Parlay at +155:
Mitrione (-135) & Josh Thompson (-210)
Oli Thompson +210
Derrick Lewis -115
Parlay at +205:
The Big Game is here! The only thing more fun than betting on the line is betting on the props! Here are some of mine, categorized:
Will a player be seen kneeling during the national anthem for either team? No @ -500
This is at -700 now and it’s a bit high, but I am 99% sure that no one on either side will pull a Kaepernick for this year’s Super Bowl. We’re only 2 weeks into Trump’s term and while there’s been a lot of awful, crazy shit…..it hasn’t gotten to the point where athletes really start to stick it to him. No player has kneeled all year for either team, a few Patriots players rose their fists earlier in the year (Martellus Bennett might do it in this game; he also said he probably won’t go to the White House if the Pats win), and the Falcons decided to “hold hands” as their show of protest in unity in a game vs the Saints in Week 3. Falcons wideout Mohamed Sanu, who is Muslim, even told the press during Media Day he was “here to talk about football” when asked about the ban. I don’t think any player would want to show up their coach/team on the biggest game of the year, especially when one team is coached by a former assistant at the Naval Academy who Trump said gave him a kiss on the cheek.
Under 117.5 Million Viewers -150
Last year’s Super Bowl’s ratings was 1 point worse than last, and the record was set two years ago at 114.4. Atlanta is a historically weak TV market, everyone is sick of the Pats being in there, and this has been a historically boring ass NFL playoffs and ratings are down for the NFL YOY in whole.
First offensive Play – Pass -115
These teams’ always like to start out with an easy throw to get the QB’s in rhythm early.
How many times will “Gronk” or “Gronkowski” be said on TV during live broadcast Under 3 -120
This line should be 2.
The Side Dishes:
Dion Lewis Over Receptions 2.5 -115
LeGarrette Blount Over Receptions 0.5 +130
I see all of the Pats’ RBs getting some easy dump off looks vs a young and over aggressive LB core for Atlanta.
Tom Brady Over Completions 25.5 -105
Brady will find people open vs an average at best ATL secondary.
Devonta Freeman Rushing Yards Over 54.5 -105
The Pats’ run defense is strong but I think Belichick plays the safeties back and gives Atlanta the inside run to contain big plays and have Atlanda get yards in between the 30s, and do what NE does best: defend the red zone.
First TD Scorer:
Matt Ryan +10000
Chris Hogan +900
LeGarrette Blount +700
Anytime Touchdown Scorer:
Tevin Coleman -125
Devonta Freeman -125
When betting MVP, you basically start at the QBs and then go out and bet the thing like a roulette wheel. The QBs win MVP 40% of the time.
Tom Brady +140
Matt Ryan +225
The next tier are offensive players you might feel has a good matchup for the game. I think considering Atlanta’s lackluster run defense, LeGarrette Blount could have a change to have a big game. It’s also a great hedge against the various passing props I have. SI’s Greg Bedard also thinks this could be a good game for Blount.
LeGarrette Blount +1600.
The wild cards are usually defensive players; last year’s was Von Miller who went from 50-1 to 16-1 before gametime, and ended up winning the MVP. I would take Vic Beasley here, but his price jumped up too much that I instead went CB for New England as both guys below are either free agents or have 1 year left on their deal, and could win the “Larry Brown Award” for overrated CB play in a Super Bowl thanks to a few INTs.
Logan Ryan +10000
Malcolm Butler +6600
The Super Bowl “Who is That?” Prop Bet of the Year (cue drumroll):
James Develin Total Receptions Over 0.5 +130
I also like Patrick DiMarco Over Receptions +250.
The Big Game:
New England -3 (-105)
Bill Belichick is 22-3 vs a coach he’s faced the first time. The #1 scoring defense (Patriots) have beaten the #1 scoring offense (Falcons) 6 out of the last 7 times they have faced. Only 3 out of the last 20 Super Bowl participants who have come into the game the #1 scoring leader has won this game (Rams 1999, Saints 2009, 49ers 1989). I just think the Patriots are a more balanced team and Atlanta is a bit too top heavy, and this is highlighted by the fact all world center Alex Mack will be having a tough go of it with a fibula injury. He makes all the calls for the Falcons line, so his health is important in their success. I think Brady, with his aging, sick mom on his mind and revenge from the NFL’s bullshit he has had to put up with over the last year, will have a great game vs a milquetoast Atlanta defense, who will have to have the game of their lives to stop the Patriots’ offense. Atlanta will move the ball, but I just see them 7-10 points behind and I also like the Patriots in a teaser with the Over (58.5). I do think things will start slow, and the under 1Q at 13.5 (-110) I am taking as well. Cousin Sal likes the “team to score in the last two minutes of the 1st Half – Yes…..but it’s at -300 and that’s a bit too much for me (but a good bet methinks). Another factor: the Patriots will have more fans at the game this Sunday, and the game is on grass which will slow Atlanta down a little bit…..and I think that creates a hidden home field advantage for the Pats.
