in rushing.

    Rodgers has connected on 65.7 percent of his passes for the season, netting 4,428 passing yards with a 40/7 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Nelson has made 97 receptions for 1,257 yards and 14 TDs, while Adams has hauled in 75 catches for 997 yards and 12 TDs. Randall Cobb, who has missed three games, including the last two but is ‘probable’ this week, has 60 grabs for 610 yards and four TDs.

    Montgomery, a second-year player out of Stanford who moved from WR to RB this year due to injuries, has a team-best 457 rushing yards and three TDs with a 5.9 yards per carry. Montgomery also has 44 catches for 348 yards.

    Green Bay is ranked 22nd in the league in total defense, 31st against the pass, eighth versus the run and 21st in scoring (24.2 PPG). This unit is led by LB Nick Perry and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who has 62 tackles, 18 assists, seven passes defensed, one forced fumble and five interceptions. Perry missed a pair of games but still recorded a team-high 11 sacks, 35 tackles, 17 assists, four passes defensed and one interception.

    New York (11-5 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) garnered a wild-card berth by winning nine of its last 11 games while compiling an 8-3 spread record. The Giants closed the regular season in style by denying division-rival Washington a playoff berth by capturing a 19-10 win as nine-point road underdogs. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted a pair of Kirk Cousins’ passes and recorded a sack. Trevin Wade scooped up a fumble and returned it 11 yards for a TD on the game’s final play.

    Manning is hoping to lead his team to a third Super Bowl victory on his watch. The Ole Miss product completed 63.0 percent of his passes during the regular season for 4,027 yards with a 26/16 TD-INT ratio. His favorite target is Odell Beckham Jr., who has 101 receptions for 1,367 yards and 10 TDs.

    Sterling Shepard enjoyed a breakout rookie campaign, bringing down 65 catches for 683 yards and eight TDs. After missing all of last season and most of the previous year, Victor Cruz returned to play in 15 games and start in 12. He isn’t nearly the player he used to be, but he had 39 receptions for 586 yards and one TD.

    New York’s ground game leaves a lot to be desired, ranking 29th in the league. The G-Men are just 25th in total offense and 26th in scoring (19.4 PPG).

    In 13 games, Rashad Jennings rushed for a team-high 593 yards but did so while averaging a pedestrian 3.3 YPC. Paul Perkins, a rookie RB out of UCLA who rushed for a career-high 101 yards on 21 carries last week at Washington, has run for 456 yards while averaging 4.1 YPC. Jennings has 35 receptions for 201 yards and one TD, while Perkins has 15 catches for 162 yards.

    New York is ranked second in the NFL in scoring defense, giving up just 17.8 PPG. The Giants are 10th in total defense and fourth at defending the run.

    This unit is led by safety Landon Collins, who has 100 tackles, 25 assists, five interceptions, four sacks, one fumble recovery and 13 passes defensed. Rodgers-Cromartie produced 41 tackles, eight assists, 21 passes defensed, one forced fumble, one sack and a team-best six interceptions.

    The Giants are 4-3-1 ATS with four outright victories in eight games as underdogs.

    When these teams met at Lambeau in Week 5, Green Bay won a 23-16 decision as a seven-point home ‘chalk.’ The Giants managed the backdoor push by getting an eight-yard TD pass from Manning to Beckham with 2:54 remaining. The 39 combined points fell ‘under’ the 49-point total.

    Rodgers completed 23-of-45 passes for 259 yards and two TDs, but he was intercepted twice by veteran CB Janoris Jenkins. Eddie Lacy, who is on injured reserve and won’t be available this time around, rushed for 81 yards on 11 attempts. Cobb had nine receptions for 108 yards, while Adams had five catches for 85 yards and one TD. Nelson had four grabs for 38 yards and one TD.

    Manning completed 18-of-35 throws for 199 yards and one TD without an interception. Beckham had five catches for 56 yards and one TD.

    We mentioned the ’08 game earlier, Brett Favre’s last as a Packer. He was intercepted in overtime by LSU product Corey Webster, whose pick set up Lawrence Tynes’ for the 47-yard game-winning FG to send the G-Men to the Super Bowl. On that unfathomably cold day, Manning completed 21-of-40 passes for 251 yards.

