Jason’s record on his final weekly NFL picks for the 2012 postseason:
0-4 ATS (–4.22 units)
3-1 Totals (+1.9 units)
Profit: –2.32 units
Ah, the vagaries of betting on the NFL. I didn’t have a single bad week during the regular season, and I suppose Wild Card Weekend wasn’t a total disaster seeing how the totals came through. But 0-4 ATS is what it is.
I’m happy with the logic behind the picks I made. What I didn’t know at the time was that Christian Ponder wouldn’t start for the Minnesota Vikings, or that Robert Griffin III would mess up his knee again for the Washington Redskins, or that Bruce Arians would get sick the same day his Indianapolis Colts were playing. I’m okay with the Cincinnati Bengals loss, they gave it a good effort.
Charles in Charge
So the Packers (12-5 SU, 10-7 ATS) didn’t get much of a challenge from Joe Webb and the Vikings, beating them 24-10 on Saturday as 10.5-point home favorites to win their Wild Card matchup. Aside from the Ponder injury, the story of the game was Green Bay’s defense, which held Adrian Peterson to 99 yards on 22 carries after letting him romp for 199 yards in the season finale.
Getting safety Charles Woodson back in uniform seemed to help. The 15-year NFL veteran is still capable of playing at a high level, and he contributed six tackles against the Vikings including one for a loss. Minnesota managed to put some yards and points on the board in the fourth quarter with the game pretty much decided; otherwise, it was all green and no purple on Saturday.
Feats of San Francisco
The next test should be much tougher. The 49ers (11-4 SU, 9-7 ATS) earned the bye week after winning the NFC West crown, and the opening NFL odds for this Saturday’s contest (8:00 p.m. ET, FOX) have the Niners laying three points at The Stick with a total of 45. You may recall these same two teams started the 2012 campaign at Lambeau Field, where San Francisco shook up the football betting scene with a 30-22 victory as a 6-point road dog.
Actually, these aren’t the same two teams. The Niners have switched quarterbacks, replacing Alex Smith (104.1 passer rating) with Colin Kaepernick (98.3 passer rating, 6.6 yards per carry) and watching their offense blossom. Seven of their eight games with Kaepernick in the driver’s seat have gone OVER the posted total, with the Niners going 5-2-1 SU and 4-4 ATS. It was a more impressive story before San Fran dropped the cash in the last two games, mind you.
Mr. and Mr. Smith
San Francisco needed that bye week. It looks like RE Justin Smith (triceps) will be able to play this week, although he did sport an elbow brace during last week’s practice. Smith had 66 tackles and three sacks during the regular season, pairing nicely with LB Aldon Smith (66 tackles, 19.5 sacks) on a San Fran defense that ranked No. 2 in the league in efficiency.
It looks like Green Bay got through the Wild Card round relatively unscathed. TE Jermichael Finley (61 catches, two TDs) did tweak a hamstring against the Vikings, but head coach Mike McCarthy says he doesn’t think it’s a serious issue. What is serious is this pointspread. That’s a tight football line, folks. San Francisco finished the year No. 4 in efficiency, with Green Bay close behind at No. 5. That suggests it’s a toss-up on paper, which means it’s a toss-up with the Niners as 3-point home faves.
I’ll have to take the Packers. Home teams are 13-11 SU and 9-15 ATS in the Divisional round over the past six seasons. I just hope the underdog comes through for a change after last week’s golden sombrero.
NFL Picks: Packers +3 (+100) at 5Dimes