• 2019 NFL Playoffs Bracket: Chiefs Over Saints in Super Bowl

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    NFL Playoffs 2019: Chiefs Over Saints in the Super Bowl

    With Wildcard Weekend wrapped up, the real NFL playoffs begin now. The top two teams in each conference get to host games that count and the best eight teams remaining in the league are all in action in the divisional round, which should probably be more accurately referred to as the conference semifinals.

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    AFC Playoffs

    Starting with the AFC, the Chargers go to New England to take on the New England Patriots in a game that features two veteran quarterbacks still standing. Philip Rivers is 37 years old, which makes him sound like a teenager next to the everlasting 41-year-old Tom Brady. On neutral ground, Rivers and the sturdy Chargers may well beat the Patriots. This game, however, is at Foxboro, and New England is therefore a heavy favorite to advance.

    Andy Reid's record isn't stellar in the playoffs, but he's never quite had a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is so stunningly good, along with being the MVP favorite in his first full year under center, that no one entering this game has Andrew Luck ranked ahead of the Kansas City QB. The Colts turns some heads in how they jumped out to an early lead and put their Wildcard game to bed, but playing at Arrowhead against Mahomes and the no. 1 team in the AFC is test of another grade. KC is 68% to win, which should be noted as the strongest differential of any of the eight teams to advance.

    The Chiefs and Patriots meeting in the AFC Championship feels like a passing of the torch from Brady to Mahomes, but Brady likely has no interest in passing anything other than the football. Any previous year, Brady would be the best quarterback on the field without question, but this has been Mahomes season, and it will take a special effort from the weakest looking Patriots team in recent memory to bypass the Chiefs and punch another ticket to the Super Bowl for the Pats.

    2019 NFL Playoffs Bracket

    NFC Playoffs

    The Rams host the Cowboys at the LA Memorial Coliseum, which promises to be a packed house and provide an electric atmosphere. LA seemed to be back to its high-scoring ways to wrap up the season, and that spells doom for the Cowboys. If the Rams rack up points, Dallas is going down, and that's a 60-40 likelihood according to AccuSore.

    Similarly, the Saints and Eagles is an interesting proposition. It's Super Bowl favorite versus Super Bowl champion. The Eagles may be back to looking like a team to beat, but playing New Orleans in the same place where Drew Brees and company clobbered Philadelphia 48-7 and put the Eagles' season on life support is not a positive sign of a Philly win. The Saints aren't scared of the Eagles, and this is another 60-40 game in favor of the Saints in the computer's eyes.

    The NFC Championship featuring the Rams and Saints promises a high-scoring affair, but these two teams met in New Orleans during the regular season, and the Saints outscored the Rams 35-17 in the first half. The final score looked like a respectable count of 45-35, but the game never felt that close.

    Like the Chiefs, the Saints look like a clear favorite, and AccuScore's 10,000 simulations have New Orleans as a 60% favorite to advance to the Super Bowl over the Rams.

    Super Bowl 2019

    The Chiefs and Saints meeting on a neutral ground is fitting because these have been the two best teams this season, and that's been clear as day to see. For Mahomes, facing Brees after facing Brady should lead to even more exaggerated imagery of a torch being passed. Of course, the Super Bowl is a monster of chaos, distractions and pressure unlike any other football game, so Brees has an edge on the Chiefs' quarterback in that regard.

    Still, AccuScore believes that the Chiefs are simply better, though a 56% to 44% difference implies that this will be a tough challenge for the Chiefs. Ultimately, though, the Chiefs should conquer the Saints on Super Bowl Sunday with Mahomes key to victory.

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  • AccuScore Picks Kansas City to Win SuperBowl

    Kansas City Picked to Win the Super Bowl

    After 17 weeks of regular season in NFL, there are 12 teams left standing and fighting for a chance to win Super Bowl in February. Accuscore has simulated every postseason game 10,000 times to calculate Super Bowl probabilities for every team still alive in the Vince Lombardi trophy.

