Submitted by Wayne Allyn Root on Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 5:05 PM
Wayne Root: Shocker Potential in NFL Conference Championships
There just aren't any potential Cinderella stories this year in the NFL Playoffs. The bye teams all advanced past the Divisional Round. We won't see any pointspreads larger than 3.5 points this weekend barring a surprise in the markets...and the eventual Super Bowl line will likely be a field goal or less unless one of these week's winners loses a star quarterback to injury in the process.
I mean...Denver beating New England would be an upset. But, how can you call it a SHOCKER if the #1 seed wins their conference! Arizona beating Carolina would be an upset. But, many in the markets think Arizona may be the better "neutral field" team of the two right now. It's not a shocker if the best "on paper" team in a conference makes it to the Super Bowl.
There's definitely a chance for THE PUBLIC to be shocked though. You may have heard that early betting in Sunday's games has been heavily weighted toward favorites New England and Carolina at -3 over underdogs Denver and Arizona. They believe that a Patriots/Panthers Super Bowl rematch is imminent. Let's see if there's a chance the public will be shocked.
CAN DENVER BEAT NEW ENGLAND?
We know for a fact they can because they already have on this field! Brock Osweiler played a great second half to lead the Broncos to a home upset at a similar market price. Peyton Manning will be the quarterback this time around. That's not a step backward. If anything, Manning's playoff experience will be a plus as compared to Osweiler.
*Denver has the superior defense, and "defense wins championships!"
*Denver's home field advantage can't be overlooked
*Denver's crowd is in the rare position of being an "underdog" crowd
*New England was outgained 378-340 in their win over Kansas City
New England just got healthy again, and is clearly the superior team on paper. But...assuming a revenge win is at hand could be very dicey. They're not unbeatable. They closed their drives well and avoided turnovers last week. Tougher to do that on the road against a great defense. Particularly in front of a crowd that will bring peak intensity.
I'm not going to tell you here who WAYNE ALLYN ROOT is taking. You can't assume an underdog bet because I did release favored New England to clients last weekend for a winner. I just want to be clear that the underdog does have a real chance to win this game if the Denver defense can disrupt Brady.
CAN ARIZONA UPSET CAROLINA?
I think that probably depends on how they adapt to field conditions. Seattle was caught by surprise last Sunday by the horrible turf conditions. Arizona won't be. As I write this late in the week, there's a chance that weather could take its toll on the fields as well between now and kickoff. Who knows what the field is going to be like by late Sunday afternoon? Whatever the case, this visitor won't be caught ill-prepared like Seattle was.
*Carolina may have peaked too early, particularly on defense
*Carolina's defense has been fading in second halves down the stretch
*Carolina was outgained 403-295 by Seattle last week
*Arizona has the kind of defense that can slow down and frustrate Carolina's offense
Remember that "home team by 3" means that the market sees it as a pick-em on a neutral field. If Arizona can adapt to conditions, then home field disappears and Carolina will be fighting for its life (as it did in recent games vs. non-playoff teams New Orleans and the NY Giants, and as the Panthers would have been last week if not for a defensive touchdown that gave them extra insurance).
Again, I'm not posting my selection in this game for free in a web article. That wouldn't be fair to paying clients. THE KING OF UPSETS is certainly aware that both of these dogs have pathways to victory. They've earned their spots in these finals. Perhaps the games will get away from them if Peyton Manning or Carson Palmer make too many turnovers. That's an angle handicappers have to consider as they make their final decisions.
I'm certainly looking forward to Championship Sunday. Subject to market developments between now and kickoff, it's likely I'll be releasing a PINNACLE play in at least one of the two matchups. Maybe I'll be on the Patriots again. Maybe I won't. Only customers will know!
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