Divisional Round - Day 2 0-2
After another brutal weekend the season can't end quickly enough for my wagering selections. If consistency is a valued commodity than I'm in great standing because for 15 weeks I was consistently tremendous and since then consistently horrific. Part of the problem has been the sheer inability of dogs covering in recent weeks, clearing a path for success to squares whom just take the favorites regardless of the number and an absolute blood bath for the houses in Vegas. Still, contrarian is what I am and contrarian I remain and the two games today give me a chance to earn some scratch back by simply going the other way because as we all know, the only way to make money doing this is by looking at where the public is and doing just the opposite.
Atlanta +4 vs San Francisco
Speaking of the public, they love San Francisco because they overemphasize the last thing they can remember about teams and the way they played. The 49ers ripped the Packers on Saturday night, Colin Kaepernick (there, finally spelled it correctly, I think) ran roughshod through Green Bay's pathetic defense while Atlanta had a hard time putting Seattle away and really, probably, shouldn't have if Russell Wilson doesn't take a sack to end the first half. Not surprisingly, I see things differently. I think Seattle is a better team than San Francisco is at this point in the year, I know that Atlanta is the biggest number one seed home dog in forever in the NFL playoffs and that the public has bumped this number up way too high. While it's still hard to like Atlanta for anything given their over-rated status much of the year, they are home where they rarely lose, their defense is statistically on par with the 49ers, they take the ball away at a much better rate, they have plenty of experience dealing with running quarterbacks (remember that Cam Newton guy) and oh yeah, Matt Ryan's a pretty good slinger with confidence in the way they've won some of their games this year. The field goal + is too much so I'll pocket the 4 with Atlanta.
New England -8 vs Baltimore
Funny thing is, like most, I thought this number was far too high all week as well. It actually opened at 9.5 in some spots and was quickly bet down by folks who have watched these two teams play each other over the past few years and have seen how close those games were. Throw in the idiocy of the "Ray Lewis farewell tour" (yeah, let's celebrate an accomplice to murder!...oh right, the media seemingly refuses to remind anyone of that story because it doesn't fit their narrative) or how the Harbaugh brothers are destined to meet in the Super Bowl and the end result is everyone backing the Ravens. Which is all well and good, until you actually dig deeper to look at the real numbers and the progression (or lack thereof) of both teams this season. This New England team has been trending up all season while the Ravens (insert luckiest team in the league - wins against the Pats, Chiefs, Chargers and now Broncos) have been trending down all year. Just care about facts? Here they are, the Patriots score more, allow less points and crush Baltimore in the turnover margin. They also have better lines on both sides of the ball, a solid secondary, a terrific, multi-optional running game and clearly better offensive personnel as well as a better head coach. There's a reason this number is higher this year than it was when the two teams played in last year's AFC Championship game, New England is that much better of a team. Christ, to hear some say it, just because Baltimore could have won this game last year they are destined to win it this year...fools. New England at home by 10.
Enjoy the games...there won't be any of note next Sunday (sniff...sniff).