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♦ AFC-NFC Divisional Playoffs! ♦ Saturday 1/16/16

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    AFC-NFC Divisional Playoff Notes
    By VI News

    ‘NFL Playoffs’

    Kansas City at New England (CBS, 4:35 p.m. ET)

    Line Movement:
    The Patriots opened as 5 ½-point favorites and the number dropped to five at a few shops and as low as 4 ½ at others. The total opened as high as 45 ½ and is now sitting at 43 ½ and 43 everywhere as of Sunday morning.

    Chiefs WR Jeremy Maclin (knee) and Patriots WR Julian Edelman (foot) have both been ruled as ‘questionable’ but a lot of preliminary reports believe the Kansas City wide out could be done for the season.

    Kansas City Road Record: 6-3 SU, 6-3 ATS

    New England Home Record: 7-1 SU, 4-1-3 ATS

    Last season, the Chiefs blasted the Patriots 41-14 as 2 ½-point home underdogs in primetime showdown. Many pundits believed New England was done at the time but they silenced everybody by eventually winning the Super Bowl. The Chiefs have won and covered their last six encounters against AFC East foes. New England is 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS in its last 10 games versus AFC West opponents which includes a run of five straight victories at home.

    Playoff Notes:
    Last Saturday’s playoff win for the Chiefs was the first for the franchise since 1994 and also the first for head coach Andy Reid in Kansas City. Bill Belichick has gone 21-8 in the playoffs with the Patriots. At home, the team has gone 14-3 SU and 8-5-1 ATS during this span while the ‘under’ is 10-7. In the last seven postseason games played at Foxboro, the Patriots are 6-1 SU and 4-3 ATS with four of the victories come by double digits.

    Total Notes:
    Kansas City has watched the ‘over-under’ go 8-8-1 this season and that includes a 5-3-1 mark on the road. The Chiefs have scored 45, 29, 33, 34, 34 and 30 points in their last six games away from home. New England saw the ‘over’ go 9-7 this season but the total was a stalemate (4-4) at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots averaged 29.1 PPG this season, and 31.6 PPG at home.


    AFC-NFC Divisional Playoff Notes
    By VI News

    ‘NFL Playoffs’

    Green Bay at Arizona (NBC, 8:15 p.m. ET)

    Line Movement:
    The Westgate Las Vegas sent out the Cardinals as 7 ½-point favorites with a total of 49 ½. A couple major offshores in CRIS and 5Dimes opened Arizona -7 (-120) and the line has held steady at most shops, some making you lay the juice while others are flat (-110). The total has moved up to 50 at most betting shops.

    The Packers are hoping to get DB Sam Shields (concussion) and OL David Bakhtiari (ankle) back in the lineup after missing last week’s win at Washington. They are listed as ‘questionable’ for Saturday.

    Green Bay Road Record: 6-3 SU, 6-3 ATS

    Arizona Home Record: 6-2 SU, 3-5 ATS

    The Cardinals blasted the Packers 38-8 in Week 15 but the game changed late in the first half as Green Bay was picked off in the endzone. Arizona turned that mistake into a 17-0 halftime lead and cruised in the final 30 minutes with the help from two defensive touchdowns.

    Playoff Notes:
    Prior to last week’s win at Washington, the Packers were 2-4 in their last six playoff appearances and that included a 0-2 road record. Green Bay was in a similar role last season at Seattle and wound up collapsing late in a 28-22 overtime loss but covered the number. Arizona hasn’t won a playoff game since 2010 and coincidentally that victory came at home against Green Bay in a wild 51-45 shootout. Cardinals QB Carson Palmer will only be making his third playoff start and he’s 0-2 but he was knocked out early to a gruesome knee injury in his first appearance versus the Steelers.

