NFL Totals Betting: Wild Card Playoffs Over and Under Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 1/2/2014
The NFL regular season came to a close with 10 of the final 16 games staying “under” the total after in stayed under in 11 of 16 games in Week 16. Whether or not this trend carries over into the playoffs remains to be seen, but it is something to keep in the back of your mind as you begin to handicap this weekend’s matchups.
I closed out the season with a 1-2 record in my Week 17 total line picks to finish the year with an overall record of 28-22-1. This equates to a winning percentage of 55 percent, which is not great, but not that bad.
Each and every week of 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 for my top two picks for Wild-Card Weekend in the NFL based on lines by BetOnline.
Saturday, Jan 4
New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles (8:10 p.m. NBC)
Total Line: 53
New Orleans’ chances to go deep into this year’s playoffs all hinge of its ability to reverse its recent misfortunes on the road considering that it is the sixth and final seed in the NFC. The numbers are pretty self-evident when you consider that the Saints went 8-0 straight up and 7-0-1 ATS at home this season while scoring an average of 34 points a game. On the road, they won three of eight games SU with a 1-7 record ATS. The scoring average dropped to 17.8 points in those eight games with a combined total of just 36 points in their last three outings on the road.
There is no doubt that the Eagles have one of the highest-powered offenses in the NFL after racking up an average of 27.6 points a game. What many people do not realize is that their defense held teams to 22 points or less in 10 of their last 11 games. The play on this side of the ball could actually be the deciding factor in this game given how the Saints have struggled to score on the road.
The total for this game opened at 55, and some early money on the under has pushed this number down to 53. Weather will not be a major factor in this game, but it will be cold. I still think this total is high enough for a play on the under given the Saints’ road troubles coupled with the fact that the total has stayed under in six of their previous eight road games this year. The total has also stayed under in five of the Eagles’ eight games at home.
Game Prediction: UNDER
Sunday, Jan. 5
San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers (4:40 p.m. FOX)
Total Line: 47.5
The 49ers’ bandwagon lost a few riders after back-to-back losses to Carolina and New Orleans in mid-November, but it is back to standing room only after they closed out the season with six straight victories in which the offense averaged 26.5 points a game and the defense held teams to 20 points or less in five of the six contests. Even though San Francisco’s defense has been playing at a high level all season long, it is still going to take a big effort from Colin Kaepernick and the offense to get out of this round with a win.
Green Bay got Aaron Rodgers back just when it needed him the most in last Sunday’s thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Bears. While the rust from an extended layoff was evident, he made the plays when he had to, and the result was a third-straight NFC North crown. He will be put the test again this Sunday against a much better opponent. I have confidence that the Packers’ offense will get their fair share of points, but I am also confident that they will need every last one of them to win this game.
The total line for this contest opened at 48.5, and some downward pressure has taken it to 47.5. This is the perfect direction for what I see as another shootout between these two conference rivals. Weather is always a factor in Green Bay at this time of the year, but I do not see it having an impact on this game. Instead, I see both teams coming up with one big play after another to easily take the final score over the current line. The total has gone over in the last six meetings between these two overall and in six of the last eight meetings in Green Bay.
Game Prediction: OVER
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