The Road to the Big Game: Part Two

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Offense Sells Tickets, but does Defense Still Win Championships?

It's been said for many years, but is this still the mantra in 2016-17? Does defense still win championships? If you said yes, you have to look no further than the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers big game matchup last year.

If you said no, you may also have a strong case this season when you take a look at the Championship Games. Atlanta, Green Bay, and New England are the top three teams respectively in offensive yards per point. All four teams rank in the top eight in terms of offensive yards per play. While defense may win championships, it seems like offense has gotten these teams to this point.



Green Bay at Atlanta (-4.5)

I admit it! I am predisposed to a bias in this section. See, I am originally from the greater New Orleans area and if you know anything about Southeast Louisiana, we LOVE our Saints. And if you love the Saints, then you truly, in your heart, should dislike the Falcons. Now I love the city of Atlanta, but I hate the Falcons. Now that this is out of the way, let's look at the game.

There's a statement in the world of trading & investing that you shouldn't try to catch a falling knife. This refers to attempting to purchase a security when it has significant downward momentum. While the rewards can be handsome if your timing is good, the risk of ruin is extremely high. Somehow this statement comes to mind when I think of going against the Packers at this point.

Green Bay is now 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS in their last eight games. If you happen to read our January newsletter, you'll know that we like to look beyond the record into who a team beat. Well if you take a look at the Packers' schedule over those eight games, you'll notice they beat five playoff teams (Houston, Seattle, Detroit, New York, and Dallas).

On the other side of the ball, the Falcons are flying high after a dominant divisional round win over the Seahawks. Not to be outdone, the Falcons are 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in their L5 games. In those five games, the Falcons only beat one playoff team: Seattle. That causes a bit of trepidation in my mind on taking the Falcons.

These teams met during week 8 of the regular season. Atlanta won that matchup 33-32. If you're looking for a revenge angle here, forget about it. The Falcons will be just as motivated as the Packers to win this game.

The only area of concern for Green Bay is injuries. They could be without the services of their top two receivers from the season in Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. Adams injured an ankle in the divisional round game and is currently being held out of practice until at least Saturday (one day before the game).

However, Green Bay has found ways to win despite injuries up to this point. I expect to see the majority of the bets come in on the Packers, both with the points and SU for this game.



Pittsburgh at New England (-6)

The early story in the week was regarding WR Antonio Brown's post game video which can be seen here in case you missed it. While it was harmless, it has become a distraction for the Steelers and is now being investigated by the NFL.

The Steelers have put together an impressive 9-0 SU (7-2 ATS) run since mid November. Amidst the distractions, there's a lot to like about this Steelers team. They have a lot of weapons which makes them very hard to prepare for and defend. However, this is a tough situation to be in.

Even though they ended up winning 34-16, there were times early in the divisional round that the Patriots seemed as though they were trying to give the game to the Texans. New England played as though Houston wasn't really a threat. The Pats played like they knew they were 16 point favorites.

In looking at this game, one thing to keep in mind is something that Steelers HC Mike Tomlin mentioned in his postgame speech (courtesy of Antonio Brown of course). Since the NFL moved the Steelers-Chiefs game to Sunday Night, the Patriots got a day and a half head start over their opponent. In this case, it's the Steelers. While this wasn't deliberate, it does offer New England an additional advantage in their time to prepare.

Based on that, I expect to see more balance in the wagering in the AFC. I believe there will be more betting tickets written for the Patriots in this game. However, it won't be as heavily swayed as the number of ticket holders for the Packers.

If offense sells tickets, then both of these games should be equally as entertaining as the ones seen during the divisional round of the playoffs.

However, if defense wins championships, then one of these four teams is leaps and bounds ahead of the other three. Can you guess which one that is?

Enjoy the games!


High Roller Fund 



About the author:

Duane Cousin is manager of the High Roller Fund and author of the High Roller Fund Report. Duane also posts articles and information on sports betting on LinkedIn. More info on the fund can be found here. The reports can be found on Amazon