NFL Betting Value Picks for Championship Games

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, January 16, 2015 7:26 PM GMT

The NFL Playoffs are now at the Conference Championships are here our best value plays. With only two games on the menu this Sunday, we are provided Sides & Totals on both games.

 

Well it was bound to happen sooner or later and we come off of our worst NFL weekend of the year, going 0-4 with our NFL picks in this space during the Divisional Playoff Round and 0-2 with our more selective monitored plays. Even with that hiccup of a weekend, we are still having a strong NFL season at 78-53-2, 59.5%, +24.58 units as documented in the Sportsbook Review Forum! Hopefully things get back to normal with these Championship Games

Our official monitored losers last week were the Ravens vs. Patriots ‘under’, which we knew was in jeopardy after the first few series of the game, and the Broncos, as like the rest of the world we were not aware of the severity of Peyton Manning’s injury. The other two losers in this space were the Panthers vs. Seahawks ‘under’, which got blown up by an interception return for touchdown, and the Packers, who failed to cover by one-half point.

But that is enough of that as we are now ready to move on to the Conference Championship Games. Since there are only two games on the slate, we are providing both our sides and totals for each game for four selections in all. And as has become our custom, all of these NFL odds come from Pinnacle Sports.


Sunday, January 18th
Green Bay Packers +7½ (-119) over Seattle Seahawks (3:05 ET):
On the one hand, this seems like a lot of points to give an elite quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, even for a Seattle team that probably has the best defense in football. On the other hand, this is not the “real” Aaron Rodgers and he was obviously hindered by his partially torn calf vs. the Cowboys last week. Yes, even a gimpy Rodgers passed for 316 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in that game, but he was not able to escape pressure as easily as he usually does with his mobility compromised, although at least he was able to get passes off more often than not getting sacked only twice. Still, he may not be as fortunate vs. the Seahawks unless the calf unexpectedly improves, and when he is not trying to escape pressure, he will be passing against probably the best secondary in the NFL, especially with Seattle’s Byron Maxwell expected to play after leaving the win over Carolina early with shortness of breath. However, while that may have been fatal in past years, the Packers now have a go-to running back in Eddie Lacy and the Seahawks looked a tad vulnerable against the run vs. Carolina, with the Panthers gaining 132 yards on the ground. So while the Packers may not score as much as they could with a healthy Rodgers, they could score enough points to hang within a touchdown. That is because the Seahawks tend to get conservative with a lead and there is no reason to believe otherwise here with Marshawn Lynch running against a Green Bay defense ranked 24th in the NFL against the run allowing 121.4 rushing yards per game on 4.3 yards per carry

Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks ‘under’ 46½ (-105): This play makes sense based on our reasoning for liking the Packers with the points, as we expect to see a heavy dose of the lead running backs for both teams. Yes Lacy popped up on the injury report late this week, but there seems to be very little concern that he may not suit up, so expect his normal workload and maybe more if Rodgers is limited (relatively speaking), and remember that Jonathan Stewart just averaged 5.4 yards per carry vs. the Seahawks last week and Lacy is a much better back. Yes we get that the Seattle defense finished the regular season third in the NFL in rushing defense, but that was not evident last week and the Seahawks were a bit fortunate down the stretch facing some teams that have trouble running the football. On the other side, Marshawn does not usually have trouble running the ball, although Lynch was not on top of his game last week rushing for only 59 yards on 14 carries. Keep in mind that the Carolina defense played out of its mind down the stretch though while the Green Bay defense has not, even allowing 145 rushing yards to the Cowboys that could have been over 200 yards, as Demarco Murray fumbled on a play were he had about 70 yards of open field ahead of him if he turned the corner instead of dropping the football. Granted the Packers are vulnerable to the pass also and Russell Wilson is certainly capable of taking advantage of that, but we simply do not feel he will have enough passing attempts to pile up monstrous numbers given the usual conservative nature of the Seattle offense.

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New England Patriots -6½ (-108) over Indianapolis Colts (6:40 ET): Frankly we are surprised that this line is less than a touchdown, as the Patriots are smaller favorites here than the Broncos were against the Colts last week despite New England being the highest ranked team in the AFC on any reliable set of power ratings that you can look at. The Patriots looked to be in trouble spotting the Ravens a 14-0 lead last week, but then Tom Brady became Tom Brady, and at the end of the day he passed for 367 yards and three touchdowns in the thrilling 35-31 victory. Perhaps this line is an overreaction to the Colts winning in Denver in what must be considered up to this point the biggest win in the Andrew Luck era, but was that win really as impressive as it seemed considering the ducks that Peyton Manning was throwing all game while hiding his torn right quad injury? And have people already forgotten how flawed the Colts were perceived to be entering these playoffs after winning a very weak AFC South despite possessing no running game and getting blown out by every good team they faced during the regular season, going 0-4 vs. eventual division winners? The last time we checked, Brady’s quad was fine and as great as Luck is, we do not see him winning this game by himself. And knowing how Bill Belichick works, do not be surprised if he elects to drop linebackers back in coverage and give the Colts all the running room they want, making life difficult for the best Indianapolis weapon in Luck while daring the likes of Daniel Herron to try and beat the Patriots on the ground.

Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots ‘under’ 53½ (-101): Yes the Patriots are capable of dropping 40 points at any given time, but the problem with a total well above 50 here is that we think the Patriots will be doing most of the scoring and we also expect more running from both sides than you would normally expect. After all, the Colts did rush for 99 yards on 28 carries against the Broncos and, as mentioned, we think there is a high likelihood that New England will sacrifice some rushing yardage here by dropping more defenders back into coverage. Of course, the Colts know that Luck is their best weapon so they will not stop passing the ball altogether. We just do not expect him to have his usual success vs. nickel and dime coverages, which in turn could lead to some interceptions. As for the Patriots, remember that Jonas Gray, who many people had not heard of previously and who frankly has not been heard from much since, rushed for 201 yards on 37 carries with four rushing touchdowns when these teams met during the regular season. Yes Gray has since fallen out of favor and he was inactive for the win over Baltimore, but the Patriots might activate him for this game with that first meeting in mind. And even if they do not, the Pats do have another running back now that was not on the roster back then in LeGarrette Blount, who is averaging 4.7 yards per carry since his signing by New England after he was released by the Steelers, so the Patriots should be able to run effectively.


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