    Total Notes:
    Even though Sunday’s result vs. Washington went ‘over’ the number, the Packers have seen the ‘under’ go 11-6 this season but five of those ‘over’ tickets have occurred on the road. Arizona leaned slightly to the high side (9-7) this season but it closed the season on a 5-1 run to the ‘under.’ Arizona played in three games with totals listed in the fifties and the ‘under’ went 2-1 in those games. The Packers have seen the ‘under’ cash in all three games with totals listed in the fifties. Dating back to 2009, the Cardinals have seen the ‘over’ go 6-1 in their last seven playoff games.



    Green Bay at Arizona – Saturday January 16, 2016
    The Packers head to Arizona on Saturday night to face the Cardinals and come into the contest with a 5-1 ATS record in their last 6 road playoff games. Green Bay is the pick (+7 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Cardinals favored by only 2.
    Dunkel Pick: Green Bay (+7 1/2).


    Chiefs, Patriots battle in Divisional Round Saturday
    By Zach Cohen

    Kickoff: Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET

    ‘AFC Divisional Playoffs’

    Line: New England -4.5, Total: 43.0

    The Chiefs will be carrying an 11-game winning streak into Gillette Stadium when they face the Patriots in the AFC Divisional Round on Saturday.

    Kansas City is currently riding the league’s longest winning streak and the team is certainly hot at the right time, as it is just one win away from reaching the AFC Championship. The Chiefs went into Houston last week and drubbed the Texans, winning 30-0 as three-point road favorites. The Patriots, meanwhile, are coming off of a much-needed bye week. New England limped into the postseason, losing both SU and ATS on the road against the Jets and Dolphins in Weeks 16 and 17. The Chiefs and Patriots have met just once in the past three seasons and Kansas City came out on top in that game, winning 41-14 as a three-point home underdog on Sep. 29, 2014. The Patriots are, however, 5-0 SU and 3-2 ATS when playing the Chiefs in New England since 1992. There are a few interesting trends heading into this highly anticipated game. For Kansas City, the team is a remarkable 9-0 ATS off two or more consecutive Unders over the past two seasons. The Chiefs are also 6-0 ATS against AFC East division opponents over the past three seasons. The Patriots, however, are 18-6 ATS after being outgained by 150+ total yards in their previous game since 1992. WR Jeremy Maclin (Ankle) is questionable for Kansas City after being injured against Houston last round. For the Patriots, WR Julian Edelman (Foot) is expected to play but DE Chandler Jones (Abdominal), LB Dont’a Hightower (Knee) and T Sebastian Vollmer (Leg) are questionable.

    The Chiefs are hot coming into this game on Saturday and they will be extremely confident after the way they took care of the Texans in Houston a week ago. Kansas City didn’t allow a single point in that game and forced five turnovers as well. That type of defense can win you a Super Bowl and the Chiefs will now look to slow down Tom Brady and the Patriots. Offensively, Kansas City pounded the ball. The Chiefs rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown, and it was Spencer Ware who really made the difference. Ware was the one that found the end zone for the team and he rushed for 67 yards on 18 carries in the game. He’ll need to get it going against New England on Saturday. Alex Smith, meanwhile, will just be looking to avoid mistakes in this game. He was 17-for-22 with 190 yards, one touchdown and one pick against Houston. He’ll need to be even better on Saturday, as a pick can cost his team with Tom Brady playing for the opposing offense. One guy that will need to really play well is Travis Kelce. Kelce had eight catches for 128 yards against the Texans and will be in for an even bigger role if Jeremy Maclin is unable to go in this one. Kansas City does not have many options in the passing game and will struggle to throw if Kelce can’t make plays.

    The Patriots struggled down the stretch, but this is still the team to beat until proven otherwise. Tom Brady is going to need to get his act together in this game, as he threw for just one touchdown over the final two weeks of the regular season. If New England is going to win then Brady will need to have a big game for his team. One thing that should help him is the return of Julian Edelman, who has not played since Nov. 15. Edelman has been dealing with a foot injury, but Brady will be stoked to have his top receiver back. He had caught 61 balls for 692 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games this season and he should be able to make a huge impact in this one. Defensively, this team is going to need to find a way to stop the run. The ground game is the Chiefs’ bread and butter, so New England can really make things difficult on Kansas City by limiting any big gains up the middle. It should not be a problem for the Patriots either, as the team allowed just 98.8 YPG on the ground this season (9th in NFL).


