Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII Preview & Prediction

Football is a game of matchups which are highlighted even more on a stage as big as the Super Bowl. The big matchup that everyone is talking about in this Sunday’s showdown between Seattle and Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII is the Seahawks No. 1 ranked pass defense against Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ No. 1 ranked passing offense. My take on this one is that Seattle will be able to keep things in check, but Manning is still going to make some plays that lead to points on the board.

Another key matchup is Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch against a Broncos’ rush defense that was ranked eighth in the NFL; allowing an average of 101.6 yards a game. Lynch has already ran for 249 yards in his first two postseason games this year and while he will be a factor, do not expect any record-setting performances.

The bottom line is that both of these team’s primary strengths tend to negate each other, so this game will be a true test of wills between two very good ball clubs. The x-factor could be Seattle’s ability to force a few turnovers. It led the NFL this season with a turnover ratio of +20. In the end, take the Seahawks and the 2.5 points, but my top play for this game is the UNDER on a total line of 47 in a close, hard-fought battle to the bitter end.

Below is a link to my complete breakdown of this Sunday's Super Bowl in an article previously written for Sporting Charts

Super Bowl XLVIII Statistical Preview

Friday, January 24, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII "Over/Under" Preview & Pick

Anyone who follows this blog on a regular basis is well aware that I have been making weekly total line picks for Doc's Sports for the entire 2013 NFL season. While nobody out there is about to confuse me with some of the top handicappers in the sports betting business, I did end the regular season with a winning percentage of 55 percent and then proceeded to follow this up with 3-1 record on my top picks for the NFL playoffs. I must have done something right since Doc's asked me to put together an "over/under" pick for next Sunday's Super Bowl matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. The current total line for the Big Game is set at 47.

When handicapping this matchup, you have to decide between Denver's No. 1 ranked defense or Seattle's No. 1 ranked defense in what will be a true test of wills. Whichever of these units performs the best will not only dictate how many total points are scored, but the eventual outcome of Super Bowl XLVIII.

You also have to take into consideration that the Broncos' defense has also been playing at a high level in the postseason and that Seattle has failed to score more than 23 points in five of its last six games. Another huge factor could be the cold and wind at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey in the first outdoor Super Bowl at a cold weather location. This should tip you off to which way I am leaning with my pick for this game, but for the full story check out the link below for my complete preview for Doc's Sports.

Betting the Super Bowl Over and Under

Friday, January 17, 2014

NFL Conference Championships Preview & Pick

We are down to the final three games of the NFL season. The first two are this Sunday with both the AFC and NFC Championship Games followed by Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, Feb. 2. The New England Patriots will be on the road at Mile High to square off against the Denver Broncos in the AFC, while we will have a rubber match in the NFC title game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. Most people would have to agree that things have followed suit this season as all four of these teams were the top two favorites in their respective conference to make it to Super Bowl XLVIII.

Starting in the AFC, it is a fantasy football dream with Tom Brady squaring off against Peyton Manning, but fans have to remember that these two future NFL Hall of Famers do not actually play against one another. A bigger matchup in this game could New England running back LaGarrette Blount against a Denver defense that was ranked eighth in the NFL at stopping the run. Blount put up some big time fantasy football numbers last week against Indianapolis with 166 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 24 carries.

Look for a heavy dose of the Patriots' running game again this Sunday, as they turn what everyone thinks will be an aerial shootout into a grinder in an effort to control the clock and keep Manning on the sidelines for as long as possible. New England is a 5.5-point road underdog with most books, but it will not need any points in a straight-up win.

Defense will be the name of the game in the NFC Championship in what will be a test of wills between two teams (and two head coaches) that really do not like one another. Current form might give 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick the slight edge over Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, but neither of these young guns is going put up numbers that would excite any fantasy football fan. This game will be decided in the trenches and players such as Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch will garner the most attention by running the ball.

The biggest edge in my book is the Seahawks playing this game on their home field. The home team in this NFC West rivalry is 9-1 SU in the last 10 meetings including both of this year's regular season games. In the end, San Francisco covers with the current 3.5-point spread, but Seattle goes to the Super Bowl with the 20-17 win.

For a breakdown of some of the key stats in each of these matchups that could have a major impact on the eventual outcome, please check at an article I wrote this week for Sporting Charts (linked below).

NFL AFC and NFC Championship Previews

Friday, January 10, 2014

NFL Playoffs Key Stats and Betting Trends

NFL football games are won or lost on the field, especially this time of the season when the winners advance and the losers go home in the quest for a spot in the Super Bowl. However, key stats and recent betting trends can often time provide some valuable clues and insight into what the possible outcome of a particular game may be. The following is a link to an article I recently wrote for Doc's Sports covering some of the most important stats and trends for this weekend's Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.