    On Jan. 15 of 2012, New York once again had to go through Green Bay on its way to another Super Bowl. But there was no drama on that day, as the Giants smashed the Packers 37-20 as 8.5-point road underdogs. Manning connected on 21-of-33 passes for 330 yards with three TDs and one interception. Cruz had five catches for 74 yards.

    Rodgers completed 26-of-46 attempts for 264 yards with two TDs and one interception. Nelson had three receptions for 39 yards, while Cobb had three catches for 38 yards.

    New York has won four of the last six head-to-head meetings dating back to the January ’08 game, going 5-1-1 ATS. The ‘under’ has cashed in three straight encounters.

    The ‘under’ is on a 7-1 roll for the Giants in their last eight outings. They’ve watched the ‘under’ go 12-4 overall, 7-1 in their eight road assignments. Their games have averaged combined scores of 37.1 PPG. The ‘over’ has hit in four straight Green Bay games and eight of its last 10. The ‘over’ is 10-6 overall for Green Bay, 4-4 in its home contests. The Packers have seen their games average combined scores of 51.2 PPG.

    Green Bay CB Quinten Rollins left last week’s win at Detroit and is in the concussion protocol. Rollins, who is listed as ‘questionable’ (as of Friday), has started 10 games and has 39 tackles, two assists, eight passes defensed and one interception.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Total Talk - WC Sunday
    January 7, 2017


    Bettors are starting at higher totals for Sunday’s NFL Wild Card matchups and the two games on tap both feature a solid ‘over’ team versus a solid ‘under’ team.

    As mentioned in Saturday’s piece, the ‘under’ has gone 12-3-1 (80%) in the Wild Card Round the last past four postseasons and both the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers have contributed to that record.

    Both of the games on tap for Sunday are expected to be played in extremely cold weather conditions and while the wind might not play that big of a factor, it’s fair to say that neither of the four teams will be comfortable.

    For the playoffs, I’m going to break every game and offer up my quick handicap and prediction for all the matchups. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

    Sunday, Jan. 8

    Miami at Pittsburgh (CBS, 1:05 p.m. ET)


    This total was sent out at 47 last Sunday and has dropped to as low as 45 ½ on Saturday morning.

    Bettors could be scratching their heads with this total because Miami has watched the ‘over’ go 12-4 this season despite having an offense ranked 24th in total yards (332.8 YPG). They averaged 22.7 points per game, which was also ranked (17th) in the bottom half of the league.

    Meanwhile Pittsburgh ranked seventh in total offense (372.6 YPG) and 11th in scoring (24.9 PPG) plus the attack put up more points at home (28.2 PPG) yet total bettors saw the team lean 10-6 to the ‘under’ this season.

    There are two clear-cut reasons to Miami’s results, one being big plays and the other is touchdown to field goal ratio. Miami ranked second in big plays and thrived on them all season. When these teams met in Week 6, the Dolphins ran past the Steelers 30-15 and running back Jay Ajayi racked up 204 yards but make a note that 62 of those yards came on a meaningless touchdown run in the final minute of the game.

    The Dolphins scored six times in that contest, three touchdowns and three field goals with the latter being a rare occurrence this season. Miami put up 41 offensive touchdowns and only 16 field goals. Including that result, the Steelers only gave up 30-plus points three times this season and they lost all three of those games.

    Based on form, Pittsburgh’s offense is starting to pick up momentum and it’s averaged 26.7 PPG in the second-half of the season. That production helped the ‘over’ go 3-1 in their last four games and the Steelers did see four of their six ‘over’ tickets cash at Heinz Field.

    The Dolphins enter this contest on a 6-0 ‘over’ run and the defense or lack therof has helped the cause. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is getting mentioned in vacant head coaching opportunities and I’m not sure why when you look at the numbers. The unit is allowing 23.8 PPG and is ranked 29th in total defense (382.6 YPG). They’ve given up close to 1,000 combined yards in their last two games and it’s hard to see them righting the ship in less than a week against the three-headed offensive monster of Pittsburgh.