The line staying at 3 has been curious, and many sharps have been buying it down to -2.5 -125. I think between the fact the Pats, if they win, will be tied for the best record vs the spread all time (the 1989 49ers were 16-3 vs the spread; I consider that the best team of all time) and the Falcons having a 150-1 NFL Title preseason prop, the books are caught between a rock and a hard place and can’t give the Patriots too many points especially against an Atlanta team capable of getting a miracle cover. Also, every Patriots Super Bowl has finished under 3 points.
Good luck on Sunday!
The theme of this year is how bad, some even say historically, the NFL was this year. As we said in our last podcast: it was more “bottom heavy” than “top heavy”. All 4 teams left, you could argue, really got here not because they are these great teams; all 4 have serious flaws. But they got here because they most likely had the easiest path of resistance on the path to the Super Bowl, especially in the last 6 games. However, since all of these teams have had easy roads, its hard to pick out who is the “sneaky” good team that maybe didn’t have a 14-2 record but who competed against the league’s top tier better than most. Historically, these teams who get deep into the playoffs with shitty schedules, don’t do well, as shown in this article.
The Patriots, the AFC’s #1 seed, had the 6th worst schedule in the modern era. Pittsburgh’s last 6 opponents this year were 14 games UNDER .500, batting at a .433 clip. Atlanta’s NFC South was absolute dogshit this year with the other 3 teams having a 22-25 record, and Aaron Rodgers carved up some incredibly scoring challenged teams in the NFC North (combined record 20-28) at the end of this year for his historical run he’s on (25 TD, 1 INT in his last 9 games). Usually, teams who get to this point thanks more to the lack of strength of the opponent rather than their own, it usually bites them in the ass in the end. This is why the 2015 Broncos, in retrospect, were so over looked: yes, their offense barely skated by, but their defense’s prowess vs some of the best teams of the league were (and should of been, for yours truly) an indicator of the fact they were the best team at the end of the year because they were BEATING the best teams (and not the Panthers, who we found out were basically a bunch of 15-1 front runners vs a soft NFC South and a weak NFC last year).
What does this mean? Two things:
A) In the years coming, unless the league does something stupid like extend the schedule by 2 games, or the playoff spot by one game (which changes these bets entirely for reasons I won’t even get into because it would take 1000 words), I think in the middle of the year when we are looking at division props, we should cherry pick not the teams who we think will necessarily WIN their divisions based on talent/health/form, but those based on simply by looking at the schedules and making that choice on the merits of those teams’ schedule strength .
B) I think this will account for close games at the end of the year and especially today, because there really isn’t one cut away team in these fields but a mash of top tier teams who all have flaws. It goes to demonstrate that the “age of parity” in the NFL is pretty much kaput, IMO.
And here are the picks:
Packers +4 (+105)
One theme in this year’s playoff: the team with the better QB, often wins the game. Aaron Rodgers has been on absolute fire in the last 10 games, and the Packers on a roll heading into the last game at the historical Georgia Dome, whose biggest memory is when Goldberg beat Hulk Hogan for the WCW title in 1998. Rodgers does well in domes, and his offenses have put up 52 and 33 in his last 2 games here. The team has come down with a locker room sickness, but they should feel a bit better today as both DeVante Adams and Jordy Nelson are expected to play. Do I think the Packers *win* outright? That’s a hard sell because Atlanta’s offense is so good and Green Bay’s defense nearly blew a 18 point lead vs Dallas last week. But considering the Falcons’ history of choking in these spots, including blowing a 14 point halftime lead vs the 49ers in 2013, taking the Green Bay ML isn’t a bad play here, either. The talk of the week has been the O/U, set at 61. I’m taking the under after seeing these stats on today’s NFL ref. I’ve seen many sharps take the under as that is the biggest O/U in playoff history, and the public is loving the over with both the league’s highest scoring offense (Atlanta) vs it’s hottest QB (Rodgers). The Under is probably the play there as games do tend to get a little tighter and closer at the end of the year, and considering the fact that we are also getting juice here, I say take the Packers and the points is the safe play. Green Bay 30, Atlanta 27 is my final score here.