NFL Divisional Round Playoffs Key Stats and Betting Trends

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

NFL Divisional Round Playoffs "Over/Under" Top Plays

I split last weekend's Wildcard Round "over/under" picks with the correct call on the UNDER in the Saints vs. Eagles game on a closing line of 54.5, but I went the wrong way in the 49ers vs. Packers game with a play on the OVER on a closing line of 47. The weather in Green Bay had to be a factor given just how cold it was at Lambeau Field, but another score here or there would have been enough to pull off the sweep. I will have two more picks for this week's games before calling it quits for the season. Overall it was a good year with a winning percentage of roughly 55 percent.

Looking back at Philadelphia's loss to New Orleans, it was another case of leaving way too much time on the clock for a veteran quarterback that knows how to move the ball down the field. The stunning aspect of that final drive and the entire game for that matter was the way the Saints ran the ball right down the Eagles' throats, which had not been an issue for most of the second half of the season. As I mentioned in a number of previous posts, the best thing to come out of this season was the development of Nick Foles as a legitimate franchise quarterback in the NFL. He has a strong and accurate arm, but his best trait is the ability to avoid costly mistakes. He may not be as flashy as a Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick, but he is not nearly as reckless with the ball as those other two quarterbacks were at times.

In typical Eagles fashion this team left us wanting more after a great run to the NFC East title. The foundation is there for long term success as long as Chip Kelly and the front office continue to add young, solid talent to both sides of the ball. The most pressing need is to improve the defensive secondary, but look how much players such as tackle Lane Johnson and tight end Zach Ertz contributed to an offense that finished the regular season as one of the best in the league.

Well it is on to the teams that are still alive in this year's Super Bowl Derby with my top two "over/under" plays for the Divisional Round of the playoffs. To give you a hint, I am sticking with the UNDER in both games and using two of the same teams from last week. For a full preview of both of these picks click the link below for my final installment of a season long series for Doc's Sports.

NFL Totals Betting: Divisional Playoffs Over and Under Predictions

Friday, January 3, 2014

NFL Wildcard Weekend- Key Stats and Betting Trends

The NFL playoffs get underway this weekend with four games in the Wildcard Round. While which four teams move on and which four get a jump on their postseason plans will be decided on the field, there are some key stats and trends that often times can provide solid clues as to what the actual results will be.

As part of a betting guide I compiled this week for Doc's Sports (click link below), I broke down the numbers for all four matchups in an effort to uncover a few of the most pertinent stats and trends that should provide a clear edge for one team over the other.

My only official pick for this weekend's matchups is the UNDER 54 in the Saints vs. Eagles game on Saturday night. Off the record, I like Andy Reid's Chiefs to cover with the 2.5 points as underdogs on the road against the Colts in Saturday's first game and in the night cap I am going with Philadelphia to win straight-up and cover the 2.5 points as a favorite at home.

Turning to Sunday's slate, I would go with favored Cincinnati to cover the seven points at home against the Chargers in the early game and in the late game on the extremely frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, I have the Packers outlasting the 49ers as 2.5-point home underdogs. With the exception of the Bengals' game, the other three picks go against the grain of most football experts and the general betting public, but that is why they call it Wildcard Weekend.

NFL Wild-Card Weekend Key Stats and Betting Trends

Thursday, January 2, 2014

NFL Wildcard Weekend "Over/Under" Top Plays

I ended the regular season with a 1-2 record in my top three "over/under" picks to finish up with an overall record of 28-22-1. This equates to a winning percentage of 55 percent which would have returned an overall profit of $380 on a $100 wager. Apparently that was good enough for Doc's Sports to extend my weekly feature for two more weeks to make a couple of picks for the Wildcard and Divisional Round of this season's NFL Playoffs.

I jumped all over the New Orleans vs. Philadelphia game when I saw the total line open at 55. It has dropped a few points to 53, but that is still high enough for me to go with the UNDER in this matchup. The Saints are the 10th highest scoring team in the NFL with an average of 25.9 points a game, but this number can be deceiving. They averaged 34 points a game at home but this total was almost cut in half to 17.8 points on the road. The Eagles are ranked fourth in the league in scoring with 27.6 points a game, but I am counting on a big night this Saturday from Philly's defense. If you throw out that 48-point meltdown against Minnesota in Week 15, this unit has not allowed more than 22 points since a Week 4 loss to Denver.

My other pick was the OVER 47.5 in the late game on Sunday between the 49ers vs. Packers. I knew it would be cold in Green Bay, but I did not know that the temperature at game time is expected to be four degrees BELOW zero. That brings the concept of 'the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field' to a whole new level. Given these conditions I would actually stay away from this contest and double-up your bet on the UNDER in the Eagles game. Better yet, take Philadelphia and the UNDER in a parlay play and I'll catch up with you next week when the Birds make a trip south to Carolina which is closer to my neck of the woods.

The following is a link to my complete preview of these two picks as originally posted on Doc's Sports.

NFL Totals Betting: Wild Card Playoffs Over and Under Predictions