    Matt Moore will start for Miami at quarterback and he’s been solid in relief for Ryan Tannehill with eight touchdowns and three interceptions. He’ll be facing a Steelers defense that is suspect against the pass (242.6 YPG) but strong against the run (100 YPG).

    The Dolphins haven’t been in the playoffs since 2008 but the Steelers have a solid sample size under head coach Mike Tomlin. Pittsburgh has gone 6-5 in 11 career playoff games with him on the sidelines and the ‘over’ has gone 8-2-1 during that span with the two ‘under’ tickets coming last season.

    Fearless Prediction: The Dolphins are playing with ‘house money’ in this spot and expect their season to end on Sunday, which isn’t a surprise since Pittsburgh is an overwhelming favorite. Bettors should be aware that Steelers have seen the ‘under’ go 9-1 in their last 10 games when listed as double-digit favorites. While the Pittsburgh-Over combination is the more ‘popular’ betting choice from the public, the Pittsburgh-Under parlay has cashed six times this season. I’m going to ride that again on Sunday and play the ‘under’ (46) in the game and take the Dolphins Team Total ‘under’ (16 ½) as well.

    N.Y. Giants at Green Bay (FOX, 4:40 p.m. ET)

    It’s fair to say that the side and total in this game will be decided by the matchup between the Green Bay offense and New York defense. It’s a battle of strength versus strength and you could certainly argue both ways.

    The Giants are ranked second in scoring defense (17.8 PPG) and 10th in total defense (339.7 YPG). Those numbers have helped the ‘under’ go 12-4 for New York this season and that includes a 7-1 run to the low side in the second-half of the season.

    Meanwhile, Green Bay enters the playoffs with six straight wins and the ‘over’ closed on a 4-0 run behind an offense averaging 34.3 PPG in the last quarter of the season. QB Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been picked off during the winning streak while throwing for 15 touchdowns. Some pundits have questioned the quality of opponents for the Packers but three of those efforts came against playoff squads in Houston, Seattle and Detroit.

    Defensively, these teams are very similar. They both finished the season with 25 takeaways and they had identical numbers in interceptions (18) and fumbles (7). New York (88.6 YPG) and Green Bay (94.7 YPG) were ranked fourth and eighth in rushing yards allowed, which makes you believe that both teams will be use the pass to open up the run. And if you look at the defensive numbers against the pass for both the Giants (251 YPG) and Packers (269 YPG), ranked 23rd and 31st, the ball should be flying around on Sunday.

    The one question mark in this game is New York’s offense, in particular QB Eli Manning. The Giants regressed this season with 19.4 PPG compared to 26.2 PPG in the 2015 campaign. His numbers were down in yards, completions and touchdowns while has interceptions (16) have gone up from the two previous seasons.

    When these teams met on Oct. 9 from Lambeau Field, Manning completed a season-low 51.4 percent (18-of-35) of his passes as the Giants dropped a 23-16 decision to the Packers. New York only managed one touchdown which came in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Fortunately for the Giants, Rodgers was off his game too (23-of-45, 259 yards, 2 TDS, 2 INTs) and Green Bay had to settle for three short field goals.

    Including the meeting against the Packers, the Giants saw all three of their other games against the NFC North go ‘under’ this season. Green Bay was 3-1 to the ‘under’ versus the NFC East this season.

    Since Manning has started for the Giants, the club has gone 8-3 in the playoffs which includes a pair of four-game winning streaks that ended in Super Bowl victories. The ‘under’ has gone 9-2 during this span but coincidentally the two ‘over’ winners came in victories against Green Bay from Lambeau Field.

    The Giants stunned Green Bay and Brett Favre 23-20 in overtime of the 2007 NFC Championship game and ran past them again in the 2011 playoffs with a 37-20 victory in the Divisional Playoffs round. Manning was solid in both games but he didn’t make any mistakes and that’s the key to his success. Make a note that he’s 0-2 in the playoffs when he tosses two or more picks in a game.

    Green Bay has gone 7-6 with Rodgers in the playoffs and the ‘over’ has posted a 7-6 in those games as well behind an offense averaging 28 PPG. The Packers have only played four home games in the postseason with him and they’ve gone 2-2 in those contests while the ‘under’ has produced a 3-1 mark.

