A #1 seed in the NFC hasn't lost a conference championship game since the 2002 Philadelphia Eagles. Are the Falcons going to join them or will we see them defy the odds?
There aren't many souls in the football landscape willing to take a chance on the Houston Texans vs the New England Patriots on Sunday. I'm going to go against the grain and make a case for the Texans, so let's take a closer look at this juicy Divisional round match-up.
Before the Wild Card round, Vegas put up -7.5 in favor of the Patriots for their theoretical match-up with the Texans. After reviewing everything, this was a very accurate point spread for this game. Yet, after the weekend games, the line re-opened at -9.5. There hasn't been a lot of movement during the week as it still hovers around the -9 to -10 range (odds from SBRforum). Books know if they drop it below -9 they'll get a ton of teaser action on the Patriots.Between -7.5 and -9.5 there aren't any "key numbers", but once you hit -10 you have to begin looking at the underdog. With a 2.5 point inflation, I'm more than prepared to ride the Texans and take my chances.
Blood in the Water?
Can Matt Ryan finally win a playoff game? Have the Seattle Seahawks suddenly become road warriors? Let's dig into this compelling match-up and see where the value lies.
Here's an interesting point spread to talk about. Last week in the Vegas look-ahead lines, the Falcons were listed as -3 point favorites vs the Seahawks, but after Seattle handled the Redskins they re-opened it at -2.5.
So what's changed during the week? Well, not much. Perhaps reluctantly, most books have moved the line to -3 with a bit extra juice if you like the underdog (odds from SBRforum). Essentially this line sits at -2.75 so if you like the Falcons you can grab -2.5 at an affordable price too.
The Dark Cloud of Failure
The Falcons coaches and players can talk all they want about how they aren't thinking about their lack of playoff success, but that's the most obvious lie of the century.
The Packers and 49ers met to open the season and now for one of them, they're about to close their season too. Does that game matter? How does Kaepernick change things? Let's take a closer look at this Divisional Round match-up.
Many people expected the Packers to defeat the Vikings in the Wild Card round, including Vegas. Therefore, there isn't much change in the look-ahead line. Last week Vegas put out theoretical point spreads and the Packers were +3 dogs vs the 49ers. It re-opened at +3.25 with the option to lay a bit extra juice on either side for a favorable number.
But there's been some movement early in the week. If you like the Packers (like I do), you'll have to lay a bit extra juice just for +3 (odds from SBRforum). Will it move off the 3? It could at some point, but it would take a lot considering what a key number it is and the amount of money expected to be bet on this game.
I'm not going to take any chances and go ahead and grab the +3 now.
Much Ado About Nothing
The Denver Broncos have won 11 straight games. The Ravens are coming off an inspired playoff win at home, but enter the game as big underdogs. Do they have a chance to win this game? Can they cover the point spread? Let's take a closer look at this Saturday match-up.
Prior to the Wild Card round, Vegas put up a theoretical point spread for every potential Divisional Round match-up. For the Ravens/Broncos, they put up a line of -7. At that number I would have made Denver an official pick this week, but when things re-opened for betting on Sunday night the Broncos were listed at -9.5 (odds from SBRforum). That's not a number I want to get involved with, but it's also not inflated enough to come in on the underdog either. The true point spread for this game should be Broncos -7.5.
Do the Ravens Have a Chance?
In a word, no.