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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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Saturday, January 23, 2016

2015-16 NFL Conference Championship Playoff Preview


Sticking with favorites Straight Up has paid off so far, not as much on the ATS or O/U.  The second week of playoffs was a near push, but after missing all three elements on the first game (had the Chiefs winning and the under), went 2-1 each on the next three games.

To recap, each week of the NFL Playoffs, I'll preview the games, predict final scores, and keep track of my overall (certainly) winnings straight up, ATS, and O/U on each game.  For ATS and O/U, $110 is the Wager.  For S/U (a.k.a. Money Line), it's $100 on the underdog, or the money line value on the favorite (to win $100)

Week 2
S/U: 3-1 (+$200)
ATS: 1-3 (-$230)
O/U: 2-2 (-$20)
Total: -$50

Through two weeks
S/U: 7-1 (+$600)
ATS: 2-6 (-$460)
O/U: 5-3 (+$170)
Total: +$310

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

January 24, 2016: 15:05 EST
New England Patriots (-3, -165) at Denver Broncos (+3, +145) O/U 44.5

New England Patriots (13-4)
Last seven games:  3-4
Road: 5-3 (avg score NE 27 vs. Opp 22)
Against Playoff teams: 3-1 (1-1 on road)
Key Injuries: TE Rob Gronkowski (questionable), WR Danny Amendola (questionable), WR Julian Edelman (questionable)

Denver Broncos (13-4)
Last nine games: 5-4
Home: 7-2 (avg score Den 22 vs. Opp 19)
Against Playoff teams: 5-2 (4-1 at home)
Key Injuries: None

According to reports, a lot of money is going on the Patriots in this one.  Some lines are 3.5 but the consensus was 3 points.  Brady and company looked impressive on both sides of the ball against Kansas City, but remember how hard it is to win on the road in the playoffs (lest us not forget the rare air either).  Denver's defense is still underrated (Patriots D probably is, too).  The Broncos offense looked rusty last week with Manning at the helm, but I still see a low scoring victory here.  The Patriots have lost their last two road games, coughing up home field down the stretch.  For all the grief Manning gets, this could be his second AFC title in 3 years in Denver.  My only hesitation is that the coaching matchup is huge for Belichick; not sure Kubiak is up to matching wits.  I still think the Broncos move on.

Final Prediction: Broncos 24 Patriots 20

January 24, 2016: 18:40 EST
Arizona Cardinals (+3, +145) at Carolina Panthers (-3, -165) O/U 47.5


Arizona Cardinals (14-3)
Last ten games: 10-1
Road: 6-2 (avg score Ari 33 vs. Opp 19)
Against Playoff teams: 5-2 (1-1 on road)
Key Injuries: None

Carolina Panthers (16-1)
Last three games: 2-1 (after a 14-0 start)
Home: 9-0 (avg score Car 33 vs. Opp 18)
Against Playoff teams: 5-0 (4-0 at home)
Key Injuries: DE Jared Allen (Out)

This one seems way too close on the books than it should be.  Again, the Panthers are 16-1, simply one of the best records in recent memory.  They're at home against a warm weather team in cold weather.  The Cardinals muddled their way to victory last week against a mediocre (by Packers standards) opponent.  Carson Palmer looked very shaky and this defense is much better than last week's opposing D.  The Cardinals might have left all their emotion on the field after the see saw finale.  I don't see the Cardinals getting a running game going against the Panthers front seven.  Carolina meanwhile can score on the ground, through the air, or just letting Newton do his magic.  Do not fret about the second half letdown last week, remember that was a Seahawks team that was the best defense in the league and almost a pick'em game.  This matchup is very strong for Carolina, easy win here.

Final Prediction: Panthers 28 Cardinals 10

If I had to pick the three "best bets" (3-3 so far) it would be:
Panthers: ATS
Panthers: S/U
Cardinals vs. Panthers: Under

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