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♦'NFL Conference Championship Games'♦ Sunday 1/24/16

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    NEWSLETTER NFL Football Prediction From Allen Eastman

    Take ‘Over’ 47.5 Arizona at Carolina (6:30p.m., Sunday, Jan. 24)
    I like this pick on the total in this NFC Championship Game, and I think that we will see plenty of points in this one. All of the talk has been about Carolina’s defense this year. But the Panthers offense is one of the highest scoring in football, and they just tallied 31 points against Seattle last week in the first half alone. The Panthers have gone ‘over’ in seven of their last 10 games. Arizona also has an explosive offense, and they are No. 2 in the NFL with an average of 30.6 points per game. The Cardinals were able to get the jitters out last week in their win over Green Bay. I expect them to open up the offense against Carolina, and that should mean plenty of scoring. The ‘over’ is 5-2 in Arizona’s last seven playoff games and the ‘over’ is 12-3 in Carolina’s last 15 games against teams from the NFC. The ‘over’ is 10-4 in Carolina’s last 14 playoff games and this should be a shootout.


    NEWSLETTER NFL Football From Raphael Esparza

    Take ‘First Half’ – Over 23.5 – Arizona at Carolina (6:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 24)
    We all know that the Carolina Panthers scored 31 points in the first half last week at home against Seattle, and I don’t see that happening but I do see points being scored in this game. Arizona can score points quickly as well and their last road game the Cardinals scored 40 points against the Eagles. Both QB’s will establish the run early, but I also see both QB’s throwing the ball early as well and I see more scoring in the first half of this game then the second half. Offensive game first then both D’s come out at halftime. Should be an exciting game from kickoff and we should see some early fireworks in the first two quarters.




    Rot Time (ET) Pick Opp Line Margin Pick% $

    312 3:05 PM @DENVER ♦Upset Watch Lock of the Week♦ vs NEW ENGLAND • 3.5 • 0.9 • 59.8% • $78

    313 6:40 PM ARIZONA ♦Upset Watch♦ @ CAROLINA • 3 • 1.2 • 58.9% • $68


    Rot Time (ET) Favorite Opp Points For Points Against Win%

    313 6:40 PM ARIZONA @ CAROLINA • 24.5 • 23.2 • 52.1%

    312 3:05 PM @ DENVER vs NEW ENGLAND • 21.4 • 20.6 • 51.2%


    Home Rot Time (ET) Matchup Line Total Points Pick Pick% $

    312 3:05 PM NE @ DEN • 44.5 • 42.0 Under 54.4% • $21

    314 6:40 PM ARI @ CAR • 48 • ¿O/U?,,,selection is not posted maybe later,,,,GL,,,WO

    * Conference Championship record of 9-1 (90% ATS) into this weekend.
    * All ATS picks in the NFL postseason are 44-19 (70% ATS)
    * 2-2 in wildcard round on sides this yr.
    * 2-2 last week, split both days on sides.

    *The Predictalator has already simulated the AFC and NFC Conference Championship games 50,000 times and both games have an ATS pick that covers greater than 57% of time (considered a “normal” or better play).



    ‘NFL Trends Conference Titles’
    By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics
    powered by Trend Machine

    There is incredible power in understanding history. Though not predictive in nature, understanding how teams, players, leagues and markets have reacted to various scenarios for over 36 years and more than 9,000 games – as is the case with the information available in the Trend Machine for the NFL – is a tremendous supplement to any analysis of an upcoming matchup.

    Each week we will provide trends for the upcoming NFL games, some will be team specific, others situational – how often a team covers against-the-spread after covering three games in a row.

    ♦NFL Conference Championship – ‘Situational’ Trends♦

    This is the first time since the 2004-05 NFL Playoffs that the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in both the AFC and NFC advanced to their Conference Championship games. In the last five postseasons that this has occurred (2004-05, 2002-03, 1998-99, 1994-95 and 1991-92), the top overall seeds went 6-4 straight-up and 5-5 against-the-spread.

    ‘Games Matching this Criteria’
    Panthers (-3) vs. Cardinals
    Broncos (+3) vs. Patriots.

    All-time in Conference Championship games, home underdogs are 5-8 straight-up and 5-7-1 against-the-spread.

