Thursday's Odds Report
By: Jordan Sharp
We are fast approaching the finale of the NFL season, and four more games stand before us this weekend. We have already taken a look at the two Saturday games, and now it’s time to start diving into the Sunday action.
San Francisco is looking for revenge after getting beat by these Panthers back in Week 10. It was an ugly 10-9 game, and with NFL Odds that are looking more like a pick em’ each day, this next one might be just as close. The NFL Odds opened with the spread firmly in favor of the road 49ers at -2, but as we close out Thursday, there is almost no sportsbook with the spread above +1 Panthers.
The total is just as low, coming in at 42 points, so if you like defense, this early Sunday afternoon game might be your type of game. The 49ers are much healthier now than they were back in Week 10, as Michael Crabtree looks as close to 100% as you could have asked considering he tore his Achilles late in training camp. He had surgery in late May, which means he is back to 100% in under seven months. Some have called it miraculous.
It will be a tough game to stop for the Panthers, but it seems as if they have had the value on their side in the spread. Steve Smith still has not practiced this week and now a very important Friday practice is coming. If he does not practice, it might send the line back towards where it opened. Smith is that important to the Panthers.
For me, the Panthers moneyline is the play, but this line is so close, you might be better off letting it go by on Sunday. It should be the most entertaining playoff game this weekend, that much is almost a given.
Wednesday's Odds Report
By: Jordan Sharp
Yesterday I took a look at the matchup between the Saints and Seahawks, and now it’s time to look into the other Saturday game, featuring the Colts and Patriots. The NFL Odds have New England a -7 favorite with a total of 53.
These two teams are the only pair of the weekend that have not already met up once this season, and I think the Pats could be undervalued because of it. Indianapolis showed that that against good teams, they can fall behind with their below-average defense. Sure they came storming back last week, but it was also due to several key injuries during the game. Sure, injuries are no excuse, but they did impact the game. The Chiefs lost their top two running backs and one of their best receivers due to concussions, and they also lost their #1 pass rusher and corner during the course of the game. That’s three Pro Bowlers.As long as New England does not suffer the same kind of fate this week at home, they seem to be the play following a week off to plan and practice. Bill Belichick is a perfect 6-0 SU in the playoffs when his team has a bye in the wildcard round, and against a very beatable Colts team, I see New England rolling. The Pats’ defense is almost as good as the Chiefs’ defense when healthy, and their running game will surely outdo what a 3rd stringer was attempting in the wildcard round. A statement game here is just too probable. The Patriots won and covered their only meeting with Andrew Luck’s Colts last regular season, beating them in New England 59-24. I don’t see that big of a blowout, but two or three scores seems probable.
Tuesday's Odds Report
By: Jordan Sharp
We have four games this week, and four days to cover them all. For that reason, I am back once again for a look at what should be a great game between the Saints and Seahawks here on Tuesday.
The first game of the divisional weekend features a Week 13 rematch between the Saints and Seahawks. The NFL Odds this week favor the Hawks at -8, with a total of 46 ½. After dominating the Saints in Week 13 as -6 ½ favorites, the sportsbooks have raised the stakes in the playoff round, and even though the line is still all over the place, the Hawks have taken a significant NFL Odds jump since the beginning of December. If the Saints can control the ball on offense, and at the very least establish a running game, they are going to go far in this game. They absolutely have the ability on both sides of the ball to stay with the Hawks, but their road woes (with the exception of their game in Philadelphia last week) are a lot to overlook.
For the Hawks, their secondary is going to have to take charge in this game. Led by Richard Sherman, the Hawks held Drew Brees to less than 150 yards passing in their first meeting. This will likely improve some for the Saints, but one of the league’s best corners is going to make it difficult on Jimmy Graham and/or Marcus Colston. I see it being a closer game, so I am leaning towards the Saints, but they fooled me once already when I picked them +6 ½ against the Hawks in Week 13, so I am very leery and would probably lay off the spread entirely. There is a lot of road volatility with the Saints right now.
Monday's Odds Report
By: Jordan Sharp
New Orleans took down the Eagles in Philadelphia in dramatic fashion, and now their mission is to go to the far reaches of the northwest, and face the NFC’s #1 team. The NFL Odds have the Seahawks as -8 favorites with a total of 47 ½ points. New Orleans has already been beaten down by the Seahawks once this season, and if the Saints play like they did in Week 13, it’s going to be another quick one in Seattle. The Hawks aren’t invincible by any means, however the Saints will need more than 147 passing yards from Drew Brees, and they will have to establish a running game in order toput themselves in a position to win.
The Saturday evening game features a hard to figure out Colts team, going up against one of the AFC’s finest, the Patriots. The NFL Odds have the Pats as -7 home favorites with a total of 53. If the Colts get into as big a deficit as they did against the Chiefs at halftime, the win and cover will easily go to New England. I doubt Aquib Talib let’s young TY Hilton to have another huge effort in this game, and while I definitely give the defensive edge to the Patriots, I also like their running game a lot more as well. Andrew Luck may be the king of the backdoor cover, but I see Tom Brady being the elder statesman that he is and putting young Luck to sleep.
This should be one of the best and closest of the four matchups this weekend, as the NFL Odds have the Panthers as +2 home underdogs, with a total of 42 points. The Panthers have already beaten the 49ers once this season, and that was in San Francisco. However even though the Niners are much healthier than they were when these two teams met up the first time in Week 10, the Panthers seem very undervalued here. Steve Smith looks like he is going to be able to play, and along with their defense, the Panthers might be the most balanced team remaining in the entire playoffs. They have to be a lot of people’s best bets.
The final matchup of Sunday afternoon will feature the Broncos hosting the Cinderella Chargers. The NFL Odds have San Diego as a +10 underdog this week, with a total of 54 ½. San Diego has beaten the Broncos once this season in Denver, while the Broncos beat the Chargers on the road in San Diego. If the ankle injury that forced Ryan Matthews to miss basically the entire 2nd half last week is still an issue, than the Chargers might hit midnight. However if he is capable of giving them 20-25 carries, the Broncos are in trouble. In that Week 15 game, Matthews rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown, and controlled the game from the start. Don’t be surprised to see the Chargers as the popular choice for many's NFL picks if Matthews is healthy.