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Now on to the game. I am not a fan of either team so it is very easy for me to stay neutral in this game. I am a big fan of the Cardinals mainly because they are an underdog and in this game it is very easy to root for the Cinderella story! The problem is this clock has struck midnight. The Cardinals had a great run and I am impressed with Warner and love the fact that everyone now knows who Larry Fitzgerald is, but sorry Cardinals fans the Steelers have the edge here.
Let’s start with experience which almost every Steeler player has and teams playing in their first Super Bowl versus an experienced opponent are 5-11 ATS.That’s not all.
The hardest one for me to ignore is that highly rated defense. Objectors would state that Philly had the #3 defense, but it does not match to this defense and the plan that Dick LeBeau can come up with to counter whatever the Cardinals throw at them. The guy is a defensive genius! He has a game plan that will take some time for Warner and his gifted wideouts to get used to. In the meantime the Cardinals offense will have their hands full because the running game is solid for the Steelers and if that is not enough the passing game behind Big Ben is not too shabby either. He has the reliable Hines Ward and deep threats with Holmes and Co. The Cardinals have to be flawless or they are looking at a hole that they will have to play out of.
It won’t happen and the pressure will cause Warner to go back to his turnover ways and abandon the run. The Steelers are 6-1 ATS off home win and 32-16 ATS off game w/ TO margin of +3 or better. Steelers roll!
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This post season has been a post season for the underdogs and its nice to get a home one for this game. The Cardinals are at home and that to me is a huge, because they have played well here all year. Here is a great stat against the Eagles.Since 1982, teams that knock off the Super Bowl champ are 0-10 straight up and 1-9 against the spread the following week! That is amazing and that just shows you how hard it is to rebound from a big win in the playoffs like that!
The Cardinals have been doing it with defense and running and the fact that no one can stop Larry Fitzgerald.
The Cardinals have’covered seven of their last 10 at home and look great with the points this week!The energy and the crowd will help the Cardinals get revenge for a loss to the Eagles earlier this season.
The Steelers have looked poised all year to make a run at the big game as they have played the best defense in the game. This week they face a Ravens team that they have already beaten twice with a unproven rookie at the helm in Joe Flaco.Baltimore has cashed eight of nine against conference foes and six of seven versus division opponents.
The Ravens are 9-0 ATS coming off an extremely close road win by three points or less as well. Even thought they are at home it will be asking for alot to have a team beat another team for the third time in the season.The Steelers have come up short in four of their last five ATS in conference championship games.Pittsburgh has also dropped nine straight spread decisions after scoring 35 points or more in its last game.Baltimore has won 11 of its past 13 games and is 7-3 on the road, including 2-0 in the postseason. This will be a tough game that will go down to the wire with Baltimore having a real shot of pulling off what seems like the impossible upset. Take the Ravens plus the points as meetings between these two teams always end up close!
These two teams have shocked the world by even making it this far.
The Ravens had to do it with a young offenisve unit and rookie coach behind an aging defense.
For the Dolphins they had to come out of the cellar with the the help of a new coach and a new sherriff in town in Bill Parcells.
One thing that we noticed yesterday is that the home teams will be playing tough and we get our second rookie signal caller on the road. Miami comes into the game with revenge for losing in week seven. When it comes to turnovers this game gets interesting. Baltimore has caused the most in the league while the Dolphins are the best at holding on the the ball. So in essence something has to give.
The Ravens covered five of last six road games, but are just 1-8 ATS as road chalk. Teams like Miami that have not been in the playoffs for three or more years are 18-8 ATS in the Wild Card round and they are 18-6 ATS revenging a loss against opponent by 14 points.
Note that Ravens rookie QB Joe Flacco did not start or end the regular season particularly well. Through five games, he had just one TD against seven INT’s and 2:3 ratio over the final four games. With Matt Ryan’s loss yesterday, rookie QB’s dropped to 2-7 all-time in the first-time playoff starts.
Home Underdogs in the Wildcard Round are 4-2 SU & 5-1 ATS since ’95 as mentioned yesterday and Miami has the talent to keep this close. As I mentioned Miami is very good at holding on to the ball one of the best in the league and that is good news.
Turnovers have proven to be the most crucial of these factors, as teams that have turned the ball over fewer times in a playoff game are an incredible 119-24-3 ATS (83.2%).
The fish keep this close where the points are worth the take and don’t be surprised if they are moving on to the next round!
The biggest news is that it was just announced that LT is a game time decision and he has a detached tendon in his groin! (Ouch!)
–So let me stop right here and say if you like the Colts then get them now because this news will make the line jump! Now back to your scheduled write up
While this is big news in the playoffs for LT to be hurting I don’t think it will matter I think he will suit up and play tonight and he may not be at 100% but Sproles has been elusive and a yard gainer when filling in.
The Colts went on a nine in a row run to win the wild card and get an invite to San Diego for this game. With that run Peyton Manning went on to secure an MVP trophy. It is interesting to note that wildcard road teams that won 11 games or more in the regular season are just 5-6 SU & 4-6-1 ATS (40%) in their first playoff game.
