Swinger’s Conference Championship Picks

Swinging Johnson

Friday, January 20, 2017 2:49 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 2:49 PM UTC

Swinger went 3-1 ATS in his NFL picks last week and is now poised to make money in the AFC and NFC Conference Championship Games. Let’s review the NFL odds and fatten our bankroll.

Swinger's Overall 2016 NFL Record: 36-33-1 ATS

I have to confess that I was stunned that Matty Ice eviscerated the Seattle Seahawks. One of my four NFL picks last week was squarely on the Seahawks, and the NFL odds makers were tempting me to do so by giving my five big points. I couldn’t resist nor could I believe my eyes when the dust settled and Atlanta drew away to a convincing 36-20 decision.

However, that’s where the pain ended. I sheepishly headed into Sunday with three remaining picks, and they all cashed. The Packers not only covered the number against the Cowboys but won outright. That final score also soared 'over' the posted total of 52 as I knew it would and rang up more money in our postseason coffers. Finally, the Steelers outmuscled the defensive-minded Chiefs and won 18-16 as slight road underdogs.

We tallied a 3-1 ATS weekend and are now barely enough above .500 on the season to draw just about even in terms of units. Certainly, nothing to write home about, but this weekend will put more dough in our pockets as we glance towards the Super Bowl. Let’s get it done boys and girls.


Packers At Falcons

While I was duly impressed with Matt Ryan, who finally lived up to his nickname Matty Ice, I can’t help but believe that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will not only cover the number but win this one outright. Neither defense is worthy of quarterback nightmares, but let’s shift our focus to the teams’ offensive lines. The Packers' O-Line has been sensational, and that will spell doom for the 28th-ranked passing defense of Atlanta.

Of course, the case can be made that Ryan should also enjoy a pass-happy day of slicing and dicing the Packers' pass defense that ranked 31st in the regular season. Green Bay also has the daunting task of replacing star safety Morgan Burnett in the event his quad injury prevents him from suiting up. The Falcons will shed no tears as they had their own star secondary man Desmond Trufant sidelined for the season back in November. Yet, Atlanta also has to contend with a hobbled Julio Jones which could be the tipping point for a Packers victory.

What we do know is that there will be plenty of scoring under the perfect conditions of the Georgia Dome. I’m not sure if there is a total that will ward off the swarm of 'over' money certain to pour in, but right now that line is hovering at between 60-61. As high as that line is, I still can’t envision this game being dissimilar from the 33-32 Atlanta victory when these teams met under the dome in late October. The difference is that the Packers are a much better team now than they were then and Rodgers has been unconscious. The Falcons do not have a true home-field advantage as evidenced by their 4-5 ATS record this season, and if trends mean anything then take a look at these:

  • The Packers are 5-0 ATS in their last five playoff games.
  • The Packers are 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall.
  • The Packers are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings in Atlanta
  • The Falcons are 1-6 ATS in their last seven playoff games.
  • The underdog is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these teams.
NFL Free Picks: Packers +5 & 'Over' 60Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Steelers At Patriots

As regular readers of this column know and those who listen to the Sharp vs. Swinger podcast are aware, I am reluctant to bet for or against my beloved Patriots. However, totals are completely kosher, and because of that I am looking for another high-octane performance from both teams. The Patriots don’t have a great pass rush and that could be fatal considering that Pittsburgh’s offensive line has gotten better as the season has progressed. If Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger gets that extra second in the pocket to target Antonio Brown and Co., then this could be an upset in Foxboro.

On the flip side, the Steelers have only one pass-rushing threat, and that's 38-year-old James Harrison, who leads the team with five sacks on the season and plenty of quarterback pressures. That said, one big rusher will not prohibit Tom Brady from assaulting the Steelers’ rookie secondary and moving the chains at will. This should be an aerial pissing contest between the two elite quarterbacks with Le’Veon Bell adding to the Steelers’ attack. I like the Patriots because – well – I always like the Patriots, but not enough to bet with my heart. Therefore, the total is calling and I am all too willing to answer.

NFL Free Pick: 'Over' 50Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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 The Woodman's Corner (10-9 ATS)

The Woodman also cashed with the Packers last week, proving once again that great minds do think alike. He stands at 10-9 ATS on the season and is embroiled in uncharacteristic mediocrity this season as am I. But never one to let a live dog go unchecked, the Woodman is backing the Packers once again but this time it’s over the NFC South champion Falcons.

NFL Free Pick: Packers +5Best Line Offered: Heritage

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