    Fearless Prediction: In the first encounter between the pair in October, they combined for nine scores with six of them being field goals. I think both clubs will get at least four scores and if the weather plays a role, those short field goal attempts could turn into extra opportunities for touchdowns. My lean is to the Giants Team Total ‘over’ (19 ½) and the game ‘over’ (44 ½).
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  14. #29
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    Sunday's Playoff Action
    January 6, 2017


    AFC Wildcard Game (CBS, 1:05 p.m. ET)
    Miami Dolphins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

    Sportsbook.ag Odds: Pittsburgh (-10); Total set at 46


    It was announced today that the Miami Dolphins have officially ruled QB Ryan Tannehill out for Sunday's game to the Dolphins will be going back to war with journeyman Matt Moore under center.

    Moore performed amicably in reserve duty down the stretch for the Dolphins as they were able to win three of their final four games to clinch a playoff spot, and wasn't bad in the season finale against New England (24-for-34 for 205 yards, 2 TD's and 1 INT) in a game of little consequence for Miami.

    But the Dolphins will need him to likely put up 30+ points again as he did vs the Jets and Bills if they want to leave Pittsburgh with a win as the Steelers possess one of the most explosive offenses in the league.

    The Steelers finished the year on a seven-game win streak, winning the AFC North in the process. They were dominant on offense during that time as they scored 24 or more points in all seven of those victories. There defense seemed to find their form as well as they climbed up the stats down the stretch.

    It isn't the same dominant Steelers defense they've had in year's past, but they are more then capable of getting stops when needed. The 2016 Steelers are also built to win with their offense as QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le'Veon Bell, and WR Antonio Brown – affectionately known as the “Three B's” - are some of the best at their respective positions in this league. Those three were largely held in check in their previous meeting with Miami down in South Beach, but with everything on the line here and the game in Pittsburgh, a much different story should be written.

    Although #3 vs. #6 seeds tend to have bigger point spreads, putting a double digit number on a Wildcard game is a little out of the norm. But the -10 spread Pittsburgh is looking to cover speaks to how explosive their offense is, how good the team was as a whole the final two months, and Miami coming into town with a backup QB.

    Yet, current numbers at VegasInsider show about 60% of bettors willing to grab the points with this large spread as they believe it's just too big of a number for this Steelers team to cover against a foe that is already 1-0 SU against them this season.

    That 30-15 win by Miami over Pittsburgh came in a similar scenario to this one in that Pittsburgh was coming off two blowout wins (winning by a combined core of 74-27) and had opened the year 4-1 SU. The trip to Miami (with New England on deck) was set up to be a prime letdown spot for the Steelers and they did not let those who believe in that scenario down.

    Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi rushed for over 200 yards against this Steelers defense and Dolphins bettors (+7.5) never had to sweat. As impressive as that performance was for Miami, there is no denying that both sides are much different teams now and even the change of venue should have an affect. So if you are one of those who is basing your play on Miami plus the points on the fact that they did beat Pittsburgh already, I'd implore you to look a little deeper.

    That Miami loss was the only time the Steelers failed to cover a spread as favorites of at least a TD (3-0 ATS) and that 15-point loss in the first meeting when Pittsburgh was -7.5, seemingly has little effect on the spread this time around. Add in the typical 3 points for home field and it's essentially the same line as before on the Steelers. Throw in the top tier form Pittsburgh is in right now, Miami's QB situation, and the revenge angle favoring the home side, and this game should very well be the blowout that oddsmakers are expecting.

    Pittsburgh is on a 6-1 ATS run in playoff home games and have a 4-1-1 ATS run going against AFC foes. They've got a core that knows how to perform at peak levels during this time of year and will not want to give the Dolphins any hope of remaining competitive right from the outset.

    Miami is not a regular organization in the playoffs lately, but their 0-4 ATS record in their last four postseason contests, and 1-4 ATS mark in the last five playoff road games doesn't do them any favors. They are also 3-10 ATS after scoring less than 15 points last time out and have a 3-7 ATS run going against winning teams. The fact that it's the Dolphins who are getting more tickets written at this point and the spread hasn't come off the key number of -10 suggests that oddsmakers are fine with their position and will have no quarrels about seeing a Steelers blowout.

