1-800-524-4250

Articles

Get the best handicapping articles and gambling advice throughout the football, basketball and baseball seasons from the world's top sports handicappers, as well as from Bovada (Bodog) Sportsbook and Casino.

NFL Playoffs

   by Larry Ness - 01/18/2005

Ness Notes
(NFL Playoffs)

Home teams won all four of the Divisional Round games this past weekend, 'covering' three! Atlanta won by 30 points, New England by 17 and Philadelphia by 13. While Pittsburgh needed overtime to edge the New York Jets by a field goal, the Steelers did hold the Jets WITHOUT an offensive TD!...

After THREE of the four visiting teams had won during the wild card games the previous weekend and last year's Divisional Round games saw all four road teams 'cover' (2-2 SU), it was quite a comeback for home-team dominance....

While I'll have a more in-depth look at the AFC and NFC title games in Friday's column, here's a quick peek ahead....

Will the home teams fare as well this Sunday in their respective conference title games? Maybe not? Home teams have not been particularly dominant in this round since 1990, as each conference has seen the home team go just 8-6 over the last 14 years. Actually, from 1990 through 1996, home teams were dominant winning 10 of the 14 games, including two-game sweeps in the years 1991, 1993, 1995 and 1996....

In 1997, BOTH road teams (Denver at Pittsburgh and Green Bay at San Francisco) won in the same season for the ONLY time since 1990. I guess not so surprisingly, both Denver and Green Bay were road favorites that year! Over the last six years, the conference title games have seen one visiting team and one home team win!...

The NFC avoided a real DISASTER, as neither one of the two 8-8 teams still 'alive' heading into last weekend's play (Minnesota and St Louis) advanced to Sunday's title game. Clearly the two-best teams in the conference, in what has been a very 'down' year for the NFC, are the 11-5 Falcons and the 13-3 Eagles....

As for the AFC, New England at Pittsburgh is a 'dream' game! New England is of course the winner of two of the last three Super Bowls, while the 2004 Steelers became just the fourth team in NFL history to complete a 16-game schedule with a 15-1 mark. In fact, the two teams' combined record of 29-3 (New England was 14-2), ties them with the 1998 NFC Championship Game (14-2 Atlanta at 15-1 Minnesota), for the best-ever combined records of two title-game participants!...

The good news for both conferences is that in each case, its No. 1 and No. 2 seed has advanced to the title game. That's nothing new when it comes to the NFC, as that was the case in 10 of the first 11 years beginning in 1990 (when the league expanded to a 12-team format). This year's match-up makes it 12 times in 15 years, that No. 1 has met No. 2 in the NFC title game...

In the AFC it hasn't been as prevalent as this year's match-up of No. 1 vs No. 2, marks just the SEVENTH time that's happened in the 15 seasons since 1990. It's just the SIXTH time in 15 years that BOTH conferences feature meetings between the top-two seeds....

History shows that in the 11 previous NFC meetings between No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, the No.1 seed has prevailed six times. As for the AFC, the No. 1 seed has beaten the No. 2 seed, in four of the six previous meetings....

BOTH home teams bring more than a little 'baggage' into this Sunday's title games. For the Eagles, it's their FOURTH consecutive NFC Championship Game (a record third-straight at home!). As EVERYONE knows, the Eagles have yet to win one!...

While the Steelers haven't been THAT BAD, they have gone 1-3 in four previous AFC Championship Games under Bill Cowher. Making that record even worse, just like Sunday's game vs the Pats, all four of those previous title games were played in Pittsburgh (so much for the home field advantage!)....

HOME DOGS?....Since 1990, there have been just four home underdogs in conference title games prior to the Steelers this Sunday (Pittsburgh is plus-3 at home vs New England). As mentioned earlier, in 1997 Denver won at Pittsburgh 24-21 as a 2 1/2-point road favorite and Green Bay won at San Francisco 23-10, also as a 2 1/2-point favorite. In the 1992 AFC title game, Buffalo won at Miami 29-10 as a 2 1/2-point road favorite and in the 2000 NFC title game, the New York Giants won 41-0 over Minnesota as a 2 1/2-point home dog....

Coming up....Wednesday's column features a college basketball update, Thursday's column takes on the NBA and Friday I'll have more on this year's conference title games in the NFL....





Bet on Sports-Join MyBookie.ag today!
Bet on Sports-Join MyBookie.ag today!
Predictem Free Sports Predictions

Follow BigAl on Twitter

Visit BigAl on Facebook

Football odds at Bovada (Bodog)
Pro football betting at Bovada (Bodog) Sportsbook!