The biggest game of the year is just a few short hours away, and that means you only have a few hours to get your last minute bets in for Super Bowl LV!
Championship Round Vibe Check (0-4)
For this game, it's going to be a Props-apalooza!! We will be running down props and picks to carry you from the first snap to the final play. Sure, making money is nice, but in this scenario, being invested the whole game is the goal. Let's begin!
First TD for the Bucs: Cameron Brate @ 10/1
Brate has been a sneakily fun target for Brady this season, especially since OJ Howard went down early in the year. The Harvard product has three TDs on the year, including one against the Packers, and has a catch every game going back to October. He's been scorching hot in the postseason, leading the team in red zone and end zone targets over that stretch. There are bigger, more reliable pass catchers on the team, but you absolutely gotta love these odds.
Mike Evans Will Score at least 1 TD +175
Speaking of better pass catchers, Mike Evans has been a dominant force for the Bucs, and Brady's most productive target this season. He had 13 TDs in the regular season, plus two in the last two playoff games. He presents a matchup nightmare anytime he steps on the field, and it stands to reason he'll get one.
Mike Evans’ stats today: 2 catches 2 yards 2 touchdowns https://t.co/gziYIIGGOP— Trevor Sikkema (@Trevor Sikkema)1601243019.0
Travis Kelce and Mike Evans Both Score a TD +270
You've just heard my argument for Evans scoring during this game. Allow me to double down that same argument for Kelce. The man carried on the legacy of Tony Gonzalez, and become as hard to guard as any offensive player in the league. It certainly helps to have Tyreek Hill to take the top off and Patrick Mahomes who never lets a play die. Kelce comes in on a six game TD streak with two in his last games. Look for a score from the big man.
Tom Brady over .5 Rushing Yards +165
The patented Tom Brady Sneak™ is as potent as ever. Bruce Arians lives by the "No risk it, No biscuit" philosophy, so I have to believe as long as there's a 4th and 1 situation that the Bucs will pull this trick out. The biggest risk here is the off chance that Tampa wins and he kneels down the stretch, which could led to a bad backdoor beat.
Will There Be a Failed PAT? Yes +210
Harrison Butker has missed seven extra points this season, including one against the Browns in the divisional round. He was at 87.5% for the season, the lowest mark of his career. He even missed a 33 yard field goal in that Cleveland game, which is all the more astounding given his accuracy from further out. It was so bad he had to address the issue back in October. Ryan Succop, a great name Hall of Famer, has been similarly spotty on point after's this season. He's shanked five of his own, bringing his percentage to 91.2% on the year. My belief is there will be an abundance of scoring, giving ample chances to whiff for one of these guys. Given this is the biggest game of the year, I think it is fair to say there will be some frayed nerves and one miss between them.
Will Tyreek Hill Score A TD in the First Half? Yes +200
The last time that Tyreek Hill faced the Bucs D, he racked up 203 yards and two touchdowns... IN THE FIRST QUARTER. The Bucs did adjust well and held Tyreek in check for the rest of the game, but the explosive wide receiver can break for a touchdown anytime he touches the ball. The odds here are the main factor. Do I think Hill will score once in this game? Yes. Is it just as likely to happen in the second half? Maybe. But if I get a whole half to root for a score to happen that will almost definitely happen, sign me up.
Tyreek Hill is torching the Buccaneers with 203 yards and 2 TDs in the first quarter. https://t.co/KEbRin4m8o— USA TODAY NFL (@USA TODAY NFL)1606687946.0
Will the Chiefs/Bucs Convert a Fourth Down? -140/-135
Andy Reid is famously aggressive. His belief in his offense's ability to convert fourth downs has become the stuff of legend (#HennethingIsPossible) and defenses curse his decision to keep them on the field one more play. This is absolutely a lock to happen, which is why I feel comfortable happily taking the minus odds to get some free money. Meanwhile, the Bucs, despite Arians' motto, notoriously wilt under the pressure of a fourth down. The Chiefs got for it on fourth down's under three yards to go half of the time, and the Bucs half that number down to 25%. The chances are the Bucs, possibly under the strain of the Chiefs relentless aerial attack, will be forced to take the plunge, at least, once. Maybe more if they hope to actually win.
Last week we bet big on the Pack and Aaron Rodgers going off on the Rams D, and oh boy did it ever pay off.
Divisional Round Vibe Check (3-1)
Aaron Rodgers soared high above his over/under for yards, while easily slicing and dicing up the Los Angeles defenders. Aaron Donald was just below his usual, healthy, game-wrecking self, and it definitely makes you think this one would've been closer had he been 100%. It also has to make you wonder what's wrong with the Seattle Seahawks. How have they managed to waste Russell Wilson this badly? At least, they have their eyes on a bright future for him. Yikes.