    ‘Games Matching this Criteria’
    Broncos (+3) vs. Patriots.

    If your team is favored in the Conference Championship it will likely win. All-time, favorites in the conference title games have gone 52-22 straight-up and 42-31-1 against-the-spread.

    ‘Games Matching this Criteria’
    Patriots (-3) vs. Broncos
    Panthers (-3) vs. Cardinals.

    *Additional Notes
    Since 1990, when the NFL Playoffs expanded to 12 teams, there have been 32 Conference Championship games that were rematches from the regular season. In those games, the winner of the last regular season meeting (there were inter-division rematches where the teams had played each other twice in the regular season) went 20-12 straight-up in the Conference Championship game.

    In those same games, when a team won the regular season matchup and then was an underdog in the Conference Championship game, the dog went 10-1 against-the-spread.

    ‘Games Matching this Criteria’
    Broncos (+3) vs. Patriots.

    ♦NFL Trends – Conference Championship♦

    (Note: In our date “All-time” goes back to 1978 or when the team joined the league.)

    This is just the second game all season that Arizona has been an underdog. The Cardinals won the previous game (Week 10 vs. Seattle).

    Carson Palmer starting for the Cardinals on the road is 13-5 straight-up and 14-4 against-the-spread.

    The Cardinals as road underdogs in the playoffs are 4-5 straight-up and 5-4 against-the-spread.

    Arizona won and covered in its only Conference Championship appearance (2009 vs. Philadelphia).

    Carolina is 9-0 straight-up at home this year and has gone 7-2 against-the-spread in those games.

    All-time in the playoffs, the Panthers at home are 4-2 straight-up and against-the-spread.

    All-time in Conference Championship games, Carolina has been on the road and an underdog each time.

    In those games the Panthers went 1-2 straight-up and against-the-spread.

    Peyton Manning has never been an underdog in the playoffs with the Broncos but he is 5-5 straight-up and ATS in the regular getting points with Denver.

    Manning as an underdog in the postseason has gone 2-3 straight-up and 2-3 against-the-spread.

    In his career, as a home underdog, Manning has gone 11-8 straight-up and against-the-spread.

    Manning is 2-1 straight-up and against-the-spread vs. Tom Brady in championship games.

    This is the Patriots fifth straight AFC title game: New England went 2-2 straight-up and 1-3 ATS in the previous four games.

    Tom Brady and New England have been in nine previous Conference Championships, the Pats went 6-3 straight-up and 4-5 ATS in those games.

    Brady has only been a true road favorite (not counting Super Bowls) in the playoffs once, he won and covered that game (2005 at Steelers).

    Brady is 11-5 straight-up vs. Peyton Manning and 9-6-1 against-the-spread vs. his rival.

    **Additional Manning vs. Brady Trends**

    In the playoffs, Manning and Brady have faced each other four times. Each has won two games. Each has covered twice as well.

    Brady holds the all-time head-to-head record but Manning has gotten the better of him in Conference Championship games going 2-1 straight-up.

    For as often as these two quarterbacks play, neither has beaten the other on the road since 2007.

    powered by Trend Machine



    Game: New England Patriots (311) @ Denver Broncos (312)
    Time: Sunday 01/24 3:00 PM Eastern
    Pick: Game Total OVER 44.5 (-102)
    After starting the season 10-0, the Patriots suffered some injuries, especially to their offense. The results was a 10-0 team that averaged 32.3 points per game going to a 3-4 team over their last seven games averaging just 24.1 ppg. Things started to look better last week when Julian Edelman returned, perhaps the most integral part of their offense (other than Tom Brady). The Patriots cashed in against a tough Kansas City defense that had allowed 12.5 ppg during an 11-game winning streak. New England more than doubled what the Chiefs opponents output had averaged during the streak, scoring 27 points. Against a somewhat overrated Broncos defense, these Patriots should score. Denver will go with Peyton Manning once again here. The Broncos offense has become a bit steadier over the last month, scoring 20+ in each of their last four games and have put points on the board in 10 of their last 11 quarters of play. This change occurred after coming up empty in two quarters of each game in their three previous games. Denver averaged 22 ppg in the 11 games that Manning start to finish. He is certainly not the same Peyton Manning of old, but he’ll be able to find the end zone against a Pats defense that is the worst of the four teams remaining. New England has some lofty numbers supporting the OVER in this game. They are 39-16 to the OVER in their last 55 vs. a winning team including 13-5 to the OVER since last season. They are also 57-27 to the OVER in their last 84 in conference play and 10-2 OVER the past two seasons in expected close games (line of -3 to +3). The Pats are also 39-16 to the OVER when following a spread win. In the Bill Belichick era, New England is 73-57 OVER in road gamesand 10-1 OVER revenging a road upset loss. Denver is 34-15 to the OVER in their last 49 vs. a winning team, and the OVER has cashed in six of the last seven meetings between these two. Take the OVER in the AFC Championship game.


