NFL Totals Betting: Divisional Round Over and Under Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 1/7/2015
The total line for the Wild-Card Round of the NFL Playoffs was a mixed bag as one game went "over", two stayed "under" and one ended as a "push". I was on the wrong side of both of my free picks for Doc's Sports, so it is back to the drawing board for this weekend's Divisional Round of games.
This will be my final chance of the season to uncover some winners with these free "over/under" picks, so I have all intentions of leaving you with two solid plays using betting odds provided by Bovada.
Saturday, Jan. 10
Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks (8:15 p.m. FOX)
Total Line: 40
I went with the under in Carolina's Wild-Card game against Arizona last Saturday, and the only reason it did not pay off is because the Cardinals defense never showed up. The Panthers, on the other hand, continued to clamp down on their opponent, and for the fifth game in a row this defense has not allowed more than 17 points. Another stout performance in this matchup is Carolina's only real shot at pulling off an upset as it is hard to see an offense that averaged just 21.2 points a game getting close to that total in one of the toughest places to play a road game.
Everyone knows just how good Seattle's defense is with the No. 1 ranking in the league against the pass, total yards allowed and total points allowed, but this unit has been able to take things up a couple of notches higher down the stretch. The Seahawks finished the regular season on a six-game winning streak (both straight up and against the spread), and in those games the defense gave up a grand total of 39 points. Offensively, look for a heavy dose of Marshawn Lynch running the ball, which should also work to keep the scoring down.
The total line for Saturday night's clash opened at 39.5, and the early money has driven the number to 40 on Bovada's current board. That is the right direction in my book as I am going with the under all the way in this one. I am banking on Carolina keeping things close for most of the game, and we know that Seattle is not giving up all that many points. The total has stayed under in five of the Panthers last seven games as double-digit underdogs, and it has also stayed under in four of the last five meetings between the two.
Game Pick: UNDER
Sunday, Jan. 11
Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos (4:40 p.m. CBS)
Total Line: 54
The Colts come into this game looking to avenge a season-opening 31-24 loss to the Broncos on this very same field with a closing total line of 53.5. While the temperature will not be as warm this time around, the game-time weather is not expected to be a factor with sunny skies and a high near 50. That should make for a fast track for an Indianapolis offense that averaged 28.6 points a game. The Colts posted 26 points in last Sunday's victory against Cincinnati with quarterback Andrew Luck playing at a very high level.
You can pretty much rest assured that Denver's quarterback Peyton Manning is poised for a high-level performance against his old team this Sunday at Mile High. He finished the regular season ranked fourth in the NFL in passing yards with 4,727, and he was second in touchdown throws with 39 (second only to Luck's 40 TD throws). All this production through the air helped the Broncos rank second in the league in scoring with an average of 30.1 points a game.
The total line for Sunday's rematch in Denver has been set a tad higher this time around at 54, and that number continues to hold steady as we get closer to kickoff. This game is a classic matchup between the new kid in town and the veteran gunslinger, and you just know that each of these quarterbacks will be looking to light things up through the air just like they did on opening weekend when they combined for a total of 639 passing yards. Past betting trends in this showdown also point to a high-scoring game with the total going over in eight of the last nine meetings.
Game Pick: OVER
NFL Regular Season Record: 26-24-1
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