Did you know that the Pats are two covers away from being tied for the best record against the spread in a single year (17-2)? That was by the 1989 SF 49ers, the greatest team I Have ever seen IMO. The lines they covered were far greater than the Pats one’s today, as it was common to see double digit lines in the 80s and 90s. Not so much today, and not so much for this Pats team, who in their gutsy cover last week showed some serious flaws in WR depth, interior offensive line play, and just turnovers in general. Granted, the Texans had the league (statistically) #1 defense, and it showed as DE Javeon Clowney really showed us something in these playoffs. That being said, the Steelers’ come in with a rash of injuries as well, especially at WR and TE, and that inpacted their red zone output in a gritty win in KC last week where they kicked 6 FGs and still won the damn game vs KC’s pathetic offense. The Steelers have shown road toughness down the stretch, and I think they can keep it close and cover but I just think the combination of Big Ben’s season long high ankle sprain, which has effected his accuracy, as well as the Steelers’ penchant of settling for field goals, will kill them in the end. I wish I could bet a prop where when the Pats turn the ball over, that the Steelers settle for a FG on the ensuing drive. I’m also taking a prop: Steelers Over FG 1.5 -135. We could have a miracle cover in this game. If the Pats had Gronk, I’d pick them to cover here……but with Brady being at home, 9-2 vs PIT in his career, and a healthy Julian Edelman, it should be enough to carry the Pats to the Super Bowl. Pats 27, Steelers 23.
One interesting stat: since moving to the 6 playoff team system, the #1 and #2 seeds were 12-12 in the divisional round up until 2010. Since then? 16-4. Goes to show that the parody of the league is going in the OTHER direction towards top heavy (or as Lou noted, bottom heavy), and that was reflected in all of the faves covering last week.
New England -16
I can’t take the Texans and the points…even though I really should according to the betting numbers. It’s going to be cold, New England is healthy and rested, and the Texans offense is historically bad. It’s also most likely Patriots’ great, and current Texans’ DL’s Vince Wilfork’s, last game….and it will be at Gillette Stadium. Hope he gets a good ovation. But it’s Belichick and Brady at home, and I think they take care of business and cover. On a side note: if the Texans some how win, I would consider this the biggest upset in AFC Playoff history. They are a +900 underdog. Here are some of the other big ML dogs in playoff history:
Biggest #NFLPlayoffs money-line dogs
SD +736 at NE '08
JAX +604 at NE '08
DEN +569 at NE '12
CAR +569 at SEA '15
HOU +900 at NE Saturday pic.twitter.com/gE35dZIve4
— Bet Labs Sports (@Bet_Labs) January 12, 2017
No Jordy Nelson hurts the Pack, but I am taking the most likely MVP candidate and HOFer Aaron Rodgers over a rookie QB making his first start. This game is also indoors, and I think that favors the Packers’ passing game vs a milquetoast Dallas secondary.
No Earl Thomas = bad news for the Seahawks, who nearly lost to these same Falcons at home if it wasn’t for a blown pass interference call on WR Julio Jones back in October. Indoors, I think the Falcons take care of business and put up some big numbers on the board on Saturday afternoon. The X factor for Seattle: Can they run the ball as well as they did last week?
This game got moved back to 8:20pm due to an ice storm (lame). Either way, if you look at Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger’s splits home and away, he’s a totally different QB on the road, losing over 30+ points on his QB rating this year alone as a road starter. Add the still icy/cold conditions, not only do I like KC, I also like the Under at 44.
The quest to go undefeated against the spread during the playoffs has begun! I’ve only known one person who went 9-0-2 (in 2010), and I have never known anyone who went 11-0 against the spread during a playoff season. Always a fun quest, and great for degeneracy bragging rights!
Oakland +4 (-110)
I love that the 4:30pm Saturday NFL Playoff game has become the annual, “AFC South Winner vs Shitty Wild Card Team That You Can Skip On a Saturday Afternoon Bowl”. Have a family? Need to do some errands? Wanna find some time to get a run in? Welp, the NFL just has the time slot for you! Of course, I don’t have a life, or a family, and will probably watch this game alone rooting for a QB making his first NFL start vs another QB who lost his job mid-season to a guy who was one hit away from a nursing home last year in Denver. I think someone wins this game by 3, hence if Houston were to fall to -3 or lower, I might of taken them. But gimme the points here *and* I also like the Over 37 at -105. In the last 30 years, any playoff total of 40, the over has hit 60% of the time, and 38 or lower, the total has hit 65% of the time. I expect fail to equal points here, so I also advise taking a look at the “Defensive TD” and “Special Teams TD” props if you can get them for this game. It should be a blooper reel of bad football fun!
