Wednesday, December 31, 2014

NFL Picks Wild Card Weekend 2014

Just as predictable as Ndamukong Suh

The MLB Hot Stove season is at its mid way point (thanks, but news is slow. Unless you count more Padres trades, the Yankees losing another aging pitcher, or constant Ben Zobrist rumors at breaking news. I don't. But I do like picking NFL games so I thought this was a good time introduce what I hope will be a regular contribution to MoBettaBaseball.

First, a little background. In the past 2 seasons I have successfully picked NFL games against the spread at .523 winning percentage. That might not make the playoffs (well, in NHL, NBA, or NFC South it would), but its winning more than losing which is enough to win money. I also enjoy picking NFL games much more that playing fantasy football so there's that. I don't have any kind of scientific method for picking my winners, I've just followed football for nearly 25 years and have a good feel for the game. I run the picks through my head and go with my gut. Believe in me or don't, but I have consistent results. 

All playoff lines are taken from ESPN and are a mode of accumulated numbers.

Now to the meat.

Saturday, January 3

Arizona @ Carolina (-6.5)

Amazing that a 7-9 Panthers team is giving nearly a touchdown against a Cardinal team that finished 11-5. The catch is that the Cards lost 4 of their last 6 games which saw them plummet from the driver's seat for the top NFC seed to a wild card team. As with most things in the NFL it came down to QB play. With Carson Palmer (a slightly above average QB) the Cardinals were a top flight team. Without Palmer, the Cards where... bad. 

That is not to forgive how unbearable the Panthers have been this year to watch and to bet. They were kind of like that last year though too when they finished 12-4 with the 2nd seed in the NFC. Last year I just keep waiting for them to be bad and they weren't until the playoffs. This year I expected the Panthers to be good all year and they weren't. It doesn't help that Cam Newton broke his back a few weeks ago. However, he recovered just in time to put an end to the Mike Smith era in Atlanta. Let that simmer for a second, a QB with a broken back had enough in him to change a regime in Atlanta...

Carolina clearly has the momentum here, and no one is totally sure who is starting at QB for Arizona. However, there is no counting on Panthers this year. I don't think the Cards win this game, but they won't lose by 7.

Pick: Cardinals +6.5

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (-3)

Two veteran, playoff seasoned teams that emerged from the meat grinder that was the AFC North. You can throw out the records and the stats, the Ravens and the Steelers will be going at each other like the world is ending at midnight on January 4th. The winner of this game will either have so much momentum going forward that they roll all the way to the AFC Championship game or they will stand in tatters, husks of their former selves having nothing left in the tank after testing the limits a man will go to for the sake of a game. Either way its a close game,

Pick: Raven (+3)

Sunday, January 4

Cincinnati @ Indianapolis (-3.5)

Quarterback play. Quarterback play. Quarterback play. The ascension of Andrew Luck is undeniable. As are the questions surrounding Andy Dalton on the road in the playoffs.

Also, when asked to pick between an Andrew and an Andy, take the one with the man's name.

Every. Damn. Time.

Pick: Colts (-3.5)

Detroit @ Dallas (-7)

I've been suspicious of the Cowboys all year. If this is really their year, why didn't they get the bye? Why are they mucking around in here in the Wild Card Round? 8-0 on the road & 4-4 at home? What gives? Why should they be giving 7 to a team with that nasty of a defense and that unpredictable of an offense? Matthew Stafford strikes me as the kind of QB who drops 400 yds in a playoff game. Tony Romo, the kind of guy that drops 3 picks this time of the year.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this is the Cowboy's and Romo's year. But nothing has shown me that I can bet on it.

Pick: Detroit (+7)

So there you have it. You don't like these picks, let me know why. I'd love to hear why I'm wrong.

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