Divisional Playoffs: Packers' Hype-Momentum Makes Them Our NFL Pick Over Cards

Ted Sevransky

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 6:40 PM GMT

Let’s take a look at the recent series numbers, Trends, current ATS and SU records, Streaks, Injuries and any other relevant sports gambling information worth backing our NFL pick.

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NFL Pick: Packers +7
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

 

Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals
I was dead wrong about the Packers last week. Unfortunately, it cost my clients and I money, as I looked to step in front of Green Bay for the third consecutive week after cashing winning bets against them in Week 16 at Arizona and in Week 17 at home against the Vikings. But the Green Bay team we saw last Sunday was a very different team; a playoff tested squad who looked every bit as good as they did when they opened up the season with five wins in six games, including impressive victories over the Seahawks and Chiefs.

The Packers success against Washington presents a real conundrum for bettors. How much of it was Green Bay being good? How much of it was Washington being bad? If it was more ‘Redskins bad’, this pointspread is wholly appropriate. But if it was more ‘Green Bay’ good, then we have to consider the possibility that the Packers might be power rated in the wrong place right now, following a disappointing second half of the campaign.

Teams that are power rated incorrectly in the postseason based on regular season stats tend to be huge playoff moneymakers. In fact, two of the last four Super Bowl champions fall into that category – the Ravens in 2013 and the Giants in 2012. 

Baltimore entered the 2012-13 postseason with a solid but unspectacular 10-6 record. They lost four of their last five heading into the playoffs, a team trending in the wrong direction. The Ravens won their first playoff game at home against Indy, then proceeded to go on the road and knock off Denver and New England as 9.5 and 8 point underdogs before beating the 49ers as five point dogs in the Super Bowl. The Ravens covered the spread in their four playoff games by a whopping 50.5 points; a squad that was quite simply power rated incorrectly heading into the playoffs.

San Francisco the previous season was in the exact same situation. They were a mediocre 9-7 in the regular season. They went 3-5 SU down the stretch, including ugly home losses to the Eagles and Redskins. But they started winning in January and didn’t stop, going 4-0 SU and against the NFL odds to win the Super Bowl, including the last three SU wins all as underdogs. Giants backers were rewarded as they covered the spread in their four playoff games by a remarkable 56 points.

We all watched the Cardinals destroy the Packers on national TV in Week 16. It was as ugly as it gets for the road team. Aaron Rodgers was under constant pressure, missing both of his starting tackles. Rodgers took eight sacks and lost two fumbles, both of which were returned for touchdowns. The final score was 38-8 and frankly, it wasn’t that close.

But as we saw last week in Minnesota, a late season dominating win doesn’t have any residual effects in a postseason rematch. Arizona lost pro bowl safety Tyrann Mathieu in that win over Green Bay, and his loss was certainly felt in the Cardinals 30 point home loss in Week 17 to Seattle. Meanwhile, Green Bay got tackle Brian Bulaga back last week and they could get tackle David Bakhtiari back in the lineup this week, a huge difference maker for their protection schemes. 

Carson Palmer has never won a playoff game in his 13 year NFL career. Bruce Arians has never won a playoff game as head coach either – his Cardinals team got blown out in their playoff opener last year. I don’t want to overreact to the Packers stellar showing last week, but I don’t want to underreact either! Take the Packers as the NFL pick.