Divisional Round Picks: Bookie-Busting Bonanza!

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, January 11, 2018 11:02 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 11:02 PM UTC

After a 4-1 ATS wild-card weekend, we are looking to make a few more bookies cry with our NFL picks in the divisional round of the playoffs. Let’s get back at it and keep cashing!

Swinger’s 2017 NFL record: 26-27-2 ATS (+5.85 units)

We were on the precipice of an epic run in last week’s wild-card round when we absolutely hammered the bookmaker with our blizzard of NFL picks. On Saturday, we cashed three units with the Titans as 9-point road dogs to the Chiefs and had 'under' 45 in that game for four units. On Sunday, we opened up firing with another underdog in the Buffalo Bills +9 at Jacksonville for three units and under 39½ for four units. Headed into the Carolina-New Orleans game, we were up a whopping 14 units and had the Saints -6½ for a five-unit maximum play. Unfortunately, New Orleans gave up a late touchdown but won the game 31-26. Close but no cigar.

So we wound up +8.5 units to the good and are now in the black for almost six units on the season. Not exactly a dazzling year, but had it not been for a troubling first half of the season we would be livin’ in the land of honey and clover. My colleague, the Woodman, continued his torrid pace with the Titans +9 as his pick of the week and is now 13-5 ATS on the season, which translates to a sizzling 72.2 percent cover rate. Let’s keep burying the books and cash some more tickets this weekend.

Saturday: Titans at Patriots

This spread seems ridiculous for a postseason game featuring two of the eight remaining teams contending for Super Bowl glory. But the Titans advanced to the next round because of their resolve and an underwhelming Chiefs’ defense that allowed Tennessee to creep back in the game and eventually win it outright as 9-point road dogs.

The same will not happen in Foxboro. Marcus Mariota will be tasked with completing passes against a strong New England secondary and won’t have the luxury of running back DeMarco Murray in the backfield as a twin threat to Derrick Henry when the passing game falls flat. It will fall on the young legs of Mariota to keep the chains moving, and that game plan could be detrimental to the young man’s well-being.

I see zero reasons why the Patriots with two weeks to prepare will have nothing but success against a Titans’ defense that ranked 25th in stopping the pass. The rushing attack won’t be used for much more than a diversion by New England as the Titans rank fourth in run defense. Not to worry, as Patriots running backs Dion Lewis and James White are more than adept at catching passes as safety valve receivers. This one will be out of hand after the first half, and if it’s not, head coach Bill Belichick will overcome any obstacles and adapt his offense to exploit any perceived weaknesses. I usually stay away from advising plays on my home team, but the timing is right and the matchup is optimum for a New England blowout.

Free NFL Pick: Patriots -13 (4 Units)Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Sunday: Jaguars at Steelers

As much disdain as you may have for Blake Bortles and his ineptitude when it comes to all things passing, this Jags defense is ferocious and will give Ben Roethlisberger fits as he scans the field for targets. The Steelers lost a vital cog in their own defense when linebacker Ryan Shazier was injured in early December. This is not a good defense to begin with, and mediocre quarterbacks have looked markedly better when facing it. Add to all this that star wideout Antonio Brown, although back in uniform, may not be his All-Pro self after suffering a calf injury in the loss to New England back on Dec. 17.

This line is simply too high in what should be a low-scoring affair, so make sure you shop around and get the extra half point where you can find it. We found Jaguars +7½ at Bovada (-120) and will gladly pay the extra dime for the hook.

Free NFL Pick: Jaguars +7½ (3 Units), Under 41 (2 Units)Best Lines Offered: Bookmaker

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The Woodman’s Corner (13-5 ATS, +7.5 units)

The Woodman’s penchant for pups continues this weekend as has hitched his wagon to Bortles and the Jags to hang and bang with the boys from the Steel City. As of this writing, the NFL odds are reflecting the Jaguars as 7 to 7½-point favorites depending on where you shop for your lines. This line has dropped from 7½ across the board earlier in the week to primarily sevens but you can still find the hook available at Bovada and pay just a nickel more (-115) for what could be a very important half-point.

Free NFL Pick: Jaguars +7½ (-115)Best Line Offered: Bovada

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