Picks for the 2009 Conference Chamionship Games

Written by:
Frank Doyle
Published on:
Arizona Cardinals

Sports Interaction betting analyst Frank Doyle makes his picks for the 2009 Conference Championship Games and Gambling911.com readers get a look inside the betting action taking place at Sports Interaction .


There are two reasons to pick Baltimore +6 with Sports Interaction in the AFC Conference Championship Game. The first is mathematical; the second is primal.


Backing a six point underdog in a game that's expected to be low scoring means that you have the numbers on your side. Six points is a lot in a game with the total points expected to come in at 33 - it's more than seventeen per cent. That's a big comfort zone, really, in a matchup that is by no means one sided.


Which brings us to the primal factor. Pittsburgh, on paper, has better talent that Baltimore. The Steelers are protecting Roethlisberger better, and the return of Willie Parker puts the offense in perfect balance. But Baltimore seems able to conjure up a strange kind of fury in football games that gives the Ravens an extra dimension to their play and in a game as violent as football, that counts. The chip on Baltimore's shoulder won't have got any smaller after Santonio Holmes' touchdown in Baltimore last December, and the Ravens will fight with tooth and claw for every blade of grass in Heinz Field. Pittsburgh will still beat them, but not by six. Baltimore +6 with Sports Interaction is the pick.


There has never been a NFC Championship Game that featured no team without ten wins. That means that the fundamental question about making a pick in the game is that you have to decide whom do you trust the lesser, Philadelphia or Arizona. Both Philadelphia and Arizona have made remarkable turnarounds to get here - Arizona was flying high until Thanksgiving, when a pounding at the hands of, of all teams, the Eagles, saw the start of a run that ended with the Cardinals limping over the line at the end of the regular season only to rise again, spectacularly so, against Atlanta and Carolina in the playoffs.


A lot of people are putting Philly's revival down to Donovan McNabb's benching just before that Arizona game, although this is something that McNabb himself vehemently denies. We still don't know what happened between Reid and McNabb, while Arizona coach Ken Wisenhunt has never wavered in his support of Kurt Warner as starting quarterback, even though Warner was seen as all washed up when he went to Arizona.


If the Eagles defense can't get to Warner, he will cut them to pieces. If it becomes a shootout between Warner and McNabb, Warner will win. Home field advantage hasn't counted for much in the playoffs, but history dictates that will turn around, and the Cardinals are the home team on Sunday, and have a points start. All those factors make Arizona too good an offer to refuse. Arizona -4 with Sports Interaction is the pick.

Frank Doyle, Gambling911.com 

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