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Posted by on Jan 11, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

2019 NFL: Divisional Playoff Round



Yes, the thought did occur to me.

Take my nearly $2,000 in profit, then wager conservatively over the next three weeks, and lock up a guaranteed profit for the season.  Then, I could boast 5 out of 7 winning years and coast on my laurels heading into next season.

Yeah, the thought did occur to me.

Thing is, I think most of you reading this are going to be in action on every playoff game going forward. It’s probably in our nature. While it’s wise to pass on games that produce no tangible advantages when it comes to the betting numbers, most of us do tempt our fate. Accordingly, I must deal with that reality. That means wagering on situations that look to be contrarian in nature and appear to offer some degree of value.

So — nope, I’m not slowing down.  It’s full steam ahead.

NOTE:  Here’s two articles I posted on SIDES and TOTALS for this week’s games.  Check them out.




Wins — Losses — Pushes          78 — 63 — 3

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,398.

Current Bankroll:   $10,316.  (+ $1,918.)

Last Week’s Results (Week #18):         5 — 1 — 1  (+ $975. minus $200 lost in season-long picks contest)



This week, I made FIVE bets.  I’m wagering $1,375 to win $1,250.  I’ve wagered on three of the four games.  However, I’ve analyzed all four games.  Here are my thoughts:


Minnesota/San Francisco OVER 44 — Risking $275 to win $250

Minnesota +7 vs. San Francisco — Risking $275 to win $250

Minnesota Team Total OVER 19.5 for Game — Risking $275 to win $250

Comments:  I need the Minnesota Vikings to score points. So, what makes me confident they will do so. Answer — several factors:

— I was mighty impressed with head coach Mike Zimmer’s game plan last week.  He badly outcoached the Saints and I think he can do the same thing here.  Zimmer has significant playoff experience, while this is 49ers’ coach Shanahan’s first playoff game (as head coach).  With the Vikings freerolling here off the big upset last week, I think this team will be loose and confident. Minnesota also enjoys far more playoff experience than the San Francisco players.

— Mike Zimmer’s ATS record is remarkable, and probably the most compelling reason to bet the Vikings in multiple wagers. Zimmer-coached Viking teams are just 18-18 ATS versus divisional opponents.  However, they are an astounding 44-20 ATS versus all other opponents.  That’s better than 70 percent, which is unheard of.  For whatever reason, Zimmer-coached teams perform way above market expectation when out of the division.  Minnesota getting +7 makes this virtually an automatic wager.

—  San Francisco began the first half of the season with a fierce defense that was one of the NFL’s best.  But more recently, the 49ers have looked very average on the defensive side of the ball.  San Francisco has given up 20+ points in 8 of their last 9 games.  Hence, I expect Minnesota can certainly cover the 19.5 team total, which is one of my three wagers.  Inexplicably, bettors have moved the vig towards the under on this total/prop in a few spots, which I can’t understand. Minnesota moved the ball very well in New Orleans last week and should enjoy some success here, as well. WR Thielen is out for the Vikings, which might have been the main factor for a small move, but this team total should still be at least 20, especially given the less-than-impressive performance of the 49ers defense in the second half of the season.

— Minnesota’s offense has scored 20+ points in 8 of its last 9 games.  So, given San Francisco has surrendered 20+ in 8 of last 9 (since midseason), it doesn’t seem like a stretch to expect 20+ from the Vikings in this game.

— So long as Minnesota reaches the 20-point threshold, that sets us up for a possible scoop with all three wagers. San Francisco should get points themselves given their offensive prowess — 28 PPG on average since midseason. Hence, this total at just 44, looks a little low.

— Weather will make for ideal playing conditions, probably an edge to the offenses:  Temperature in the mid-50s. Wind gusts 10-15 mph. Likely, aside from a little wind, these are ideal conditions for football, including both offenses. Edge to the “over.”

— Minnesota has traveled west this season two previous occasions.  The Vikings scored 39 points versus LA Chargers and 30 points versus Seattle.  Both games soared over the total.  Here’s some more data on both teams and totals this season:

  • San Francisco has gone over in seven of its last 10 games
  • San Francisco has gone over in five of its last six home games
  • In nine of the last 13 games played at San Francisco between these two teams, the total has gone over
  • Minnesota has gone over in six of its last nine games
  • Minnesota has gone over in five of its last six road games

The bottom line is — Minnesota appears to have value catching the +7.  This is the more experienced playoff team.  The total looks a bit low given the recent performances of these teams.  Scoring should be helped by ideal playing conditions.  All these factors have inspired me to wager Minnesota +7, the Vikings team total to eclipse 19.5, and the game total to sail over 44.


Tennessee/Baltimore UNDER 47 — Risking $275 to win $250

Comments:  Both of these teams should run the ball more than average, and that will keep the clock moving.  Three ball carriers are former Heisman trophy winners.  The added pressure of a playoff game and two offenses with little big-game experience should add to a move conservative game plan by each team.  Weather should also be a factor, at least marginally so.  The weather was expected to be bad earlier in the week when cold rain and high winds were forecasted. But now it looks like the winter storm might come after the game. Nonetheless, winds will be in the 10-15 mph range, gusting up to 20 mph. There is a chance of drizzle. The conditions should favor the under.  I locked in a bet on the under early in the week and caught the very important key number of 47 (this way, a 27-20 final, or similar number combo won’t kill the ticket).  The number moved to 46.5 for a time, but is now back to 47 as the swarms of bettors flood the windows thinking the Titans and Ravens (both strong over teams this season) will get into a shootout.  My contrarian leanings tell me that playoff football in January is a very different type of game, and pressure.  I expect at least one defense to come up big and this point total to fall beneath the posted total of 47.  Note:  One of the odd intangibles I read while researching this game relates to the head referee.  While handicapping referees and totals isn’t the science we see in Major League Baseball, there may be something to some referees speeding up the pace of play (keeping the clock moving on marginal our of bounds plays, for instance) or in the way penalties are called.  Bill Vinovich will be officiating this game.  In his career as an NFL official, his games have gone 57-42 to the under.  No, that’s not a huge factor.  But it’s worth mentioning and just another reason to bet this total to fall lower than 47.  Note: The game total has climbed to 47.5 in some places, as public pounds the over.  I may have taken a bad number. However, I bet this earlier in the week thinking weather might get bad and drive the number down a point or two.