    Pats, Broncos clash in AFC Championship Sunday
    By Zach Cohen

    Kickoff: Sunday, 3:05 p.m. ET

    *AFC Championship Game*
    Line: New England -3.0, Total: 44.0

    Peyton Manning and the Broncos host Tom Brady and the Patriots in what could be the final postseason matchup between the two legendary quarterbacks on Sunday.

    The Patriots hosted the red-hot Chiefs in the Divisional Round and came away with a 27-20 victory as six-point home favorites. New England had lost its final two regular season games before playing that game, but the team put any concerns to bed with the win over Kansas City. The Broncos, meanwhile, hosted the Steelers on Sunday and came away with a 23-16 win as seven-point home favorites. Denver has won three straight games and has allowed just 20 or less points in five of its past six. The team is playing stifling defense and actually was able to win against Pittsburgh thanks to a forced fumble in the fourth quarter. The Patriots and Broncos have already met once this season and the Broncos won that game 30-24 as 2.5-point road underdogs. The teams have, however, split victories both SU and ATS over the past three seasons. Favoring the Patriots in this game is the fact that Tom Brady is 11-5 SU in his 16 meetings with Peyton Manning in his career. New England is also 9-2 ATS after gaining 300 or more passing yards in its previous game over the past two seasons. LB Jerod Mayo (Shoulder) is the newest Patriots player to be lost for the season. The Broncos, meanwhile, will be entering this one at relatively close to full strength.

    The Patriots have pretty much abandoned the run at this point in the season and it’s now going to be Tom Brady that will need to win this game for New England. Brady was brilliant against the Chiefs in the Divisional Round, going 28-for-42 with 302 yards, two touchdowns and no picks. He also added a rushing touchdown for the Patriots as well. One big bonus for New England’s quarterback was that Julian Edelman returned from injury. Edelman looked as good as new in the win, catching 10 passes for 100 yards. His ability to make plays allowed Rob Gronkowski to run his routes with a little less attention than he usually gets and it really helped. Gronkowski caught seven passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas City. Him and Edelman will now need to get open often against a very good Denver defense in order to win on Sunday. Brady should have little trouble throwing it, though. He had 280 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions the last time he faced this defense and that was in the snow. One thing that will need to happen for the Patriots is that the defense must find a way to stop the run. The Broncos rushed for 179 yards and three touchdowns the last time these teams met and that can’t happen again. Denver struggles to pass the ball and the Patriots could really give themselves a good chance of winning by slowing down the running game.

    The Broncos defeated the Steelers in the Divisional Round, but it was a rather uninspiring win for the team. Offensively, Denver is going to need to be a lot better in order to defeat this high-powered Patriots team. The guy that will really need to improve is Peyton Manning. Manning struggled against Pittsburgh, going 21-for-37 with 222 yard, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Denver will need him to throw for at least a touchdown or two on Sunday. The Broncos are also going to need a big game from their running back duo of C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman. The two combined for 108 yards and a touchdown against Pittsburgh last week, but they also lit up the Patriots earlier in the season. In that victory for the Broncos, Anderson and Hillman combined for 172 yards and three touchdowns. If they can find similar success against New England on Sunday then the Denver defense should be able to put the team in a position to win. The Broncos are allowing just 18.5 PPG (4th in NFL) and have been extremely dominant as of late. They’ll need to find a way to slow down Tom Brady on Sunday, though, and that is no easy task for anybody.


    Panthers host high-powered Cardinals Sunday
    By Zach Cohen

    Kickoff: Sunday, 6:40 p.m. ET

    *NFC Championship Game*
    Line: Carolina -3.0, Total: 48.0

    The Cardinals and Panthers will be playing for a spot in the Super Bowl when the teams meet in Carolina on Sunday.