    While Vegas odds have the New Orleans Saints as the favorites to win it all, AccuScore's super computer says that the AFC's top seed Kansas City Chiefs should have the highest probability to stand victorious in Atlanta.

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    On the whole, AccuScore's simulations don't show notable playoff upsets. Essentially, every favorite is projected to take care of business with home teams looking strong. The tightest match is a young Dallas Cowboys team hosting Russell Wilson and the experienced Seattle Seahawks. In the divisional round, bye-week teams have an obvious advantage over wild card winners. It is not very common that there is no lower seeded winners during playoffs, but right now, it's tough to find a clear Cinderella story. More likely, the 2019 NFL Playoffs will be similar to the 2018 NFL Playoffs, when top seeded teams faced each other in Super Bowl.

    Both number one seeded teams have a very strong home field advantage, and Kansas City is definitely looking for improvement from last year’s loss to Tennessee in the playoffs. Their only home loss this season came against the Chargers, but Philip Rivers and company need to get past a red hot Baltimore on the road before even dreaming of walking into Arrowhead Stadium. Meanwhile, Kansas City performance was very strong in their 40-43 loss to the Patriots on the road, and a rematch would be held in Missouri. With revenge on their minds, a Patriots versus Chiefs AFC Championship game could turn into an unofficial passing of the torch from Tom Brady to Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City not at least making the AFC Championship game would be a huge disappointment.

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    In the NFC, two high-flying offenses are projected to meet in the Championship game. The upstart LA Rams have only one playoff game worth of experience from last season, but they appear be more ready for the long playoff run this season. Still, the Super Bowl winning QB Drew Brees together with great running back tandem should be too much for the Rams, and with the Saints holding the home field advantage, the teams' regular season meeting is a good representation of how the Saints can beat the Rams in the NFC Championship game.

    Before the season, it was very difficult to project out Kansas City because of a rookie starting at QB. As we all know now, Mahomes has surpassed all expectations with his record breaking season, essentially as a rookie. Mahomes has been tipped to win the NFL's MVP award, to underscore how incredible the second year QB out of Texas Tech has been.

    When comparing Vegas odds to Accuscore Super Bowl probabilities, basically only Kansas City has value for betting. Long shots like Houston or Dallas have minor value as well, but as the probability is very low, it doesn’t make sense from a mathematical point of view to place those bets. Kansas City is good value to win the Super Bowl at this stage, but we will monitor playoffs as the picture develops on weekly basis and a couple upsets sure to change the probabilities.

  • Kansas City Chiefs Still Best Bet to Win Super Bowl

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    Kansas City Chiefs Offer Best Bet to Win Super Bowl

    The first two weeks of the NFL playoffs has passed, but the Super Bowl betting picture hasn’t swayed too much from the start of the playoffs. When 12 teams started the playoffs. AccuScore said that the Kansas City Chiefs offered the best value bet to win the Super Bowl, along with picking the Chiefs as the most likely team to win the NFL's title game. At the time, AccuScore picked the four teams with the bye weeks to advance to Championship weekend, which is where we land now.

    While Vegas odds have the New Orleans Saints as the most-likely team to win it all, Accuscore simulations still show that it is AFC number one seeded Kansas City as the computer's pick to stand victorious.

    After strong performances by both New England and Kansas City, the Chiefs are still the clear favorites to win Sunday and advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1969, when KC won its only Super Bowl. New England’s track record away from the Foxborough is not very impressive, as they haven’t won a single AFC Championship game on the road since 2004. The Patriots have lost all three times they've had to travel at this stage: twice in Denver and once to Indianapolis. However, Kansas City has never played an AFC Championship game on the home, but the divisional round gave a strong indication that KC is ready to claim its home field advantage.

    2019 NFL Playoffs Bracket

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    AccuScore projected these four teams to meet at this stage before the playoffs started, with two high-flying offenses predicted to face off in the NFC Championship game. The divisional game for New Orleans was a low scoring one, which means it may be defenses on both sides that will need to step up and keep this one low scoring one as well.

