NFL Football Picks: Championship Weekend Props 1/23/11

Last Updated: January 23rd, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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There are only three games left in the entire NFL betting campaign, but before we get ready to make our Super Bowl XLV picks, we have some unfinished business to tend to in the AFC and NFC Championship Games. Check out our NFL prop picks for two of the biggest games of the entire season!

Will There Be a Score in the First 6.5 Minutes of the Game Bears/Packers Game?
We know that the Chicago offense got off to a great start last week against the Seattle Seahawks, but we also have to remember that these two teams have played some absolutely sparkling defense along the way as well. If the Bears get the ball first, there is a decent chance that a scoring drive might take over 6.5 minutes even if it does happen on the opening sequence, believe it or not. We’re believers that points could be at a premium on Sunday, and though that might not necessarily translate into a lower scoring game, we’ll take our chances that the first score doesn’t occur early on. Bank on there being No Score in the First 6.5 Minutes (-110 at Hollywood Sportsbook) between the Bears and the Packers.

Will There Be a Safety in Both Championship Games?
This season, including the playoffs, there have only been 13 safeties. That’s right. Over the course of all of those games in the NFL betting schedule, 264 of them, there have only been 13 safeties. That’s one safety in every 4.9% of games played in the league this year. In 2009, there were only 14 safeties, including the playoffs. Let’s do some simple math here, shall we? Over the last 531 games in the NFL, there have been 27 safeties, or one safety in approximately 20 games (5.08%). If we can hit this prop at -1000 in 94.92% of our games, we’re going to be worth a ton of money. Over 1,000 games, at this price, if we were to bet $1,000 to win $100, we would have a profit of $4,412. Not a bad haul, eh? No Safety in the NFC Championship Game, and No Safety in the AFC Championship Game (-1000 Each Bet at Hollywood Sportsbook).

Aaron Rodgers Over/Under 3.5 Rushing Attempts
Rodgers certainly hasn’t been afraid to tuck it and run when he has to this season, as he was one of the best running options for a team that really didn’t have all that much to work with in that department in 2010. The former Cal Golden Bear took off 64 times this year and accounted for 356 yards in the regular season, but what impressed us the most is the fact that he had seven carries in the 10-3 win over these Bears in Week 17. Rodgers hasn’t gotten to this point yet in the playoffs, as he only has five carries in two games, but we tend to believe that this will be an exception, as the Chicago defense is a lot more prone to sending a lot of men after the quarterback, which could cause Rodgers to have to escape more often than he really wants to. He’ll go Over 3.5 Rushing Attempts (-120 at Hollywood Sportsbook) against the Colts.

Matt Forte Over/Under 16.5 Yards on Longest Carry
It’s only one stroke of luck and one stroke of genius that will get Forte to this type of a number. We’ve seen that the Bears have stayed committed to Forte this season when they have had the chance to, and over the course of the last four games, he has at least 15 carries in all four outings and has averaged 19 carries per game. Forte isn’t really the most explosive runner in the world, but he has had a ton of opportunities, especially when he gets the ball in open space, to be able to take advantage and pick up some huge gainers. Over the course of the second half of the season, Chicago’s top running back has had a long carry of at least 17 yards six times, and we tend to believe that that will continue on Sunday. Forte’s longest carry will be Over 16.5 Yards (-115 at Hollywood Sportsbook).

Total Sacks in the AFC Championship Game
We’re a tad surprised to see Hollywood hang a ‘5’ in this game instead of a ‘5.5’ due to the fact that last week, there were 11 sacks in the duel between the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. We know that there are a ton of problems right now for the Steelers up front, and the Jets have really yet to show their best pass rush in these playoffs to date. After getting after QB Tom Brady all week last week, we have no doubt that New York can get to QB Ben Roethlisberger in this one, and when it does, it is going to make those opportunities pay off. There is no way, with these two ferocious defenses, that there aren’t Over 5 Sacks (-130 at Hollywood Sportsbook) significantly more often than not.

LaDainian Tomlinson Over/Under 18.5 Receiving Yards
You know that LT is going to get his touches in this game, and you know that the Pittsburgh defense is going to do what it can to make sure that he doesn’t have the same 49 yards on 11 carries that he had when these two squads met last month. We know that Tomlinson hasn’t been used all that much as a receiver of late, but there is a point that QB Mark Sanchez is going to have to realize that he doesn’t have the time to work the ball up the field against this Pittsburgh defense. Last week, it was TE Todd Heap for the Ravens that made all of those catches over the middle of the field, and it is clear that Tomlinson is going to be asked to fill that role as a check down option at times when Sanchez is in trouble. LT will go Over 18.5 Receiving Yards (-115 at Hollywood Sportsbook) against the Pittsburgh defense.

Heath Miller Over/Under 3.5 Receptions
We’ve already talked just a tad about inside routes with Heap and the Steelers defense, but what about the New York ‘D’? This unit really doesn’t give up much of anything to anyone, but if there is a bit of a weakness, it is against teams that really utilize either tight ends or other receiving options to sit down in the middle of the field. Last week, Brady was really forced to do nothing but try to throw balls underneath to WR Deion Branch and TE Rob Gronkowski, while the week before, the Colts did the exact same thing with TE Jacob Tamme. Now, enter Heath Miller, who has had at least four catches in three straight games and is proving to be a great safety net for Roethlisberger when he gets himself out of some trouble in the pocket. Big Ben loves using his big time tight end, as Miller often gets at least a half dozen looks per game. He’s a big play threat up the seams and could be in for a lot of looks on Sunday, especially knowing that WR Mike Wallace and his friends are going to be worked a ton up the sides of the field. This is the man in the middle that should have a great day. Miller will go Over 3.5 Receptions (-115 at Hollywood Sportsbook) against the New York ‘D’.

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 @ 12:16 am (EST)
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