Miami +10 (-110)
Just way too many points. Matt Moore has been good this year, and historically (with the Panthers), ATS all his career. Miami is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games, and the only game they haven’t covered this month was vs New England. Pittsburgh is talented but a bit top heavy; they lack in major depth in most areas and they are just one knock on Old Big Ben’s knee away from the “Not Jarvis” Landry Jones experience. Pittsburgh keeps teams in games unnecessarily because as skilled of a play caller PIT OC Tood Haley is, sometimes he does get too cute and throws the ball too much. The Pittsburgh Front 7 isn’t what it used to be in prior years, and looked awful vs these Dolphins earlier in the year when Lawrence Timmons was puking (vodka from South Beach the night before) onto the field and the MIA RB Jay Ajayi era was born. This line should be from +7.5 to +8.5. We’ll take the points here.
Giants +4.5 (-110)
This started at 7 for the NYG. The Giants have the best playing secondary going into the tournament, and Green Bay is playing at home in cold weather, which actually favors the Giants as it will help them like it did in 2011 vs Rodgers and company. Eli’s arm isn’t the best, but I expect him to keep it close enough to where we see a 3 point game in the final 2 minutes and he has the ball and either throws a TD or throws it to the other team. This, IMO, is the most unbettable game of the week….even more so than the crap fest in Houston. A true toss up and should be a fun contest.
Lions +8 (-110)
Lou has me scared shitless because as he knows from past experience, he knows Matt Stafford is always throwing one TAINT away from a miracle cover scooping up one’s bankroll as a Josh Wilson Pick-6 did so in 2009. That being said, Seattle limps into the playoff only covering one single line the final month of the year (vs LA…not saying much) and is really missing all world safety Earl Thomas both emotionally and physically. I have confidence that Lions OC (and best name ever) Jim Bob Cooter will call the game he’s called all year for Stafford: to keep the game close, throw the ball sideways (which actually is how you beat Cover 3 that Seattle runs), and keep the clock running. Lou likes the under at 43 (and so do I), which is another reason why I like the 8. Seattle offense has been wretched the last few weeks, mostly because they may have the worst OL going into these playoffs. And also, Matt Stafford might know a thing or two about helping one achieve a miracle cover as well:
I am also taking all dogs this weekend. I dunno if its the smartest thing I’ve ever done, or the stupidest. But this has been a wacky year for NFL betting, so it sounds about right.
BTW, Podcast #4 is up, with our leans for the NFL Playoffs Prop Odds and WNBA, and NCAA CFB Final:
Podcast #4 is up in time for the NFL Playoffs! Lou and I talk the NFL Conference Props, the Wild Card lines for the weekend, and some thoughts on WNBA and NCAA COllege Football Bowl betting (for those of you who care: AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE).
Two teams unders that I bet on are in play this week…so I have some sweet hedge money for the two games below:
Philadelphia -4 (-110)
Denver -1.5 (-115)
Buffalo -3 (-135)
The Jets suck.
Cruz by decision +120
Tampa Bay +3 (EVEN)
The Bucs head into New Orleans needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. New Orleans’ defense stinks like Bourbon Street’s world famous piss aroma during Mardi Gras. This game maybe close, but I don’t expect the Saints to blow out a Tampa team who beat them a few weeks ago.
Cleveland +5 (-110)
I’ve bet this team every week the last few weeks, and my bankroll has suffered because of it. Their game at home vs San Diego maybe their last chance to get a win. I expect Cleveland to go down with a fight; Joe Haden and Terrelle Pryor Jr. are both playing this meaningless game hurt, so you know the team cares about this shit and will make an effort at least.
Bears vs Washington Football Team Under 47 (-115)
Washington is prime for a late season collapse, and the Bears have played well the last few weeks ATS. The game is in Chicago, so it will be windy and cold as fuck most likely. The Washington Football Team’s offense is different when Jordan Reed isn’t in the lineup, and you can see Cousins’ accuracy is affected as a result. Someone wins this game 19-17, IMO.
