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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 15, 2016

2015-16 NFL Week Two Playoff Preview

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

Off to a good start with Week 1 picks.  Slight profit (more in a minute).  Picking all four winners was key, while not doing too badly on the ATS and O/U.  I definitely got this week nailed.

To date
S/U: 4-0 (+$400)
ATS: 1-3 (-$230)
O/U: 3-1 (+$190)
Total: +$360

To recap, each week of the NFL Playoffs, I'll preview the games, predict final scores, and keep track of my overall (certainty) 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.

My approach is pretty simple.  Look at teams home/road performance.  Look at the last streak of games.  Look at record against playoff teams (everyone can beat Titans and Browns).  And look at their health.  Most of the teams are relatively even when it comes to W-L record.  The week one theme seems to be perceived stronger teams playing weaker division winners at their house.  And all are favored.

January 16, 2016: 16:35 EST
Kansas City Chiefs (+4.5, +190) at New England Patriots (-4.5, -230) O/U 43

Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)
Last eleven games: 11-0
Road: 6-3 (avg score KC 28 vs. Opp 18)
Against Playoff teams: 4-4 (3-3 on road)
Key Injuries: WR Jeremy Maclin (questionable), DE Justin Houston (questionable)

New England Patriots (12-4)
Last six games:  2-4
Home: 7-1 (avg score NE 32 vs. Opp 18)
Against Playoff teams: 2-1 (1-0 at home)
Key Injuries: TE Rob Gronkowski (questionable), WR Danny Amendola (questionable), WR Julian Edelman (questionable)

This is a very intriguing game to pick, because you have the hottest team in the NFL in the Chiefs vs. a suddenly ice cold Patriots squad.  But the Chiefs have no recent postseason success (beyond last week) and the Patriots have the most of any team in the last decade and a half and a QB that's been there the whole time.  I'm going out on a limb and venturing to the Chiefs.  Noting the lack of quality competition when the Patriots ran up the 10-0 record (just one playoff team faced).  And two losses to inferior opponents in their final two contests to give away home field.  It's just not their year with the injuries mounting up.

Final Prediction: Chiefs 21 Patriots 20.

January 16, 2016: 20:15 EST
Green Bay Packers (+7, +270) at Arizona Cardinals (-7, -330) O/U 49.5

Green Bay Packers (11-6)
Last six games: 4-2
Road: 6-3 (avg score GB 25 vs. Opp 22)
Against Playoff teams: 4-4 (2-3 on road)
Key Injuries: WR Davante Adams (out).  

Arizona Cardinals (13-3)
Last ten games: 9-1
Home: 6-2 (avg score Ari 28 vs. Opp 20)
Against Playoff teams: 4-2 (3-1 at home)
Key Injuries: None

These two teams faced off in Week 16 in which the Cardinals dismantled the Packers.  Green Bay was impressive last week, but against an inferior Redskins team.  The week off for the Cardinals (which was needed after an ugly finale against the Seahawks) will do well to clear the Cardinals, this will be an easy coast to victory for the Birds.

Final Prediction: Cardinals 28 Packers 10

January 17, 2016: 13:05 EST
Seattle Seahawks (+1.5, +110) at Carolina Panthers (-1.5, -130) O/U 44

Seattle Seahawks (11-6)
Last seven games: 7-1
Road: 5-3 (avg score Sea 29 vs. Opp 14)
Against Playoff teams: 4-4 (3-2 on road)
Key Injuries:  RB Marshawn Lynch (probable)

Carolina Panthers (15-1)
Last two games:1-1
Home: 8-0 (avg score Car 33 vs. Opp 17)
Against Playoff teams: 4-0 (3-0 at home)
Key Injuries: WR Ted Ginn Jr. (questionable)

Another intriguing one, given you have the defending NFC Champions against the far and away best NFC team this year.  While the Seahawks have been hot lately and great on the road, remember they were one missed field goal away from being home. I can't go against the best team in football at home, especially on home field.

Final Prediction: Panthers 21 Seahawks 13

January 17, 2016: 16:40 EST
Pittsburgh Steelers (+7.5, +280) at Denver Broncos (-7.5, -360) O/U 40

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-6)
Last eight games: 6-2
Road: 4-4 (avg score Pit 21 vs. Opp 18)
Against Playoff teams: 4-4 (2-3 on road) 
Key Injuries: RB DeAngelo Williams (out), WR Antonio Brown (out), QB Ben Roethlisberger (questionable)

Denver Broncos (12-4)
Last eight games: 4-4
Home: 6-2 (avg score Den 22 vs. Opp 19)
Against Playoff teams: 5-2 (4-1 at home)
Key Injuries: QB Brock Osweiler (questionable)

Pittsburgh may have left it all on the field in Cincinnati last week, including their star wide receiver and starting QB.  As goes Roethlisberger, as goes the Steelers and I don't see them mustering enough offense against a stingy Broncos defense.  You also have Peyton Manning returning to the starting role, much more well rested than in previous years.  This should be a breeze for the Broncos.

Final Prediction: Broncos 27 Steelers 10


If I had to pick the three "best bets" it would be:
Panthers: ATS
Panthers vs. Seahawks (under)
Cardinals: ATS

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