2011 NFL Divisional Round Odds

coln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 09 January 2011. EPA/JUSTIN LANE fotoglif882603

Ravens @ Steelers, 4:30PM ET, Saturday
This will be the third meeting between these two teams this season. In Week 4, the Ravens beat a Ben Roethlisberger-less Steelers in Pittsburgh, 17-14. But the Steelers got their revenge in Week 13 by beating the Ravens 13-10 in Baltimore behind Troy Polamalu’s strip of Joe Flacco late in the fourth quarter. It’s a little surprising to see oddsmakers open this game at 3.5 with the way the Ravens played last Sunday in Kansas City. One would think that they would have set the point spread at 3 and let the public play with it from there. I can’t see this line going up throughout the week. The public remembers that the Ravens should have beaten the Steelers twice this year and they tend to latch onto Wildcard teams because those teams’ performances are fresh in their memory. I bet this line closes at Steelers –3, or even –2.5.
THE ODDS: STEELERS –3.5 (36.5)

Packers @ Falcons, 8:00PM ET, Sunday
Home field advantage is usually worth three points, or so the logic goes. To see the Falcons opened at only –1.5 means one of two things: either oddsmakers believe that the Packers are the team to beat in this game or they believe that the public believes they’re the team to beat. (Or it could mean both, I guess.) Aaron Rodgers and the Pack are red-hot and the public views them as a legit Super Bowl contender. With the way James Starks ran last week, people are starting to buy into a Green Bay championship run, which means an upset this Sunday in Hotlanta. That said, the line has moved all the way up to 2.5 in the matter of 24 hours, so is Vegas getting heavy sharp action on the Falcons? It’s good to see that this matchup received the primetime spot on Saturday night because it should be the best game of the weekend.

Seahawks @ Bears, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
It’s not surprising that the Seahawks are underdogs again but didn’t their upset of the defending champs last Sunday by them a little bit of respect? They already beat the Bears once in Chicago this year and yet they’re double-digit dogs. Neither oddsmakers nor the public (at least the majority of the public) believes that the Seahawks have two upsets in them, especially since they have to go on the road this week. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the line drops from 10 to 9.5 or even 9 by kickoff. I don’t get the sense that everyone is on the Bears’ bandwagon this year, so the public may take the points with the road dog. But if you like the Bears, it may be best to wait and see if the number comes off the all-important “10.”
THE ODDS: BEARS –10 (41)

Jets @ Patriots, 4:30PM ET, Sunday
The line opened at Patriots –9 and it almost immediately jumped to –9.5. But the spread has now dropped back to 9 so maybe Vegas is getting action coming in on both sides. It’s hard to imagine that the line wouldn’t move back up to 9.5 or even 10 by kickoff after the way the Patriots spanked the Jets 45-3 in their last meeting. But maybe Rex Ryan made believers out of people by the way he held Peyton Manning in check. In the end, I can’t see the public not backing New England and if the line stays below 10 then it would be a gift to Patriot backers.

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