19 January 2014

NFL Final Four Preview

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

The Final Four of the NFL. Denver, New England, San Francisco and Seattle. No surprises here. Bookies made these teams the Super Bowl favorites over for the last 50 weeks, and the public poured oodles of cash into Denver and Seattle.The public sentiment? Denver vs. Seattle in the Super Bowl. You know what? Both states are legal marijuana states. Cheech and Chong are firing one up just at the thought of that match up.

Me? I'm rooting for a SF/Denver Super Bowl. After all, California is a medicinal marijuana state and the most potent weed on the planet is grown in Northern California.

My plays: I'm fading the public in totals... I like the UNDER 57 in NE/Denver and the OVER 39.5 in SF/Seattle. I tailed Bufalo66's hometeam moneyline parlay, but I like the Niners +4 and Denver -4.5.

If you haven't watched it yet, check out Buffalo66's NFL handicapping video for today's games.

The NFC Championship features San Francisco for a third year in a row (they lost to NY Giants in 2012 but beat Atlanta in 2013), while the AFC Championship was the mouth-watering matchup that TV suits and fans were anticipating... until those pesky Baltimore Ravens threw a monkey wrench into their plans. Baltimore was the hottest team going into last year's playoffs and they ran the table picking off New England, Denver, and eventually San Francisco in Harbaugh Bowl that may or maynot have been rigged by the Illuminati.1

New England (13-4 SU, 9-8 ATS) at Denver (14-3 SU and 10-6-1)
Opening Line: Denver -6 and 55
Current Line: Denver -4.5 and 57

Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. What more can you ask for than a pair of Hall of Fame QBs slugging it out on a national stage?

Who's better? Brady or Manning? It's a close call. Brady is married to a feisty Brazilian supermodel. Manning had a weed strain named after him2.

These two teams met back in late November. New England won 34-31 in a crazy game of swings. Denver imploded after blowing a 24-0 halftime lead. The game went into overtime and a fortuitous bounce sealed a victory for New England.

Alas, that was the regular season. New England is a rare dog in the playoffs. Denver now has New England on their own turf in Mile High Stadium in the Weedlands. Plus, Julius Thomas did not play in the previous meeting and Peyton will have his favorite TE back in the lineup. New England's D shutdown Indy's deep threat T.Y. Hilton last week, but they'll have their hands full keeping both Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas out of the endzone.

New England has the coaching edge. Belichick is one of the greatest second half coaches in the history of sports with the amazing ability to tweak his gameplan at halftime. But he has bad luck against QBs named Manning the last few years. Eli Manning cockblocked Denver's perfect season with a come-from-behind win in Superbowl 42 and Eli did it again in Superbowl 46. New England also struggled to cover in their last dozen playoff games. They are a cringe-worthy 3-9 ATS.

Both squads have shredded Ds, which is why everyone and their grandma is on the OVER. I get squeamish in these spots and try to find a good reason to fade the public. I think I found one. The running game. Whoever wins the Battle of the Trenches will advance to the Super Bowl. Both teams implementing run-heavy game plans favors the UNDER.

New England and Denver are gonna run, run, run, run, and run some more. To keep Denver's potent offense in check, New England wants to move the chains and eat up a ton of clock in order to slow down the game and keep Manning off the field. Belichick knows he cannot win a shootout in Denver, so he welcomes an old-school street fight. SMASHMOUTH FOOTBALL. That makes Blount the X-factor for New England. His name is pronounced BLUNT because the O is silent. Insert your own weed joke here _____.

Denver's X-factor is also their backfield and the dynamic duo of Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball. Moreno had a resurgence this year, while Montee Ball is searching for redemption after he fumbled late in the New England game, which led to a quick score. New England's front line is Swiss cheese and easily exploitable.

A shootout favors the Broncos, which is why Belichick doesn't want to get in one. New England can win if they run the ball effectively and minimize the amount of time Manning had on the field. This won't exactly be a defensive struggle, but I don't expect 60+ points this game.

Disclaimer... I took a huge position on Denver when line dipped to -4.5, but I also have a small piece of the UNDER 57. Buffalo66 likes both home teams today and his pick is a moneyline parlay on both favorites.


San Francisco (14-4 SU, 12-6 ATS) at Seattle (14-3 SU, 11-6 ATS)
Opening Line: Seattle -3.5 and 40
Current Line: Seattle -4 and 40

Niners are on a roll and smack in the middle of an 8-game winning streak. They won their last six road games including playoff games at the Frozen Tundra in Green Bay and last week in Carolina. The Niners are 8-2 as road warriors this year with their only losses at the hexed Superdome in New Orleans and in Seattle's deafening stadium.

71-16. That's a number that keeps  popping up. The Niners have gotten their asses handed to them the last two times they played in Seattle. Sure, the Niners held their serve and won 19-17 at Candlestick but they were outscored by 55 points the last two meetings.

If Seattle wins a third time, I doubt they can maintain that dominant margin.The bookies agree and hung the number somewhere around a field goal. They know their shit. This game will come down to the final possession.

Colin Kaepernick is heating up at the perfect time, while Russell Wilson struggled the last couple of weeks. Wilson does not have to play great to win the game. All he has to do is manage the clock, minimize turnovers and let the Beast and the D and the insane crowd do the rest.

Kaepernick has his favorite target in the lineup. Michael Crabtree's return gives San Francisco a legit deep threat, but he'll be up against one of the toughest secondaries I've ever seen. Plus on offense, Frank Gore will have to bring a sledgehammer with him if he expects to bust through that impenetrable stonewall known as Seattle's D line.

The coaching edge goes to San Francisco. Pete Carroll3 is a great motivator, but his Xs and Os are suspect. Harbaugh is a man on a mission. He's been taking baby steps the last few years... he lost the NFC Championship in 2012, won it in 2013 but lost the Super Bowl to his brother, so the next step is to win the whole fucking thing. His team is peaking at the right time, but he also has his biggest challenge of the season... how the fuck do you win in Seattle?

Simple... win the battle of turnovers.

Seattle has benefited from a ridiculous turnover differential. Their D forces fumbles and INTs, while Wilson/Beastmode don't turn the ball over much. Will variance finally catch up to them? If it does, they'll have a long day ahead of them.

I'm anticipating a turnover heavy game. More scoring than you think, which is contrary to popular belief that this will go under.

Disclaimer... Although Buffalo66 has his home-team moneyline parlay, I couldn't pass up taking a small position with San Francisco +4 this morning after wiseguy money poured in on Seattle. I'm also on the OVER 39.5, which I snagged earlier in the week.

1. I love a good conspiracy theory, but the Illuminati does not run the world. Our true overlords are really Dick Cheney and the Queen of England, who is a Reptilian. Yes, Dicky C and the Lizard Queen. Sounds like a great bar band.

2. The infamous Peyton Manning strain is no longer available in Colorado marijuana dispensaries after a cease and desist order. It's actually a hybrid of Chem 91 (a relative of the infamous ChemDawg) and SVF OG (San Fernando Valley OG Kush).

3. There is a generally consensus that Pete Caroll is a schmuck because of his rah-rah antics on the sidelines. Now, don't get this confused with being an out-right assface like Eric Mangini. Incidentially, both coached the New York Jets.

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