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PATRIOTS AT CHARGERS

1/14/07

Imagine. 4 playoff games this weekend and the Bettorsworld Key Releases are on 3 favorites. You had to figure we'd pull the trigger on at least one dog. Well, this would be the one. This isn't a play against the Chargers as much as it's a play ON the Patriots. This Patriot team has a way of sneaking up on you as a handicapper. You know they are out there, and you know they are decent, but something about them makes you want to write them off. I know I was one of their doubters early on this year. I felt there was no way they could sustain the players losses. When they let the best kicker in recent memory, possibly ever, slip away this past year, I figured that was the last straw. Slowly but surely they were breaking up this team.

Yet, here we are, in January, and the New England Patriots are once again serious Super Bowl contenders. Who can knock Tom Brady and  Bill Belichick? Especially going up against a QB making his first playoff start and in Philip Rivers and a coach who can't win the big one. But we aren't kidding ourselves here. This won't be easy. After all, this ain't the Jets. The Jets trailed the Pats by just a TD up until the 5 minute mark of the 4th quarter last week. That was a Jets team with no running game and a dink and dunk passing attack. This week the Pats face the best running back in the entire NFL and an offense that can light it up.

But unlike other games in this round, where we can see a potential dominating performance by one team over another, we just don't see it in this one. There's nothing to indicate to us that the Chargers can put the Pats away convincingly. No one else has been able to do it with the exception of the unexplainable loss to the Dolphins on December 12th, 21-0. If you let the Pats hang around, anything can happen.

Here are a few reasons we believe the Pats will hang around in this one.

Philip Rivers against the Raiders - 14 for 31

Against the Chiefs - 8 for 23

Against the Seahawks - 10 for 30

How about the Charger defense.........

Giving up 30 to the Chiefs........24 to the Rams........25 to the Browns........41 to the Bengals........or 27 to the Broncos. Heck, if the Patriots can manage to score anything close to 21 points this one could get interesting as the Pats only gave up more than 21 twice all year long. One was a 40-23 win at Tennessee and the other was a 27-20 loss to the Colts.

Yards per Point line using entire season is pick em.

YPP Last 6 games - Chargers by 2

 YPP Last 4 Pats on Road and SD at home - Chargers by 3.5

Points for and against Last 6 games - Chargers 27-17 and Pats 28-18........same stat, last 4 road games for Pats 25-16 and Last 4 home games for SD - 29-16.......Common opponents, of which there were 5. Pats won by an average of 28-13 while the Chargers won by an average of 33-19.

Chargers were +13 in turnovers while the Pats were +8.

There's lots of ways to skin a cat. But every way we skin it, it comes up as a tight game. Can't see the Pats going down without a hell of a fight and we'll gladly go to battle with Brady on our side.

This line of +5 is a dead number. We'd prefer to take +6 or better on this game. We'd recommend watching the numbers. The game actually opened at -6 at Pinnacle and was bet down to -4.5 until it settled in at 5. The Greek opened the game -4 and Cris opened the game -4.5 and both are currently at -5. It's not out of the question that we'd see +6 again at regular juice before kickoff. If we don't see it, we'll use some of our college football profits and we'll buy it up to 6. Currently it would be +6 -117 at Pinnacle on the one point buy. But monitor the number. You should be able to do better than that.

OUR PICK  - PATRIOTS +6 (3*)

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