NFL Totals Betting: Divisional Playoffs Over and Under Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 1/7/2014
The quest for Super Bowl XLVIII got underway last weekend with the wild-card round of this season’s NFL Playoffs. Three of the four games were nail-biters that came down to the final seconds of the game, and three of the four also stayed “under” the closing total line.
I split my two total line picks last week with the correct call on the under in New Orleans’ 26-24 victory over Philadelphia with a total line set at 54.5, but the number failed to go “over” 46.5 as expected in San Francisco’s 23-20 win against Green Bay.
Each and every week during the NFL regular season, I dug deep into the stats and betting trends for all the matchups on Sunday’s slate in an effort uncover a few golden opportunities to cash in on the total line. I now turn my attention to the postseason one last time for my top two picks for the NFL’s divisional round of playoffs based on lines by BetOnline.
Saturday, Jan 11
New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks (4:35 p.m. FOX)
Total Line: 46.5
In what was supposed to be a wild shootout between two of the top offenses in the league, the Saints and Eagles combined for a total of 13 points in the first half of last week’s game. Each team’s quarterback started to show flashes of his big-play ability as the game wore on, but in the end it was New Orleans’ running game that helped seal the win. The Saints’ scoring average for nine road games this season is still just 18.7 points.
Seattle’s offense is more than capable of putting points on the board with Russell Wilson running the show at quarterback and Marshawn Lynch anchoring the running game, but the main reason why the Seahawks are the No. 1 seed in the NFC is a shut-down defense that is ranked first in the NFL in total yards allowed (273.6) and points allowed (14.4). Even though they put up 34 points against New Orleans the first time they met in Week 13, the total still stayed under the 48.5-point closing line.
The total this time around opened at 48.5 and quickly dropped to its current 46.5 points on some early money on the under. I still think that number is too high for this matchup. The Saints’ defense gained some serious confidence on the road against the Eagles, and the running game should be a huge part of both team’s game plan. The total has stayed under in New Orleans’ last five road games in Seattle’s last five games overall.
Game Prediction: UNDER
Sunday, Jan. 12
San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina Panthers (1:05 p.m. FOX)
Total Line: 42
The 49ers grinded out a 23-20 victory against Green Bay in the freezing cold last Sunday, and even though the weather in Charlotte this Sunday will be a major improvement, look for them to struggle to score again, especially if Colin Kaepernick is forced to try an beat the Panthers throwing the ball. A big part of last week’s success was his ability to get outside the pocket and pick up big chunks of yardage with his legs. This time around Kaepernick will be facing the No. 2 rushing defense in the league.
Carolina is another team that has been riding its defense all season long. This unit is also ranked second in the league in yards allowed (301.2) and points allowed (15.1) while giving up just 86.9 yards a game on the ground. The first time these two met, the Panthers held San Francisco to just three first-half field goals in a 10-9 win on the road.
The total for this game opened at 43, and it has dipped down to 42 on BetOnline’s latest board. While I do see more than 19 total points being scored this time around, both team’s defense will be able to keep the scoring down just enough for the total to stay below the 42-point mark. The total has stayed under in four of the 49ers’ last five playoff games on the road, and it has stayed under in eight of Carolina’s last nine games this year.
Game Prediction: UNDER
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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