NFL Divisional Playoffs – Code Name: Intelligent Gambler

Written By Boris Krutiy

NFL playoffs are so much fun but if you add a few bets on the games, it becomes a little more interesting. Add the fact that your team is in it to win it and it becomes exhilarating! My friends and I started an annual trip to Las Vegas during the NFL playoffs a number of years ago and no matter the outcome of the games or the bets, we had a great time. We go during the Divisional Playoff weekend and we are in store for four great games this weekend which include our own San Francisco 49ers which many experts have at the top of their lists to run away with it all this year, even after writing them off after a few loses during the regular season. By the way, just to show how strong the 49ers are. They went 12-4 during the regular season and ALL four teams are currently in the playoffs (Seahawks, Colts, Panthers and Saints). Not too bad, but now we are getting to full strength just in time with Crabtree clearly at 100% or close enough based on the on-field moves and the elusiveness of Colin Kaepernick. I see a satisfying weekend in store for all. If the Seahawks drop their game to the Saints and allow the 49ers to host the NFC Championship at Candlestick, that will be simply icing on the cake!

What my friends and I typically do at this point, is start discussing out bets. Who will win? Will they cover the spread? Over or Under? Parlay bets, etc. I decided to go to the blog with this one as I have done a lot of statistical research and feel that an “Intelligent” bet is a strong bet. Hell maybe it will help us win and pay for the trip or it may help someone else that chooses to read this post before the games. Would love to get feedback on whether this information made or broke your bets…

New Orleans Saints v Seattle Seahawks

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks

When these two teams met in Week 13, the Seahawks’ historically great pass defense harassed Drew Brees into his worst performance in a decade. Brees’ postseason resume is tremendous, but it’s a tall order to burn the Legion of Boom through the air. Percy Harvin looms as a wild card for an aerial attack coming off its least effective four-game stretch of the season.

My Statistical Data for the Matchup:
Saints: 17.8 PTS/GM on Road
Seattle: 29.1 PTS/GM at Home

Big Game Players/X-Factors:
Russell Wilson
Drew Brees
Jimmy Graham
Legion of Boom (SEA Defense)
12th Man/Noise

Last Matchup:
Previous matchup was a 34-7 dominating win by Seattle. Based on rewind by, there was a turnover returned for TD followed by some defensive stops. Next thing you know, Saints where playing from behind, down 20-7. This caused them to play outside their game for most of the day and turned ugly. If they can avoid the TOs and stay close, They can make a game of it.

Notable Injuries:
Pierre Thomas (chest)
Keenan Lewis CB left wildcard game with concussion but will most likely play (shutdown corner).

Seattle Defense: 28 INTs (3 returned for TDs) plus 17 Forced Fumbles.
Saints Defense: 12 INTs and 13 forced fumbles

Gambling Plan:
Seattle to Win and taking the Under (43)


Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots

Tom Brady is a Hall of Fame Quarterback and he may not get far due to injuries to his best receiver, Tight End Rob Gronkowski who caught for 137 yards and 2 TDs in their matchup from 2012. Andrew Luck won’t feel sorry for the Pats over their injuries. Since the start of the season, he’s lost his top running back (Ahmad Bradshaw), tight end (Dwayne Allen) and wide receiver (Reggie Wayne) to injured reserve. He still rolled up 45 points and 536 yards while growing his legend as the best young comeback artist the NFL has seen. There’s no telling which Colts defense will show up. After holding their final three regular-season opponents to 10 points or less, they were steamrolled by an injury-depleted Chiefs offense during Wild Card Weekend. They will need more than Robert Mathis to win in New England.

My Statistical Data for the Matchup:
Colts: 24.0 PTS/GM on Road
Patriots: 30.4 PTS/GM at Home

Big Game Players/X-Factors:
Tom Brady is as big as they come!
Andrew Luck is clutch and already has 11 come from behind victories in only 2 years in the NFL, including the second largest come back last week against a strong Kansas City Chiefs team.

