NFL Wild-Card Weekend Key Stats and Betting Trends
by Dave Schwab - 1/2/2014
The NFL playoffs get underway this weekend with four games in the Wild-Card Round. To get you ready for all the action, the following is a brief look at some key facts and figures for each matchup with NFL betting odds provided by BetOnline.
Saturday, Jan 4
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts (4:35 p.m. NBC)
Pointspread: Indianapolis -2.5
Total Line: 46
The Chiefs started the season with nine straight up victories but struggled to a 2-5 record in their last seven games, including a 23-7 loss to Indianapolis in Week 16 as 7.5-point home favorites. During this slide, Kansas City’s defense allowed an average of 27.7 points after holding teams to just 12.3 points in the first nine games.
The Colts finished the year 11-5 SU with a 10-6 record against the spread. They had their ups and downs as well with signature victories over San Francisco on the road and Seattle and Denver at home. They also lost to St. Louis 38-8 as 7.5-point home favorites in Week 10 and were outscored 82-39 in losses to Arizona and Cincinnati on the road.
Kansas City is 7-1 ATS in its last eight road games but 0-5 ATS in its last five playoff games. The Colts are 2-5 ATS in their last seven postseason games but 5-1 ATS in their last six games at home. The road team in this matchup is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings and the total has stayed “under” in five of the last six games between the two.
New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles (8:10 p.m. NBC)
Pointspread: Philadelphia -2.5
Total Line: 53
New Orleans finished just one game behind Carolina in the NFC South at 11-5, but that was enough to send it on the wild card route to this year’s Super Bowl as the No. 6 seed in the conference. This means the Saints are going to have to quickly figure out how to win on the road after going 3-5 SU and 1-7 ATS in eight previous road games while averaging just 17.8 points.
Much has been made about the Eagles’ high-octane offense that led the NFL in rushing while averaging 417.2 total yards and 27.6 points a game, which is the fourth-highest total in the league. The key in this matchup could be a defense that is ranked last against the pass but has held teams to 22 points or less in 11 of Philadelphia’s last 12 games.
The Saints are 1-4 ATS in their last five playoff games on the road and 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games played in the month of January. Philadelphia is 6-20-1 ATS in their last 27 home games and 3-10-1 ATS in its last 14 games against a team with a winning record. The total has gone “over” in five of the last six meetings in this matchup.
Sunday, Jan. 5
San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals (1:05 p.m. CBS)
Pointspread: Cincinnati -6.5
Total Line: 47
San Diego needed victories in its last four games and some help in Week 17 to make it back to the playoffs for the first time in four years. To stick around longer than just one game, the Chargers will need another huge effort from Philip Rivers and an offense that is ranked fifth in the NFL in total yards (393.3). They will also need a defense that is ranked 23rd in yards allowed (366.5) to elevate its game.
Cincinnati is a very good all-around team with an offense that is averaging 26.9 points complementing a defense that is holding teams to 19.1 points a game, and it already knows how to elevate its game at home. The Bengals went 11-5 SU overall with a perfect 8-0 mark at Paul Brown Stadium. They averaged 34.4 points in those eight games and won them by an average of 17.6 points.
The Chargers are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 road games but just 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 games following a SU win. Cincinnati has now covered the spread in 11 of its last 12 games at home, and it is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games following a SU win. The road team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings, and the total in this series has gone over in four of the last five games played in Cincinnati.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers (4:40 p.m. FOX)
Pointspread: San Francisco -2.5
Total Line: 48
The 49ers enter the playoffs with the longest winning streak in the NFL at six games, but this team has been streaky all season long. Following a 34-28 opening-weekend victory over Green Bay as five-point home favorites, they dropped back-to-back decisions to Seattle and Indianapolis. San Francisco reeled off five more SU wins before falling to Carolina and New Orleans in consecutive weeks.
To give you an idea of Aaron Rodgers’ worth to his team, the Packers went 5-2 with him under center in the first seven weeks of the season and 2-5-1 SU with him sidelined with a broken collarbone. He returned to the starting lineup just in time to lead his team to a thrilling 33-28 last-minute victory over Chicago to secure the NFC North title.
San Francisco is a perfect 7-0 ATS in its last seven games on the road, while the Packers have failed to cover in their last five home games. Head-to-head in this matchup, the 49ers are 3-1-1 ATS in the last five meetings overall, but they have covered in only one of their last five trips to Lambeau Field. The total has gone over in six of the last eight meetings in Green Bay.
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