    High-powered Cardinals host Packers on Saturday
    By Zach Cohen

    Kickoff: Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET

    ‘NFC Divisional Playoffs’

    Line: Arizona -7.0, Total: 49.5

    The Packers will be looking to steal a spot in the NFC Championship when they face the Cardinals in Arizona on Saturday.

    The Packers had to face the Redskins in Washington in the first round of the playoffs and Green Bay looked excellent in that one. After a shaky start to the game, the team cruised to a 35-18 victory as a two-point road underdog. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Packers and they’ll be hoping that their offense is here to stay after putting up a total of 346 yards against Washington. The Cardinals, meanwhile, will be well rested after earning themselves a bye with their dominant regular season. Arizona did, however, lose 36-6 at home against the Seahawks in Week 17. The Packers and Cardinals should be very familiar with one another, as the two teams met on Dec. 27. The Cardinals dominated in that Week 16 meeting, winning 38-8 as six-point home favorites. They held the Packers to just 178 total yards and forced four turnovers as well. One trend worth noting in this game is that the Packers are 65-40 ATS when playing against a winning team in the second half of the season since 1992. That won’t faze the Cardinals, though, as Arizona is 17-8 ATS against conference opponents over the past two seasons. One injury worth noting is that WR Davante Adams (Knee) is listed as questionable for the Packers. Unfortunately for Green Bay, the expectation is that he will not play.

    The Packers’
    offense finally woke up against the Redskins last week and Aaron Rodgers seemed to have regained some swagger in the process. Rodgers threw for 210 yards, two touchdowns and no picks in the game. He looked very confident in the second half and must now face a team that really gave him trouble in Week 16. Rodgers completed just 53.6% of his passes for 151 yards, one touchdown and one pick in that one. He also lost two fumbles in that game and the Packers will need their offensive line to play better on Saturday, as Rodgers was under way too much pressure in that game. Another thing that Green Bay will need to do is get the ground game going. The Packers rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns against Washington in the wild card game. Their success on the ground really opened up the offense and both Eddie Lacy and James Starks contributed. Defensively, the Packers will need to dig in and slow down one of the best passing offenses in the league.

    The Cardinals were one of the best teams in the league on both sides of the ball, putting up 30.6 PPG (2nd in NFL) and allowing just 19.6 PPG (t-7th in NFL). Arizona rushed for 119.8 YPG (8th in NFL) and threw for 288.5 YPG (2nd in NFL), displaying a balance offensively that few teams have. If this team is going to keep winning games and achieve its goal of winning the Super Bowl then Carson Palmer is going to need to come up big in the postseason. Palmer was solid against the Packers in Week 16, throwing for 265 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Those touchdowns found Palmer’s two favorite targets, John Brown and Larry Fitzgerald. Both guys will need to get themselves free in this game. David Johnson may be the x-factor offensively, though. The rookie rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown on nine carries against Green Bay last meeting and will be counted on to produce in this one as well. He is powerful and could really help the Cardinals by wearing out the Packers defense. On defense, Arizona must put pressure on Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers’ has had a lot of trouble dealing with the blitz this season and the Cardinals will need to make sure he isn’t comfortable in the pocket on Saturday.


    Saturday’s NFL Divisional betting preview

    Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (-5, 42.5)

    The reigning AFC East-champion New England Patriots enjoyed a bye to begin the playoffs – and by all accounts, so did the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs. After breezing to a 30-0 victory over Houston last week, the Chiefs vie for their 12th straight win when they face the host Patriots on Saturday in a divisional-round clash.

