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The Pick 6: Conference Finals

While there’s a good chance we’ve already seen the best football of the postseason with the Minnesota Miracle, there are still three games to go and guess what – they’re all bet-able!

It’s true that handicapping becomes more difficult as we progress through the playoffs with fewer sides and totals available to bet, but luckily for us, books tend to pump out extra props for this time of year and I’ve delved into a few of my favorites for Championship Sunday.

The Pick: Vikings -3.5 (+110)

The Stat: The Eagles have averaged eight points per game since Carson Wentz was injured.

By far my favorite side on the board and it’s the only one I’ll be betting on its own. Minnesota is the much better team here and while winning on the road won’t be easy, envisioning a scenario where a Nick Foles-led offense scores enough to keep this close is even tougher.

Without Wentz, the Eagles become extremely one-dimensional and when you go up against a defense as solid as the one the Vikings have? That’s not good. Minnesota will take away the run Sunday and Foles will be forced to make plays that he’s not comfortable making. Vikes win 20-10.

The Pick: 6-point teaser - Jaguars +14, MIN-PHI UNDER 45 (-120)

The Stats: All eight NFL playoff games that have been hosted at Lincoln Financial Field since it opened in 2003 have gone UNDER their closing total by an average of nine points and the Jaguars have only lost by two touchdowns once this season.

And that was well before the Jaguars figured out their identity as the best defensive team in pro football. It’s tough to know what to make of this game with Brady and Belichick playing hand games with the media but taking the Jags +14 feels safe even if TB12 is 100 percent healthy, which it appears he is not.

As for the total, I have a hard time believing this thing breaches its original number considering the two defenses that will be on display but in a playoff game I’ll absolutely take the six insurance points.

The Pick: No team to score three consecutive times - MIN-PHI (+135)

There’s a good chance that neither of these teams even scores three times in the game and I really like the value on this proposition. I don’t have anything super concrete to back this one up with other than a gut feeling so bet it at your own risk.

The Pick: Rob Gronkowski to have the most Receiving yards on Sunday (+500)

The Stat: Gronk has averaged 115.75 yards per game over his last four games.

That’s a scary thought when you think that the Patriots have been saving Gronk for a time when they really need him and this week feels like just the ticket. The Jaguars secondary might just be the best in the NFL and if the Pats are going to beat them through the air, Gronk has to be involved.

Predicting a New England game plan is never easy but something you can always rely on is that if Gronk is healthy, Brady is throwing the ball to him.  

The Pick: Most points scored by a team on Sunday – Under 34.5 (-150)

The Stat: The total has gone UNDER in six of the Patriots’ last 7 conference championships.

This pick is chalky for a reason. I know what the numbers say about the Patriots’ ball-stopping unit but these four teams in the conference finals possess four of the top 10 defenses in the NFL, period. I will be shocked if either one of these championships results in a blowout and the only offense I see with the potential to reach 35 is the Patriots. Too bad they’re playing Jacksonville.

Brady has also posted some of his worst career numbers in conference championship games and his dubious hand injury can only help us here.

The Pick: Super Bowl Exact Matchup – Patriots vs Vikings (-105)

The Stat: The Patriots and the Vikings are by far the better teams in their respective championship games.

You’ll actually get better odds here if you parlay the Pats and Vikes moneyline but I wanted to frame my pick this way to illustrate my confidence in both New England and Minnesota.


This column is powered by stats and trends provided by the NFL Betting Primer.

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