Each week our gambling gurus, Stefan Tornquist and Brooke Costello, bet on the NFL. Here are their picks for Wildcard weekend.
Falcons at Cardinals (+2,51)
ST: The Falcons are probably my favorite pick of the weekend – they’re mediocre to good in every aspect of the game, making them vastly superior to the Cardinals. Even at quarterback I’d give the nod to Ryan, who doesn’t give out interceptions like canapés. I like the Falcons to cover (large) and could see my way to an Over hedge (small) or any tease that includes the Over.
B: This is a battle of teams that have not been here before and the game is filled with what ifs. The main what if is what if Arizona plays like they did during the first half of the season. They crunched the Bills and Cowboys and looked good doing it. Then they clinched their playoff spot and then they lost and lost badly to some not so good teams. The other crucial what if is what if Matt Ryan has hit the wall? He has thrown three times as many picks as TDs over the last three games, and if that trend continues in the Playoffs ATL will be in trouble. What we know is Kurt Warner has the best receiving corps in the league and they will do their damage. We also know Michael Turner is peaking and ready to run wild. The other thing we know is John Abraham is sick, and out for blood. It is this last thing that tilts it the Falcs way for me. Falcons and the Over separate but equal.
Colts at Chargers (+1,50.5)
ST: Brooke makes a good case for the Chargers keeping this one close, so perhaps the tease that pushes SD out to a TD or better is the way to go, but I’m reverting to my pre-season opinion, that any time you can get Indy for under 3 points, it’s a bargain. If I were going to tease this, I might go with SD and the Under – Indy’s pass D is the best in the league, points-wise.
B: I did some number crunching on SD and Ind earlier this week and the conclusion I came to was, each of these teams could easily have the other’s record. Only one of SD’s eight losses was by more than one score, and their three losses at home were by six to Atl, two to Car, and three to Indy. And this does not include one point losses in Denver (The Ed Hochili Bowl) and in Pitt. Indy on the other hand was out played but squeaked by Houston twice, Minnesota, and Pitt. The difference would seem to be Indy has a better coach and Manning and the Colts have winning in the blood. SD has learned to win in the last 4 weeks. I’ll take the Chargers teased w/ the Under, and the Chargers straight up.
Ravens at Dolphins (+3.5, 37.5)
ST: The Dolphins are no joke; they’re tight, well coached, talented and smart. I still think the Ravens will beat them soundly. The Fins depend on the Wildcat and quick passes to keep Chad Pennington upright, both of which will play to the Raven’s domination of the line of scrimmage. Teams that stretch the field can beat the Ravens, but the Fins aren’t one of them. Baltimore and perhaps a tease of Miami and the Over.
B: Baltimore dominates teams that have inferior talent on the offensive side of the ball. Ed Reed is a total Manimal, and with only an average O-Line there will be little or no space for the Wildcat to operate. Miami has over-achieved and they know it. The Ravens ATS, and tease the Ravens with the Chargers, and Tease the Ravens w/ the Under.
Eagles at Vikes (+3,41.5)
ST: I think the Eagles will continue to keep things interesting, especially against flawed Minnesota. I’ll take BW over AP for another year. Eagles ATS.
B: Hard to say what there is to like about either of these teams. Philly has only one quality win away from home this year and that was against the Giants after the Gints had all but pulled down the shades on the regular season. The other two road wins were at SF and at Sea (Yawn). Minny is playing Javaris Jackson and he is one iffy cuss with ball in his hands. AP is a super stud and Minny has gone 9-3 (after a 1-3 start) relying on his abilities. The main cause for concern is Pat Williams absence from the DT position. If he plays, I’ll take Minny. If he doesn’t, I’ll take Philly. Either way I’ll take the over.
Matt Ryan doesn’t throw interceptions, ST? Don’t underestimate God-fearing Kurt.
— RolandC Jan 5, 12:23 PM #