Image Credit: © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
It’s playoffs week three, and there are only three games left for Vegas to take your money.
Let’s do our best to prevent that.
Championship weekend provides good matchups with tough odds nearly every year. As a bonus, this year, we get some fun storylines; the NFC Championship features two old head signal-callers who can each make a case for being the greatest ever to play the position, while the AFC Championship features two QBs no older than 25 who are hastily climbing the football ladder.
In a season fraught with anxiety about viruses and whether they should even play games, the NFL couldn’t have asked for a better situation going into the last three weeks of the football year.
But none of that really helps you, the bettor, when trying to make your gambling picks. The football fan in you loves the story, but the degenerate deeper down just wants a sure thing. As luck would have it, I’m here to help you cut through the noise and find the best bets this weekend.
They might not be a sure thing, but if you lose, at least you’ll have someone to blame.
BUF (+3) at KC O/U 54 points
A quick look at the stats tells us that this game is about offense: Kansas City has the first-ranked total offense this year while Buffalo holds second place. But recent history would indicate that this may be more about defense as both teams put up lackluster performances on offense in the divisional round while they held their opponents to 20 total points. In particular, the Chiefs’ red zone offense against the Browns was less than stellar, picking up only two touchdowns on five trips while the Bills have been stingy on defense in the red all year. On the other side, the Bills put up a measly 220 total yards against the Ravens and needed a defensive touchdown to put the game out of reach.
In their matchup earlier this season, the game was played close throughout, with Kansas City relying on the run against a then-porous Buffalo front seven. Buffalo’s defense has since stiffened up a bit, but we can still expect the Chiefs to be wary of the Buffalo defensive backfield and rely more on the run and short passing game. The Bills offense goes as Josh Allen goes, but a more balanced attack than what we saw in the first half against Baltimore is going to be the call. This game could very well come down to the final possession, with each quarterback putting up a solid game without the sort of eye-popping numbers we might hope for as fans.
Worth noting here as well that Buffalo is 9-1 in their last ten games against the spread while the Chiefs are a surprising 0-8-1 in their last nine. In a game that projects to be close and more of a defensive struggle, go with the hot-hand underdog and the under.
The pick: BUF, UNDER 54 total
Marsha (+3) at GB O/U 51 points
In perhaps the
greatest second-greatest third-greatest indictment of the greater Boston-area football team this century, Marsha went to another squad and promptly took them to a championship game on the backs of two solid performances in away games in the postseason. All it took was some guys who could catch passes and a running back or two. Who knew?
But now Tom and Tampa must deal with another beast entirely. It’s one thing to beat a losing team on bad turf or take one from a division opponent in a dome, it’s another thing to go to Lambeau in January and pry a trophy from the calloused mitts of Aaron Rodgers.
Some will be quick to point to the drubbing Tampa Bay put on the Packers in the first half of the season. Not so fast, I say. It’s not every day that a team can put up 28 in a quarter assisted by pick-six tossed by Rodgers. In fact, I think that’s happened on exactly one day. It was also Rodgers’ only bad game on the season and the only one in which he posted poor numbers against the blitz. We can expect another heavy dose of the blitz from the Tampa Bay defense this Sunday, but it seems silly to expect another dud performance from Aaron Rodgers. He went to work against the league’s best defense last week, and there’s no reason to think he’ll slow down. Look for another MVP-caliber game from this year’s likely MVP.
On the other side, Marsha has put together a solid offensive season as well, tossing at least two touchdowns in 15 out of 18 games. Expect Tampa Bay to have trouble slowing down the Packers’ attack while also putting up some points of their own. I predict Green Bay to carry a two-score lead into the final possession of a shootout and will bet accordingly.
The pick: GB, OVER 51 total
BillsFans.com - LeviF91