Wayne Root: Wild Card Shockers



I've been in Las Vegas a long time, and I can't remember THIS much excitement about a Wildcard weekend before.

We have both of last year's Super Bowl teams playing with New Orleans and Indianapolis. We have the most popular preseason picks to go to this Super Bowl playing with Green Bay and Baltimore. We have the most hyped team of the Preseason because of HBO's "Hard Knocks" series with the NY Jets. We have possibly the biggest human interest story in the league this year with Michael Vick and Philadelphia. Kansas City and Seattle are both surprises in terms of early expectations. Are they about to SHOCK THE SYSTEM with big upsets?

It's important to remember that surprises DO happen during Wildcard weekend, whether you're talking about outright upsets of blowouts in games that were expected to be close. For every overtime thriller (we've had one each of the last two seasons), there are a few games that miss the spread by a good bit.

Remember what happened this weekend back in early January of 2010?

Baltimore (+3.5) beat New England 33-14
NY Jets (+2.5) beat Cincinnati 24-14
Arizona (+2.5) beat Green Bay 51-45 (in overtime)
Dallas (-3.5) beat Philadelphia 34-14

Baltimore buried New England in Foxboro by 19 points on the scoreboard and 22.5 points against Las Vegas expectations. In the other AFC game, the NY Jets won outright as a dog on the road in a double digit cover as well. Not one, but TWO SHOCK THE SYSTEM UPSETS in the same conference over the same weekend.

Arizona was a home underdog who needed extra time to survive Green Bay. That was an all-time classic that left them exhausted for the next week in New Orleans. Not a big shocker because the regulation score only missed the Vegas line by 2.5 points. Still, it was an upset.

Dallas was the only favorite to even win straight up. They beat the spread by almost 17 points in a victory over divisional rival Philadelphia.

So, if you're the type of guy who wants to "pass" the first week of the NFL playoffs because the oddsmakers are geniuses, and the lines are exactly where they need to be...SNAP OUT OF IT! The final scores missed the mark by double digits in three of four games last year!

Here's what happened two years ago...

San Diego (+1.5) beat Indianapolis 23-17 (in overtime)
Arizona (-1.5) beat Atlanta 30-24
Baltimore (-3.5) beat Miami 27-9
Philadelphia (-3) beat Minnesota 26-14

Not as crazy in terms of upsets, with the only victorious underdog getting there in overtime when San Diego snuck past Indianapolis as a home dog. Favorites won the other three games. But, not that we had a two touchdown cover with Baltimore over Miami (that's two straight years that Baltimore covered by double digits on the road), and a  relatively easy cover for the Eagles over the Vikings.

Again, playoff lines aren't perfect, and they're not unbeatable. Get the thought out of your head that the betting markets know everything they need to know, and line value is gone this deep into the season. Line value is MORE apparent than usual because a whole new series of factors kick into play.

  • Coaching moves to the forefront in the playoffs, with some coaches knowing exactly what it takes to win, and others playing too conservative or panicky.
  • Quarterback experience moves to the forefront, with veteran leadership often meaning the difference in the second half.
  • Defensive quality moves to the forefront, because getting stops is critical when your playoff lives are on the lines.

Oddsmakers use their Power Ratings to put up numbers. History shows Power Ratings can be pretty useless in the postseason.

One of the reasons I'm THE KING OF LAS VEGAS because I know what DOES work in the NFL postseason. I win the BIGGEST GAMES when the BIGGEST BETS are being made. You can purchase my releases every game day this weekend a few hours before kickoff...with big time college football providing a bookend to Wildcard Weekend:

Friday: Texas A&M vs. LSU in the Cotton Bowl
Saturday: New Orleans at Seattle and NY Jets at Indianapolis
Sunday: Baltimore at Kansas City and Green Bay at Philadelphia
Monday: Auburn vs. Oregon in the BCS Championship

Or, sign up for the rest of football, and I'll take you through the Super Bowl with all of my top plays that will include this weekend and the BCS Championship. Make a few clicks here at the website and have your credit card handy. Or, call the office at 1-877-766-8946.

I can tell you now that it's going to be one AMAZING WEEKEND in the NFL...and you're going to be VERY surprised about at least one or two games. That's all I'm going to say because I don't want to give anything away. The college season is ending as a "the second season" begins in the NFL. That means it's time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!


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