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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Marc Lawrence, — Has the bye week helped or hurt the conference playoffs? We’re about to find out on Saturday. Know this: Baltimore and San Francisco will be very tough outs:


It was a wild, Wild Card weekend when a trio of favorites fell fl at on their face, one of them being Cleveland at the hands of C.J. Stroud, who became the youngest quarterback to ever win a playoff game. Now comes the next big test, traveling to take on a rested No. 1 seed – and it’s not a favorable position to be in. That’s because teams advancing to the Divisional Round of the playoffs, coming off a Wild Card win as an underdog, are just 13-50 SU and 25-38 ATS overall. Worse, these same teams who won 5 or fewer games the previous season fall to 1-14 SU and 4-11 ATS. Ugh. Meanwhile, Divisional Round hosts with a week of rest coming off a loss are 13-1 outright but only 1-8 ATS the last nine games. We temper that with John Harbaugh’s 9-3 ATS ledger in his last dozen playoff games. And don’t forget the Black Birds’ 3-0 SUATS mark this season in games when coming off a loss by an average score of 29-13. After being bounced in the first round of the playoffs in three of its previous four appearances, look for Harbaugh to improve on his 35-5-2 ATS career mark in games the Ravens win outright as a favorite against winning foes.


Away from the frozen Tundra, the hot Packers took advantage of what has become an American tradition -the Cowboys choking in the playoffs. Was it all that much of a surprise? Flip the script, though, and the tables are likely to turn this week as teams advancing to the Divisional Round of the playoffs, coming off a Wild Card win as an underdog, are just 13-50 SU and 35-38 ATS overall. Worse, if these same teams won 5 or fewer games the previous season, they fall to 1-14 SU and 4-11 ATS. Enter the team favored to win this year’s Super Bowl, the 49ers. With it, Frisco head coach Kyle Shanahan brings a 4-0 ATS career mark into this contest as a playoff favorite by an average win margin of 15 points per game. In addition, the Niners are winning the stats on an average of 95 net yards per game this season, tops in the league. And it certainly doesn’t hurt knowing that San Francisco is 21-3 SU and 19-5 ATS since last season in games where they won the yardage battle. With Green Bay a bawdy 1-5 ATS in the playoffs when coming off consecutive SUATS wins – with the last as a dog – you know just what to do.

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