• Gary Porpora

NFL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

WEEK 20 – 2020 NFL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS


Right on cue, after the Gairzo bragged about his rare prescience after the Green Bay/Big Horns matchup, the gambling gods bent him over and spent the better part of the Divisional playoffs spanking the shit out of him…


I was as wrong as I could be about the next three games—although untimely injuries to Mahomes and Lamar Jackson conspired to make my ostensibly cogent analysis moot.


There were some positives:


  • · I missed only one of the six possible Premium Picks

  • · Clawed back to even on my O/U of the Week Tally

  • · Upped my Specials percentage to .554


Here’s my tally to this point in the season:


LOCK OF THE WEEK

L. A. RAMS (10-6) @ GREEN BAY PACKERS (14-3) -6.5 45.5 [O]


BALTIMORE RAVENS (12-5) @ BUFFALO BILLS (14-3) -3 50 [O]


OVER/UNDER OF THE WEEK CLEVELAND BROWNS (12-5) @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (14-2) - 9 56 [U]


TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (12-5) @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (13-4_ -5.5 51 [U]


2020 NFL TALLY SHEET – THRU DIVISIONAL WEEKEND

DIVISIONAL WEEKEND ATS 1 – 3 2020 PLAYOFFS 4 – 6

2020 Overall ATS 133 – 129 – 4 .508

Weekly Totals 3 – 1 Cumulative Totals: 53 – 62 – 5

Weekly Specials 2 – 0 Cumulative Specials: 41– 33 – 2 .554

GAME OF THE WEEK 14 – 3 – 1 LOCK OF THE WEEK 9 – 10

UPSET SPECIAL 8 – 10 O/U OF THE WEEK 10 – 10 – 1

PREMIUM PICKS 5 – 1 CUMULATIVE 94 – 95 – 7


I have more winning picks than the all but two of the CBSsports.com crew; four of those guys have a slightly better percentage than me as they have had five more Pushes. They get their Spreads from William Hill and I use Oddsharks.com.


GAME OF THE WEEK


TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (13-5) @ GREEN BAY PACKERS (14-3) -3 52 [U]


This one’s personal---my 2020 record betting on Green Bay games is 12-5 ATS. I picked them to lose against the Horseshoes in Week 11, the Pack lost two games they were favored to win against the Vikings and the Buccaneers, and failed to Cover in three other games.

Oddsharks.com has wonderful articles—prop bets, how to bet, and the analysts always put together some cool trends and stats like these:


  • · Since 1986, there have been 15 instances of an NFL team playing three straight road playoff games – the situation Tampa is in on Sunday. The previous teams went just 4-11 SU and 5-10 ATS. Over the last eight instances, they're 1-7 SU and ATS.

  • · Green Bay ranks first in time of possession. Tampa Bay is 21st.

  • · These teams rank first and second in points per play.

  • · Green Bay ranks first in third-down conversion percentage. Tampa Bay is 18th in opponent third-down conversion %.

  • · Green Bay leads the NFL in points per game and average scoring margin at home. Tampa Bay leads the NFL in points per game and average scoring margin on the road.

  • · The Bucs rank 25th in opponent completion %. Aaron Rodgers led the NFL in completion % during the regular season.

  • · The Bucs are first in yards allowed per rush attempt. Green Bay is 22nd.

  • · Road teams are 2-12 SU and 4-10 ATS in conference championship games since 2014.

  • · The Buccaneers are 7-0 SU in their last seven games on the road. (Avg. winning margin: 16.0)

  • · The total has gone OVER in 25 of the Buccaneers' last 35 games on the road. (Avg combined score: 55.94)

  • · The Packers are 7-0 SU in their last seven games. (Avg winning margin: 14.86)

  • · The Packers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games in January.

  • · The Packers are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games in the playoffs.

  • · The Packers are 9-0 ATS in their last nine games at home vs. teams with winning records.

  • · The Packers are 5-0 SU in their last five games in the playoffs as home favorites.

