Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, January 10, 2020 at 12:00 AM
EXTRA, EXTRA –
HERE’S ALL FOUR
NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF PREVIEWS
PLUS, CURRENT ODDS TO WIN IT ALL
On Saturday, it’s …
MINNESOTA (11-6) at SAN FRANCISCO (13-3) – 4:35p.m. ET, NBC
As you see from or chart up above, the NFC’s #1 seeded San Francisco 49ers sport – and by far – the shortest price to win it all among teams in their conference but word to the wise here is the Niners better strap it on in the trenches where a sometimes-soft San Fran O-line will have hands full with this Vikings’ defensive front while DE Nick Bosa and friends will have to work hard to get at Minny slinger Kirk Cousins (242 yards passing and one TD in last weekend’s 26-20 overtime win in New Orleans).
In fact, we’re gonna go out on a proverbial limb and say the 49ers must turn over Cousins and Company at least three times here while shooting for “shorter fields” for San Fran QB Jimmy Garappolo (3,978 yards passing with 27 TDs and 13 INTs in regular-season action) and mates. If Garappolo gets in a groove here, then he’s likely “picking on” Minnesota CB Xavier Rhodes who is playing with a banged-up shoulder / collarbone.
Spread Notes – San Francisco is 10-6 ATS (against the spread) this year and note the 49ers are a composite 11-20 vig-wise at home since the start of the 2016 season; Minnesota is 10-7 ATS overall this year following last weekend’s overtime win as 7-point underdogs. Overall, the Vikings are 45-27-2 ATS as point-grabbing sides since the start of 2011. Note the last time these clubs clashed was Week 1 a year ago when 6.5-point fav Minnesota copped a 24-16 win / cover at home.
Current Las Vegas Line … San Francisco – 7 and 44.5 points
TENNESSEE (10-7) at BALTIMORE (14-2) – 8:15 p.m. ET, CBS
Let’s skip all the platitudes for Ravens’ QB and soon-to-be MVP Lamar Jackson (36 passing TDs / 7 rushing TDs) and get down to the real nitty-gritty here:
Can the second-year pro keep making defenders miss when it comes to his get-out-of-the-pocket and go, go, go nature and will he have to face a Titans’ “spy” here (we’re thinking DB Adoree’ Jackson, perhaps). Jackson has not played a down the last couple of weeks and so there will be some question of “rust” here plus Ravens’ RB Mark Ingram (1,018 yards rushing with 10 TDs) may not be 100 percent after dealing with some recent calf issues.
So, what will it all mean? Well, the Titans zoom into crab cake country with mucho momentum, thanks in large part to RB Derrick Henry who trampled New England to the tune of 182 rushing yards and a score but no way will the TD-plus underdogs from Tennessee survive-and-advance here without some big vertical pass plays from QB Ryan Tannehill … we say Tannehill must go for at least four “chunk plays” in the air game or else.
Spread Notes – Baltimore is 10-5-1 against the vig overall this year but remember the Ravens have covered nine of their last 10 tilts since late September. Did you know these AFC North champs are 14-7 ATS when playing non-divisional foes these past two years? Tennessee, meanwhile, is 9-7-1 ATS overall this season and the Titans have covered 14 of their last 23 games when in the underdog role.
Current Las Vegas Line … Baltimore – 9.5 and 47 points
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have this weekend’s NFL Divisional Playoff Sides & Totals winners on both Saturday and Sunday – just call us on game days at the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here at www.jimhurley.com and also cash in big with the NBA / NCAA Basketball / Monday’s College Football National Championship Game between #1 LSU vs. #3 Clemson.
SUPER BOWL LIV ODDS TO WIN IT ALL
Here’s the up-to-the-minute Super Bowl LIV Odds (all based on $100 per-play wagers):
Baltimore + 175
San Francisco + 275
Kansas City + 300
Green Bay + 700
Minnesota + 1100
Seattle + 1100
Houston + 2500
Tennessee + 2500
On Sunday, it’s …
HOUSTON (11-6) at KANSAS CITY (12-4) – 3:05 p.m. ET, CBS
As we mentioned in an earlier-week Jim Sez column, the KayCee Chiefs are the NFL’s only team to be back here in the round-of-8 / NFL Divisional Playoff round from a year ago – kind of amazing, right?
Once upon a time this year, the Chiefs were just 6-4 SU (straight-up) and finding ways to lose to the likes of Indianapolis, Tennessee and … you got it … Houston. No doubt Andy Reid’s team now is seeking a little revenge here from that 31-24 home loss back in Week 6 and gotta believe well-rested QB Patrick Mahomes (4,031 yards passing with 26 TDs and 5 INTs) will be given carte blanche to zip some deep throws against a Texans’ secondary that may not be able to count on DE J.J. Watt to put on similar pressure to what they did against Buffalo in last weekend’s 22-19 come-from-way-behind overtime wild card win.
Gotta believe that Houston – down 16-zip at one stage against the Bills last week – must get out of the starting gate quickly if Bill O’Brien’s gutty crew has upset dreams and that means WR DeAndre Hopkins (6 catches for 90 yards last week after getting blanked in the first half) must be a factor sooner rather than later and that also means Houston QB Deshaun Watson (55 yards rushing against Buffalo) must make some plays with his legs against a KC defense that’s surrendered just 11.5 ppg the past six weeks of play.
Spread Notes – Kansas City’s 10-5-1 ATS (against the spread) this year but the Chiefs enter this post-season bash with a shabby 2-6 spread log in all playoff games the past 10 years; Houston is 8-8-1 against the odds overall this year but note the Texans are 8-4-1 ATS as dogs since the start of the 2018 season.
Current Las Vegas Line … Kansas City – 9.5 and 51 points
SEATTLE (12-5) at GREEN BAY (13-3) – 6:40 p.m. ET, Fox
Folks, this has been an uber-interesting week of betting lines on this Seahawks v Packers game … the game opened with Green Bay installed as a 3.5-point favorite (the standard line for home field in the NFL, if you will) and it’s inched upwards despite the fact that Seattle has been one of the best road teams in the league this year – see 6-2-1 against the odds following last weekend’s 17-9 win at 1-point fav Philadelphia in the NFC Wild Card round.
Maybe some wintry weather perhaps will aid /abet the Packers who didn’t exactly hum offensively down the stretch with point totals of just 23, 23, 21 and 20 points the final four weeks of regular-season play and we saw how QB Aaron Rodgers (4,002 yards passing with 26 TDs and 4 INTs) was high-and-wide with a number of throws in the Week 17 non-cover win in Detroit. If Rodgers is chased from the pocket here by the likes of DE Jadeveon Clowney and friends, then he’ll have to be accurate with his on-the-run throws … or else.
Game plan for the ‘Hawks figures to include QB Russell Wilson (31 TD passes in the regular season and a key 53-yard scoring strike to rookie wide-out DK Metcalf in Philly last week) looking to split runs /passes as was the case against the Eagles (see 26 team rushes / 30 pass attempts) plus Metcalf and fellow WR Tyler Lockett must make their share of chain-moving plays.
Spread Notes – Green Bay is 10-6 ATS overall this season and note the Packers are 4-0-1 spreadwise against Seattle dating back to the 2014 campaign; On the flip side, the Seahawks are a dead-even and vig-losing 8-8-1 ATS this season though this NFC West crew is an electric 11-3-1 ATS as underdogs since late in the 2017 season.
Current Las Vegas Line … Green Bay – 4.5 and 47points
Note: Remember to catch our College Football National Championship Game Preview – that’s#1 LSU vs. #3 Clemson -- in the next edition of Jim Sez