Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 12:00 AM
THE NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
CHECKIN' OUT THE #1 AND #2 SEEDS
PLUS COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT
Hey, remember them? They are the NFL's #1 and #2 seeds in the NFC / AFC Playoffs and they were sitting idly by last weekend when all four underdog sides cashed in the Wild Card Games - and three of 'em won outright! - but now #1's New Orleans and Kansas City and #2's the Los Angeles Rams and New England swing into post-season action this Saturday / Sunday.
As one would expect, all of the top seeds are favored with the price tags ranging anywhere from Patriots -4 points versus the Los Angeles Chargers up to Saints -8 points versus Philadelphia ... and we are gonna take some time to examine how these #1 and #2 seeds have fared versus the numbers this year and how this week's playoff games are headed spreadwise.
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NEW ORLEANS - The Saints are the biggest NFL Divisional Playoff betting favorite this weekend (-8 against visiting Philadelphia) but the number's bounced 'round a bit as New Orleans opened at -7.5, shot to -9 and now has come down a notch. Remember, this is the final game of this coming weekend - Sunday at 4:40 p.m. ET - and so don't be shocked if this price tag bounces around some more. What we can tell you for sure is that the Saints are 10-6 ATS (against the spread) this year and that featured a nifty 9-game spread winning streak that took 'em from Week 3 through Week 11. Note that New Orleans is actually 5-6 against the odds as betting favorites of 6-or-more points this '18 campaign.
KANSAS CITY - Once upon a time these Chiefs were 7-and-oh ATS but they're only 9-6-1 ATS heading into this bash on Saturday against visiting Indianapolis and that includes four-of-five home spread losses since late October. Overall, KC's 6-6 vig-wise as betting favorites this year and the Chiefs are a dead-even and vig-losing 4-4 ATS at Arrowhead Stadium, yet they've gone from a four-point opening line favorite to a 5.5-point fav (it got as high as - 6 earlier in the week). No doubt there are plenty of folks remembering Kansas City's crummy home showings in past playoff games: Go back to the 2010 season and you'll find three separate occasions where the Chiefs were one-and-one at home with the last two (versus Pittsburgh and Tennessee) as home favorites.
LOS ANGELES RAMS - Like the Chiefs, these LA Rams barged out of the starting gate with a more modest 3-0-1 spread start before ending regular-season play at 7-7-2 against the odds. Unlike the Chiefs, these Rams have been betting favorites in each / every one of their games this season - going 6-6-1 spreadwise in games in which the Rams were favored by 6-or-more points and, obviously, that's the case this Saturday night when Sean McVay's squad is laying a full TD price against the visiting Dallas Cowboys. The Vegas number opened this week at Rams minus 6.5 points and it bumped up to the "common number" at -7 right away. P.S., the Rams are just 1-3-1 spreadwise as home betting favorites since late October.
NEW ENGLAND - This is the 10th straight year that the Patriots won the AFC East and the 10th straight year they've been part of the playoff mix ... but did you know Bill Belichick's crew is only 10-10 ATS in all post-season games since 2009? The Pats are the one home betting favorite this weekend that's not been taking money as N'England opened as a 5-point fav and it's come down to minus 4 points. Overall, the 2018 Patriots are a decent 9-7 against the odds and that includes a rock-solid 6-2 ATS mark as home chalk with covers against fellow playoff teams Houston and Indianapolis. Interestingly enough, New England has covered its first playoff game of a post-season in six of the last seven years. Hmmm.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT
Blowout Triple Play Goes 3-0 Wednesday - Cash Conference Rivalry Duo Thursday Night!
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Have you been staying on top of the always-changing NCAA Tournament Odds to Win it All? Here's the top four betting favorites as we head towards a batch of key middle-of-the-month games:
DUKE (-150) No surprise that the loaded Blue Devils are the heavy-duty favorites to cut down the nets this April but is there a guarantee frosh Zion Williamson is gonna play at an all-world level all throughout March/April?
GONZAGA (+800) The 'Zags are more athletic than ever before but can anyone really trust a Mark Few-coached team in close-and-late situations?
MICHIGAN (+900) The maize-and-blue rank third nationally in scoring defense (allow 55.6 ppg) and there are three Wolverines averaging 14 ppg-or-more that can be crunch-time stars.
VIRGINIA (+1000) Last year's much-ballyhooed first-round NCAA Tournament loss is gonna weigh on the Wahoos right till we get to March Madness but not UVa is numero uno in the land in scoring defense (51.5 ppg).
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