    When comparing Vegas odds to Accuscore Super Bowl probabilities, Kansas City is still only team to have value for betting to win the Super Bowl. Even though the odds have came down from 6-1 to 7-2, the odds are still over 10% better compared to probabilities from the simulations as seen on the table below:

    2019 NFL Playoffs Bracket

  • NFC South: 2017 NFL Previews

    Written by AccuScore Staff
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    NFC South: 2017 NFL Division Previews

    AccuScore continues its NFL division previews ahead of the 2017 regular season, with every team in each division getting a detailed preview and projections, along with fantasy tips. After previewing the NFC North and the NFC East on Monday and Tuesday, it’s time for the NFC South on Wednesday:

    2017 NFC South Projections and Preview

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    Other Previews:
    NFC North Division Preview
    NFC East Division Preview

    Tampa Bay: New Ruler in the South

    Tampa Bay has improved from 2-14 in 2014 to 9-7 in 2016, but the Buccaneers haven’t reached the playoffs since 2007 haven’t experienced a playoff win since January of 2003, when they beat Oakland Raiders to win the Super Bowl. Yes, it’s been a while. Quarterback Jameis Winston continues to improve and is at the heart of AccuScore’s confidence in Tampa Bay ending the playoff drought.

    Accuscore simulations predict Tampa Bay to win an extremely tight NFC South despite only being projected to win 9 games. It’s neck-and-neck down south, though, as all three division rivals finished with 8 wins and about a one in three chance at a playoff berth and a one in five chance of winning the division. Tampa Bay may be AccuScore’ favorite, but after simulating all 256 games of the 2016 NFL season 10,000 times each, AccuScore gives the Bucs a 37% chance to win the division and a 52% probability of making the playoffs.

    Roster Moves

    In free agency, the Bucs focused on defense. Chris Baker from Washington will form one of the best defensive tackle duos with Gerald McCoy. That combo should do wonders to stop the run. One of the big name signing was WR DeSean Jackson, also from Washington. However, he seems to be an overrated player in simulations and the main load to catch balls will still be on Mike Evans.

    Fantasy Analysis: Tampa Bay Bucs

    In Fantasy predictions, Mike Evans is top 20 receiver and Cam Brate is a top 5 TE. Even though Jameis Winston is the single most important player for Tampa, he is not top10 QB in fantasy projections. Actually he is listed 15th when all fantasy points generated during the season are summed up. If Doug Martin bounces back from the last season mediocre numbers to the 2015 season records, he should be top 10 running back for fantasy leagues.

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    New Orleans Saints: Adrian Peterson + Drew Brees = ?

    A few years ago, Peterson and Brees would be the story of the offseason. Now, when Peterson is coming out of terrible season in Minnesota with his career clearly winding down, it is just interesting to see how much these two veterans can produce together. Will there be more than 7 wins for Saints to improve last season results?

    Yes, if you believe Accuscore’s season simulations. The most probable amount of wins for Saints is 8, but that’s hardly a guarantee of the postseason or winning the division in a NFC South. Scheduling wise, the most probable wins arrive from the visiting Bears (week 8) and Jets (week 15). The Saints have over 70% probability to win in both of those games. On the flip side, the Saints are clear underdogs when the Patriots visit them in week 2 and also when they go to Lambeau field in week 7. A win against New England or in Green Bay could be the difference between winning the division and missing out on the playoffs altogether.

    Based on Accuscore’s projections, the Saints probability to win their division is 22% and the figure is 35% to reach the playoffs. Again, a freak victory over New England or Green Bay could quickly change the Saints’ season and double those postseason prospects.

    Roster Moves

    As mentioned, the biggest addition during the offseason was running back Adrian Peterson. Also, the linebacker corps was improved with A.J. Kein, Alex Okafor and Manti Te’o. In addition, the Saints traded their top wideout, Brandin Cooks, but Drew Brees has a way of finding receivers and completions.