    Best Bet: Take Pittsburgh -10

    NFC Wildcard Game (FOX, 4:15 p.m. ET)
    New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers

    Sportsbook.ag Odds: Green Bay (-4.5); Total set at 44.5


    This Giants/Packers NFC Wildcard game has enormous potential to be the best playoff game of the bunch this weekend. Both teams have the talent to make a deep run in these playoffs and it will be a shame to see the loser eliminated right off the bat.

    For the Giants it's familiar territory as both of their Super Bowl runs in 2007 and 2011 went through Green Bay at some point and they'd love to start their 2016 playoff run with a similar result.

    Will they be able to pull off the upset and stop one of the NFL's hottest teams dead in their tracks?

    At 11-5 SU, the New York Giants hold the distinction of being the only team this year to beat the Dallas Cowboys. Eli and company were able to do that twice and a win in Green Bay would likely set up a third matchup between the two next round. But it's the Giants offense that has been a big cause for concern for bettors as they've failed to put 20 points up on the scoreboard in five consecutive games.

    Even with the stout defense they've got, chances are you won't beat Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on their home field without scoring at least 20 points. We've seen Eli Manning get hot in the playoffs before though and knowing that he's won at Lambeau Field multiple times before in the playoffs will likely give him the confidence to execute at a high level on Sunday.

    Green Bay stormed to the NFC North title by doing exactly what Aaron Rodgers said they'd do when they were 4-6 SU: run the table. Green Bay obliterated their opponents for the most part during their six-game winning streak and it was the offense that led the way.

    The Packers finished the year with four straight games of scoring 30+ points, and while the defense still leaves a bit to be desired, as long as the offense continues rolling like it has, Green Bay could end up being one of the most dangerous #4 seeds we've seen in a long time. They've already beaten the Giants once this year (23-16) on this field and it was before the Packers went on this tear.

    But revenge can be a funny thing come playoff time and if it comes down to which defense can make that key stop, you've got to give the edge to the Giants.

    As an organization the Giants don't seem to mind being a road team in the playoffs. They are 9-0 ATS the last nine times they've been in that spot, and have got a 4-1 ATS mark going in their last five Wildcard games.

    There is no doubt that they've not only watched plenty of film on that prior loss to Green Bay, but also what the Packers have done during this winning streak and will come up with a solid gameplan to counteract it all. Yes, the Giants have had trouble scoring down the stretch, but three of their final four opponents never scored more then 10 points against them.

    Holding Green Bay under that number will be tough, but the Giants are more then capable of winning this game with something like a 20-17 scoreline. With a total of 44.5, this game could very well be the first to 20 points wins.

    If that's the case many will prefer Green Bay's chances and a small majority already are. Vegas Insider's numbers show about 55% of the money backing the Packers, pushing this number to -4.5 after opening up at -3.5. Crossing through the key number of “4” is huge, but it does also create a bit of value the other way now.

    The Giants may have given up 23 points in the loss to the Packers earlier, but only 6 of those points came in the second half of that game. Aaron Rodgers completed just over 50% of his passes (23-for-45) which is absurdly low for him and was picked off twice.

    If New York can get a similar performance from their defense here, the offense should be able to pick up the rest of the slack and keep this within a FG game; if not win outright. The Packers may be the team that received a flood of money on Super Bowl futures this week, but they might not even escape the Wildcard round.

    Best Bet: Take the points with the New York Giants (+4.5)
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  15. #30
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    NFL

    Sunday, January 8


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    NFL Wild Card betting preview: Dolphins at Steelers
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    With no Ryan Tannehill for the Dolphins, Antonio Brown and the Steelers are currently 10-point favorites in their Wild Card matchup.

    Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers (-10, 45.5)

    The Pittsburgh Steelers enter the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak and tied for the most postseason victories (34) in league history, but they are not focused on their string of successes. Instead, the Steelers will be looking to atone for one of their worst performances of the season when they host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday in an AFC wild-card matchup.

