Championship Sunday Recap

Denver Broncos 20 – New England Patriots 18
If you follow me on Twitter (@thechiefsports) you saw a couple of tweets right before kickoff of the AFC Championship Game at my amazement with the point spread coming into +2.5 with the Denver Broncos. Earlier in the week I had thought this line had a very good chance of moving out to 3.5 with the heavy action (nearly 80% of spread bets) on the New England Patriots. On Saturday I wrote I don’t think it will end up moving as there is money waiting to be bet on Denver on the sidelines and late sentiment will be on Peyton Manning and the Broncos. That certainly was the case as seemingly smart money came in and pounded Denver to the point they wanted to lure more Patriots bets by moving them down to 2.5. When I saw this final line move, I felt very confident in the Broncos pulling off the upset. New England ended up receiving 70% of the spread bets and the vast majority of the talking heads took the Pats even though they ended up being just -140 (1.71)/+120 (2.20) to win outright. The game went exactly as I hoped it would go with pass rushers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware all over Tom Brady and cornerbacks Chris Harris, Jr. and Aqib Talib shutting down the wide receivers. It was a championship effort by the Broncos D that gave up the first touchdown on a short field after a terrible fumble by the Broncos on lateral that was initially ruled incomplete. Then Denver then lost both starting safeties to injury which allowed tight end Rob Gronkowski to make huge plays for the Pats. New England came up just two extra points short of what would have been Tom Brady’s greatest comeback ever. Converting a 4th down and 10 and then the 4th and goal TD both to Gronk were as remarkable a pair of plays you will ever see. It was a missed extra point by place kicker Stephen Gostkowski after the Pats first touchdown that ended up forcing New England to go for 2 to tie the game. It was heartbreaking for the games best kicker and arguably one of the best of all-time. I was thrilled as you had to figure this game was going to the wire and had the Patriots forced overtime they would have been in very good shape to win the game with both of Denver’s safeties out.

Carolina Panthers 49 – Arizona Cardinals 15
I never felt confident with the pick of the Arizona Cardinals and it was worse by game time as the point spread went out to -3 -130 (1.77) on the Carolina Panthers +3 +110 (2.10) on the Cardinals. It settled at -3 -120 (1.83)/+3 Ev (2.00) by kickoff. This was with the Panthers receiving 2/3rds of the spread bets. I also didn’t like the Cards because a lot of the “experts” on the studio show were picking them. That was with Arizona as +160 (2.60) dogs with Carolina -190 (1.53) favorites in the wide market here in the Americas. I was banking on Cards QB Carson Palmer having a bounce back game after struggling in winning his first career playoff game. He answered with 4 interceptions and 2 turnovers in an embarrassing performance. The Panthers offense continues to amaze me as they moved the ball with ease against a strong Cardinals defense. They made huge plays and down the field and then in the 2nd half controlled the ball and killed the clock. It was a complete performance by the Carolina Panthers. Even though the voting took place after the end of the regular season it would be a travesty if Panthers QB Cam Newton doesn’t win NFL MVP. The Panthers go into the Super Bowl with a 17-1 overall record and favorites to win the first Championship in franchise history.

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