    “Typical Kansas City game – a lot of turnovers on defense, no turnovers on offense, capitalized on opponents’ mistakes and didn’t make any,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of the Chiefs’ convincing victory. “They’ve won a lot of games pretty much doing that.” Belichick has won quite a few games in his own right, and the cagey coach likely will have Julian Edelman (broken bone in foot) back in the lineup for the first time since Nov. 15. The shifty wideout helped the offense average 418.6 yards and 33.6 points during the team’s 9-0 start to the season, as opposed to 317.5 and 23.1 without him (3-4).

    TV: 4:35 p.m. ET, CBS.

    The Patriots opened as 5-point home favorites, were briefly bet down to -4.5 and then bet back to -5. The total was bet down from 44.5 all the way to 42. Since then it has been bet back up a half-point to its current number of 42.5. Check out the complete line history here.


    Chiefs – LB T. Hali (probable Saturday, knee), LB J. Houston (probable Saturday, knee), RB S. Ware (probable Saturday, ankle), WR A. Wilson (questionable Saturday, hamstring), J. Maclin (questionable Saturday, ankle), OL L. Duvernay-Tardif (out Saturday, concussion), OL M. Morse (out Saturday, concussion).

    Patriots – WR J. Edelman (probable Saturday, foot), LB J. Freeny (probable Saturday, wrist), T S. Vollmer (probable Saturday, leg), DB J. Coleman (probable Saturday, concussion), LB D. Hightower (probable Saturday, knee), DL S. Siliga (probable Saturday, personal), DE C. Jones (probable Saturday, disciplinary), QB T. Brady (probable Saturday, ankle), TE R. Gronkowski (questionable Saturday, knee), WR D. Amendola (questionable Saturday, knee), DB N. Ebner (questionable Saturday, arm).

    It is supposed to rain early in the day in Foxborough and should tapper off as the game rolls on. Skies will clear up a little, but should still be mostly cloudy during the game. There will also be a five-to-six mile per hour wind gusting across the field.

    Chiefs (-3) – Patriots (-3.5) + home field (-3) = Patriots -3.5

    “Kansas City is still viewed with skepticism by most pundits. Most think the Chiefs are a phony team because of their easy schedule, but they rank high in every advanced metric I use. New England has some question marks on both sides of the ball coming into this game, but when healthy, the Patriots are the best team in the AFC by a wide margin.” – Steve Merril.

    ABOUT THE CHIEFS (12-5, 9-8 ATS, 8-8-1 O/U):
    Alex Smith became one-dimensional in the passing attack last week after wideout Jeremy Maclin suffered a high-ankle sprain. Kansas City initially feared Maclin had endured the third right ACL injury of his career, but the 27-year-old’s availability for Saturday’s tilt remains clouded at best. When asked if Maclin could play without participating in practice, coach Andy Reid said: “He could do that. He might not have to do that, but he could do that.”

    ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (12-4, 7-7-2 ATS, 9-7 O/U):
    Tom Brady threw for 4,770 yards this season, but the veteran quarterback may find the going tough against All-Pro safety Eric Berry, as well as cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Sean Smith. New England’s 30th-ranked rushing attack averaged just 87.8 yards per game, the team’s lowest since Belichick’s first year as head coach in 2000. Brandon Bolden, who has risen up the ranks in lieu of injuries to LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis, is averaging just 3.3 yards on 63 carries.


    * Chiefs are 5-0 ATS in their last five road games.

    * Patriots are 0-4-2 ATS in their last six games versus a team with a winning record.

    * Under is 4-1 in the Chiefs last five games.

    * Over is 4-1 in the Patriots last five home playoff games.

    The public is backing the Chiefs in Saturday’s first Divisional Round matchup with 59 percent of wagers on Kansas City. As for the total, 65 percent of wagers are on the over.

    PREDICTION: Patriots 24, Chiefs 17


    Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals (-7.5, 49)

    The Green Bay Packers rebounded from a late-season stumble with an impressive road victory over the Washington Redskins in the opening round of the playoffs on Sunday. The road only gets more difficult for quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, who will try to avenge a 30-point beating in Week 16 when they visit the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night.

