NFL Divisional Playoffs - AFC Preview and Tips
NFL Divisional Playoffs sees the final 4 teams in the AFC doing battle. First up we have No 4 seed and AFC South winner Indianapolis visiting No 2 seed and AFC East winner New England. This game is on Saturday (Sunday morning AUS time). Following that on Sunday (Monday morning AUS time) the No 1 seed Denver is hosting Divisional rival and No 6 seed San Diego. The winners will proceed to the AFC Championship game next weekend.
Don’t forget the Super Bowl is only a few weeks away, so now is the time to roster the day off work (Monday 3 Feb). Here in Perth it will be annual pilgrimage to the Mustang Bar to watch the big game. If you are nearby, come on down and make yourself known – I might buy you a beer If not, let me know where you will be watching the game in other parts of the country and I will be happy to add them into next weeks post.
Wild Card Weekend Recap
Indianapolis prevailed over Kansas City 45-44 after overcoming a 31-10 half time deficit. At one time the margin was as high as 28 points. Andrew Luck’s legend grew again after steering his team to the victory – the second biggest comeback in playoff history. In the other game, the San Diego Chargers made the most of their opportunities including a few gifts from Cincinnati in the second half and pulled away 27-10. Everything that had to go right for Cincinnati to win came unstuck as the Bengals were bundled out of the playoffs in the first round for the 3rd straight year. Best bets were a shocker despite selecting Indianapolis, we lost the 1st half under in that game, the Cincinnati line and a PYOL multi which was let down by Cincinnati as well. After a regular season record of 27-23-1 +2.92 Units, our playoff record stands at 0-3 -3 Units. Looking for a much better week this week.
On to the NFL Divisional Playoffs AFC Preview and Tips!
Indianapolis @ New England -7, Total 51.5
This line opened at -7.5 and has slowly been wound back to -7 over the past few days. I would have to agree with the line move with Indianapolis showing value at 7.5. Even at 7 and given the season that both teams have had, there is probably a 0.5 to 1 point of value still left in the number. That said, we have Indianapolis coming off that big emotional win last week and it remains to be seen if they will be fired up or drained by that. As good as the win was last week, the concern is that they were able to get into a position where they were that far behind, 28 points at one stage in the 3rd quarter. Indianapolis struggled in the second half of the season with getting on the scoreboard early in games and they fell into that hole again last week against the Chiefs. Try that against the Patriots and it will be goodnight Colts. New England probably have not been at the top of their game all year, but Tom Brady and his men managed to pull out a great regular season record and earn the week off last week as well. New England has been favourite of 7 points or more in 6 games during the regular season, they won all 6 games, but only covered 2 of them. 4 of those 6 games were at home as well. I think we might see a similar result in this game. The total has crept up a little from an opener of 50, shop around though depending on what side you like because 50.5 is also available. Indianapolis should be very conscious of taking care of the ball and scoring early in this game and if they can keep pace with New England early, these 2 teams could trade a number of score drives in the second half taking this one over.
Lean Indianapolis and Over
San Diego @ Denver -9, Total 54
AFC West rivals clash in this Divisional battle, these 2 teams will be meeting for the 3rd time this season. In the earlier meetings, Denver won by 8 as a 7 point favourite at San Diego in Week 10 (28-20). Then San Diego repaid the favour visiting Denver on Thursday night in Week 15 winning 27-20 as a 10 point underdog. Using those games as a pointer you would think that this will also be a close game. With the line now at -9, the question I am asking is, assuming the line was correct back in Week 15, is San Diego is a 1 point better team than they were then (or Denver a 1 point worse team)? San Diego have won their last 5 games and 6 of their last 7. Denver has hardly put a foot wrong either. Perhaps a 0.5 line difference is warranted (-9.5), a full point to -9 is questionable. A lot of discussion during the week has been about San Diego, their good form, the good win last week and their familiarity with the Denver side. I think we are definitely seeing that accounted for in the line now. San Diego has proven competitive all year, their biggest losing margin being 10 points. Denver were bundled out in this game last year, losing in double-OT to Baltimore as the No 1 seed in the AFC. We saw how Denver responded to that in Week 1 this season when they piled on 49 points in revenge against Baltimore, winning by 22. There certainly is some pressure on Denver to perform to get some reward from their excellent season. Whilst there may be some nerves early, I expect a strong second half from Denver will put this game safely in their keeping. The total is interesting given the last 2 games resulted in totals of 48 and 47. The total and line assumes a score of approx 32-22 in this game and I think both sides will be able to put up at least that many points in this one.
Lean Denver and Over
Indianapolis +7.5 @ New England 1 Unit @ 1.85 at Centrebet
Indianapolis @ New England 1st TD scorer TY Hilton 0.25 Unit @ 11.00 (Sportsbet promo money back if player is an anytime TD scorer)
San Diego @ Denver -9 1 Unit @ 1.92
San Diego @ Denver 2nd half -3 1 Unit @ 1.91
All odds from Sportsbet unless otherwise mentioned.
Stay tuned to Twitter for all the latest updates. Good luck with your selections and let’s make the first weekend of the playoffs a winning one!