January 18, 2015 (Posted at 11:00 AM ET)
Sports Profit System has profited big (avg of 6 units) in each of the past 4 weeks! This week, we've already wrapped up what is our 5th consecutive profitable week regardless of what happens today. The only factor that remains unknown is how big that profit will be and we of course want to emerge victorious as we did last year on conference championship Sunday!
As fans, we're extremely excited for these matchups but as handicappers, value is harder to come by since the lines are sharp.
Today's pick is a 2% wager.
Take Green Bay Packers at +8 spread against Seattle Seahawks risking 2%
The Packers travel to Century Link Field to take on the Seahawks in a battle for the NFC Championship! Looking to become the first team since in a decade to make consecutive Super Bowls appearances, the Seahawks got to this game behind another impressive performance. Seattle comes into this game winners of seven straight and have covered the spread in all those games winning by double-digits! That means, they are facing an inflated spread today as Vegas tries to get even action on both sides. They were already burnt by this team last year and have seen bettors flock to them again in the second half of the season this year. For all their defensive accolades, they haven't faced an offense such as this since mid October and it should be noted that the Packers have outgained every opponent since their bye week!
The Packers come into this familiar venue having won 12 of their last 14 games and they also have Aaron Rodgers, who playing with an injured calf still appears to be better than most healthy NFL quarterbacks. Rodgers owns a career 105.3 passer rating and despite playing with a banged up calf, he still threw for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 26-21 win last week over the Cowboys. Green Bay is a team that has grown over the course of the season and is not the same team that squared off with the Seahawks back in Week 1. Aaron Rodgers now has numerous receiving options, with players like Devante Adams and Andrew Quarless stepping up and making an impact. Rodgers has seemingly grown confident with his younger receivers and now has other options besides Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb who combined for 189 total receptions, 2,806 yards and 25 TDs during the regular season. Rookie receiver Davante Adams caught 38 passes during the season and had seven catches for 117 yards and a touchdown last week against Dallas. Andrew Quarless caught 4 passes, one for a touchdown last week and fellow first year tight end Richard Rodgers also caught a critical 13 yard pass for the go ahead fourth quarter score last week which shows that Rodgers will find the open man and not try to force a ball into his "comfort zone".
Running Back Eddie Lacy has also seen his role emerge as the season has gone on. A strong running game has been something that eluded the Packers in past seasons, but now makes them an extremely balanced team which has been able to take some of the pressure off of Rodgers and the passing game. In Week 1 Lacy was held to a season low 34 yards against the Seahawks, but went on to gain 1,139 this season. He has definitely improved as a rusher this season. He also ran for 101 yards on 19 attempts versus a fairly stout Dallas rush defense last week. Seattle also allowed 132 rushing yards to the Panthers, who have not been known to have a potent rushing attack. Lacy could have success on the ground this afternoon which will open up more options in the passing game for Rodgers.
The Packers defense has vastly improved not only from past years but as this season has progressed but that isn't something that is being talked about much. Eight of their last 9 opponents have been held to 21 or less points and they also own the best turnover ratio (+14) in NFL! Seattle has been widely known as a "run first" team and has had success with that style of play. Green Bay however has allowed just an average of 86.4 rushing yards and 3.6 per carry over the final eight regular season games. Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch was also held to 59 yards on 14 carries by Carolina last week. Slowing down the rushing attack of Seattle, will surely be a focus of Green Bay's defense this afternoon. The Green Bay defense doesn't get the credit that they deserve and that only motivates the likes of Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews!
There is no doubt that Head Coach Mike McCarthy remembers how his team's defense fared in their last playoff losses, both to San Francisco. The Packers' D allowed QB Colin Kaepernick to basically do whatever he wanted on the ground against them. He would pull down the ball and run for chunks of yards at a time. That is exactly what Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has been able to do. Few teams have been able to contain Wilson this season, but we believe if any team will be ready for what Wilson's rushing ability can do, it's the Packers. Having seen a somewhat similar style against the 49ers in the playoffs and having already had to play Wilson twice, Mike McCarthy should have a solid game plan to try him today.
While it is tough for any team to travel to Century Link field and knock off the Seattle Seahawks, the Green Bay Packers can never be counted out of any game they are in. While Aaron Rodgers' calf injury is a concern, he has already shown that he is still better than a majority of quarterbacks currently in the league and can still make the necessary plays. In their first meeting this season, Rodgers limited his team to only playing on one side of the field and did not even challenge CB Richard Sherman. With this game being a win or go home scenario, we expect McCarthy to open up his playbook and do everything he can to put his team in the best possible position to win this game. This will likely be a very entertaining game between arguably two of the best teams in the league, we do feel that the Seahawks are laying just a few too many points in this one.
It wasn't long ago when people had questioned this Seahawks team, even going so far as to say that they were not the same team that won the Super bowl last season after a few mediocre performances. Since then, Seattle has turned their season around and because of that the odds makers have started to inflate the spread in their matchups. While Seattle should no doubt be the favorites in this matchup, spotting a team like the Packers more than a touchdown is a dangerous proposition! That's because even if Seattle dpes manage to grab a double digit lead, the passing attack of the Packers are more than capable of coming up with a quick score to bridge the gap and get a backdoor cover. There are simply too many scenarios that need to go right for the Seahawks to cover this number and we believe that is too much to ask in a Championship game. Even if the Packers don't manage to pull off the outright win, we do believe they will do enough to keep within this generous point spread.
There are essentially 3 ways that the Packers can cash the winning ticket this afternoon. They can either win this game outright, which although unlikely is certain possible. They can keep this a closely contested; back and forth game which is the most likely outcome. Lastly they can even be down 2 scores late in the game and score a touchdown in the final minutes to close the gap and get a backdoor cover before losing the game. For Seattle backers, they only have one way to cover this number and that is essentially via a blowout, which we don’t believe they will allow to happen in such a meaningful game nor are Pete Carroll and his team necessarily interested in. They will play it conservatively to avoid injuries before the Super Bowl if the outcome has already been decided. It's worth noting that the last 7 NFC Championship games have been decided by 7 points or fewer! And the visitors have won 3 of the last 4. There is value in taking 8 generous points with a team that is being written off and has revenge in mind.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Packers are 7-2-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record!
- Packers scored 58 TDs during the regular season to rank #1 in NFL!
- Packers are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a game in which they didn't cover the spread.
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