Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 7:00 PM
Mother Nature may be throwing a curveball at all four teams playing in Sunday’s conference championship games in the NFL. The Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks will be dealing with rain and gusty winds according to the most recent forecast in the NFC title tile. In the AFC, the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots may also be playing in the rain. At least it won’t be as cold this week…with forecast Foxboro temperatures in the mid 40’s rather than the mid teens.
How could this affect your handicapping?
This is more likely to hurt Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay than any other key contributor. Not just because it’s harder to run a passing offense in the rain…but because gusty winds make it much more difficult to be accurate downfield. Rodgers does have a strong arm…which is why he can perform well in winter conditions. But, no quarterbacks are immune to winds in the 15-20 mph range.
Seattle’s defense is tough enough to deal with as it is. Now, Rodgers will be dealing with a historically strong unit in trying conditions. The good news is that this year’s version of Seattle has been less aggressive about rushing the passer and crowding the line of scrimmage. You saw that last week when Cam Newton led the Panthers to 362 yards and a 56% conversion rate on third downs.
The straight up winner, pointspread winner, and Over/Under winner will likely come down to the tactical decisions Seattle makes defensively in these conditions, and whether or not a hobbled Aaron Rodgers can consistently move chains and gets points on the board.
Note that Seattle’s balanced offense is much better to deal with monkey wrenches that come along. Though, rain might make the offense more fumble prone, which could serve as an equalizer.
As we prepare these notes, Seattle is still -7.5 and 46.5. Be sure you monitor those numbers in the hours before kickoff to get a read on how the market is reacting to confirmed game day weather. Also remember that Seattle is sitting nicely in the teaser window at that price, meaning Seattle -1.5 makes sense in two-team teasers if you can find something to pair it with (that’s the tricky part!).
Both teams prefer moving the ball through the air. New England had 408 passing yards and only 14 rushing yards last week! Indianapolis wasn’t that extreme…but Andrew Luck is the key offensive force on the team obviously. In the rain, that could make things very interesting.
Obviously, the elephant in the room here is that Indianapolis is a “dome” team that will be forced to play on the road in at least damp, and possibly raining conditions. New England has been dealing with all sorts of weather in recent practices, and is more likely to be unaffected by conditions.
It’s possible that Over bettors should be most concerned here. You saw last week that it’s possible to have a shootout in frigid conditions because receivers can still catch passes. New England won 35-31 over Baltimore, and it was almost 38-35 the other way. In the rain, more drops and few third down conversions could lead to either a sloppy game that keeps points off the board, or a conservative game that runs more clock. Early week momentum for the Over has stopped, and some Under money has been hitting the board in the hours before this post.
It’s New England -6.5 and 54 at the moment. Early dog money isn’t concerned, knowing that weather elements can be an equalizer. Will the public still bet New England if early pre-game coverage shows a lot of rain? Should you jump in on the Over if weather is nicer than expected?
The man with the game day answers is JIM HURLEY. You can purchase the final word for Sunday right here at the website with your credit card. Selections will be posted a few hours before the first kick. If you have any questions, call us Sunday morning at 1-888-777-4155.
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Back with you tomorrow in the NOTEBOOK to begin some intensive basketball coverage in the interlude before the Super Bowl on February 1. We’ll look at the most appealing Big Monday matchup. We’ll be in the Big 10 Tuesday for Iowa at Wisconsin. Then, the daily schedules will determine whether it’s a big game preview or a conference summary. So much to talk about in basketball! So much money to be won between now and the Super Bowl!
Whatever the sport, whatever the challenge…JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK will do it’s best to make sure you get the money. Sunday…it’s time to determine the NFC and AFC champions. When championships are on the line, you need WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!!
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