Handicapping the NFL Playoffs: Let’s stay undefeated!
If you spent a stupid sum of money last week for some “expert” handicapping website to give you the “LOCK of the century!” you probably did ok. If you spent a small amount of time perusing The Wooder Cooler, and subsequently trusted me, you didn’t lose a game against the spread last week. That’s right, the masked gambler, which by the way is a name I didn’t come up with but is nevertheless awesome, won three games and pushed the fourth. To set expectations, it’s unlikely I’m going undefeated every week. If I do, I’m leaving this website and starting up my own handicapping business in Vegas — sorry, Ransom.
For now, let’s briefly recap what happened last weekend which will give us some insight into the picks in the divisional round…after the break!
In the first game we took the Chiefs +2.5. Having lost by 1, this was our first cover. I told you I hate stupid trends, but one I told you to focus on was how the Chiefs get up for road games and were 7-1 ATS on the road this season.
I was unsure of the New Orleans +2.5 vs. the Eagles, so advised you to cautiously take New Orleans. While it broke my heart to be right, I was right, and the Eagles, well….yeah…
Our push came on the San Francisco -3 line. Frank Gore totaled for some 70-something yards and a TD (I said he’d have a good game.) San Fran limited the big plays like they needed to and came out with a push.
Our third W came with San Diego +7. In fact, I even told you they could win the game. That was the first thing I told you. I also told you to parlay it with the under. And the under covered. So technically speaking we went 4-0-1 last week and technically speaking if you technically listened to me you technically made a significant amount of money.
Before we get into this week’s winners, recognize the thing called “regression to the mean.” So if I lose every pick this weekend, don’t blame me. Well, blame me, but don’t get your panties in a twist. Luckily for you though, I have the LOCK of the century…kidding.
New Orleans at Seattle -8, total 46.5.
8 is a hefty number of points and a tricky line. Both teams have very solid defenses, the Saints #1 vs. the run and #4 defending the pass and the Seahawks #3 vs. the pass and #7 stopping the run.
The Seahawks have won 16 of 17 at home, including a game this year where they beat the Saints 34-7, holding Drew Brees to 147 yards. One game is not predictive of what will happen in a second and that result is not going to happen again. Why not? Because Sean Payton had the Seahawks logo painted on the practice fields. Clear eyes, painted fields, can’t lose or something like that.
Unfortunately, those cliches only work in movies and TV shows and won’t actually have anything to do with the Seahawks beating the Saints this weekend, which is exactly what Russell Wilson is going to do. The Seahawks are good. Very good. And they’ve won some 16 of their last 17 home games. The whole “Saints aren’t good on the road” talk has faded since last week, but they still are MUCH better at home than on the road. An amped up, ready to go Seahawks team, at home, in tricky weather, you get my point… 8 is a lot of points. But I like Seattle -8. (However, as Lee Corso would say, “not so fast my friend”….keep reading.)
Indianapolis at New England -7, total 52.
I’d like this analysis to simply read, “Tom Brady.” But it can’t because I was told I need at least a paragraph of analysis. Whatever. Ok. I understand that people love the Colts right now. Oh they came back from dead to beat the Chiefs and Andy Reid, and something about how Andrew Luck is a God. You’re all wrong and I forbid you all to proceed with that nonsense.
When we get down to nut-cutting, the Indianapolis Colts got steamrolled by Alex Smith and a Chiefs team without Jamaal Charles at home. Why does anybody actually think they can go to New England and beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in the playoffs? It’s not going to happen. But, hmm, just like the Seattle game, 7 is a lot of points. And I will concede that Andrew Luck is a decent quarterback against a somewhat shaky-at-times secondary. So what do we do? Well, if you only bet single games, my pick here is New England -7.
But what do you do when you LOVE two teams to win but hate their lines equally? You tease the two games! If you’re as confident as I am, do as the master does: Tease the Seattle game and New England game by taking New England -1 and Seattle -2. You’re going to thank me next week.
San Francisco at Carolina PK, total 42.
This game started at Carolina +2.5 and is now a pick ’em game. To me, that speaks volumes and shows people are on the choo-choo train to Cam-town. I promise to never say that again.
Here’s the deal. San Francisco is really good at running the football. Carolina is really good at not letting people run the football. Carolina isn’t that great at throwing the football, San Francisco is really good at not letting people throw the football.
If you asked some of the people who are “experts” on ESPN, Colin Kaepernick is a God and if San Francisco keeps playing the way they’ve been playing, they’re going to win the Super Bowl by three touchdowns. Really, Swami? I’ll take on the “Swami” any day.
Personally, I am not overwhelmingly confident in this game and the pick. I don’t consider either team awesome, but I like what I’ve seen from Carolina at home. I think Carolina wins. But maybe they don’t. I think if you bet them to win, you’ll win. But maybe you won’t. If your compulsions get the best of you, take Carolina Pk.
San Diego +9.5 at Denver, total 54.5.
Remember what I said? About needing to be better than a team to beat them more than once? Well, Denver lost 27-20 to San Diego earlier this year. So go ahead and make your bookie very happy and think it’ll happen again and take San Diego. It’s not happening.
Peyton Manning. I could probably just give you my pick here and have the explanation be simply, “Peyton Manning.” The Chargers have an atrocious pass defense that Peyton Manning in the playoffs is absolutely going to feast on. I know this is a lot of points. 9.5 is hefty. You’re going to talk to me about how San Diego has played them close twice this year, yeah whatever. Denver will be the one to score first, and they aren’t really going to look back. Denver wins 34-17 and covers the 9.5. Denver -9.5
So, let’s recap here. We’ve got Seattle +8, New England -7, Carolina Pk, and Denver -9.5. We even gave you the awesome teaser pick of New England and Seattle. Will we end up going undefeated ATS again, no. But should you continue to make money, I’ll still be waiting for my steak dinner.
Editors Note: The Wooder Cooler and it’s writers are not responsible for any massive monetary losses, first-borns wagered, houses foreclosed, or knuckles mob-broken. We will however take full credit for winnings, to the tune of 15%…er, what I meant to say was that these picks are only hypothetical and should only be used if gambling on sports were legal, which it isn’t, so don’t do it…