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By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
IT’S THE FINAL FOUR
Get your popcorn ready for some juicy matchups. Conference Championship weekend is at our doorstep with just four teams left vying for an appearance in Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, AZ. In an amazingly rewarding fashion, I think we’ve all been given the four best teams of the NFL Season playing in the final four – brilliant! If you’re an upset guy or a Cinderella story stan, this is not the playoffs for you. The cream rose to the top, and there are crossing themes with the final contests of the NFL season ahead. On the NFC side, we’ve got two teams that lead with defense, grind you down play by play and wear you down with punishment on offense. On the AFC side, it’s just two swagalicious QBs balling out like only they can and spinning their teams into championship form when it matters most.
The Divisional Weekend slate was proof that winning QBs come in all forms and from any spot in the draft. From Burrow to Mahomes and Hurts to Purdy, there’s uniqueness in the game’s best leaders at the moment. What all four of these guys have in common is limiting mistakes, something Dak Prescott and Josh Allen could not eliminate when push came to shove. Now we’re left with the four best teams and two dynamite Sunday matchups to punch tickets to Arizona.
BTW Our NFL Playoff contest is still live so get yourself involved in postseason picks! Free pool…lots of prizes…get on it now!
Eagles (-2.5) vs 49ers – 3:00 pm ET – FOX
The Spread: Eagles -2.5
The NFC Championship game opened at almost an even spread and has ticked up with early action to solidify the Eagles as the home team favorite. This spread indicates lots of respect for the 49ers on the road, traveling cross-country, and fielding a QB in Brock Purdy that does not have an experience like this under his belt. The Eagles looked great last weekend but had a far inferior test against their opponent. This early week spread tells me that the public money will be wooed into betting on the Eagles, and I personally do lean on the home team in this spot. I also see the 49ers offense having a hard time getting past 21 points in this game.
Alex’s Early Play: Eagles -2.5
The Point Total: O/U 45.5
Off of that analysis, the number is at a tempting spot to make you want to bet the over. In theory, if that Eagles offense is anywhere near as productive as last weekend they’ll do their part in getting past 45, but with a spread so tight it’s implying that this game gets muddy. I can’t see this game getting too out of control, and even an Eagles rout at home could stay in the 30s for total points.
Alex’s Early Play: Under 45.5
Chiefs (EVEN) vs Bengals – 6:30 pm ET – CBS
The Spread: Pick’em
What spread? This game opened late Sunday with the Chiefs as 1 point favorite but it was quickly bet down to a pick’em. This line is subject to lots of movement, but the only thing that gets it outside of a field goal in movement is if Mahomes literally cannot play. Even a hobbled gimpy Mahomes at 60% health has this as a pretty even matchup. There’s definitely the temptation to wait for some Mahomes practice footage before placing a bet, which is understandable. However, if you want the Monday lean right now, I would get the Chiefs at Even money now. The news will likely only improve on Mahomes as the week progresses, regardless of his actual level of mobility.
Alex’s Early Play: Chiefs ML
The Point Total: O/U 47
Here’s one dramatic take I will deliver – this game will be frenetic and out of control so buckle up! Last year’s matchup in this exact spot got to 51 points and I’m seeing even more in this year’s matchup. The reason why – both of these defenses are coming off of inspired performances but now facing a different animal in their opponent. That formula leads me to believe big plays will be busted on both sides of the ball.
Alex’s Early Play: Over 47
DIVISIONAL WEEKEND BETTING RECAP
After a split decision and a 3-3 wildcard weekend, it was…you guessed it…another melodramatic 2-2 split on the spreads for last weekend. I read the Unders this weekend perfectly and posted those on Twitter @courseoflife1, but it’s still an even clip for the playoff action picks here.
Divisional Weekend: 2-2 ATS, Postseason Overall: 5-5 ATS
Remember – our NFL Playoff contest is live so there are more chances to win this postseason!
EATS AND DEETS
The best crowd: If I had to pick one, I have to lean toward Arrowhead. The combo of the crowd intensity, the rematch at stake, and that tasty KC BBQ puts them over the edge versus a Philly tailgate.
Tailgate pick of the week: Last diet weekend before I plan the most epic Super Bowl spread in memory. Asian Chicken lettuce wraps are the play.