18 Jan NFL: Conference Championship Lazy Line Picks
The Lazy Line picks went 1-1 last week, bringing the totals to 7-8-1 since we started displaying them in Week 13. In terms of betting units, we’ve notched 13 wins vs. 14 losing units. Still in the red.
Patriots at Broncos: Broncos -5.5
Lazy Line: Broncos -6. No play.
Comments: For about the 12th time this year, the Patriots look outmanned because of injuries (and incarcerations). That hasn’t stopped them yet, but it might this week.
The Patriots stand just one injury away from pulling replacements from the box seats. With both starting (replacement) wideouts either out or at less than 100%, the Pats seem limited to throwing in between the hashmarks. If Brady had a decent wide receiver, he could pick on whichever weak corner replaces injured Bronco Clint Harris. If only! Brady will find some success using play-action off a strong running game. But can an offense really be effective using just two-thirds of the playing field?
The Broncos running game should be effective vs. a Patriot defense that lost a key run-stuffing linebacker recently and Vince Woolfork less recently. That takes the burden off playoff-challenged Peyton Manning. Remember that an earlier version of the Broncos led by John Elway didn’t start winning Super Bowls until a stellar running back named Terrell Davis took the weight off the star QB. The current running backs aren’t that good, but they’re probably good enough.
Still, Coach Fox is just 1-6 vs. Coach Belichick, so an upset here wouldn’t shock us. We’ll sit this one out.
49ers at Seahawks: Seahawks -3.5
Lazy Line: Seahawks -9. Seahawks are a 4-unit play.
Comments: In an earlier post we mentioned how our season-long biases were playing out well late in the season. We abandoned our anti-Carolina bias last week and paid the price. This week we stick to our guns and bet against the overrated (in our opinion) 49ers.
Colin Kaepernick fails to impress us. Yes, he’s a decent QB, but we don’t see him as a great QB. He struggles mightily against good defenses, and this Seattle defense looks like one of the best NFL defenses in years…maybe decades. In terms of athleticism, they more than match up well against Kaepernick. In three prior meetings, they’ve pretty much overwhelmed him.
Bettors worry about Seattle QB Russell Wilson, who slumped late in the season. Worry not. To understand how well the Seattle defense made up for that weakness, consider this: the Seahawks posted about an 11-5-1 record against the spread. That’s how good this defense is!
Seattle has the better defense and QB and should win the turnover battle, giving us a huge margin of error on this wager. We’ll gladly, greedily take the better team and give fewer points (3.5) than the true home-field edge (4 points).