Houston at Kansas City — No plays

Comments:  I don’t see any value in this game, though I lean slightly to Kansas City laying -9.5  Chiefs defense is playing far better the last five games of the season, and could make for a long day for the Texans offense, which was shut down completely for the first 43 minutes of last week’s home playoff game versus Buffalo.  Texans task will be for tougher this week, facing an explosive and rested offense.  I think if you can get -9.5, Kansas City is probably worth a look.  The Chiefs should be very confident in this spot at home and will face an opponent that was very lucky to win and get to this game, falling behind 16-0 at one point.  Anything resembling that kind of poor effort will result in a blowout here.  What keeps me off the game is Houston beating Kansas City at Arrowhead previously this season.  In fact, the Texans dominated that game.  That was way back in Week #6, but I’m still wary of how that game turned out.  I also don’t like laying lots of points in any game, let alone the playoffs, so that compels me to pass. But I can certainly see why many bettors would be attracted to Kansas City laying less than -10.


Seattle at Green Bay UNDER 46.5 — Risking $275 to win $250

Comments:  I tend to like highly-experienced quarterbacks to go over the betting total, especially when playing against each other.  If one QB gets on fire, that sometimes creates a shootout situation.  It would be hard to find two better-suited QBs for these conditions than Rodgers (Green Bay) and Wilson (Seattle).  So, why am I playing the under?  Here are my thoughts:

— Weather could be a factor:  A later start (5:40 pm CST) means temperatures could be even colder than the low-20s forecasted for the high. But Green Bay, notorious for Ice Bowl weather in January, might be spared. Still, this level of cold is unlikely to suit Seattle. Edge to the “under,” though historically, Green Bay scoring totals haven’t been affected much by cold weather.

— Seattle’s offense is an injury ward.  I won’t get into details, but the Seahawks came out of last week’s Philadelphia road win as a hobbled team.

— Seahawks haven’t exactly lit up the scoreboard lately, averaging just 18 points per game in their last five contests.  They’ve scored just 13, 21, and 17 in their last three contests and now play a road game versus a top defense.  Back-to-back road games, this one in frigid conditions with an injured team isn’t the recipe to turn mediocre offensive numbers around.

— Meanwhile, Green Bay has been sporadic offensively, going under in 4 of their last 5 at home.  Former MVP QB Rodgers isn’t having a great season, despite the Packers’ impressive 13-3 record.  They got to the #2 seed by running the ball and playing solid defense.  Packers since midseason in their last 8 games are averaging just slightly better than 20 points-per-game.  This total might be inflated based on previous years of Packers’ home playoff games when they would often produce big plays and lots of points.  This looks to be a very different team this season.

— Green Bay’s defense is playing terrific.  Their last five games — allowed 13, 15, 13, 10, and 20 points, respectively.  They’re also riding a five-game winning streak, so don’t look for the coaching staff to rock the boat with any significant changes.  The Packers will run the ball and expect their defense to contain the always-dangerous Wilson, who is by far the Seahawks’ best weapon.

— The betting total at 46.5 doesn’t seem to reflect the reality of injuries, weather, and the way these teams have performed in the latter half of the season.  I do see value at this number, and anything higher than 44.  That would be my projected total.

Accordingly, I’ve wagered one unit on the under 46.5 in this game, which hopefully results in another winning weekend.


Good luck!


INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons Active]

Investor  —- Amount —- Pct. of Total Fund
Heldar $ 211 2.51%
Watanabe $ 100 1.19%
Peter Lucier $ 1,000 11.91%
Kramer $ 302 3.60%
Finbar O’Mahoney $ 200 2.38%
Howler $ 100 1.19%
Linda Keenan $ 500 5.95%
John Pickels $ 100 1.19%
Patrick Kirwan $ 100 1.19%
Sean McGinnis $ 300 3.57%
Jim Anderson $ 252 3.00%
Chad Holloway $ 200 2.38%
Eric Schneller $ 500 5.95%
Randy Collack $ 351 4.18%
Dave Lawful $ 100 1.19%
Paul Harris $ 1,000 11.91%
Dan Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Sharon Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Ken QB $ 102 1.21%
Chuck Weinstock $ 102 1.21%
Peter Taki Caldes $ 102 1.21%
Kenny Shei $ 51 0.61%
Jeff Deitch $ 51 0.61%
Kevin Un $ 128 1.52%
Becca Kerl $ 22 0.26%
Corey Imsdahl $ 102 1.21%
Don Bingo Rieck $ 102 1.21%
Jeff Siegel $ 1,000 11.91%
Stephen Cohen (payment pending) $ 100 1.19%
John Reed $ 114 1.36%
George Wattman $ 51 0.61%
Mickdog Patterson $ 51 0.61%
Larry Lubliner $ 100 1.19%
Grizz Berentsen $ 100 1.19%
Edmund Hack $ 100 1.19%
Bob Feduniak $ 500 5.95%
David “Quick” Horowitz $ 102 1.21%
TOTAL $ 8,398 100.00%



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