It is crunch time in the NFL as the postseason picture begins to take shape. Green Bay and San Francisco have already clinched their divisions and New Orleans and Dallas currently hold the lead in theirs in the NFC picture. Looking at the AFC, New England and Houston have a firm grasp on the lead in their divisions, while the North, with Baltimore and Pittsburgh and the West, with Oakland and Denver are all knotted-up and could very well go down to the final game of season. The rest of the contenders continue to scramble for the two wildcard spots in each conference, while the pretenders are forced to ride out the string of another lost season.
When it comes to wagering on the NFL, it is crunch time as well. After 13 weeks of games you either fall into one of three categories. The best one to be in is the ‘I have been banging the book all season long and cannot wait for this Sunday. The next is the ‘I am holding my own, but a couple of bad weeks away from blowing the bankroll’. The final group, ‘I cannot pick a winner if my life depended on it’ has probably moved on to the NHL or college basketball by now.
Whatever category you find yourself in, it is not too late to boost or rebuild your bankroll over the final four weeks of the regular season. By now, the odds makers have each week’s lines razor-sharp, but that does not mean you cannot find value. While most people will sit down and handicap a particular matchup to come up with a pick, another strategy is to sit back and ride a hot team. This will work for only one or two plays a week, but that could be all you need to get back-on-track if you are down.
When it comes to winning against the spread, no team has been better this season than the 49ers. They are 10-2 straight-up, but an even better 10-1-1 ATS. Despite the fact they clinched the NFC West, they cannot afford to take their foot off the gas with New Orleans breathing down their neck for the No. 2 seed and all-important first-round bye in the playoffs. This week, San Francisco is a 3.5-point road favorite against Arizona. It is 4-1 ATS in five previous games on the road this season and 3-0 ATS in three previous games in the division.
When it comes to wagering on the total line there are a couple of teams have separated themselves from the pack. The total has gone ‘over’ in nine of Cincinnati’s 12 games this season. This week, the Bengals play host to Houston with the total line set at 38. The line is set so low given the Texans’ issues at quarterback along with the fact that they have the second-ranked defense in the league.
The total has stayed ‘under’ in 10 of Jacksonville’s 12 games this year. The total went ‘over’ the 39-point line in last Monday night’s 38-14 loss to San Diego, but this Sunday the Jaguars face Tampa Bay with the total line set at 38. This one could be a gift for the ‘under’ given that Jacksonville is averaging 12.7 points a game and the Buccaneers are averaging 18.2 points a game.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.