    The Cardinals are coming off of a wild win over the Packers in the Divisional Round and will now be looking to ride the momentum of that victory into their meeting with the Panthers. Arizona allowed a Hail Mary touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Jeff Janis in the closing seconds of regulation last game and ended up winning on a shovel pass from Carson Palmer to Larry Fitzgerald in the early stages of overtime. The Panthers, meanwhile, did not have much of a challenge in their Divisional Round win over the Seahawks. Carolina jumped out to a 31-0 lead and ended up winning 31-24, as the team took its foot off the gas in the second half of the game. The Panthers will now need to regain their focus for their meeting with Arizona on Sunday. The last time these teams met actually happened to be in the postseason and the Panthers won that game 27-16 as 5.5-point favorites. Carson Palmer was, however, injured and the Cardinals played that game with Ryan Lindley under center. One thing that is heavily favoring Arizona in this game is that the team is 30-11 ATS when playing against a top-level team (Win Pct.>75%) since 1992. The Panthers are, however, an insane 7-0 ATS in games with a line of +3 to -3 this season. Arizona did not suffer any additional injuries against Green Bay, but the Panthers are likely to be without DE Jared Allen (Foot) in this game.

    If the Cardinals are going to defeat the Panthers on Sunday then Carson Palmer is going to need to have an unbelievable game for Arizona. Palmer threw for 349 yards with three touchdowns in the win over the Packers in the Divisional Round, but he also threw three picks in that game. He’ll need to take better care of the football, especially with Josh Norman playing corner for Carolina. Something Palmer should do in this one is get rid of the ball quickly and find Larry Fitzgerald often. Fitzgerald was straight up dominant against the Packers last game, hauling in eight catches for 176 yards and a touchdown. He has now caught a touchdown in each of the past three games for Arizona. Another guy that will need to play well for this team is David Johnson. Johnson rushed 15 times for 35 yards against Green Bay and also added six catches for 43 yards. He will need to be more effective between the tackles or it will be tough for the Cardinals to get things going in the passing game. Arizona uses the play action often and Johnson must put some fear into the Panthers defense in this one. Defensively, the Cardinals have their work cut out for them with Cam Newton in town. They should be up for the challenge, though, as they allowed just 19.6 PPG (t-7th in NFL) this season.

    The Panthers have consistently beaten up on their opponents this season, but things are going to get tough against a very good Cardinals team on Sunday. Carolina will need to play a complete game in this one, and that means it can’t let up at any point in the game. The team has shown that it can have lapses of poor play and last week’s second half against Seattle was a mess for the Panthers. As always, this Carolina team is only going to go as far as Cam Newton takes it. Newton was 16-for-22 with 161 yards, one touchdown and no picks against the Seahawks last week. He’ll need to do a bit more in this one, but it would really help his team if he can continue to play mistake-free football. The reason that Newton was able to take a backseat against Seattle was that Jonathan Stewart was running wild in the game. In his return from injury, Stewart rushed 19 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns against the Seahawks. He showed serious explosiveness on one 59-yard run and it would be huge if he can get it going against Arizona. Greg Olsen, who had six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks, will also need to show up for the Panthers in this game. Defensively, the Panthers will need to shut down the Cardinals’ passing game in this one. That shouldn’t be too much of an issue, as Carolina allowed just 21 touchdowns this season (t-7th in NFL).



    Arizona Cardinals+3



    ‘NFL Championship Sunday’
    Risked 8 units to win 5
    New England Patriots -160 vs Denver Broncos

    Risked 5 units to win 4.42
    New England Patriots -3 -113 vs Denver Broncos

    Risked 5 units to win 7.35
    Arizona Cardinals +147 vs Carolina Panthers

    Risked 5 units to win 5
    Arizona Cardinals +3 +100 vs Carolina Panthers




    3 Unit Play. Take #311 Under 44.5 New England at Denver
    (3:00p.m., Sunday Jan 24 CBS)
    One game will have tons of offense and the other will have outstanding defense! The first game Sunday late afternoon in the Mile High I see defense being the factor for both AFC teams. Denver won last week at home and their defense played just ‘Ok’ but Sunday against New England the Broncos ‘D’ will be the key to victory and we cash the UNDER in this AFC Championship game. New England is 1-4 O/U in their last 5 AFC Conference Championship games. The Denver Broncos are 1-4 O/U in their last 5 playoff home games and the Broncos are 2-7-1 O/U in their last 10 home games.

