Lambeau leaps were for pro football’s New York Giants

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The entire landscape of the NFL postseason changed when the Packers lost 37-20 to the Giants.

Green Bay was supposed to be the “it” team after going 15-1 during the regular season, but the combination of maybe too much rest and a relentless Giants attack on both sides of the ball sent the NFC’s No. 1 seed packing in the divisional playoff round for the fourth time in five years.

The LVH Super Book readjusted their Super Bowl line drastically due to the Packers no longer being a player in the game. Prior to Sunday, the NFC was a 3½-point favorite in the Super Bowl line they have had posted all season. On Monday morning the AFC was posted as a 4½ point favorite and the total had dropped from 54 to 50.

The Packers and Patriots had been 9-5 co-favorites to win the Super Bowl following New England’s 45-10 win over Denver, but with Green Bay out of the mix, the Patriots are now 10-11 favorites.

The Super Bowl everyone is hoping for is the Patriots-Giants in a rematch from the 2007 season where the Giants did the unthinkable by knocking off an undefeated New England squad, a team that steamrolled through the entire season like no one had ever seen before.

“There’s no doubt about it, the public wants the Patriots and Giants to meet again and it would be our best scenario as far as handle goes,” said Caesars Palace’s Todd Fuhrman.

Of the four remaining teams, there is no matchup that would create the type of buzz New York and New England would. You’ve got the Patriots on a nine game winning streak going against a Giants team that looks very similar to the Giants wild card team from 2007. This season’s version of the Giants and 2007’s both had to win at Green Bay to advance.

The Ravens and the 49ers are almost an afterthought at this juncture to everyone other than their fans, but it’s definitely a Super Bowl Las Vegas doesn’t want.

“Our worst case scenario is definitely the Ravens meeting the 49ers,” said Fuhrman. “It’s a nice story with the brothers meeting against each other in the Super Bowl, but it wouldn’t translate well through the betting windows like any other possible matchup.”

The public loves the possibility of a high scoring game and the total helps set the stage. The Giants and Patriots would be listed at 51 or 52 while the Ravens and 49ers would be set around 40 or 41.

The least popular team in the entire equation is the Ravens. Their brand of football has been successful but, let’s face it, they’re not a fun team to watch. Joe Flacco is the weakest of the four remaining quarterbacks, including Alex Smith, and great defensive teams don’t get the type of respect these days like they used to.

While the 49ers have a defense equal of better than the Ravens, they won over America with their 36-32 won against the Saints Saturday. Late in the game, they answered scores by the Saints in thrilling fashion and Alex Smith showed the world that he was the original Tim Tebow under Urban Meyer at Utah.

The Ravens have the longest odds to win the Super Bowl at 6-1. The 49ers and Giants are each at 7-2.

The Patriots opened as 7-point home favorites against the Ravens and was quickly bet to -7½. The two teams met last season in New England with the Patriots winning 23-20 giving them a 6-0 record against Baltimore in the regular season. However, in their only playoff meeting, following the 2009 season, the Ravens won 33-13 at New England in the divisional playoff round.

 The LVH Super Book opened the 49ers at pick’em, but was quickly bet up the ladder to -2½. They also had their total bet down from 44 to 42½.

 The 49ers beat the Giants 27-20 in Week 10 at San Francisco as 3½-point favorites. That loss was a week after the Giants big win over the Patriots, but started a succession of four straight setbacks that put their playoff hopes in serious jeopardy. Since getting off that skid, the G-men have reeled off five victories in six games, all coming in playoff-type fashion with a win or go home mentality.

Books do well

The divisional playoff round went well for Las Vegas sports books with the key game being the Texans covering +7½ at Baltimore. The Ravens were the common link to almost everyone’s parlay for the weekend.

The Saints (-4) were a popular choice against the 49ers to kick off the weekend and fell 36-32 in one of the most exciting playoff games in recent history. The Patriots went from -13½ to -14 by game day, making it not seem like a good decision for the house. After all the money-line wagers on the Broncos (+600) were tallied, it ended up being a good decision closing out Saturday’s ledger.

Had the Ravens scored on their fourth-and-inches play at the goal line late in the game, the entire city would have been cashing, but the game stayed 20-13 and gave the books a big win. Sharp money pushed the total from 38½ down to 35 ½ early in the week, but the majority of public money was on the OVER.

Had the Packers-Giants (+8) game stayed under the total of 52, the books would have raked in almost all of the chips, but a late touchdown by the Giants made the score 37-20. Despite losing on all the money-line wagers with New York (+290), the Packers losing on teasers was the biggest difference one the day. Baltimore, Green Bay and New England were a popular teaser combination. In the Baltimore game, all sides hit on the teaser.

Championship games:

Giants +2½ at 49ers (42½): As much as I’d love to see the Giants in the Super Bowl, I can’t see them beating the 49ers. I’m buying into Jim Harbaugh’s system that has completely changed the culture of the San Francisco locker room. Mike Singletary had all the pieces of the puzzle in place, but the only thing missing was the leader and Harbaugh is that guy. Their philosophy is pretty basic and simple, but they all believe in it 100%.

It’s kind of refreshing to see simple old-school football still have a place in a league with so many futuristic offenses.

Bo Schembechler would be proud of his student. 49ERS, 24-17.

Ravens +7½ at Patriots (50): Ray Rice should be able to run all day on the Patriots and the Ravens will be able to put pressure on the Tom Brady, but I’m not sure that Joe Flacco can keep up with the pace.

Baltimore only has four losses on the year, but they were bad ones to non-playoff teams on the road. The common denominator in all of them was awful quarterback play.

Flacco whined all year about the media’s coverage of Tim Tebow rather than taking a look in the mirror at what’s wrong with his game and why the media doesn’t cover him.

The Ravens QB will have his chance in the media spotlight Sunday after the loss. PATS, 28-17.

 

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