Championship weekend in the NFL is here and just two games remain before the Super Bowl match-up is determined. This year marks some of the most interesting matchups in recent memory for the championship games. Two of the top offenses in the NFL collide in the NFC Championship Game as the world waits to see if Brett Farve can make it back to the Super Bowl at 40 years of age. In the AFC the Colts have been the leading favorites since the beginning of the postseason, but a confident Rex Ryan says his New York Jets will prevail despite carrying the big “underdog” title. Needless to say there are entertaining headlines surrounding each game this weekend and we have some free prop selections involving those highly anticipated showdowns as well. Last week our props action was a solid 2-1 as we attempt to put together another profitable card for this Sunday. All of these betting lines can be found at Bodog Sportsbook.
Prop Bet No. 1 – Total rushing yards – Shonn Greene vs. Indianapolis Colts
Over 75 ½ (-110)
Under 75 ½ (-120)
Shonn Greene has emerged out of starting tailback Thomas Jones’ shadow over the past two weeks, averaging six yards per carry for the Jets. In fact, Greene has posted 250-plus yards over the course of those two outings, including two touchdowns. Normally Jones has been the big contributor on the ground resulting in the majority of the Jets offensive production. Even with Greene emerging as a big contributor, Jones will still start the game at the tailback position. If he gets rolling, Greene is not going to get near as many touches because Greene has only been brought in due to Jones averaging 2.9 yards per carry in the postseason. However, in a game of this magnitude, the Jets will likely keep the ball in the hands of Jones, who they relied on heavily to get to the postseason. Greene is in his rookie season and does not have any big game experience despite carrying the ball well in recent weeks. Those circumstances lead me to believe Jones will carry the workload this Sunday. Also, the Colts defense held Ray Rice to just 67 yards last weekend while playing extremely well up front. If that is duplicated this Sunday, the Jets will be extremely lucky if they can get any success out of either one of their running backs.
Pick – Under 75 ½
Prop Bet No. 2 – Will Sidney Rice score a touchdown vs. New Orleans Saints
Yes – (-130)
No – (+105)
This particular betting line caught me by surprise. I was expecting perhaps a -170 type range for Rice to score a touchdown, but the odds are even more profitable. Rice dominated the Cowboys defense last week, scoring three touchdowns and putting an exclamation point on an already tremendous season. QB Brett Farve threw four touchdown passes last week as well and all signs point that he could be in for another big game throwing the football as the Saints secondary has been their weakest link for the last few years. The Vikings have proven that they can score through the air even in close yardage situations. Rice is one of those receivers that doesn’t have tremendous speed. However, he consistently makes catches in jump ball situations and can catch anything thrown his direction, making him an excellent target inside the red zone. That type of athleticism gives him an advantage over the Saints defenders as it has over most defenders all season. Farve will look for Rice often and there is no way that he does not catch at least one touchdown pass this Sunday.
Pick – Yes
Prop Bet No. 3 – New Orleans Saints total team points vs. Minnesota Vikings
Over 28 ½ (-125)
Under 28 ½ (-105)
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The New Orleans Saints blistered the Arizona Cardinals for 45 points in last week’s blowout victory. However, it was the second straight week the Cardinals had relinquished 45 points due to their horrible pass defense. This week the Saints will be match up against a much better secondary, but more importantly perhaps the best pass rush in the NFL. The Vikings led the NFL during the regular season in sacks and also brought down Tony Romo six times last week, holding the hot Cowboys quarterback to just 198 passing yards. Defensive ends Ray Edwards and Jared Allen could help put a lot of pressure on Saints QB Drew Brees. That pressure will prevent the Saints offense from catching any type of rhythm or posting any huge numbers. If you remember the Saints potent offense scored more than 28 points just once in their final five games of the season. The Vikings have to get a strong pass rush to win this football game and based on their performance throughout the season they are definitely worthy of the opportunity. Consider some of these factors and expect a slightly lower scoring game than most are predicting.
Pick - Under 28 ½