2017 NFL Wild Card Weekend
2017 NFL REGULAR SEASON RESULTS
STARTING BANKROLL: $10,000.
CURRENT BALANCE: $11,830. (+$1,830.)
OVERALL W-L RECORD: 57 wins / 45 loses / 3 pushes
Week #1 — 3 wins, 4 losses = net -$250
Week #2 — 1 win, 0 losses = net +$350
Week #3 — 7 wins, 2 losses = net +$1,070
Week #4 — 1 win, 1 loss = net -$20
Week #5 — 7 wins, 3 losses = net +$740
Week #6 — 2 wins, 2 losses = net -$40
Week #7 — 3 wins, 4 losses, 1 push = net -$280
Week #8 — 4 wins, 2 losses = net +$360
Week #9 — 2 wins, 2 losses = net -$270
Week #10 — 9 wins, 6 losses = net +$480
Week #11 — 3 wins, 4 losses = net -$280
Week #12 — 2 wins, 4 losses = net -$480
Week #13 — 4 wins, 2 losses = net +$360
Week #14 — 4 wins, 4 losses = net -80
Week #15 — 2 wins, 2 losses, 1 push = net +$60
Week #16 — 2 wins, 3 losses = net -$370
Week #17 — 1 win, 0 losses = net +$300
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS: Last week, I posted 1 win and 0 losses — for a net win of +$300. This puts me at +12 games over .500 at the end of the regular season heading into the playoffs.
WINLESS TEAMS (FINAL UPDATE): The “bet on winless teams” angle suffered a terrible year — the worst since being tracked 20 seasons ago. Last week, Cleveland (the NFL’s only remaining winless team) lost yet again — but did cover the spread. The Browns likely would have won the game outright had a bad wide receiver not dropped a first down catch at the Steeler 10-yard line with just under 2 minutes remaining. The betting angle closes as 8-12 for the season for a loss of -5.2 units.
THIS WEEK’S PICKS: On to this week’s games (lines current as of Friday afternoon). I made two wagers, but also have a few leans:
Atlanta +6.5 at Los Angeles [Risking $330 to win $300]
This is a tough game to predict. But I think the points could come into play and that’s my tipping point when making this wager. The Falcons are certainly capable of getting the straight-up win. While the Rams are a public darling at the moment, for what they’ve accomplished, some bettors may have lost sight that Atlanta remains the defending NFC champion and came within one horrible playing-calling series of winning last year’s Super Bowl. The Falcons are stoked with players with playoff and big-game experience. They’re playing a team with no such experience and hasn’t been in this spot before. Given the rise in intensity, the younger Rams could be a bit rattled by the pressure. Sure, the Rams showcase a high-powered offense and is a fun team to watch. But let’s also remember this team has a head coach and a starting quarterback who have never played in a playoff game before. Some concern about fading Wade Phillips as DC, who I think could be key to this game. If Phillips is able to devise a game plan to pressure Ryan and shut down the Falcons, Rams could roll. However, several teams have put up big numbers against Rams at home this season. To be asked to cover nearly a touchdown seems like a big chore. Rams also lost four games at home (just 4-4 record this season) — to WASH, SEA, PHILA and SFO (although the starters didn’t play in the final week). Atlanta is certainly in that class of opponents and should be well-prepared for the chance to defend their NFC crown. Falcons’ two losses down the stretch (6-2 the second half of season) were to NOR and CAR — no shame in that. This line was +6 and +6.5 most of Friday but has since dropped back to +5 in some places (current). I locked in the +6.5 and advise hunting for at least a +6 which is available at Westgate and some offshores.
TEASER: Kansas City -2 / New Orleans -1 [Risking $330 to win $300]
Kansas City and Jacksonville present Wong teaser possibilities this week (teams favored by 8-8.5 points teased down to less than a field goal). The Chiefs look to be worthy of laying chalk. I less certain about Jacksonville. Hence, I’m replacing the Jaguars with New Orleans which is laying -7 to Carolina and get teased down to -1…..First about the KC-TENN match up: Kansas City appeared to have righted a sinking ship down the stretch by winning their final four games, all in impressive fashion (4-0 ATS). Most striking was the resurgence of the Chiefs offense, which has averaged 30 PPG it’s last five. KC finished 6-2 at home this season, playing TENN which posted a less than impressive 3-5 road record. Titans also stumbled into the playoffs losing 3 of their last four games. These appear to be two teams headed in very different directions. Titans have to be happy with just making the playoffs and aren’t expected to go deep. Like the ATL-LAR game, one team has far more big game experience and in this match up has the added advantage of playing at home. A review of the Titans’ wins shows they beat a lot of very bad teams. I expect that Kansas City should be able to get the easy win at home, and certainly cover the -2…..Meanwhile, New Orleans has dominated Carolina in both previous games this season. We hear about the theory that it’s tough to beat any team three times in a season, which is nonsense. Since 1970 merger, in situations where this has come up, the dominant team has defeated the inferior team 13 out of 19 times. The home team has won the third match up 12 of 19 times. Myth busted. Carolina certainly poses a tough challenge to the Saints and is capable of beating anyone when things go well (their win against Minnesota late in the season was particularly impressive). Moreover, New Orleans doesn’t inspire lots of confidence laying -7, especially given some disappointing losses this season when playing against good teams. But the Saints were 7-1 at home and do enjoy a decided advantage at QB. Drew Brees is enjoying yet another All-Pro season. By contrast, Cam Newton has been erratic this season, finishing 19th in the league in passing. Newton’s playoff record is 3-3, and he’s lost both of his road starts. I would argue the Panthers fielded much better teams in the 2013-2016 years and this maybe his weakest supporting cast. Carolina’s defense surrendering 26 PPG in last six games of the season. I like the Saints to win the game, which is all we basically need when teasing the favorite down to -1.
OTHER GAMES AND THOUGHTS:
Buffalo at Jacksonville
If defense wins championships, then the Jaguars are the best darkhorse team in this year’s playoffs. They held 7/16 opponents to less than 10 points and led several defensive statistical categories. However, Jaguars also played a horrifically easy schedule, facing just 5 playoff-bound opponents where they went 2-3 SU. Buffalo is a quagmire, capable of playing well one week and bombing the next. The uncertain condition of RB LeSean McCoy presents even more uncertainty. McCoy might be more important to his team than any RB in the league. I do like how QB Tyrod Taylor has played down the stretch, with a low-risk, mistake free style that doesn’t rack up lots of impressive stats, but is solid enough to win games when combined with good defense. There are two teams that haven’t tasted a playoff game in a very long time, with two rosters and coaching staffs with virtually no big game experience. I’d take the Bills plus the points but have reservations they will be able to score many points. Also, concerned about Jaguars winning five straight at home. Seems crazy to lay more than a TD with the favorite, but I can’t take the dog either. So, this game is a pass.
Leans on totals: NOR/CAR OVER 48; ATL/LAR UNDER 48; TENN/KC UNDER 44; BUF/JAX UNDER 40
Leans on 1H: ATL +3; BUF +5.5