The Chargers had to go on an impressive run to win four straight down the stretch to include a comeback against KC and a tough road win over the Bucs. Phillip Rivers is having one of his best years of his career and is ready for this game tonight. Rivers now faces a Colts defense that’s allowed just six touchdown passes – the fewest ever by a team in a 16-game season. That unit, though, will be without linebacker and defensive captain Gary Brackett, who will miss his fifth straight game with a cracked bone in his lower right leg. With the announcement of the injury of LT, this line should go up and make the Chargers a dog of maybe even 3 or more which is good to know for Bolt backers as home underdogs in the Wildcard Round are 4-2 SU & 5-1 ATS since ’95.
There are some other good statistical trends that back the bolts
Teams that run for more yards per attempt on the season are 45-37 ATS (55.0%).
Teams that run for more yards per attempt on the season and are an underdog are 24-16 ATS (60.0%)
Teams that allow fewer rushing yards per attempt on the season are 45-37 ATS (55.0%).
Teams that allow fewer rushing yards per attempt on the season and are an underdog are 27-19 ATS (58.7%)
Teams that gain more yards per attempt both rushing AND passing are 25-18 ATS (58.1%)
Teams that gain more yards per attempt both rushing AND passing and yield fewer rushing yards per game are 10-5 ATS (66.7%)
And some against the Colts
Road teams that allow 4.15 YPR or more are just 11-17 ATS (39.3%)
Teams that allow fewer passing yards per attempt on the season are 37-45 ATS (45.0%).
I am going with the Chargers in this game. The colts beat them once at home and will try to do it for a second time this year and the Chargers have proven that they can play the Colts tough. The Chargers are 19-8 ATS vs. conference and 6-0 ATS at home off SU win. The Chargers are 10-2 ATS after two or more consecutive wins over the last two seasons. They are also 14-4 ATS off a home blowout win by 21 points or more.
Play Against – Road underdogs or pick (INDIANAPOLIS) off a upset win by 14 points or more as an underdog, good team, winning 60-75% or more of their games on the season
29-8 since 1997. ( 78.4% | 20.2 units )
1-1 this year. ( 50.0% | -0.1 units )
Play On – Home underdogs vs. the 1rst half line (SAN DIEGO) good offensive team – scoring 24 or more points/game
89-45 since 1997. ( 66.4% | 39.5 units )
6-2 this year. ( 75.0% | 3.8 units )
I am taking the Chargers in this game. I am going to wait to game time thinking that the line will move in favor of the Colts and I will be able to steal some points in what could be a close game.
Tomlinson has been listed as a game-time decision against the Indianapolis Colts in Saturday night’s AFC wild-card playoff game with a groin strain, and sources say he is going to attempt to play because physical therapy has given him some relief.
His playing status is expected to be determined after he tests the injury during a pregame warmup.
Doctors discovered through scans that Tomlinson had an “avulsion” on one of three adductor muscles, meaning a tendon that connects the muscle to the pubic bone has detached, team sources said. The injury can affect Tomlinson’s ability to make sharp cuts and other movements.
It is unknown if Tomlinson eventually will require surgery to reattach the tendon.
I found a great contest and its FREE! If you know of any other good ones for the NFL playoffs let me know! I wanted to post who I am taking today and why too! Here is the NFC, but check back later and I will put up the AFC.
NFC Wild Card Game
Atlanta Falcons vs. Arizona Cardinals 1 / 50.5
This line like all of them this weekend are interesting as home teams are either a dog or a pick’em going into today’s action. That would indicate these teams are somewhat even.
The Cardinals had a great year as Kurt Warner regained his MVP form and they showed they have the best wideouts in the game. They clinched a home game in Arizona for the first time in forever and got the state a buzz with NFL playoff fever. They then hit the skids, getting hammered at home to the Vikings and giving up New England before rebounding late in the season against Seattle, but are they too late?
The Falcons are one of the surprise teams of the year and they have the offensive rookie of the year in Matt Ryan at QB. Michael Turner has been a stud behind one of the better yet lesser known offensive lines in football. They now take their game to the road to see if they can move forward and get a win. Matt Ryan has done well in college post season but it’s another story in the NFL. Unlike the Cardinals the Falcons ride a three game winning streak headed into the playoffs.
Backing a rookie on the road is a scary proposition but its one that I am willing to do here and it’s mostly due to Michael Turner. Teams that can run the ball pounded the Cardinals and pulled away early and with Turner running well that will free up passing lanes for Ryan using play action. In the Wild Card round being at home is not always the best thing as hosts are 8-8 and 6-10 against the spread. Arizona is just 2-7 ATS as an underdog of late. The Falcons laid down in the last game and gave up chunks of yardage on defense but if you look closer you will see they have a pretty decent defense. The Falcons defense gave a flat performance in allowing the reeking Rams to gain 400 yards and are 26-6 ATS in road games after allowing 400 or more total yards in their previous game.
Teams that rush for more yards in a playoff game are 127-40 ATS (76.0%). The team that is ahead typically will run the ball more, but still it is important to know which team can better control the line of scrimmage. Keep in mind though, that the record of this trend last January was just 6-5 ATS.
You would have to think that the Falcons will be able to run the ball better.
There are some pretty decent trends that favor the Cardinals too but I am taking the Falcons in this game.