2012 NFL Playoffs | Wild Card Picks Against the Spread
Last week was another winning week for my NFL Picks Against the Spread, as I went a solid 9-6-1. Six out of the last seven weeks I have been above .500, which now brings my record to 69-53-4 on the season.
With the Wild Card round set to begin in the NFL Playoffs this week, there are only four games to make my picks on. Let’s start off on a good note, with my NFL picks against the spread for the opening round of the playoffs.
As always home team in ALL CAPS with lines courtesy of betus.com, and additional stats via thespread.com:
HOUSTON -3 over Cincinnati
This line has not moved since opening on Sunday night a -3 for Houston, and I don’t expect it too either. It’s the standard home-field advantage line, as the bookmakers think both of these teams are equal, but I don’t see it that way.
Houston has been the better team for the most part of the season, and if it wasn’t for multiple teams losing in week 17, the Bengals wouldn’t even be in the playoffs. Rookie quarterback T.J. Yates was injured in week 17 and did not return to the game, as Houston had nothing to play for and opted to rest Yates in fear of having to play Jake Delhomme in the first round.
Houston is 33-16 ATS in games played after 2 or more consecutive losses since 1992. I expect the Texans defense to put all kinds of pressure on rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, and force him to make mistakes. I’ll take Houston and give the points.
NEW ORLEANS -10 ½ over Detroit
The opening line on this game was at 9 ½ and it has already moved a full point, and in some places it has moved to -12 ½ for New Orleans. Clearly the wise guys in Vegas are all over the Saints and forced the book makers to offer more value on the Lions.
New Orleans has arguably been playing the best football in the NFL entering the playoffs, as they have won eight straight games. Quarterback Drew Brees set numerous personal career highs including; completions, attempts, completion percentage, yards, touchdowns and quarterback rating. Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been no slouch either this season, with 5,038 passing yards and 41 touchdowns.
New Orleans is 10-1 ATS in games played in a dome this season. The big advantage the Saints have in this game, is that they can actually run the ball when they want, while the Lions rely solely on the arm of Stafford. It’s a big number to lay, but I’ll take the Saints and I think they’ll win by at least two touchdowns.
Atlanta +3 over NEW YORK
Both of these teams have been incredibly hard to predict this year, and it makes sense that they will meet each other in the first round of the playoffs. Atlanta is trying to be a run first team with Michael Turner, but they are clearly a better team when they use the pass to set up the run. New York is basically the same team, but I believe they have the better running backs and receivers.
This game will come down to Atlanta’s offensive lines ability to protect Matt Ryan, and if they can give him enough time to look down field I expect Ryan to pick apart a weak Giants secondary. There’s no question that New York can get after the quarterback and make life miserable for any quarterback, as evidence by last Sunday night, so it will be up to the rugged o-line for the Falcons.
New York is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games when playing at home against Atlanta. I think this game comes down to the last drive of the game, and whichever quarterback has the ball, I expect that team to win the game. I’ll take the birds plus the points and the straight-up win.
DENVER +8 ½ over Pittsburgh
Tim Tebow has regressed recently at quarterback, and if it wasn’t for Marion Barber running out of bounds in week 14 and then fumbling in overtime, the Denver Tebow’s would be sitting at home watching the playoffs.
This is expected to be a low scoring game, as both teams have good defenses. If Denver can keep it close as they’ve shown they can, Tebow might have enough magic left to pull off a huge upset.
Rashard Mendenhall is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL and Pittsburgh is also going to be without starting safety Ryan Clark, who suffers from a sickle cell trait disease that doesn’t allow him to play at high altitudes.
Pittsburgh is 2-7 ATS in its last 9 games on the road and Denver is 43-26 ATS in home games when playing against a team with a winning record since 1992. I’ll take the Broncos once again this week.