Sentiment? Aint in pick

Jan 16, 2007 6:05 AM

Sentiment should play no part in betting, but it’s hard not to pull a little for the New Orleans Saints.

Years of being called Aints, plus the Katrina mess and the many Benson Boogies gone wrong. Nothing against Da Bears, Patriots and Colts. All great storylines. I just think in the scope of life, nobody has endured more pain and suffering that the Mississippi/Louisiana Gulf Coast.

With that out of the way, let’s pay quick last respects to last week’s losers.

Eagles: Andy Reid turned Chicken by punting on 4th and 15. Philly never got the ball back and we gladly took the cover at +5 against the Saints.

Seahawks: Mike Holmgren comes away a winner in defeat. A coaching job greater than the Super Bowl wins with Green Bay.

Chargers: LT blew his cool and Marty is 5-13 in the playoffs. They’ll have all summer to ponder stupid personal foul penalties.

Ravens: Steve McNair was brought in to deliver at QB and he didn’t. Ray Lewis should sack Billick and that boring offensive scheme once and for all.

We should have gone 3-1 last week. Instead we opted to take the Ravens at -4 in the article instead of betting the under, which we successfully did at the window.

So, 15-yard penalty to us for excessive celebration.

Not wishing to deal with an entire week of hype surrounding the NFL league championship games, here’s the breakdown as we see it.

NFC championship

Saints +3 at Bears (43½): Now Rex Grossman is back to being a hero after coming up big against the Seahawks. We’re not sold. Clearly Rex is the Bears best option at QB, but consistency is not his trademark. What seems to define Rex is his ability to stay hot when starting off well. So, the Saints need to cause Rex early problems.

The Bears defense is clearly not what it was at the start of the year. Drew Brees has a full arsenal of weapons. Deuce was a monster last week against the Eagles. A repeat and you can expect to see the Saints in the Super Bowl. Reggie Bush is the X factor, much the way Devin Hester is as the Bears kick returner.

Bottom line: The Saints look more like a Super Bowl team, despite the six losses, than Chicago. They know how to win on the road. Who dat goes to Miami. SAINTS.

AFC championship

Patriots +3 at Colts (48): Peyton Manning can exorcise all the ghosts from his longtime nemesis. He even has Adam Vinatieri kicking for him and not against. Peyton has also done his best job ever stepping off the gas pedal and allowing the other parts of Indy’s team to emerge.

The Colts have run the ball more effective late in the game, becoming far better in protecting leads. Plus, the defense has emerged at just the right time.

The Patriots are what they are — winners. Brady, Belichek, their 500 receivers and a team that truly plays as one. Still, the running game is a concern. Brady became the first QB in playoff history to win a game throwing at least 50 times. Now, that stat is 1-26. If Tom has to throw another 50, he’s going down.

Bottom line: We see each team trying to win the time of possession battle, meaning less scoring than one would think. It’s not kosher betting against Brady, so it’s side out and total in. UNDER.