    Pittsburgh secured the AFC North title and the No. 3 seed in the conference with its strong finishing run, which partly was necessitated by a four-game losing streak that started with a 30-15 drubbing in Miami on Oct. 15. While the Steelers will be at home in the rematch and temperatures are expected to peak at a frosty 20 degrees on Sunday, offensive coordinator Todd Haley did little to douse the revenge angle by proclaiming: "We’re thankful we get another crack at a team that kicked our butts." The Dolphins won nine of 10 prior to a loss to New England in the regular-season finale to nail down their first postseason berth since 2008, but they lost starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill to injury in Week 14 and will be forced to go with veteran Matt Moore versus Pittsburgh. "I feel real good," Moore, who will be making his first career postseason start, told reporters. "It's an unbelievable opportunity. ... This is my second time ever being part of a team that's going to the playoffs, so I'm excited."

    TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, CBS.

    POWER RANKINGS: Dolphins (-0.5) - Steelers (-5) + home field (-3) = Steelers -7.5

    LINE HISTORY: The Steelers opened as 10-point home favorites and that line appears fine with bettors as it hasn’t moved. The total hit the betting board at 47.5 and has been bet down two full points to 45.5. Check out the complete history here.

    WEATHER REPORT: The forecast for Heinz Field is Pittsburgh is calling for mainly cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 20’s at kickoff. The wind could be a factor blowing out of the northwest between 12-16 mph.

    WHAT BOOKS SAY: We opened the Steelers as a 10 point favourite at home and took early acton on the Dolphins (over 55%) but not enough to move our line. Just now we moved the Steelers to -10.5 as we took some sharp action on them at -10. As we sit now we have just over 50% of the action on the Dolphins to cover the spread.

    INJURY REPORT:

    Dolphins
    - CB Byron Maxwell (probable, ankle), LB Jelani Jenkins (probable, knee), DE Mario Williams (probable, ankle), S Bacarri Rambo (questionable, chest), QB Ryan Tannehill (out indefinitely, knee)

    Steelers - CB Justin Gilbert (probable, shoulder), TE Ladarius Green (probable, concussion), WR Sammie Coates (probable, hamstring), DE Stephon Tuitt (probable, knee), DE Johnny Maxey (questionable, ankle), LB Vince Williams (questionable, shoulder), S Robert Golden (questionable, ankle), DE Ricardo Mathews (questionable, ankle), LB Anthony Chickillo (questionable, ankle)

    ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (10-6 SU, 9-7 ATS, 12-4 O/U): No matter who is under center, Miami's game plan figures to follow the blueprint of the mid-October matchup, when running back Jay Ajayi tore through Pittsburgh's defense for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. It was the first of three 200-yard rushing performances this season by Ajayi, which is why Steelers coach Mike Tomlin stressed that Pittsburgh's defense cannot act like his dominant game "was by no means a lightning strike." Moore, who had just 30 pass attempts in his previous four seasons with the Dolphins, put up solid numbers in his three starts (674 yards, eight TDs, three interceptions) and has a trio of talented wide receivers in Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills. Miami's defense ranked 30th against the run (140.4 yards per game) but limited Steelers rushers to 53 yards in the first matchup.

    ABOUT THE STEELERS (11-5 SU, 9-6-1 ATS, 6-10 O/U):
    Le'Veon Bell ran a season-low 10 times against Miami, but he recorded at least 20 carries in each of his last six games before sitting out Week 17 and was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for December/January after rushing for 569 yards and four touchdowns while catching 18 passes in four games. "This is going to be my first playoff game in my fourth year in the league. I'm going to be pumped, and I need that," Bell told reporters. "I obviously want to go out there and show some people what I can do." Bell is one of two elite weapons for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has two Super Bowl championships on his resume and one of the league's top wideouts in Antonio Brown - the conference leader with 12 touchdown receptions who surpassed 100 catches for the fourth straight season. Pittsburgh's defense led the league with 21 sacks from Weeks 11-16.

    TRENDS:

    * Dolphins are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 playoff games.
    * Steelers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 playoff home games.
    * Over is 6-0 in Dolphins last 6 games overall.
    * Over is 12-3-1 in Steelers last 16 playoff home games.
    * Underdog is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.

    CONSENSUS: So far the betting public is backing the underdog with 52 percent of users wagering on the Dolphins. Meanwhile the Over is getting 56 percent of the action on the total.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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