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Betting the Wild Card Round

The regular season may be over, but the action is just starting to heat up. Joe Fortenbaugh

Print This January 08, 2010, 06:52 AM EST

The 2009 NFL regular season has come to a close.

Gone are the easy money games such as picking against the Seattle Seahawks on the road (where they went 1-7 ATS this season).

The 2009 NFL Playoffs are set to kick off this weekend and there are four games on the slate to attack. Let’s try to make some sense of these matchups and see which teams have the edge heading into wild card weekend.

ATS: Against the spread
SU: Straight up

Saturday, January 9, 2009
4:30pm eastern

NEW YORK JETS (9-7, 5-3 road) at CINCINNATI BENGALS (10-6, 6-2 home)

Opening Line: Bengals -2.5  34.5
Current Line: Bengals -2.5  34

Recent Trends

1. The New York Jets are 1-4 SU in their last 5 games when playing on the road against Cincinnati.

2. The total has gone OVER in 4 of the New York Jets last 5 games when playing on the road at Cincinnati.

3. The New York Jets are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games.

4. Cincinnati is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games.

5. Cincinnati is 13-6 SU in its last 19 games.

6. The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Cincinnati’s last 6 games.

The Matchup: The Jets blew out the Bengals last week in New York 37-0 in a must-win game to make the playoffs. Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco injured his knee during warm-ups before last Sunday’s game, but he practiced this week and is expected to start. New York closed out their regular season by winning five of their final six games, during which time the defense gave up an average of just 7.8 points per game, with no team scoring more than 15 points in any of those contests. Meanwhile, the Bengals ended the 2009 regular season by dropping three of their final four games while giving up an average of 26.0 points per game. In addition, Cincinnati is 2-4 ATS in their last six home games.

Saturday, January 9, 2009
8:00pm eastern

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (11-5, 5-3 road) at DALLAS COWBOYS (11-5, 6-2 home)

Opening Line: Cowboys -4   45
Current Line: Cowboys -4   45

Recent Trends

1. Philadelphia is 10-4 in its last 14 games when playing on the road against Dallas.

2. The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Philadelphia’s last 5 games when playing on the road against Dallas.

3. Philadelphia is 17-8 ATS in its last 25 games on the road.

4. Dallas is 4-2 ATS in its last six games.

5. Dallas is 9-3 SU in its last 12 games.

6. The total has gone UNDER is 8 of Dallas’ last 9 games.

The Matchup: The Cowboys blanked the Eagles 24-0 in Dallas last week and also won their Week 9 meeting in Philadelphia 20-16. However, prior to that loss, the Eagles had won six straight contests in which they averaged 31.1 points per game, covering the spread each time. On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys went 4-2 down the stretch while averaging 18.3 points per game. After losing to the Chargers at home in Week 14, the Cowboys rattled off three straight wins, covering the spread each time. The total has gone UNDER in four of Dallas’ last five games at home. In addition, the total has gone UNDER in four of Philadelphia’s last five trips to Dallas.

Sunday, January 10, 2009
1:00pm eastern

BALTIMORE RAVENS (9-7, 3-5 road) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-6, 8-0 home)

Opening Line: Patriots -4   43
Current Line: Patriots -3   43

Recent Trends

1. Baltimore is 2-4-1 ATS in its last 7 games.

2. Baltimore is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games.

3. The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Baltimore’s last 10 games.

4. New England is 4-0-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against Baltimore.

5. New England is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Baltimore.

6. New England is 2-3-1 ATS in its last 6 games.

The Matchup: These teams met in New England back in Week 4 with the Patriots coming out on top 27-21. However, New England will be without their top receiver this Sunday as wideout Wes Welker is out for the year with a torn ACL and MCL. After a brutal schedule for the majority of the season, the Ravens ended the year on a high note, winning three of their final four contests while averaging 30.0 points per game. Keep in mind, Baltimore only covered the spread twice in their final seven games, with the total going UNDER in four of their last five road games. The Pats have gone 5-2 ATS over their last seven home games and are 4-1 ATS in their last five games against the Ravens.

Sunday, January 10, 2009
4:40pm eastern

GREEN BAY PACKERS (11-5, 5-3 road) at ARIZONA CARDINALS (10-6, 4-4 home)

Opening Line: Cardinals -2.5   48
Current Line: Cardinals -1   47

Recent Trends

1. Green Bay is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Arizona.

2. Green Bay is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing Arizona.

3. Green Bay is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games.

4. Arizona is 14-7 ATS in its last 21 games.

5. Arizona is 9-4 SU in its last 13 games.

6. The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Arizona’s last 7 games.

The Matchup: These two teams met in Week 17 with the Packers coming out on top 33-7. However, Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner only threw six passes in that game. Green Bay finished the 2009 regular season very strong, winning seven of their last eight contests while averaging 30.7 points per game. The Cardinals finished with slightly less impressive results, going 3-3 over their last six contests while averaging 20.8 points per game. Arizona is 1-4 ATS in its last five games at home against the Packers, while Green Bay is 5-1 ATS in its last six road games. This game opened with the Cardinals as 2.5 point favorites and moved 1.5 points towards Green Bay within a day, meaning the sharp money is on the Packers.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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