NFL Totals Betting: Wild-Card Round Over and Under Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 12/31/2014
Anyone who has been riding the "under" the last three weeks of the NFL regular season has been cashing in on a regular basis. In Week 17 alone, the total stayed under in 11 of the 16 games on 5Dimes' closing NFL betting odds. I caught that wave with the correct call on two "under" picks last week to raise my record on the year to 26-24-1 for my top three weekly total line plays for Doc's Sports.
It is now time to turn my attention to the playoffs starting with this weekend's Wild-Card Round. I will only have two top picks out of the four games on the slate using 5Dimes' betting odds, but my confidence level is running high that both will find the winner's circle.
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Saturday, Jan. 3
Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers (4:20 p.m. ESPN)
Total Line: 38
No one would have referred to Arizona's offense as a juggernaut even when Carson Palmer was under center, but now that the Cardinals are down to Ryan Lindley as their starter, points have become extremely hard to come by. Over the final six weeks of the regular season in which the Cardinals went just 2-4, the offense has averaged just 12.2 points a game. Fortunately, they still have a shutdown defense that finished the regular season ranked fifth in the league in points allowed (18.7).
The Panthers went just 7-8-1 this season, but they may be peaking at just the right time with a four-game winning streak to close out the year. During this run, their defense has really risen to the occasion by allowing an average of 10.8 points a game as compared to a season average of 23.4 points a game. While the offense has shown some signs of life behind the revitalized play of quarterback Cam Newton, this unit was still ranked 19th in the NFL in scoring with an average of 21.2 points a game.
The betting odds for the total in this matchup opened at 37.5, and the betting public has pushed the number slightly upward to 38. That is the right direction for me in what should be a low-scoring grinder between two teams that are going to rely heavily on their defense to get the win. The total has stayed under in six of Arizona's last nine road games, and it has stayed under in Carolina's last five games at home. Look for that number to reach six this Saturday afternoon.
Game Pick: UNDER
Sunday, Jan. 4
Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys (4:40 p.m. FOX)
Total Line: 48
One of the main reasons that Detroit won 11 games this season was a defense that was ranked second in the league in yards allowed (300.9) and third in points allowed (17.6). When you look a bit closer at the numbers, you will find that this unit still struggled against the better teams it faced on the road. In late November it was tagged for 34 points in a loss to New England, and just this past Sunday the Lions gave up 30 points in a loss to Green Bay. They will now have the unenviable task of going on the road to face one of the hottest offenses in the league.ll find that this unit still strunumbers nd third in points allowed (17hat was ranked tion for me as I cannot see eithe
Dallas could easily be considered the most dangerous team in the playoffs after reeling off four straight victories in which it outscored its opponents by a combined score of 165-79. Everything is working right now behind DeMarco Murray running the ball and Dez Bryant catching it. At the center of it all has been veteran quarterback Tony Romo, who is suddenly gaining some solid support as the league's MVP this season. While the defense also deserves some of the credit for this impressive run, this unit is still considered the weak link in the chain after finishing the season ranked 19 th in the NFL in total yards allowed and 26th against the pass.
The total line for this NFC clash opened at 48 and it has held steady as the week has progressed. The Lions' defense may have got them to this point, but head coach Jim Caldwell is well aware of the fact that his offense is going to have to put some serious points on the board to keep pace with Dallas. The total has gone over in 11 of Detroit's last 14 road games against the NFC East, and it has gone over in six of the Cowboys' last seven home games against the NFC North. Head-to-head in this matchup, the total has gone over in seven of the last eight meetings.
Game Pick: OVER
NFL Regular Season Record: 26-24-1
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