    Green Bay was bludgeoned at Arizona 38-8 before dropping a 20-13 decision at home to Minnesota in the regular-season finale to squander their chance for the NFC North title. Rodgers said the Packers had their “mojo” back after erasing an early 11-point deficit versus Washington to set up a rematch with the Cardinals. No. 2 seed Arizona reeled off nine consecutive victories before absorbing a 36-6 loss to visiting Seattle in its season finale. Behind quarterback Carson Palmer, the Cardinals feature the league’s top-ranked offense and finished second in the league in scoring with an average of 30.6 points.

    TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, NBC.

    The Cardinals opened as 7.5-point home favorites, have been bet down to -7 and back up to -7.5. As for the total, it has been bet down 1-point from 50 to 49. Check out the complete line history here.


    Packers – TE R. Rogers (probale Saturday, hip), RB E. Lacy (probable Saturday, ribs), T D. Bakhtiari (probable Saturday, ankle), LB J. Elliott (probable Saturday, quadricep), TE J. Perillo (questionable Saturday, hamstring), CB Q. Rollins (questionable Saturday, quadricep), CB S. Shields (Doubtful Saturday, concussion), WR D. Adams (out Saturday, knee).

    Cardinals – DT F. Rucker (probable Saturday, ankle), DT J. Mauro (probable Saturday, calf), LB M. Golden (probable Saturday, knee), RB A. Ellington (questionable Saturday, toe).

    WEATHER REPORT: Indoors.

    Packers (-2) – Cardinals (-6) + home field (-3) = Cardinals -7

    “Arizona cruised to an easy 38-8 win over Green Bay just a few weeks ago, and it’s hard seeing this game being different this time around. The Cardinals are a bad matchup for the Packers, but Arizona is now laying 2.5-points more than they did in the first meeting, so there is less line value in this rematch.” – Covers Expert Steve Merril.

    ABOUT THE PACKERS (11-6, 10-7 ATS, 6-11 O/U):
    Rodgers rallied Green Bay by throwing a pair of second-quarter touchdown passes against Washington, including one to second-year wide receiver Davante Adams, who is not expected to play Saturday due to an MCL sprain in his knee. The Packers’ ground game, which has struggled throughout the season, got going against the Redskins as Eddie Lacy and James Starks each ran for a second-half touchdown while gaining a combined 116 yards on 24 carries. Green Bay, which ranked sixth in the league against the pass, recorded six sacks in their wild-card victory.

    ABOUT THE CARDINALS (13-3, 9-7 ATS, 9-7 O/U):
    Palmer set career highs in yards (4,671), TD passes (35) and quarterback rating while throwing to one of the league’s top receiving corps in Larry Fitzgerald (career-high 109 catches), John Brown and Michael Floyd, which combined for 22 scoring receptions. Rookie running back David Johnson has scored a total of 13 touchdowns and had been superb since taking over as the starter while also providing a pass-catching threat out of the backfield. Arizona recorded nine sacks in Week 16 against the Packers, but linebacker Alex Okafor suffered a toe injury during the bye that ended his season.


    * Packers are 5-1 ATS in their last six road playoff games.

    * Cardinals are 4-0 ATS in their last four home playoff games.

    * Under is 7-1 in the Packers last 8 games following a straight up win.

    * Over is 5-0 in the Cardinals last 5 playoff games.

    The public is giving the slight edge to the Packers with 54 percent of wagers on the Cheeseheads. As for the total, 64 percent of wagers are on the over.

