Arena Football Conference championship previews

Arena Football Conference championship previews

Arena Football National Conference championship preview
By TED SEVRANSKY

Saturday, July 12

Cleveland Gladiators vs. Philadelphia Soul (Philly -7, O/U 116.5)


Regular season success has meant very little in the AFL playoffs in recent years. In 2006, the Chicago Rush were 5-9 with two weeks remaining in the regular season. They won their final two games to earn a playoff spot, then won three straight playoff games on the road to reach the Arena Bowl before pulling off another upset to earn their first AFL championship.

Last year, the Columbus Destroyers were sitting at 6-9 heading into their final regular season game. Columbus, too, got hot when it mattered most, winning their regular season finale to sneak into the playoffs, then winning on the road at Tampa Bay, Dallas and Georgia to reach the Arena Bowl before coming up short in their championship efforts.

Grand Rapids has had the feel of a team like Columbus from last year, or Chicago from ’06 for the last month. The Rampage were not good for most of the regular season, losing eight out of nine during one particularly ugly mid-season stretch.

But the Rampage played their best football when it counted, reeling off three consecutive wins to close out the regular season, then winning outright as a road underdog at Arizona and at Chicago in the first two rounds of the playoffs. First year head coach Steve Thonn and first year starting quarterback James MacPherson seem to be clicking together right now as Grand Rapids has averaged nearly 70 points per game during their current five game winning streak. That has helped them go over the total in four of those five contests.

But the Rampage will be playing their fifth consecutive must-win road game in a row, and they’ll be facing the stiffest competition yet – the defending Arena Bowl champs, San Jose.

The Sabercats suffered a significant injury loss last week in their win over Colorado.  Wide receiver James Roe is a question mark for Saturday with a bum shoulder after his three touchdown performance against the Crush. Roe was second on the team in touchdown receptions this year and caught 102 Mark Grieb passes.

The Sabercats beat Grand Rapids 66-58 in Michigan back in Week 1, their only regular season meeting. And San Jose enjoys a tremendous advantage at the HP Pavilion at 17-2 SU over the past two seasons.

Future Hall of Fame quarterback Grieb led the league with 100 touchdown passes this season while ranking third in the AFL in completion percentage. But the strength of this team might well be their defense. Defensive backs Clevan Thomas, Omarr Smith and Marquis Floyd have played every game together in the secondary this season.

This elite level trio has notched at least one interception in eleven straight games, helping San Jose rebound nicely from their disappointing 5-5 start. The Sabercats have won seven in a row and nine of their last 10 overall, with seven of those nine wins coming by double digit margins.

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Arena Football American Conference championship preview
By TED SEVRANSKY

Grand Rapids Rampage at San Jose Sabercats (-5 1/2, O/U 119 1/2)

Regular season success has meant very little in the AFL playoffs in recent years. In 2006, the Chicago Rush were 5-9 with two weeks remaining in the regular season. They won their final two games to earn a playoff spot, then won three straight playoff games on the road to reach the Arena Bowl before pulling off another upset to earn their first AFL championship.

Last year, the Columbus Destroyers were sitting at 6-9 heading into their final regular season game. Columbus, too, got hot when it mattered most, winning their regular season finale to sneak into the playoffs, then winning on the road at Tampa Bay, Dallas and Georgia to reach the Arena Bowl before coming up short in their championship efforts.

Grand Rapids has had the feel of a team like Columbus from last year, or Chicago from ’06 for the last month. The Rampage were not good for most of the regular season, losing eight out of nine during one particularly ugly mid-season stretch.

But the Rampage played their best football when it counted, reeling off three consecutive wins to close out the regular season, then winning outright as a road underdog at Arizona and at Chicago in the first two rounds of the playoffs. First year head coach Steve Thonn and first year starting quarterback James MacPherson seem to be clicking together right now as Grand Rapids has averaged nearly 70 points per game during their current five game winning streak. That has helped them go over the total in four of those five contests.

But the Rampage will be playing their fifth consecutive must-win road game in a row, and they’ll be facing the stiffest competition yet – the defending Arena Bowl champs, San Jose.

The Sabercats suffered a significant injury loss last week in their win over Colorado.  Wide receiver James Roe is a question mark for Saturday with a bum shoulder after his three touchdown performance against the Crush. Roe was second on the team in touchdown receptions this year and caught 102 Mark Grieb passes.

The Sabercats beat Grand Rapids 66-58 in Michigan back in Week 1, their only regular season meeting. And San Jose enjoys a tremendous advantage at the HP Pavilion at 17-2 SU over the past two seasons.

Future Hall of Fame quarterback Grieb led the league with 100 touchdown passes this season while ranking third in the AFL in completion percentage. But the strength of this team might well be their defense. Defensive backs Clevan Thomas, Omarr Smith and Marquis Floyd have played every game together in the secondary this season.

This elite level trio has notched at least one interception in eleven straight games, helping San Jose rebound nicely from their disappointing 5-5 start. The Sabercats have won seven in a row and nine of their last 10 overall, with seven of those nine wins coming by double digit margins.

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Re: Arena Football Conference championship previews

CLEVELAND (11 - 7) at PHILADELPHIA (14 - 3) - 7/12/2008, 1:00 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
CLEVELAND is 3-0 against the spread versus PHILADELPHIA over the last 3 seasons
CLEVELAND is 2-1 straight up against PHILADELPHIA over the last 3 seasons
3 of 3 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GRAND RAPIDS (8 - 10) at SAN JOSE (12 - 5) - 7/12/2008, 3:30 PM
Top Trends for this game.
GRAND RAPIDS is 4-13 ATS (-10.3 Units) in road games against American Conference, Western Division Opponents since 1996.
SAN JOSE is 23-11 ATS (+10.9 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
SAN JOSE is 9-2 ATS (+6.8 Units) when the total is greater than or equal to 110 this season.
SAN JOSE is 21-9 ATS (+11.1 Units) as a favorite over the last 2 seasons.
SAN JOSE is 14-4 ATS (+9.6 Units) in home games over the last 2 seasons.
SAN JOSE is 6-0 ATS (+6.0 Units) in home games where the total is greater than or equal to 110 this season.
SAN JOSE is 19-5 ATS (+13.5 Units) against conference opponents over the last 2 seasons.
SAN JOSE is 16-6 ATS (+9.4 Units) when playing on a Saturday over the last 2 seasons.
SAN JOSE is 10-2 ATS (+7.8 Units) in home games when playing with 6 or less days rest over the last 2 seasons.
SAN JOSE is 17-5 ATS (+11.5 Units) after playing a game on a Saturday over the last 2 seasons.
SAN JOSE is 7-1 ATS (+5.9 Units) when playing against a team with a losing record this season.
SAN JOSE is 6-0 ATS (+6.0 Units) when playing against a team with a losing record after 8 or more games this season.

Head-to-Head Series History
GRAND RAPIDS is 2-1 against the spread versus SAN JOSE over the last 3 seasons
SAN JOSE is 2-1 straight up against GRAND RAPIDS over the last 3 seasons
2 of 3 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons 

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TREND SHEET

1:00 PM CLEVELAND vs. PHILADELPHIA
Cleveland is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Cleveland's last 6 games
Philadelphia is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Cleveland
Philadelphia is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing Cleveland


3:30 PM GRAND RAPIDS vs. SAN JOSE
Grand Rapids is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against San Jose
Grand Rapids is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against San Jose
San Jose is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of San Jose's last 6 games

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