NFL Totals Betting: Wild-Card Weekend Over and Under Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 1/4/2012
Last week the NFL regular season closed things out with nine of the 16 games going ‘over’ the total. We ended-up on the wrong side of two of our three best bets to close-out the regular season with an overall record of 28-21-2.
The NFL playoffs offer a whole new season of opportunity to mine some value out of the lines, especially when it comes to the total. The following are this week’s top two Wild Card Round ‘over/under’ free NFL picks with the NFL totals betting lines provided by BetOnline.
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Saturday, January 7
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans
Cincinnati backed into the postseason with a 24-16 loss to Baltimore. It was the fourth time in the last five games that the Bengals’ offense failed to score more than 20 points. The last time it scored more than 24 points was in Week 8 at Seattle. Fortunately for Cincinnati, its defense has remained fairly stout and ended the season ranked ninth in the NFL in points allowed; giving-up an average of 20.2 points a game.
Ever since quarterback Matt Schaub went down in Week 10, the Houston offense has really struggled to put the ball in the end zone on a consistent basis. Rookie quarterback T.J. Yates has thrown for just 949 yards and three touchdowns in his five starts in relief and comes into this game with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. The Texans’ defense is ranked fourth in the league in points allowed; giving-up an average of 17.4 points a game.
The total line for this game opened at 39 and has dipped down to 38.5, but that is still high enough considering the current form of both these teams. The total has stayed ‘under’ in seven of the Bengals last 10 games as an underdog of less than 3.5 points. The total has also stayed ‘under’ in six of the Texans last eight home games and in eight of their last 10 games as favorites. The total has stayed ‘under’ in three of the last four meetings between these two teams.
Game Prediction: UNDER
Sunday, January 8
Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Giants
Atlanta exploded for 45 points in last week’s season finale against Tampa Bay and has averaged 33.3 points in its last four games. Matt Ryan has quietly thrown for 4,177 yards this season while Michael Turner has added 1,340 yards on the ground. The Falcons finished the regular season with an offense that was ranked 10th in the league in total yards per game and seventh in points.
New York outscored the Jets and the Cowboys by a combined score of 60-28 in its last two games to lock-up the NFC East title. The Giants have actually averaged 28.4 points in its last five games and ended the year ranked ninth in the league in scoring with 24.6 points a game. While New York has been known for its stingy defense in the past, this season was the exception as this unit was ranked 25th in points allowed.
The total line opened at 49 points and has dipped down to 47, which is the perfect direction for this matchup. Weather could be a slight factor with rain and snow showers in the forecast, but it should not be enough to slow either of these two teams down. The total has gone ‘over’ in three of the Falcons last four playoff games and in their last four games overall. The total has gone ‘over’ in 21 of the Giants last 31 games against the NFC and in eight of their last 10 games as favorites of three points or less.
Game Prediction: OVER
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