The Bills came through in a big way against the Baltimore Ravens, but not how anyone had predicted. Defense was the name of the game when anyone with an All-22 subscription was calling for a shootout of epic proportions. Sure, I lost on a couple special overs that had this game getting into the sixties, but Josh Allen still brought me to the promised land of profits.
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Bucs joined the list of teams who managed to avoid a three game sweep on the season. After the game ended, and more information came out as to how injured Michael Thomas was all year, and Drew Brees was already looking towards his media career, it became clear they were never going to pull this one out. Heck, it's clear that one QB has a little more left in the tank even when the game isn't on the line.
Pretty cool moment with Tom Brady and Drew Brees and his family here https://t.co/EATa56aZOu— James Palmer (@James Palmer)1610942434.0
Packers -4 over Buccaneers
Yes, I am a gluten for punishment. I've been betting against the Bucs all year to middling results, at best. I never believed or bought in on the hype around this team from the jump, and even as they've managed to match the noise around them, I've remained unmoved. Have they proven to be the second best team in the NFC? I guess. Do I think they would've made it this far had they played the Rams on Wild Card weekend? Nope.
Consider this, Taylor Heinicke in his second career start with a busted up Washington offense managed to hang in against the Bucs pass D. Now imagine it's Aaron Rodgers. The Packers have been rolling all season, behind an offensive renaissance, and I don't imagine them becoming less potent in the championship game. Yes, the Bucs handed Green Bay a beat down in their previous meeting. The only really impressive win on their schedule, as a matter of fact, but that game was in Tampa, the Packers weren't at 100%, and Aaron Rodgers didn't smell the Super Bowl just around the corner. This one might be high scoring, but I don't see it being particularly close.
Aaron Rodgers is feeling good ahead of his battle with the Bucs 🤣 @brgridiron (via @WISN_Watson) https://t.co/kTA2GQbWc1— Bleacher Report (@Bleacher Report)1611176719.0
Packers vs. Buccaneers Over 59.5 (Alternate Total)
Betting the over worked so well last week that I'm doubling down in a big way. I'm taking an extra seven points here at +230 because the Pack and Bucs have been firing on all cylinders as of late. They're averaging 35.7 and 35 over their last three games, respectively. While their defenses have flashed at times, they represent big weaknesses for the NFC's two strongest teams. They can bring pressure and have above average front sevens, but Rodgers and Brady should be able to go back and forth picking apart these secondaries, especially with their array of weapons. The odds are too good to pass up for that number.
Josh Allen Over 2.5 Touchdowns
The story of this weekend is shaping up to be offense, and how. If the Bills hope to stand any chance against Mahomes and the Chiefs, they'll have to be scoring regularly. Most likely, Allen will end up giving one of these away by scrambling it in for a score instead of passing, but without much else of a run game to speak for, I believe he gets to three passing. The Chiefs have been giving up 1.8 passing TDs a game, and even if they manage to get pressure on him up the middle, Allen excels on broken plays outside of the pocket. Gotta like Stefon Diggs to get, at least, one of those looks.
Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs officially have the NFL's best bromance https://t.co/9QZXCwLDzp— Pick Six Podcast (@Pick Six Podcast)1610860169.0
Bills over Packers in Super Bowl
This is a fun prop with some decent odds at +600. Sports books have deemed this the third most likely outcome two weeks from now and I have to agree. How do you talk yourself into this final? Well, the Packers should run through the Bucs, as I detailed above. That leaves it to the Bills topple the defending champs and slay the giant. It might not be that hard for them to survive in a barnburner against a hobbled Mahomes, which means we get a Green Bay and Buffalo matchup. If those two teams face off, I definitely prefer a Buffalo's D led by Sean McDermott, especially after they dismantled Lamar Jackson. Josh Allen comes into his own, outduels Rodgers to win a Super Bowl MVP, and Buffalo avenges four-losing efforts.
As the NFL postseason got underway last week, it became clear we need to make some halftime adjustments with our picks this week.
The Ravens were an easy cover for us, especially once Lamer found his groove and the grooves in Tennessee's D. Throw in a few head scratching punts by Mike Vrabel and that does the trick.
Meanwhile, Stefon Diggs came up two catches short for us with three targets left on the table. It was always going to be tough to get that many grabs, but it was worth a few bucks just to see what would happen.
