What a let down day for us yesterday! We were close on the Colts but I can’t predict missed 23 yard field goals and extra points from one of the best kickers all time. I also can’t predict guys dropping wide open passes in the end zone. The Chiefs defense showed up on the big stage and held Luck to just 203 passing yards. On to today for a bounce back!
Patriots / Chargers Over (47) - You all thought my pick would be Patriots -4 in this game didn’t you!? Not today. I do like the over in this one even though game time “feels like” temp is going to be 20 degrees. Brady has played well in the cold in the past but I’m not sure how Rivers will handle it. Both of these teams finished the season ranked in the Top 10 as far as points scored per game. The Pats come in averaging 27.2 and the Chargers come in averaging 26.5. Both defense come in ranked Top 10 as well however I want to look at each team’s total scores in games against Top 10 offenses this season. Let’s start with the Patriots - they played 4 opponents who had a Top 10 offense and 3 of those 4 went over 47.4. Colts - 38-24 (62), Chiefs 43-40 (83), and Bears 38-31 (69). The Chargers played 5 opponents with a Top 10 offense and 4 of those 5 went over 47. Chiefs 38-28 (66), Rams 35-23 (58), Steelers 33-30 (63), Chiefs 29-28 (57). I love these trends against opponents with Top 10 offenses and I am liking this game to go over today even though it’s going to be cold.
Patriots (+2) / Eagles (+14) - It’s the Divisional Round of the Playoffs and the Patriots are home, they have won home Divisional Round games 7 years straight. The trend that sticks out to me is that they have won 6 of those 7 by a touchdown or more with the average win margin at 17 per game. There’s just something about the Patriots and Tom Brady at home in January. Ready for it? You know I have the stat. In Brady’s career, the Pats are 19-3 in home playoff games. 19-3. I think it’s going to be a tough game for the Pats against this Chargers team that could have been the #1 seed if it wasn’t for the Chiefs. BUT, Tom Brady always finds a way at home in January, well not always - just 86% of the time over the last two decades…….good enough sample size for me. Tease the Pats up to +2. Now, on to the Eagles. (This part is the same as what I posted in the teaser with the Colts yesterday because my thoughts on this game are the same today as they were yesterday! The Eagles who are 5-1 in games that Nick Foles has started this season. The Eagles who are the defending Superbowl Champions. I know, they are going on the road to take on a high powered Saints team and a Saints team who I said would win the Superbowl back in October. I’m not saying to take the Eagles to win this game outright (yet)....but +14 is another one that seems like an absolute lock to me. Now, I know you’ll all point out the easy stat that the Saints beat the Eagles 48-7 earlier this season. All I’ll say to that is that Carson Wentz threw for 156 in that game and this Eagles team is a COMPLETELY different team when Nick Foles is playing QB. This Saints team struggled down the stretch starting with that loss to the Cowboys, followed by a game against the Bucs where they only scored 3 points in the first half against the Bucs, then a 12-9 win over the Panthers, late win over a Steelers team who didn’t make the playoffs, and finally a loss to the Panthers (didn’t matter). However, there’s no denying that this Saints team who seemed like the juggernaut earlier this season has limped into the playoffs. The opposite can be said for the Eagles who won 5 of their final 6 regular season games and then have the momentum coming off of that double doink win against the Bears - yes we had them at +220 on the moneyline. This Eagles team with Nick Foles aka Big Dick Nick just feel like that team who finds a way to get it done. Give me the Eagles with a two touchdown buffer in a playoff game. That’s a great teaser right there.
Lightning (-155) - The Lightning continue to dominate the league and they have now won 21 of their last 25 games. The will take on the Islanders tonight who they already beat 4-2 this season. The Islanders have won 3 of their last 5 but only 1 of those 5 games was against a team with a winning. We can pretty much book it in now that anytime we are getting a decent moneyline for the Lightning in a matchup against a lesser team for the rest of the season, we are going to take it!
Rockets (-6) - The Rockets are coming off of a HUGE win against the Cavs on Friday night and they will be taking on the Magic tonight. The Magic just beat the Celtics last night in a game where they had the lead most of the night and then held them off at the end for a 2 point win. However, the Magic are just 2-6 on the second night of back to backs this season so I view this as a great spot for the Rockets to come in and get a big win.