Tyler Vondrak a.k.a. The Dragon
It was a weekend of voodoo curses and dynasties dying but somehow I managed to get ahead, going 3 out of 4 on the picks. It would appear I forgot that the Saints are cursed in the post-season and Kirk Cousins was really liking it. Otherwise we are on pace for a great post-season sitting at $133 in the bank to work with. Let's see if we can’t wrangle up some winners for the second round and build this bankroll going into championship weekend.
Game 1: Vikings at 49ers (49ers -7)
After an excellent performance in the Wild Card weekend for the Vikings, they are flying out west on a short week to face the fearsome 49ers. 49ers looked unbeatable in the first half of this season, but after some injuries they returned to their expected mean of an 8-win team for the second half, dropping a game against the abysmal Falcons.
The Vikings are looking like a playoff team after last week, with Dalvin Cook at full health and defense playing to their ability. The 49ers could run away with this one but I think that there are some jitters here with it being Shanahan and Garoppolo’s first playoff game. Zimmer is a phenomenal coach and will have his guys ready. This is also right in Cousin’s wheelhouse of a nice daytime game. I’m more than happy to take a touchdown and see how this one plays out.
Bet: Vikings +7 for $25 to win $22.50
Game 2: Titans at Ravens (Ravens -10)
The legend of Tannehill and the phoenix rising from the ashes continued last weekend as the Titans snuffed out any Patriots hopes of a repeat. The real story of the game here is Derrick Henry, who is the 2019 NFL rushing champion. He is a force to reckon with and has really come into his own. Luckily for the Ravens' defense, they have some practice going against elite rushing offenses as they practice against their own. Lamar Jackson is simply the most fun player in the NFL I’ve seen in my lifetime. While I enjoyed the Titans story, I can’t see myself laying money against the Ravens this year. Too explosive, too hard-headed, too much smash-mouth football for a Titans team who’ve had a great story so far but it ends early. I’m not a fan of the 10 points but I see an opportunity teasing this one with the Chiefs game for 7 points to get the spread down to 3.
Bet: See below Chiefs game
Game 3: Texans at Chiefs (Chiefs -9.5)
The Texans needed a little Watson magic to pull out the game last weekend against a great Bills defense and boy, did they ever get it. Watson took a bang-bang hit that would have put me in a coma for six months but he spins out, finds his open receiver and delivers a pass that essentially wins the game to give the Texans another weekend. Unfortunately that road ended up leading them to Arrowhead Stadium. While Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have been stealing all of the media hype for the AFC, the Chiefs have been steadily doing their thing, hanging not just on the magic of Mahomes but also a greatly improved defense. Andy Reid has had his struggles in the post-season and coming off bye weeks, but this team is different and is probably his best chance of returning to the Super Bowl in recent memory. Watson won’t have time to find his key receiver and that defense won’t have an answer for Mahomes playmaking ability and Hill’s off the chart speed. I’m throwing them in the teaser basket with Ravens to sweeten the pot down to a -2.5 point spread.
Bet: Teaser 7 points Ravens -3/Chiefs -2.5 $60 to win $43
Game 4: Seahawks at Packers (Packers -4)
This game is probably the toughest for me to make a decision on this week. Both teams have had their struggles. Green Bay, while on the second longest win streak in the NFL, has not been beating lesser competition like you think they would with a much-improved defense and the most talented QB of a generation at the helm. Meanwhile, Seattle had a very hard time pulling off the win against a battered Philly team that probably had a healthy shot of winning that game if it weren’t for a dirty play by Clowney taking Wentz out of the game. Green Bay has the rest: the home field advantage and a couple of Aarons that are complete playmakers. Seattle has more injuries than you can shake a stick at. While I love Beast Mode and Pete Carroll as much as the next guy, I think that Green Bay is the right play here as a more complete healthy team.
Bet: Green Bay -4 $25 to win $22.50
Game 5 Bonus Bet! College Football Championship: Clemson versus LSU (LSU -6.5)
The game that college football fans have wanted to see all season! You have the 2020 probable No. 1 pick versus the 2021 probable No. 1 pick meeting in a clash for all the marbles. I could talk for three days about this game but the thinking here is simple. The betting public couldn’t be higher after seeing LSU pummel an incompetent Oklahoma defense who really had no business being in that game. Meanwhile Clemson had their hands full with one of the best Ohio State teams I’ve ever seen. While everyone thinks that LSU is a team of destiny, I have not forgotten that Dabo Swinney and his elite DC Brent Venables are the gold standard in college football coaching. They will have their guys ready and while they may not win, at +6.5, I can buy up to that key 7 number for relatively cheap and that’s good enough for me.
Bet: Clemson +7 $23 to win $18.50