In the spirit of Jimmy the Greek, we’re going to offer you some stone cold locks this football weekend, or, just some spurious guesses based on cursory analysis and casual observation. Either way, this being Baltimore, we thought we’d hear from our favorite wholesale narcotics importer: the man known simply as “The Greek.”
Greek’s 2011/2012 Record ATS: 35-37-2
Greetings readers. 5-0 in the Divisional Round! There was a time that .500 looked unattainable for The Greek. However, after a 13-5-1 (71%) run over the last 4 weeks, I’m eying mediocrity and it never looked so good! Much like the NY Giants, I’ve become hot at just the right time. Three games remaining, but plenty of picks available to take me well above (or much further below) the elusive mark not seen since Week 10. Here are the picks for the Championship Games.
Baltimore Ravens +7 over New England Patriots
The numbers ATS don’t really give an edge one way or the other, but do slightly favor the Patriots in this game. New England is 5-4 ATS at Foxborough and 9-6-1 this year as the favorite. The Ravens are 4-4 ATS on the road and have only one game in which they weren’t favored (a cover). This just seems like too many points for the Ravens to be getting. The Baltimore defense is good enough to keep them close and the Patriots defense is bad enough to allow the Ravens offense to stay in the game. Baltimore is also 6-0 straight up against playoff teams in 2011.
New York Giants +2.5 over San Francisco 49ers
This is a game where I am ignoring the numbers and going with what my eyes have been seeing of late. However, the numbers aren’t skewed to the point of it seeming ridiculous. San Francisco holds a commanding 8-0-1 mark ATS at Candlestick this year and are also 8-3 ATS as the favorite. The Giants are red hot coming into this game having just defeated the defending Superbowl champs and have a 6-3 record ATS away from Met Life Stadium to accompany a 6-2 clip ATS as the underdog. The 49ers defense has been superb all year and its offense showed it can hang in a shootout. The Giants defense has been playing out of its mind of late and its offense has been impressive all year. I think this game is more of a pick than anything, but there are no ties so buying the half point to NY +3 could be great insurance if you are thinking like me.
New England Patriots/Baltimore Ravens over 50.5
I’ll write what I wrote last week with a few slight tweaks to the numbers. The Patriots have hung at least 30 on the scoreboard in 13 of their 17 games and in 8 of their last 9. More than 75% of their games have had at least 50 points scored and their last game under 50 happened before Thanksgiving. The Ravens offense is much better than the Broncos and Brady/Belichick know they need to score in order to make up for their porous defense. Both teams combine for a 21-12-1 mark on the over this year. The concern here is the Baltimore offense laying a dud (see Tenn, Jax, SF, Seattle) like they did last week.
San Francisco 49ers/New York Giants over 41.5
Despite having a great defense, the under has only come in on 9 of the 17 games played (under is 9-8) by the 49ers. Conversely, despite having a high flying offense, Giants games have only gone over in 10 of 18 games. Both teams have combined to go 18-17 on the over this year giving it the slightest of edges. There is recent history (Week 10) to draw from and that game had 47 total points with the Giants a tipped pass away from making that total 54+. As I mentioned above, I think this is a pick ’em style game in which I see the Giants scoring at least 20. If that’s the case I see the 49ers scoring at least 20 as well with the game deciding field goal from Tynes or Akers taking this over.
Jim Broderick can be harassed about his picks via Twitter @jimmyfromjc