Broncos will be a bust
Earlier in the week, I was investigating trends and statistics that would justify taking the Broncos and the 13 1/2 points against the Patriots.
I found some compelling information:
Since 2005, home teams in the conference semifinals are a pedestrian 12-12 straight up.
Last season, the Patriots were 4-4-1 against the spread at home, with the final loss coming to the Jets in the conference semifinals (New England was favored by 8 1/2 in that contest). This season, the Patriots are just 4-4 against the spread in Foxborough.
Denver is 6-2 against the spread on the road.
At one point during this process, though, I was on the phone with the person most responsible for introducing me to the highs and lows of sports betting. His advice stopped me in my tracks.
“Dude, we’re talking about Denver,’’ he lectured. “Don’t over-think it.’’
This week’s picks (home team in caps):
NEW ENGLAND (-13 1/2) over Denver: Lay the favorite, head to your favorite sports bar, and tune in for the dismantling of the Mile High Messiah. Even Lady Gaga is tweeting about Tim Tebow’s exploits, but when the Florida native is whipping passes at his receivers’ ankles in 18-degree weather, is any of the hype going to matter? Risking $165 to win $150.
BALTIMORE (-7 1/2) over Houston: Houston experienced a breakthrough season, but it will end in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. At home, the Ravens are 8-0 and have an average margin of victory of 12.5 points. At some point, Houston won’t be able to depend exclusively on its outstanding defense and running game and will need rookie quarterback T.J. Yates to make big plays. Yates has performed admirably as a fill-in, but engineering multiple scoring drives in M&T Bank Stadium is too much to ask. The Texans’ 31-10 win over Cincinnati in the wild-card round is a likely final score in this game, too. Risking $110 to win $100.
NY Giants (+7 1/2) over GREEN BAY: Green Bay doesn’t have a championship defense, so we may as well start picking against it now. Risking $110 to win $100.
New Orleans (-3 1/2) over SAN FRANCISCO: The 49ers, despite having the necessary components of a dangerous home underdog, remind me of Atlanta from last year. The Falcons had a first-round bye and a second-round home game but were blown out by Green Bay and clearly weren’t ready to take the next step. Sound familiar? Risking $110 to win $100.
Last week: 2-1, plus $190. Season: 31-35-3, minus $825.