NFL Championship Round - Caveat Emptor
By Marc Lawrence
And then there were four.
NFL’s version of the ‘Final Four’ kicks off this Sunday in the Championship Games where surprises aplenty have certainly been the buzzword.
That’s confirmed by the fact that underdogs have managed to pull off upsets in 14 of 44 title games since the 1990 season, the most recent being the NY Giants win at San Francisco last season en route to capturing Super Bowl XLIV.
Let’s take a quick look at what’s worked and what hasn’t in the Championship Games, because when it comes to handicapping games at this stage of the season we can use every edge imaginable.
Note: all results are ATS (Against The Spread) and are since the 1990 season, unless noted otherwise.
While high scoring games are the norm in the NFL these days, teams arriving to the Championship Round off a high scoring effort in their last game tend to come back to earth harder than a sky diver with faulty chute.
Consider: nearly half of the 17 teams in this round who put 38 or more points on the scoreboard in a Divisional Round victory fell short of the Super Bowl, going 9-8 Straight-Up.
Worse, these teams are just 9-8 SU and 4-13 ATS, including 1-12 ATS when facing a foe that tallied less than 34 points in their previous game.
With Baltimore and New England canceling one another out, that puts San Francisco on warning this Sunday.
The linemakers have done a nice job overall during this round, with favorites checking in at 23-21 ATS, and home teams 20-24 ATS.
Home chalk of 9 or more or more points has struggled, though, posting a dismal 2-8 ATS mark.
In addition, teams who played in a Wild Card game are 11-13 SU and 14-10 ATS in title tilts, including 5-0 ATS when facing a foe who scored more than 35 points in the division round.
That’s music to the ears of Baltimore backers.
Points aplenty in this league of late have forced the linemakers to raise the Over/Under totals bar.
Its what happens when there have been 27 OVERS and 17 UNDERS in Championship Games.
Surprisingly, the higher the total them more OVERS there have been as games with a posted total set at 46 or more points going 9-3 OVER.
Been There Done That
Three of the four head coaches have had the luxury of coaching team in Championship Games – namely Bill Belichick and the Harbaugh brothers, Jim and John.
Jim’s Ravens are 0-2 SU and 1-1 ATS, while John’s 49ers fell as 2-point home favorites last year.
New England’s Belichick brings a lofty 5-1 SU and 3-3 ATS record with the Patriots in Championship Games into this week’s fray. The Hoodie has been favored by 7 or more points in two of those contests, losing the money both times – including last year’s 23-20 win-no-cover over the Ravens.
Enjoy the games and good luck as always.
- March 7, 2014 - 9:00 PM
- Jesse Schule
- Offered at:
- pinnacle @ -145 Calgary
HE DID IT AGAIN!
The Iceman cashed in his GAME of the WEEK on the SPUR$ last night, and he's now an AMAZING 18-2 with his last 20 NBA/NCAAB plays. He's delivered 11-STRAIGHT WINNING CARDS, showing a profit of +$15,952.
This is a Free #NHL play on the Calgary #Flames.
The Isles lost in overtime in Edmonton last night, just two days after beating the Jets in overtime. They play on back to back nights, as well as their third game in four nights at Calgary Friday.
The Flames are coming off a 4-1 home victory over the Sens on Wednesday, with rookie goaltender Joni Ortio stopping 30-of-31 shots. Ortio has been impressive in each of his first two starts for the Flames, and we should see him back between the pipes versus the Isles.
After opening up a 2-0 lead in the first two periods of last night's game, the Isles ran out of steam in the third, allowing the Oilers to force OT, and eventually win on a Taylor Hall goal. It appears that fatigue has finally set in.
The Flames 20 year old Finnish prospect Markus Granlund scored his first NHL goal in the win over Ottawa, and he's getting a chance to play here as the season winds down, making the most of it.
There isn't much incentive for the Isles to play with any intensity here tonight, so don't expect them to be battling hard for loose pucks in the corner. Calgary should be able to out-work the visitors, giving the home crowd something to cheer about.
Take the Flames.