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I'm from Houston, a graduate of the University of Texas, a fan of the Houston Astros and Houston Texans. But this blog will be about the "greater sports", whatever that means.

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Friday, January 9, 2015

2014-15 NFL Week Two Playoff Preview

2014-15 NFL Week One Playoffs in the books and a slight profit was made.  Join me, J.R. Ewing, yes, that J.R. Ewing, weekly for playoff handicapping.  Here's how I roll:

 Each week of the NFL Playoffs, I'll preview the games, predict final scores, and oh, by the way, keep track of my overall oil money for straight up, ATS, and O/U on each game.  For ATS and O/U, $1100 is the Wager.  For S/U (a.k.a. Money Line), it's $1000 on either side.

First week I was 4-0 on over/under, 1-3 ATS, and 2-2 money line.  Profit for $315 for $12,800 wagered (or 2.5%, includes house take at -110 per $100 won).  Not bad .

So what do I think this week?  Much more confident.  See why below.

Betting information courtesy of 5dimes.com at the time of post (this blog has no affiliation with that site).

January 10, 2014: 16:35 EST

Baltimore Ravens (+7, +260) at New England Patriots (-7, -290) O/U 47.5

Baltimore Ravens (11-6)
Last five games: 4-1
Road: 5-4 (avg score Bal 26 vs. Opp 23)
Against Playoff teams: 3-4 (1-3 on road) 
Key Injuries: None.

New England Patriots (12-4)
Last five games: 3-2
Home: 7-1 (avg score NE 33 vs. Opp 17)
Against Playoff teams: 4-1 (3-0 at home)
Key Injuries: None

I am tempted to take the Baltimore Ravens.  They have looked strong on the road this year.  Joe Flacco turns into Joe Montana in the postseason.  They're balanced in all phases.  But this is the Patriots.  Their 7-1 at home includes a lone loss at seasons end after home field was earned.  Tom Brady seems especially motivated this year.  Gronk has transformed the offense since returning.  I see this going for the Pats.

Final Prediction: Patriots 35 Ravens 24.

January 10, 2014: 20:15 EST
Carolina Panthers (+10.5, +435) at Seattle Seahawks (-10.5, -500) O/U 39.5

Carolina Panthers (8-8-1)
Last five games: 5-0
Road: 3-4-1 (avg score Car 24 vs. Opp 27)
Against Playoff teams: 2-4-1 (0-2-1 on road)
Key Injuries: None

Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
Last six games: 6-0
Home: 7-1 (avg score Sea 26 vs. Opp 15)
Against Playoff teams: 5-1 (3-1 at home)
Key Injuries: None

I'll say from the jump, 10 points is too much.  Neither of these teams has lost since 11/30 (Thanksgiving weekend).  The Panthers offense on the road has defied odds (avg 38 points in that span).  However, in the last three games for the Seahawks at Seattle, only 16 points allowed by their defense (total, not average).  But the Seahawks haven't scored more than 20 in their last three home games.  The Seahawks win this in a low scoring affair (their first matchup was won by the Seahawks 13-9 at Carolina).  I think more on the Seattle side, but low scoring and within the points.

Final Prediction: Seahawks 20 Panthers 13.

January 11, 2014: 13:05 EST
Dallas Cowboys (+5.5, +220) at Green Bay Packers (-5.5, -240) O/U 52.5

Dallas Cowboys (13-4)
Last five games: 5-0
Road: 8-0 (avg score Dal 34 vs. Opp 26)
Against Playoff teams: 3-1 (1-0 on road)
Key Injuries: None.

Green Bay Packers (12-4)
Last six games: 5-1
Home: 8-0 (avg score GB 40 vs. Opp 20)
Against Playoff teams: 3-2 (3-0 at home)
Key Injuries: Aaron Rodgers (calf, probable).

This has to be the first time two teams met in the playoffs in which one was 8-0 on the road and the other 8-0 at home.  The Packers mojo at home is renown.  The Green Bay Packers without Aaron Rodgers are the Minnesota Vikings.  The Cowboys really did look shaky last week, but settled down after the first 14 points to actually control the game (sometimes because of bad no calls).  Dallas' balance (can run or pass, and pass long or short) looks better than a gimpy Rodgers and their relatively one dimensional attack (he bails them out more often than not).  And the Packers defense isn't that strong.  I like the Pokes.

Final Prediction: Cowboys 24 Packers 21. 

January 11, 2014: 16:40 EST
Indianapolis Colts (+7, +280) at Denver Broncos (-7, -255) O/U 54

Indianapolis Colts (12-5)
Last six games: 6-1
Road: 5-3 (avg score Ind 29 vs. Opp 28)
Against Playoff teams: 3-4 (1-3 on road)
Key Injuries: None.

Denver Broncos (12-4)
Last four games: 4-0
Home: 8-0 (avg score Den 35 vs. Opp 21)
Against Playoff teams: 2-3 (2-0 at home)
Key Injuries: None

If you look at the points for and allowed by these teams, it will be high scoring.  At an even seven points, I think the Broncos, behind Peyton Manning and his experience, perform well in this game.  Andrew Luck has had little success in the playoffs on the road.  The Colts defense was impressive against a Bengals team without A.J. Green, but the Broncos will be a whole new beast.  Surprising the Broncos had a losing record against playoff teams, but those were all on the road.  The teams met Week 1 and the Broncos won 31-24.  They'll win by more this go around.

Final Prediction: Broncos 38 Colts 28

If I had to pick the three "best bets" (was 2-1 last week) it would be:
Cowboys: ATS
Broncos ATS
Seahawks/Panthers: Under

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