    Fantasy Analysis: New Orleans Saints

    Drew Brees collected huge amount of fantasy points for his owners in last season. He led passing yards and was only QB to reach over 5000 yards passing. This time, Accuscore fantasy prediction predicts him to be again top 3 QB. He would feed WR Michael Thomas, who is predicted to be among top six wide receivers in fantasy points. Fantasy predictions narrowly rank Mark Ingram over Adrian Peterson at the RB position - both would be in top 25 players in their position.

    Will Carolina bounce back?

    Last season was a big disappointment for the Carolina Panthers. As many experts predicted them to win Super Bowl against the Broncos in January 2016, though Accuscore’s supercomputer picked the right side of that big game. Last season, Cam Newton and the Panthers essentially fell down the stairs and only won six games.

    This time Accuscore predicts them to win 8 games in a very tight NFC South, so Newton and company should be back hunting for a postseason berth. Though Carolina is projected to finish last in the division, the difference between the Panthers, Saints and Falcons is miniscule. Assisting the Panthers is the easiest ranked schedule in the NFC South.

    Roster Moves

    During free agency, Carolina and Minnesota swapped tackles when Matt Kalil joined Carolina and Mike Remmers went to Minnesota. The Panthers also signed CB Captain Munnerlyn and WR Charles Johnson from Minnesota. Maybe the biggest name on the list of added players was a 15 year veteran Julius Peppers, who returned back to Carolina after a few seasons in the NFC North.

    Fantasy Analysis: Carolina Panthers

    Accuscore’s fantasy predictions highlight some interesting individual players. Many expect Cam Newton to bounce back and be top performer among all QBs. Our predictions rank him 18th in fantasy points this season. A bit lower will be RB Jonathan Stewart and there won’t be any top 30 receiver when calculating season long fantasy points. The shiny points of Panthers fantasy predictions are TE Greg Olsen who is ranked sixth among tight ends, and their defense lead by healthy Luke Kuechly is ranked 7th among all NFL defenses. As Accuscore predicts also individual defensive player fantasy output, Kuechly is top 5 linebacker based in those simulations.

    Atlanta Falcons: Superbowl Hangover

    The last season was perfect for the Falcons until halftime of the Super Bowl. Their high octane offense produced enough points in 13 games (including playoffs), but the Patriots shot them down at the latest moment to win Super Bowl in overtime. So where to from here?

    Accuscore simulated all games of this season and it looks like the flight of Falcons continues on lower level than year ago. Instead of 11 regular season wins, they project to only win 8 games after losing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to a head coaching gig with the San Francisco 49ers. The Falcons are hardly dead in the water, considering they’re less than one win behind the competition in the division.

    Key season shifting games include an NFC Conference Championship re-match against the Packers in week 2, a Super Bowl re-match against Patriots in Week 7, and a trip to Seattle in Week 11. Wins in any of those games could push Atlanta back into the post season and then, anything can happen.

    Roster Moves

    Atlanta’s offense took a biggest hit on a sideline. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan was a key engineer for the high performance offense during last season. Even though there are not too many changes on offensive side of the ball, it would be difficult to see another record breaking year for Atlanta’s offense.

    Defensive lineman Dontari Poe was the biggest addition to the Falcons’ roster during free agency, but it would be interesting to see if he can fill the massive holes left by Paul Worrilow (LB), Sean Weatherspoon (LB), Jonathan Babineaux (DT) and Dwight Freeney (DE). The offense may have to be even better than a season ago, so Matt Ryan has his work cut out for him.

    Fantasy Analysis: Atlanta Falcons

    For fantasy players, it would be easy to pick up WR Julio Jones who averaged over 100 yards per game during the last season. He was only player to achieve this. QB Matt Ryan averaged over 300 passing yards per game and was second on that list after Drew Brees. Still, Accuscore’s fantasy predictions list 8 QBs that would gather more fantasy points by the end of the season. He would be good choice after few first rounds, but it doesn’t make sense to spend your first round pick on Ryan.

    Running back Devonta Freeman broke 1000 yards mark during last season. He would be good pick to your fantasy team, as Accuscore’s fantasy player predictions list him fourth among all running backs. With Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliot out for the first six games due the suspension, Freeman could be a top 3 fantasy running back.