Baltimore -6 (-105)
Baltimore, coming off a lackluster loss vs New England last Monday night, welcome the banged up and depth depraved Philadelphia Eagles into town. As we all know, Philly has a rookie QB, and rookie QBs who have their first start vs a John Harbaugh coached Ravens team at home are 0-7 , both straight up and ATS, with a QB passer rating of 52.3. I expect the Ravens to bounce back with a vengeance this Sunday vs a Philly team who has been on fumes the past few weeks, and is waning on offense since losing one of the best 3 Down Running Backs in football, Darren Sproles, to injury.
Arizona -3 (EVEN)
Arizona hasn’t been playing all that well the last few games, but have still kept things close despite their dysfunctional season. Why I like them this week: the Saints come into Glendale banged up as 2nd Half rookie WR Michael Thomas, who has played well, is most likely to miss the game, and QB Drew Brees has been shut down the last few weeks and was rested this week in practice due to a sore calf ailment (it’s called: “the olds”). The Saints were essentially eliminated from playoff contention with their loss in Tampa last week, and I expect them to take a giant dump on the road vs a Cardinals team who still has plenty of weapons to attack the league’s worst defense.
Cleveland +11 (-110) and ML +480
We continue banging our heads against the wall (like most sharps in America) and taking this team week after week, hoping for the eventual breakthrough that covers up all the losses the past few weeks. Miracle Covers contributor (and Buffalo Bills fan) Nick reports that the Browns always play the Bills tough, the Bills might already be tuning out their coach and they are essentially out of the playoff hunt, and Bills (and Karna’s Fantasy Team) QB Tyrod Taylor is banged up. Add the fact the weather in Buffalo this weekend is calling for snow showers, I expect this to be a closegame, so I’ll take the line “bigly” and place a small side wager that they’ll win the game as well. The Browns owe me one (hundred thousand dollars).
Green Bay -6
Kansas City -5.5
Seahawks at Packers Over 46.5
It’s going to be cold in Green Bay on Sunday, but I expect points to be scored in this one as both teams lost big defensive players to injury (SS Earl Thomas for the Seahawks; LB Nick Perry for Packers). RB Thomas Rawls comes back for the Seahawks vs the Packers’ milquetoast run defense. These games are always competitive and back and forth. One of the great slate of games for this week.
Miami -1 (-105)
The Arizona Cardinals make a cross country trip for a 1 o’clock game vs a team who plays in hot weather that got their ass kicked last week. The Cardinals are one of my “Teams Already Packed Up for the Holidays” and will most likely be partying the night before at the various wonderful establishments on South Beach. SS Tyrann Mathieu is out for Arizona. Miami is still in the WC hunt and needs a win, and I expect one here.
Washington -1 (-105)
The Eagles’ young team has been reeling the last few weeks as their lack of depth is now catching up to them. Washington gets super route runner TE Jordan Reed back for this game, and I expect a rebound for Kirk Cousins and company.
Houston +6.5 (-110)
I hate taking this shitty Texans team on the road, but in this shitty AFC South division vs a shitty Colts team where it’s a must win for both of these shitty teams, I expect a low scoring, close, shitty game.
Browns ML +290 and TEASER: Browns +12.5 and Under 43.5
As we talked about on the Miracle Covers podcast a few weeks ago, the Browns win in their schedule comes against the lowly Bengals…and we said this BEFORE they lost WR A.J. Green and RB Geo Bernard. The Browns get Robert Griffin III back (I dunno if that’s good or bad) but they are coming off a bye (in Week 13?) and it either this game, or when the Chargers come into Cleveland in a few weeks, that is the *win* in this season. The Browns are not the 2008 Detroit Lions, IMO the worst team of all time. They are a bad team, but they aren’t *that* bad; at least they have some talent like WR Pryor Sr, LB Jamie Collins, RB Isiah Crowell, etc. It’s also going to be snowing Sunday in Cleveland, so I am going to put the Browns line (+6.5) in a teaser with the under as well. Disclosure: I may have a gambling problem.
GB/SEA Over 46.5
Marc Diakiese vs Frankie Perez Under 1.5 Rounds +145
Max Holloway -200
Pettis missed weight today by 3 lbs this morning. Holloway is the best 145 lb guy in the division now that McGregor has moved up in weight. I’ll pay the juice and Holloway gets the belt here, IMO vs Pettis who is 1-3 in his last 4 fights.
Army vs Navy Under 47
The Under in this game has hit 10 out of the last 11. Also, a good tip: its +EV to take a under in an Armed Forces college derby, as these teams play for the “Commander’s Cup” each time, as well as the fact that Armed Forces team usually have run-heavy option attacks due to recruiting issues.