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The Dogs Get all the NFL Picks Respect in the Playoffs

by Alexander Banks on Friday, January 4th, 2008

Sure Pittsburgh and Seattle each won their respective divisions and get to host their round one playoff games this weekend but you wouldn’t know that by looking at Sportsbook.com’s “Betting Trends ”.  Heading into the weekend, 63% of the early bettors at Sportsbook.com are backing a Washington (+4) team that seems to have rallied after the tragic loss of Shawn Taylor.  In the AFC, 75% of the bettors aren’t concerned about Jacksonville (-2) having to play in the usually tough Heinz Field.  Those that monitor Sportsbook.com’s “Betting Trends ” got great value as this line opened at Jacksonville (+1) .  Now let’s take a quick look at Saturday’s double header: 

Washington Redskins @ Seattle Seahawks
After an inconsistent and disappointing first ¾ of the season, Washington got it together over the last month as they won four in a row both outright and ATS.  After an injury to starting QB Jason Campbell, Todd Collins has been a great surprise having completed 63.8% of his passes while throwing 5 touchdowns to ZERO interceptions.  Overall during this time period Washington turned the ball over a total of just three times which has plenty to do with their season ending streak.  They will need to continue this trend of not turning the ball over as they face a Seattle squad that ranks second in the NFC in turnover margin (+10).  Despite losing two of their last three, Seattle has performed very well over the second part of the season.  Since starting the season 4-4 and 3-4-1 ATS, the Seahawks won and covered six on their remaining eight games of 2007.  Washington backers should be cognizant to the fact that Seattle was one of the toughest places to play this season.  In their eight home games the Seahawks scored 27.1 points while surrendered less than 14.  Not surprisingly they were 6-1 both straight up and ATS in those games.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Pittsburgh Steelers
These two teams appear to be headed in opposite directions, hence Pittsburgh being a home dog .  Before their meaningless Week 17 loss, Jacksonville won six of their last seven outright while covering each game including their 29-22 victory in Pittsburgh in mid December.  Pittsburgh, on the other hand, has played just .500 ball and covered only twice during the second half of the season.  Injuries and a weak first half schedule seem to attribute most to Pittsburgh’s struggles.  Gone for the playoffs are leading rusher Willie Parker and underrated DE Aaron Smith. Their usually dominant rush defense has been vulnerable during this span giving up over 150 yards rushing three times.  This should be a major concern Saturday as they face Jacksonville’s #2 ranked rush offense.  Behind the playmaking Maurice Jones-Drew and the reinvigorated Fred Taylor, the Jags churn out almost 150 yards per game.

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