    7 Unit Play. Take #314 Carolina -3
    over Arizona
    (6:40p.m., Sunday Jan 25 FOX)
    The Bank of America Stadium will be loud and ready Sunday night as the disrespected home team the Carolina Panthers host the Arizona Cardinals. Can someone please tell me why the Carolina Panthers at home are only a -3 favorite? The Panthers were a perfect 9-0 at home and their last 5 home games the Panthers have won by 7 points or more. Arizona has had trouble in their last two games and the Packers in Arizona almost pull out the upset. Arizona’s defense has also shown some leaks as of late especially against the run with Seattle and Green Bay accounting for 280 yards rushing combined. If Arizona struggles against the run on Sunday then this game could be lop-sided early. Overall, this game will be focused on both QB’s and in my eyes Cam Newton in the league MVP and if you are going to be the league MVP you need to go to the dance. Sunday night I see Carson Palmer throwing a late pick and the Panthers at home will secure the lead and I see Carolina winning this game by 6-points or more. Arizona is 1-6 ATS against a team with a winning record and the Carolina Panthers are 9-3 ATS against NFC teams.



    8-Unit Play. #311. Take Under 44.5 – Denver vs. New England
    (Sunday @ 3pm est)
    Our step-out here is on the Under between these two teams. These two teams as you know hooked up earlier this year and the contest went over the posted total. Take a closer look at the game and how it shaped up. For starters, the last 6 of 7 between these two teams have gone over the posted total and the oddsmakers realize that. With so much of the public on the Over to a tune of 2:1, we like the under here for reasons as well. It was 14-7 heading into the 2nd half when they met earlier this season and then after a scoreless 3rd quarter, an insane 27 point 4th quarter ensued to send this game over the posted total. Combine that with New England holding Kansas City to just 20 points – an offense that scored over 40 points on them the the last time they played it speaks volumes. Plus, this is a Denver team that knows it needs to help its quarterback in general. This is a team that held Pittsburgh to 16 points, San Diego to 20 points and the Bengals to 17 points, on all games that were essentially must wins. Quality public fade to boot as well, likely the opposite of what happened the last time these two teams met and with so much on the line, look for this game to be a more possession style game, as both defenses will be stout as this game likely falls under the posted total surprisingly. The Under is 4-1 in the Patriots last 5 Championship Games and the Under is 5-1 for Denver in their last 6 home games when they face teams with a winning road record. Meaning, their defense is stout and strong when they face better teams in the league.

    2-Unit Play. #313. Take Under 48 Arizona vs. Carolina
    (Sunday @ 6:40pm est)
    These two teams hook up in a game where the public is monumentally on the over. You have two squads that are playing whom the public loves the Over for. But, bear in mind that these two defenses at some point need to step up and it’s likely here. You have an Arizona team that nearly collapsed defensively to the Packers and that will be looking to get back on track despite winning the game in overtime. You have a Carolina team that nearly collapsed defensively in the 2nd half of their respective game Seattle. Remember, this team started off out of the gate incredibly fast which Arizona will not let happen here. It will be of primary concern that this team does not start out of the gate fast. Decent public fade as well to booth as both defenses play strong as we could have made this more of a step-out but we are satisfied with these two selections for a 10 units of action this weekend.


    Sharp Totals Club

    (311) NEW ENGLAND at (312) DENVER
    Total Under 44.5 (-110)


    Underdog Sportsline

    ‘Top Play’
    (311) NEW ENGLAND at (312) DENVER
    DENVER +3 (-105)



    5-Unit Play. Take #311 New England (-3)
    over Denver
    (3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 24)

    3-Unit Play. Take ‘Under’ 48.0 – Arizona at Carolina
    (6:40 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 24)


    Cousin Sal

    ‘NFL Championship Round’
    *Best Bet* – NE Patriots-3
    Arizona Cardinals+3

    BEST BETS (31-22-1 this season)

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