Please, please, please remind me never to bet unders. I haven't hit one all year and yet the siren's song calls me to shore. I maintain this is the best one I bet all year. The pick 6 and DK Metcalf bomb in the second quarter killed after the best start imaginable. After 15 minutes, we had a combined score of 3, 15 minutes of game time later? 30. Bananas.
Then I don't really know what else to say about Pittsburgh losing to Baker Mayfield and co. that hasn't already been said. I just have to edit my list of completely impossible things to put, "Snowing in the Sahara desert," and "Taylor Swift ever getting back together with Jake Gyllenhaal" above "The Browns beating the Steelers in the playoffs."
Saints -3 over Buccaneers
I kind of love this line. It opened at 3.5 and already dropped half a point with plenty of action on Tampa Bay. With any luck it'll drop under 3 for a real steal of a deal. These two divisional foes have played twice already, and neither game was particularly close. Before you claim a clean three game sweep is too difficult, allow me to note it's happened 21 times, and the team going for their third victory is 14-7.
The first matchup was a tighter contest at 34-23 before the Saints went into Tampa, as 3 point underdogs, and put on a master class. Their defense was even more impressive than the offense that day, holding Arians and Brady to 3 points, as Brees engineered 38 points. Now things have obviously changed between then and now.
Drew Brees cracked nearly a dozen ribs and collapsed a lung, while Brady has really settled into an offense overflowing with weapons. It's worth noting that New Orleans' most impressive win was one of a handful of times when the ageless Brees, the elusive Alvin Kamara, and the dependable Michael Thomas were all on the field together. Now that the full arsenal is assembled and prepared to take advantage of the Bucs biggest weakness, their secondary, at home with a harassing defense, I have no choice, but to back them big.
https://t.co/kvv2dNTmHS https://t.co/ND8nmGmZG7— Tom Brady (@Tom Brady)1610413475.0
Bills -2.5 over Ravens
The Bills defense allowed for the unlucky-in-4th-quarter-comebacks Phil Rivers to get close at the end and blow an easy seven point cover. The Ravens started slow last week, but managed to secure a cover and their own win by a touchdown. This feels to me like the best game of the weekend with the added storyline of two quarterbacks battling it out to be the 2018 NFL Draft's best. The Bills have statistically taken a huge leap into the second best offense in the league behind Allen and Brian Daboll's improvements, and have the added benefit of being the home team. Lamar will be able to keep this one close, but the offense around him lacks explosion. In a would-be shootout that's the difference maker.
Aaron Rodgers over 258.5 Pass Yards
The Packers offense has been a well-oiled machine. Of course, betting against the Rams defense has proven to be foolhardy, especially last week, but consider two of the Rams worst losses this season. The 49ers got the best of the league's best twice, and who should share the same core offensive concepts with those Niners, but the Green Bay Packers? The Niners won those games with one-legged Jimmy G and Nick Mullens, who put up 268 and 252 respectively. Do I think Aaron Rodgers can outdo both of them with the league's best Davante Adams at his disposal? Yes. Maybe, I should have done this in the form of a question.
Aaron Rodgers to guest host Jeopardy https://t.co/FVrEibGIdX— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk)1610492836.0
Packers/Rams Over 47
Let's bet an over! The Rams let up 20 points, even if the last TD was in garbage time, and managed 30 points on their own behind Goff's busted thumb. The Packers have averaged 31 points, 33.7 over the last three, and finished with a 35 point drumming of the Bears, who put up 16. Green Bay have been hot enough to melt the snow off Lambeau, and even if Aaron Donald claims his ribs are feeling good, you have to imagine he won't be at full speed, which could rob the Rams of their biggest difference maker's first step. On the flip side, the Pack's D hasn't exactly been lights out. They give up on average 23 points a game, and give up a fair amount of yards on the ground that plays nicely into the Los Angeles game plan, especially given the recent surge of Cam Akers.
Just for fun, here's a clip of Aaron Donald tackling two guys on the same play in college.
Aaron Donald tackling two dudes at once at Pitt is iconic 🔥 @AaronDonald97 @RamsNFL (via @Pitt_ATHLETICS) https://t.co/Dj2kkynYAC— The Checkdown (@The Checkdown)1598384352.0
Aaron Donald tackling two dudes at once at Pitt is iconic 🔥 @AaronDonald97 @RamsNFL (via @Pitt_ATHLETICS) https://t.co/Dj2kkynYAC— The Checkdown (@The Checkdown)1598384352.0
After an up and down 2020 regular season, it turns out we saved one of our best weeks for last.