  • · The total has gone OVER in the Packers' last six games in the playoffs

  • · Tampa Bay is 7-0 SU in its last 7 road games.

  • · Green Bay is 7-2 ATS in its last 9 playoff games.

  • · Tampa Bay is 1-15 SU in its last 16 road games vs Green Bay.


Like me, the crew at Oddsharks.com probably pays a site like team rankings.com, they put out 3 stat sheets for every matchup and their stats give you a clear picture of how opponents compare.


In this game, the Pack has the better RZ defense, by far, as well as the superior third down defense; the all-important YPP numbers are fairly close—and each squad’s sack percentages on both sides of the ball are almost identical.


The point of the information overload is to demonstrate how useless all these stats and trends can be, At this level, the final four of American professional football, featuring two Rushmore quarterbacks—although one will be asterisked—superb coaching staffs, the handicapper can lean on a couple of fairly solid pillars:


  • Neither of these teams is going to blow out the other, even though that’s exactly what the Mateys did to Mr. Rodgers in Week 6.

  • You can be fairly sure the turnovers will be rare—but Tampa is second best in the NFL with 1.7 takeaways per game; Green Bay is the best at not turning the ball over.

  • A Week Six repeat is not in the cards.


So after you use common sense knowing how efficient and well coached these teams are, the gut has to have its say…


My gut tells me Brady will have a great day, so will Gronk, but the Packers defense is not as vulnerable as people think. They will pressure Brady the entire game


I saw an interview of Aaron Rodgers leading up to the game. I’ve always liked him and his talent; he has the quickest release I’ve ever seen. I love his commercials, and was worried for him when I heard of his estrangement from his family.


Normally in interviews he can be a wise ass with a jag-off attitude—sometimes very off-putting.


In this presser he was calm smiling, reflective—he looked, sounded and acted like a Tibetan monk. When asked about what this game would mean to his legacy he tried to shrug it off as an answer out of his control, or at least he wasn’t about to predict how he would play—all he understood is that he was enjoying where he was at, at this moment, and just “enjoying the present.”


He ended with this, sounding a lot like David Carradine: “The future is a beautiful mystery.”


I believe him; play the Under…


Packers 30 Buccaneers 20



NFC CHAMPIONSHIP


BUFFALO BILLS (14-3) @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (14-2) - 3 54 [U]


How badly does Patrick Mahome’s toe hurt?


The Answer to that question—or, more accurately, how quickly Buffalo ascertains the answer will determine the outcome of this game.


Don’t get me wrong, Mahomes has the arm and the smarts to succeed against any team of the league. But, if his toe takes away his running game, or even slows him down, the Bills can sit back in a two deep zone and, at least, slow KC down.


Of course, that’s when Andy Reid says, “Fine, well take those 6-8 yard completions and the run LeVeon Bell or C.E. Hellaire down you throat—which also means your young gun is in the bench polishing his firing pin…”


KC rushed for over 240 in a Week Six tussle between these two clubs. The Bills were in that zone defense all day. The Bills running game is somewhere on the south side of mediocrity.


The Arrowheads dominated Buffalo on the line and Mahomes didn’t make the bad mistake.


Does he ever?


Per usual, I funneled this math up through my normal weekly criteria and like the NFCCG this baby, if my stats and trends are accurate, could be anybody’s game.


Our gut tells us to remember a Bill Parcells quote regarding what the psychology of today’s NFC tilt will be and why I reasoned, the Packers should win:


The team who has beaten its opponent twice in a given season knows it can win—the other team thinks it can…


Not a big Parcells fane; always thought, like Cowher, Dungy, and Johnson, he was a great coach who wasn’t quite HOF material.


But, his point also makes sense in the unspoken dynamic of the AFC game—KC has been in several adverse situations on this two year journey and being crowned Champs last year—they know they can win.


Buffalo can only imagine what winning will demand—even though they have the talent to pull off the Upset.

We’ll lay the field goal and watch Mahomes and Reid run to glory—play the Under.


Chiefs 33 Bills 20


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