Picks for NFL Championship Sunday

There have been no changes in the market or with any other factors that have me off the two underdogs.

Denver Broncos +3 over the New England Patriots This line will not budge even in the face of overwhelming action on the Patriots. David Purdum who I reference often from ESPN.com posted an article today titled “Money piling up on Pats in Vegas”. That is pretty self-explanatory, but the books are obviously very afraid of moving the line to 3.5 as they will take a lot of Broncos action at that price making a Pats win by a field goal a disastrous scenario for bookies. 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. The spread bet percentage has come in slightly to 77% with 68% of moneyline and 69% of parlay and teaser bets on the Pats. I was able to write a full paragraph of justifications for the Broncos pick on a post on January 21st (3rd paragraph). I do think that the Broncos pass defense will be able to frustrate Tom Brady and the passing game and the Denver running game will key their offen I haven’t mentioned the total all week because it has been an absolutely boring market. The over/under opened 44.5 and is unchanged with 61% of the bets on the over. That is exactly par and indicating nothing. New England has over trends, Broncos have under trends. The weather should be fine with some wind around kickoff, but not a huge factor. There really is nothing to work with and I would avoid playing the total.

Arizona Cardinals +3 over the Carolina Panthers I don’t like this dog nearly as much as the public bets aren’t as lopsided and most books require laying extra juice with the Panthers indicating not much smart money offsetting the public bets. The Cardinals in many places are +3 even (2.00). I would highly doubt this spread will move to 3.5. 70%/58%/63% of spread/moneyline/combination bets are on the favored Panthers. There is little else to work with in this game. I had a full paragraph on how Denver can win, but I’m having a harder time with Arizona. I do expect quarterback Carson Palmer to have a much better game after finally breaking through with his first NFL playoff victory. The performance last week by future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald carried the Cards to victory and I don’t think he will be denied his second trip to the Super Bowl. I like how the Cardinals defense matches up with the Panthers and I think that they will force turnovers. The total is 47 right where it opened with 69% of the bets on the over. That is slightly above par and would have me leaning a bit towards the under. The weather should be great with no wind or rain, but I’m not sure what the field conditions will be like. Last week the Seahawks had a very hard time with their footing and were down 31-0 by halftime. That is a concern for Arizona as are the expected temperatures that will be just above freezing.

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