Last Matchup:
NE beat Colts at home 59-24.
Luck Line: 334/2/3/1 Fum
Brady Line: 331/3/0/0 Fum

Notable Injuries:
Colts: Reggie Wayne, Ahmad Bradshaw, Dwayne Allen
Patriots: Rob Gronkowski

Colts Defense: 15 INT and 19 forced fumbles
Patriots Defense: 17 INT and 11 forced fumbles

Gambling Plan:
Indianapolis Colts to cover spread (+7.5) and OVER (53.5)


San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers

Don’t expect a repeat of the Panthers’ 10-9 victory in Week 10. Vernon Davis missed the majority of that game with a concussion. Top receiver Michael Crabtree had yet to play his first game of the season at that point. This is a different 49ers offense. Panthers will have Jonathan Stewart and Steve Smith back in the lineup but Stewart will not be a game changer and Smith will not be fully healthy. The bright side for the Panthers is that they held Colin Kaepernick in check when they played before and they will do their best to do it again.

An interesting note, before Crabtree returned, Kaepernick had 7 INTs and 6 Fumbles in 11 games. Since Crabtree has started playing, Kaepernick has had 2 INT and 0 Fumbles in the last 6 games. Also happens to coincide with the winning streak. In other words, take care of the ball and we will win!

My Statistical Data for the Matchup:
49ers: 26.8 PTS/GM on Road
Panthers: 25.9 PTS/GM at Home

Big Game Players/X-Factors:
49ers are riding their strong defense on a 6 game winning streak.
Colin Kaepernick has big game talent and the arm/legs to send the Niners to the NFC championship.
Crabtree, Davis, Boldin and Q. Patten…does not get much better than that! I will take that over Ted Ginn Jr., Lafell, G. Olsen and an injured Steve Smith any day!

Last Matchup:
Panthers upset 49ers in Candlestick Park 10-9. It was an in your face defensive battle that simply swung in Panthers favor. Too many variables in that game to make an assumption. Crabtree did not play, Vernon was knocked out with concussion before the half and at the end, if Vance MacDonald caught that laser pass downfield on a Seam route (bounced off his hands), we would have been in FG position to run out the clock and win!

Notable Injuries:
49ers: Carlos Rodgers (hamstring), Dan Skuta (foot), Eric Wright (hamstring)
Panthers: Steve Smith playing with bad Knee

49ers Defense: 18 INTs (2 returned for TD) and 12 forced fumbles
Panthers Defense: 20 INTs (4 returned for TD) and 11 forced fumbles

Gambling Plan:
San Francisco 49ers to Win with spread (-2), and OVER (43)


San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
The Chargers were nearly perfect in their execution and game plan when they pulled off a shocking Week 15 upset in Denver. With the two teams squaring off for the third time in two months, there will be no secrets this time around. Peyton Manning set new NFL single-season records for passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55). The Broncos offense has been held under 30 points in just three games, twice by San Diego Chargers. It’s no coincidence that Denver’s lowest point total of the season came against San Diego with Wes Welker out of the lineup. He will be back on the field in the divisional round.

My Statistical Data for the Matchup:
Chargers: 24.9 PTS/GM on Road
Broncos: 39.5 PTS/GM at Home

Big Game Players/X-Factors:
Peyton Manning and all his offensive weapons. Should be a high scoring game. Expected High is 44 degrees.
Rivers to Keenan Allen connection has been a hot ticket and the Chargers defense has been playing well, expect the defense to keep them in the game and give Rivers a chance at the end.

Last Matchup:
Chargers upset Broncos IN Denver 27-20.
Chargers Defense played very well on a cold night.

Notable Injuries:
Chargers: Ryan Mathews (Ankle). Did not play in the second half against Bengals. Expects to play against Broncos.
Broncos: None

Chargers Defense: 11 INTs and 11 forced fumbles
Broncos Defense: 17 INTs and 16 forced fumbles

Gambling Plan:
San Diego Chargers to cover the spread (+9.5) and OVER (52.5)

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