The Packers and Bills well exceeded expectations, completely dismantling their possible playoff opponents in the final week. Tough break for the Dolphins, they didn't have the luxury of backing in the way Chicago did.
Surprisingly, the biggest blowout came from Derrick Henry, who managed to double his over/under number against a busted Texans' D, win back-to-back rushing titles, and become the eight man in NFL history to crack 2,000 yards.
All that being said, you'd think the Titans ran away with this one, but their own malfunctioning defense kept Deshaun Watson in the game to the very last second. It took a ricochet off an upright to seal the deal in regulation, signaling a shorter playoff stay for this year's Titans.
Pittsburgh Steelers -6 over Cleveland Browns
This one doesn't even seem fair. The Steelers bring the most pressure in the NFL, and have two of the most effective pass rushers in the league between T.J. Watt and Stephen Tuitt, who're beating their man at 29% and 13% of the time, respectively. Meanwhile, Baker Mayfield has always folded under pressure, and it's only gotten worse this year. The man might be able to act his way through any commercial thrown his way, but standing in behind his offensive line has proven more difficult than being in front of the camera. The Steelers offense seems to have righted the ship in the final weeks, Ben just needing to get the ball out to his playmakers to look halfway decent. This all goes without saying, the Browns are currently being ravaged by COVID, preventing practices all week, and knocking out a chunk of the coaching staff, which includes Kevin Stefanski. He's the man who took this team from lost on offense to the playoffs in one season by actually maximizing the team's strengths. Without him at the helm, I wouldn't trust Baker and co. to handle this one on their own.
Ravens -3 over Titans
In what seems to be a budding rivalry, the Titans and Ravens will square off in a rematch of last year's divisional round game that concluded with Baltimore looking positively pedestrian. That loss robbed us of the Chiefs/Ravens and Mahomes/Jackson showdown in the championship game that everyone wanted, especially in Lamar's breakout MVP season. This year, the tables have turned and the Ravens will be visiting the division-winning Titans, but it feels like even more of a lock that Baltimore will prevail. Tennessee's defense has left plenty to be desired (see: Texans, Houston) and their offensive line isn't the same group of hogmollies who bulldozed their way through the 2019 playoffs. If you have a hard time containing Deshaun Watson, I'd hate to be in the film room prepping for this opponent. Since his fourth quarter resurrection against the aptly-named Browns, Lamar has looked like his transcendent self. One of the Titans biggest weaknesses, their red zone defense, which allowed 69% of drives that get within the 20 to end in a touchdown, plays to Lamar's biggest strengths. He's responsible for a whopping 46 TDs in the red zone and not a single interception. That alone should be enough to allow them to skate into the next round.
LaMAr jAcKSoN cAn’T ThrOW https://t.co/Xh3bx3nefB— Sarah Ellison (@Sarah Ellison)1609698594.0
Stefon Diggs over 7.5 Receptions
When the Bills traded for Diggs this offseason, you have to imagine they would've settled for two thirds of the production the vet receiver has given them. The idea of him leading the league in both catches and yards must have been so beyond their wildest dreams, it wouldn't even have made the vision board. But that's exactly what he did, unlocking Josh Allen and the Bills offense in the process. Now 7.5 feels high, but it's a number he's hit in six of the final eight games of the season, and the last week of the season he got to seven before being pulled from the blowout. The Bills have managed to smoke teams with their offense, refusing to take their foot off the pedal, which they might have to do against a Colts team that can hang offensively with Phil Rivers and shut down the run game with Deforest Buckner. It's safe to say that Diggs is going to be a busy man, if the Bills want to win. Most importantly, the man cares about his dental health.
LMAOOOOO https://t.co/okooFHd4Q7— Warren Sharp (@Warren Sharp)1609700166.0
Seahawks/Rams under 42.5
Best case scenario for the Ram? Jared Goff, fresh from the operating table, will return as their wildly up-and-down starting quarterback. Worst case scenario? John Wolford, he of AAF success and one career start, will be leading the charge against a blossoming Seattle D. They've managed to improve at historic levels, allowing 47% less points per game in the back half of the season. Jamal Adams has invigorated the defense, and I'd bet on him eating the lunch of whatever starter McVay has to throw out there. On the flip side, the Los Angeles Rams have the number one ranked defense in the NFL, powered by the fiercest player and most innovative coordinator in the league. They are equally prepared to shutdown the pass and run game, not giving up 100 yards to a running back or 300 yards to a QB, excepting Josh Allen, all season long. In previous matchups against Seattle, the Rams allowed 16 points in a victory and 20 points in a loss, allowing a combined 625 yards and 35 first downs.