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Ailing Chargers Big Dogs Again
For those who spend a good deal of time handicapping the NFL, checking the injury wire a couple of times per week is usually part of the routine.
Before the Internet arrived that usually meant waiting for Thursday’s paper, opening the sports section and then looking for the smallest print on the page, chalk full of information that had already changed. It most certainly would change again by kickoff but by then most people’s picks were already submitted anyway.
It added suspense to pre-game shows early Sunday morning, helping make Terry Bradshaw look intelligent as he revealed who was really not going to play, but it was difficult to benefit from the “late-breaking” info spouted by the talking heads.
Technology, and the high-pressure demands of fantasy owners, has made injury info much more precise. But in preparation for this Sunday’s Conference Final between the San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots, handicappers looking for info on the Bolts have an alternative method to seeing which players are aching. Just pull up the team’s roster and throw a dart.
Reading the post-game report from San Diego’s upset win over Indianapolis in last Sunday’s Division Final will help explain why oddsmakers opened the line on this game at Pats -15.
Nearly every player considered to be a key cog in San Diego’s 14-2 record in 2006, their repeat as division champs in 2007 and their impressive performances in two playoff games this year has got some sort ailment that could hamper their abilities against the dominating Pats. Combined with New England coach Bill Belichick’s incurable habit each week of listing everyone on his staff from Tom Brady down to the water boy as having some type of injury, and this game could set a record for the longest IR in league history.
In their quest for perfection, the Pats have been setting records all season long at a pace that is equal to, or above, the one Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson used in 2006 while he was earning honors as league MVP. Flashback to the second round of last season’s playoffs, though, when San Diego was playing host to New England as a small home favorite, and the Pats emerged victorious 24-21 thanks to Brady doing what he does best in the clutch.
San Diego was 8-0 at home before that loss, too, and while upsets of all shapes and sizes are what has made the phrase “Any given Sunday” such a popular one over the years in football circles, it does make the task for the Chargers seem almost insurmountable this week as the team travels across the country to Foxboro.
Early action has trimmed the line on New England just slightly but they are still listed as the largest playoff favorite in recent memory. A storm warning for the area has also chiseled the total on this game below the 50 mark.
SPORTSBETTING.COM has current lines of New England -14 and an Over/Under of 47.5.
The NFC final between Green Bay and New York already makes for a feel-good story no matter which team wins. Brett Favre has finally figured out a way to stop writers and broadcasters from speculating on when he’s going to retire and start re-focusing on what a good player he is, while Eli Manning has begun offering proof to the fact that he’s not adopted.
Unfortunately, viewers will in all likelihood be forced into listening to the guys in the booth spend way too much time comparing how the winner is going to stack up to the Pats in the Super Bowl (don’t they know that’s what the next two weeks are for?), but it still sets up to be a good game either way.
The Packers are listed as 7-point favorites and the Over/Under is set at 42.
Good luck this weekend betting the last multi-game football day until August!
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