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.
- AAA Sports
- October 23, 2016 - 8:30 PM
- Offered at:
- bookmaker @ 2 -105 Seattle
Six weeks in the books for the 2016/17 NFL campaign and AAA Sports has produced a profit EVERY SINGLE WEEK! And they’ve been particularly AWESOME on the NFL Sunday, going a combined 26-11 (70%) through the first six weekends of pro gridiron action! It’s time KICK IT UP A NOTCH and DESTORY the books in Week 7!
1* Free Play Seattle Seahawks.
Reasoning: We had a play on Seattle last weekend and the Seahawks would let a big lead slip away, only to then somehow find a way to win the game 26-24 SU, unable to cover the six points.
After losing three of its first four, the Cardinals have bounced back with consecutive victories. Last week they handled the toothless Jets 28-3 with Carson Palmer leading the way after he was sidelined with an injury for two weeks.
We think that ‘Hawks QB Russell Wilson is almost back to 100% health, which is going to be trouble for the Cardinals today. Note that Seattle is 9-5 ATS in its last 14 agains the division, while Arizona is just 5-10 ATS in its last 15 against teams with winning records.
We like the Seahawks in this matchup, despite Palmer being back, we think Arizona still has a lot of question marks on the offensive side of the ball, a unit which led the league in scoring last year. Consider a second look at the visitors in this one.