We have a couple of very different matchups in store for Saturday. Here’s a look at my odds analysis and picks for both of them to help you with your wagers:
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta -5, 51.5
My take on the odds:
This line opened at -3.5 and moved to -5 by Thursday. Seattle isn’t at home. The first meeting was close. And the Falcons have the bye advantage along with the NFL favorite to win MVP, Matt Ryan. I think those are the biggest market factors why the early money is on Atlanta. No surprise the total moved up after Sportsbook at 49.5. The Falcons were the biggest OVER bet ever this season at 14-2 OVER/UNDER and the first meeting this season went over by 4.5 points.
Atlanta had the No. 1 scoring offense and the 27th-ranked scoring defense. No wonder the OVER was basically a gimme in Falcons games all year. They were held to 24 points only once all season so it’s hard not to think Seattle will need to score if it hopes to cover this spread as opposed to winning with defense.
The Seattle offensive line has been all over the place this season from one game to the next and Cris Collinsworth’s Pro Football Focus actually rated it the worst in the NFL in 2016. The other factor I worry about for Seattle is that Richard Sherman might be shadowing Atlanta’s do-everything man, Julio Jones. Jones had a big game in the last meeting but he only had three catches for 40 yards when Sherman guarded him man-to-man. If Seattle goes this route, I think it could expose a secondary that’s already missing Earl Thomas. Ryan is playing his best football this year and will find the receivers.
I wouldn’t get too carried away with Seattle’s lopsided home-away numbers here. Atlanta went just 3-5 against the spread at home while going 7-1 against the spread on the road.
Atlanta -5. Don’t read too much into the Seahawks’ win over Detroit last week. They were playing an injured Matt Stafford.
Houston vs. New England -16, 44.5
My take on the odds:
The Patriots opened as the biggest faves (-15) they’ve ever been in the playoffs and the biggest faves we’ve seen in the NFL since 1999. They moved up to -16 but some books have bet them back down to 15. Tom Brady has far and away the most wins by an NFL QB in the playoffs with 22. The Patriots are 14-16-1 against the spread with Brady in the playoffs so that could be a consideration for bettors here. The total dropped from 46 to 44.5 and it could go lower. It’s going to be below freezing in Foxborough on Saturday and this is a matchup of the No. 1 total defense (Texans) vs. the No. 1 scoring defense (Patriots).
Go ahead and take Houston at 10-1 on the moneyline if you’ve got the stones for it. If not, this one is all about whether the Pats are gonna win by at least 17. Well, the Pats score about 9.5 more points on offense and they allow about close to five fewer points on defense. That adds up to a Pats win of about 14.5 points.
It’s a crude and brief look at things but I’d say the Pats should be more like 14-point favorites and it makes sense that this line would be inflated. New England bettors destroyed the books this year to go 13-3 against the spread and the Pats are also the heavy Super Bowl favorites. They clobbered Houston 27-0 when they met earlier this season and Houston enters this game just 2-6 against the spread in its last eight.
It all adds up to an inflated line but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Pats won’t cover it.
Houston +16. The No. 1 total defense in the NFL is getting the most points in a playoff game we’ve seen in nearly two decades. The Pats are 1-3 against the spread in the four games where TB12 has had to overcome a double-digit spread in the postseason.
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