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  • NFL Preview - Packers vs Saints: Analyst Pick

    Written by Rohit Ghosh
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    New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers: Analyst Pick

    Coming off an impressive 52-38 victory over the Detroit Lions, the New Orleans Saints head to Lambeau Field for a matchup with the Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers. Following Rodgers' broken right clavicle injury last week, the Packers will now look to backup QB Brett Hundley.

    Betting Line: New Orleans Saints -4 Moneyline Odds: Saints -210, Packers +175 Total: 47

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    Vegas Odds

    The line opened with the Packers as 3.5-point home underdogs, going up half-point to a full point depend on where you're look. The Westgate Superbook has the line at -4 for the Saints, but MGM has it at -4.5.

    The total opened at 47.5 and dropped to 47 in most books.

    Betting Trends

    • The Saints are 6-2 against the spread (ATS) in their last 8 games.
    • New Orleans is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Green Bay.
    • The Packers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games as the underdog.

    Betting on the Total
    The public is all over the OVER in this matchup. The OVER is 8-0 in the last eight matchups between the two sides. And with Drew Brees going against a Packers defense that isn't all that great -- all signs point to a fairly high-scoring contest.

    Make sure to check out the sim data for this matchup, though, since AccuScore is leaning to the other side of the total. Why?

    The Saints set a franchise record last week by scoring three defensive touchdowns in one game. They're coming into Sunday's matchup with plenty of momentum on that side of the ball, and now get to go up against a backup QB in Hundley who's still adjusting to the pro level.

    What to Watch For
    After Aaron Rodgers left last week's game against the Vikings on a car, Hundley took over and finished with 157 yards, 1 TD, and 3 INTs while completing just 18 of his 33 pass attempts. More importantly, he was sacked four times, struggling to get in any sort of rhythm.

    Hundley is projected to finish with 172 passing yards. He averages close to three times as many INTs as TDs in sims, indicating a strong performance by the Saints defense.

    Analyst's Pick
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  • NFL Thursday: Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints - Free Analyst Pick

    Written by Rohit Ghosh
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    Falcons vs Saints - NFL Thursday Odds & Analyst Pick

    Week 14 in the NFL kicks off Thursday night in Atlanta as the Falcons host the New Orleans Saints on a weekend where the Saints will look to sneak into second place in the NFC -- with either the Eagles or Vikings loss. Atlanta, on the other hand, needs to win to stay in the wild card race.

    Vegas Odds
    There has been a lot of movement on the spread since New Orleans opened as 4-point favorites. Some books even had the spread switch completely to the other side, moving five points to make the Falcons a 1-point favorite. At the time of publication, though, most books across Vegas had this matchup as a pick 'em.

    The total opened at 54.5 before dropping a couple points.

    Betting Line: Pick 'Em or New Orleans Saints -1
    Total: 52

    At the time of publication, close to 57 percent of the public were taking New Orleans on the road.

    56 percent of the action on the total has been on the OVER.

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    Betting Trends
    - The total has gone OVER in 10 of New Orleans' last 15 games.
    - The total has gone OVER in 17 of Atlanta's last 25 games

    What to Watch For

    Public Action: According to a recent report, publicly backed teams are just 4-8-1 in Thursday night games this season. With the Saints getting the majority of the public action, there's some solace in knowing the simulation data is supporting the home side -- and going against Vegas.

    Backs Running Wild: New Orleans RB Albin Kamara had nine carries for 60 yards and two TDs and caught five of six targets for 66 yards in last week's 31-21 win over the Carolina Panthers. His production has been ridiculous, especially when you consider he never really gets close to 20 touches. It's practically a guarantee of late that he'll find the end zone.

    Matty Ice: Falcons QB Matt Ryan completed 16 of 29 passes for 173 yards during last week's14-9 loss to the Vikings. Ryan was pretty, pretty bad last week, recording his lowest total yardage for the season. Ryan is projected to finish Thursday night's game with 289 yards, 2 TDs and a win.

    FREE Analyst's Pick

    Analyst Pick: Atlanta covering/winning.

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