Handicapping the NFL Divisional Round
Kelso's Advanced Sports Betting: Handicapping the NFL Divisional Round
I was torn about what topic to discuss in today's coursework here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping. We obviously have those huge NFL games coming up this weekend, as the four favored bye teams host four dangerous Wildcards (all of whom won on the road last weekend!) But, I'm also on a tear on my big college basketball selections. I always try to keep our discussions relevant to real world developments. The importance of PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS in college hoops was certainly clear with these...
50-units: Evansville (-16.5) beat Drake 84-65 (Tuesday)
50-units: Baylor (-12.5) beat TCU 82-54 (Wednesday)
50-units: Wichita State (-14.5) beat Missouri State 78-62 (Wednesday)
That sweep of major releases highlighted a 9-3 two-day performance in the baskets, and 24-8-2 in 50 and 100-Unit Plays since December 1! So, as we talk about the NFL today (pro football is KING in Las Vegas, which means most of you want to read about the playoffs after last weekend's board sweep), don't forget that there's money to be made every night in the baskets...
Let's turn to this weekend's NFL matchups...
KANSAS CITY AT NEW ENGLAND (-5)
If both teams are at full strength, then the PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS of New England would probably be about -7 over Kansas City rather than -5. We all know what Tom Brady can do on his home field in the playoffs. We all know that Andy Reid and Alex Smith of Kansas City both have playoff histories of running into a wall eventually. But, given how badly the Patriots have played "lately" while dealing with injuries, you could make the case that Kansas City should be the FAVORITE over the versions of the Pats that just lost road games to the Jets and Dolphins, and didn't impress much down the stretch. Obviously, determining the health of New England's PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS is everything here. This line could be off by a TD in either direction.
GREEN BAY AT ARIZONA (-7)
To me, Arizona established its relevant advantages in the first meeting between these teams a few weeks ago. That was a blowout where Green Bay had literally no chance to compete. There's no doubt who has the better talent. Can Arizona put THE MOTIVATION FACTOR to use as they try to prove to the world that they're ready to win a championship? Or, will they come out overconfident, putting Green Bay in position to score a revenge upset? Answer that question, and you've got your pick. Talent-wise, this is an awful matchup for the Packers. On the other hand, you have a poised underdog quarterback who might be able to exploit a nervous or overconfident host in a high pressure situation.
SEATTLE AT CAROLINA (-2.5)
You regular readers know how high I was on Seattle in the final weeks of the season. I did fade them last week (successfully) in Minnesota because of the brutal weather. It won't be 20-below in Charlotte! Don't just assume I'm automatically back on the Seahawks though. The market is trying to take betting value away with the short price. And, there is a fatigue issue because last week's challenge was so grueling. This is a tricky handicapping challenge...and I obviously have to be careful what I say in advance of release time.
PITTSBURGH AT DENVER (NL yet)
Clearly the health of Ben Roethlisberger is paramount here. There's a huge drop-off between him and backup quarterback Landry Jones. And, that's particularly important in this matchup because Denver has home field advantage and a fantastic defense. It's not like Pittsburgh can "hide" Jones by focusing on other things. You can do that against a bad team, but not the rested #1 seed in your conference. When you're making your final decision here, remember to think about the PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS on Denver's defense. If they're going to cover the eventual spread...it's going to happen on that side of the ball.
I can't post my official selections here in the coursework because that wouldn't be fair to paying clients. Our goal here is to teach do-it-yourselfers how to win. I trust that many of you will have this weekend properly figured out...at least well enough to win more than half of your side or total bets. You saw how well proper preparation in the NFL paid off last weekend!
If you'd like some help, my best bets in football and basketball can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card on game day. Questions about extended service and combination packages can be answered in the office during normal business hours at 1-800-755-2255. You just saw how hot my basketball has been. Earlier this week we discussed by NFL board sweep in the Wildcard round. There's no better time to get on board!
I'll be back with you again on Monday with more sports betting talk. How the weekend goes will determine the content. We'll either review the NFL action, or important developments in basketball that have been on the backburner too long. So much to talk about in January!
The Dean of Sports handicapping greatly appreciates your attendance and hard work. See you again next time.
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