By Matthew Nereim
19-weeks of football and we are down to our Final-4! Championship Sunday is upon us. To recap last week, I talked myself into the Vikings (2-units) and paid the price as they had no shot! I underestimated the 9ers getting 3 starters back on defense...as you saw, it was a mauling. The Pack (2-units) jumped out early before the defense wore down...and I felt lucky to hold on (-4.5) in the end. The only thing better than being lucky is being lucky & good! Both of my “leans” (Tenn/KC) covered, with the Titans winning outright. I felt stupid for taking the Vikings over both of my leans in hindsight, but it’s important to learn, CONSTANTLY! Let’s take a gander to see who “Joe Public” is supporting this weekend, and if there is any value with my (general) “go against the grain” philosophy?
Titans @ Chiefs -7
56% of the bets are on the Titans and the line pulled back a “hook” after opening at -7.5 The last time the Chiefs lost was against the Titans at Arrowhead. Since that game, they have reeled off 7-straight, and have patched up a leaky-defense in the process. The Chiefs appeared in control with 12 minutes left up 29-20 when they met back in November, but a 23-yard strike with seconds left by Ryan Tannehill led to a stunning defeat. Watching this run by the Titans has been fun, to say the least! Slaying Brady and the soon to be MVP in back-to-back weeks...with a shot at dethroning last year’s MVP this week? That would be truly legendary. D. Henry has made history in the process, becoming the 1st player ever to run for 180+ yards for 3-consecutive games. Oh yeah, he torched the Chiefs for 188 on just 23 carries in November. However, somehow the Chiefs had the ball for 37-minutes in that match up, as Mahomes generally had his way throwing for 446 (on 36/50).
Last week I am sure those of you who bet on the Texans were standing at the window up 24 points while getting 10. Game over...until it wasn’t... as Mahomes proceeded to throw for 4 TD in the 2nd quarter to turn the table back over. Madness is all we can say! It is easy to see why 56% are on the Henry Express, as the Titans have that look of a team of destiny on their side...while Andy Reid is looking to overcome his playoff-demons. I mentioned last week how I hate teams who are +7. If the line was 4 or 5 I would be all over the Titans...because that would tell me that Vegas is begging me to take the Chiefs. If this were any other week I would pass on this game. But it’s Championship Sunday and these Chiefs appear to be ascending. So I am going to lay the points on a small play betting that the Titans magical train finally runs out of coal. Bet: 1-unit, Chiefs -7.
Packers @ 49ers -7.5
55% of the public bets are on the Packers, yet the line has held steady at 7.5 all week. The Packers looked rested and sharp early jumping out to 2-separate 18-point leads on the visiting Seahawks - before leaking some serious oil down the stretch. The Pack somehow held on (and covered barely) thanks to some majestically clutch throws by Aaron Rogers on 3rd down late, which allowed them to evaporate the clock. There were reports of a bug sweeping through the locker room, and it looked to be true on the “back-9” of that game. The 49ers looked like they are back to being a downright powerhouse. They absolutely smothered the Vikings (outside of 1 TD drive) and holding them to a meager 7-first downs for the entire game!!! Getting Dee Ford back provided an electric boost to the pass rush, as Kirk Cousins really had no chance. Outside of a “backdoor cover”, I just don’t see the Packers having a chance here. The 9ers have too many weapons! I’m eagerly laying the points & I am “ALL IN”. Bet: 5-units, 49ers -7.5.
I am not a big parlay guy, AT ALL!!! But there are exceptions to every rule!
2-Team “Teaser” (-120)
Enjoy the games...and as always if you are going to bet, make it be with money that you can afford to lose!