    PREDICTION: Cardinals 27, Packers 23



    ‘Divisional Round’
    304 Arizona -7
    1 Unit



    ? Selection
    5* (301) KC Chiefs +5


    NFL Football Betting Trends – Saturday – Jan, 16

    Kansas City at New England, 4:35 ET
    Kansas City: 2-10 ATS in playoff games
    New England: 17-7 ATS in home lined games

    Green Bay at Arizona, 8:15 ET
    Green Bay: 8-2 UNDER after 1 or more consecutive wins
    Arizona: 43-26 ATS after gaining 50 or less rushing yards last game


    NEWSLETTER NFL Football Prediction From Vernon Croy

    Play ‘Over’ 50.0 Green Bay at Arizona (8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 16)
    This pick falls into one of my top NFL systems, and I have this game flying over the posted total Sunday night. We had the Packers ATS last week, and their offense finally started to come together. However, that was against a very bad defensive team. Now the Packers play one of the better defensive teams in the NFL. However, they will make the necessary adjustments having faced the Cardinals in week 16. We actually had the Cardinals ATS as my 7-Unit Smash in that 38-8 rout against the Packers, and I know these teams extremely well. That was a huge situational play for me, so you can throw what you saw in that game out the window. The Packers will move the ball much better this time around, and Arizona will also get their share of points but it will be a much closer game. The O/U is 5-0 for the Cardinals in their last 5 playoff games and 35-16 in the Cardinals last 51 games after putting up less than 15 points in their previous game. Arizona averaged the second most ppg in the NFL with 30.6 ppg this season, and the Packers offense is starting to turn it on at the right time, since head coach Mike McCarthy took over the play calling once again.
    Play the GAME TOTAL OVER with confidence.


    Sleepy J

    3* Green Bay +7.5

    1.5* NE Pats -5



    Green Bay / Arizona – Over 49.5



    Game: Green Bay Packers (303) @ Arizona Cardinals (304)
    Time: Saturday 01/16 8:15 PM Eastern
    Pick: Green Bay +7 (-105)
    On the surface this looks like a huge blow-out in the making. But what appears obvious oftentimes turns out not to be the case. The Green Bay Packers certainly have a bad taste in their mouths after coming to the desert a few short weeks ago and getting trampled 38-8. A lot has changed since that game as Green Bay has gotten healthier. They have shored-up the weakness in the offensive line (just one sack allowed last week), and have gotten healthier on defense as well. What is most notable, is that Aaron Rodgers seemed to recover his swagger last week, and the Green Bay offense moved the ball a whole lot better. The most shocking part and under-the-radar aspect of this Packers team is just how well the defense has played. There are eight teams left in the playoffs, and Green Bay is second in holding opponents to 20 points or fewer, as they have done so 11 times on the season. Only the Kansas City Chiefs’ well documented defense has done so more often. The Cardinals have had a great season, but their last game was rather eye opening. They allowed a season-high 36 points to Seattle, while scoring a season-low six, even though they still had something to play for. The Cardinals won the last meeting 38-8, but generated just 349 yards of total offense in the game. Let’s not forget that Seattle put 38 points on Minnesota at Minnesota earlier then came back to score just 10 last week. Teams that beat an opponent by 18 points or more in the regular season are just 6-13 ATS when they meet in the playoffs, and just 1-5 ATS if it was from week 12 on – not including week 17 where teams often don’t have anything to play for. The Packers are 36-16-2 ATS in their last 54 games after allowing 90 or fewer yards rushing and 50-35 ATS on the road under head coach Mike McCarthy.
    Take Green Bay.



    ‘Divisional Games’
    2-2 last week on sides


    Rot Time (ET) Pick Opp Line Margin Pick% $
    301 4:35 PM KC @ NE 5 -3.7 53.5% $12
    304 8:15 PM @ARI vs GB -7 8.0 52.9% $5

    Rot Time (ET) Favorite Opp Points For Points Against Win%
    304 8:15 PM @ ARI vs GB 29.5 21.4 69.4%
    302 4:35 PM @ NE vs KC 24.0 20.4 59.8%

    Home Rot Time (ET) Matchup Line Total Points Pick Pick% $
    302 4:35 PM KC @ NE 42 44.4 Over 54.3% $20
    304 8:15 PM GB @ ARI 50 50.9 Over 51.4% $0

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