by ASA, Inc.
NFC - San Francisco +2500
We really like the value here with the Niners. This line might be a bit higher than it should be based on QB Garoppolo’s injury to his hand. However, he looked OK last week throwing for 316 yards and 9.9 yards per attempt in their win @ LA Rams. San Fran has a yards per play differential of +0.9 which is the 2nd best of any playoff team behind Buffalo. On top of that, since week 9 they lead the NFL in net YPP. They are one of just 2 teams in the NFL that rank in the top 7 in both offensive DVOA and defensive DVOA per Football Outsiders (the other is Dallas). The Niners were 5-3 SU vs playoff teams this year and faced 3 division winners and were very close to sweeping the board losing to the Packers and Titans both on last second FG’s and beating the Rams twice by a combined 24 points. The Niners outgained their opponent both YPG and YPP in 3 of those 4 match ups vs division champs. San Francisco is the lowest of the underdogs this weekend getting 3 at Dallas and if they can get by the Cowboys they’ll head to Green Bay. If that happens we actually think they match up pretty good with the Packers because they have a power running game and Green Bay’s weakness on defense is vs the run (28th DVOA vs the run at Football Outsiders). Let’s also not forget this team with Garoppolo at QB has experienced success in the playoffs making it to the Super Bowl just a few years ago. We view 25/1 as very good value on San Francisco.
AFC - Tennessee +850
We like the spot here because we’re getting a team that only needs to win 2 home games to get to the Super Bowl at almost 10/1 odds. We understand why they might be priced as they are with neither their point differential nor YPP differential ranking anywhere near the top of the playoff board. They’ve also won most of their close games (lucky?) which some view as a negative entering the playoffs. But the fact is this team beat the 2 teams most consider to be the best in the AFC this year topping both the Bills and the Chiefs. The Titans can run the ball, 5th in the NFL at 141 YPG, which we like at playoff time when potential bad weather comes into play AND it looks like RB Henry will be back for the post-season. Not only has Henry been out for an extended period of time, but the 2 top WR’s for Tennessee, Jones and Brown, only played together in 7 games this year due to various injuries. In those 7 games the Titans were 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS. Both are healthy and have an extra week to rest up and get ready for the playoffs. This is sort of a “middle of the pack” defense when it comes to overall seasonal numbers but they are better than that. The Tennessee stop unit played very well down the stretch allowing 17 points or less in 6 of their last 8 games not allowing more than 25 in any of those games. They are also the #1 defense in the NFL in explosive plays allowed so they very rarely give up big plays. We like Vrabel as a head coach and his teams always seem to be well prepared. Good value on a team that only needs to win twice at home (as we mentioned above) and they are in the Super Bowl.