NFC Championship game: This could get ugly

Saturday, January 20, 2018 11:54 PM

Sad Eagles fansNFLbets is going a bit against the popular grain vis-à-vis this year’s NFC Championship Game. NFLbets doesn’t think this game’ll be particularly close despite all hype predictably touting the contrary. One particular ATS stat sticks out and it’s enough to confirm those who pragmatically believe one shouldn’t be betting on Nick Foles in order to win money.

So we’ll do a bit on Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles
momentarily, but let’s get another item or two out of the way first.

Reminder: Jeff Fisher sucks
Hey, look, everybody! It’s the Jeff Fisher Bowl As in a meeting of two teams who’ve enjoyed success with quarterbacks whom Fisher usually couldn’t get to conjure up 14 points a game for the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams. Hell, Jared Goff’d probably already be known in public discourse as the new Vince Young under one more year of “tutelage” under Fisher and quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke. Instead, Goff was this season the starter on the NFL’s top-scoring, top-yardage accruing offense and represents a third QB starting for a top-four NFC seed.

Fisher is hardly unique in his utter disregard for the star player who could potentially steal away some precious attention from himself, leaving in his wake the corpses of quarterback careers, but he does enjoy one distinction that will rescue his entire coaching career from utter forgettability: His all-time record for losses. Heck, among the top 15 losingest NFL coaches of all-time, only Weeb Ewbank (at no. 12 on the list) and Norv Turner (no. 15) have a lower winning percentage than Fisher.

How an entire NFL season goes by without mention of this is beyond me – except that Fisher apparently fellated media well enough over two decades so as to land the starring bid in two (!!!) “reality” TV series on the 2016 Los Angeles Rams. Wake up, folks: Jeff Fisher sucks as a coach and has for quite some time, regardless of any “nice guy” or “real guy” image unjustly perpetuated by media.

Also Rod Marinelli.

NFLbets isn’t superstitious, but…
The Minnesota Vikings are starting to look a lot like a team of destiny. Consider:

•  The 2016 season, when the generally young Vikings got off to a brilliant-looking 5-0 start before injuries did in an all-star offensive line and what had been a deep secondary.

•  The inspiring, Hollywood movie-like play of an undrafted journeyman quarterback dissed roundly by fandom for his role in the NFL’s worst offense (see above screed) and was thought to be the Vikings’ third-string QB going into the season. Even the name Case Keenum is Disneyesque…

•  The possibility of a Super Bowl team hosting the game, particularly against those EEEEvil New England Patriots. (To be fair, though, Super Bowl XI had the Oakland Raiders playing in Pasadena – the only way that’s not a home game for the Raiders is if they were playing the Los Angeles Rams, which they weren’t.

•  Bona fide first-team All Pro players like Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Griffen, Anthony Barr, Erick Kendricks – most of whom a Super Bowl appearance could justifiably turn into household names.

•  And of course *that* play of last week. Criticize Sean Payton all you want – and you should! – for rushing the passer as though 1st-and-the-season calls for a routine 3rd-and-20 defense, Diggs’ awareness in a situation that got surreal within a half-second showed the amazing discipline that squeezes luck from an abundance of planning – like a certain other much-decorated team.

Excellent back-door for the Saints +5½, too, Messieurs Keenum and Diggs. NFLbets was saddened by having grabbed New Orleans a day too quickly at the sportsbook, thus pushing on Saints -5. But kudos to those who chose wisely and grabbed the 5½ points!

In any Case (heh heh), the whole “team of destiny” myth is hardly quantifiable and certainly should not be used as a metric on which to base actual wagering. However, it’s certainly fun to see a bit of sports history play out before our eyes.

The key stat for betting Vikings-Eagles
The folks over at Forbes online have apparently realized that sports betting can be as lucrative as gambling – that’s right, gambling – on the stock market. This season they’ve been posting some nice stuff with an eye to betting on the one-time magazine’s official website.

This week, in a single piece they steal all the good stats and thus nearly anything NFLbets writes here, you’ll have read to this point. Some of the ATS numbers dropped by the odds expert quoted in the piece are too historical to be noteworthy; for example, “Philadelphia is 1-4 in their last five playoff games” means little when informed that this streak goes back to 2009, involves three different quarterbacks (two of which are now retired) and three different head coaches.

And while the numbers presented on the Vikings are impressive, one number should send the money detectors blaring. That number is this: Philadelphia is 0-4 ATS in their last four games following a SU win.

Making this number especially significant is that all four of these games were played since the bye in week 10. In fact, since the bye, the Eagles are just 1-4 ATS following a SU win, and are 2-4 ATS in the last six weeks. Whether running with Carson Wentz or Nick Foles, the Eagles are not able to put away mediocre teams in 2017. Combine this with the 11.33 points per game they’ve managed with Foles at the helm, and, well, not much imagination is required to visualize a Vikings blowout.

Take the Vikings -3 at Philadelphia. You might also think about throwing a few Moneys (the favored currency of NFLbets) at the under on an O/U line of 39 points, though do so proportionately based on your belief in an empathic SU win for the Vikes. In mild weather in the high 30s Fahrenheit at worst, even a plausible-sounding 27-13 result loses the under bet.

– written by Os Davis