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Total Talk - Wild Card

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Week 17 Recap

For the second straight week the ‘under’ was the winner at the betting counter, producing a 10-6 mark in Week 17. Despite the low-scoring affairs, the ‘over’ still managed to go 127-107-2 (54%) during the regular season.

Wild Card Trends

I’m not sure how much stock you put into past trends, but make a note that the ‘under’ has gone (22-14) in the first round of the playoffs the last nine seasons and that includes a 4-0 mark in the 2012-13 postseason. Last year marked the first time since 2004 that all four games had a total listed at 43 points or higher. Considering the influx of scoring this season, it’s no surprise that all four games this weekend have totals listed in the high forties and one matchup has a number in the fifties.

First Round Total History (2004-2012)
2004 (Under 3-1) 2005 (Under 3-1)
St. Louis 27 Seattle 20 - UNDER 50.5 Washington 17 Tampa Bay 10 - UNDER 37
N.Y. Jets 20 San Diego 17 - UNDER 43 New England 28 Jacksonville - UNDER 37
Indianapolis 49 Denver 24 - OVER 56 Carolina 23 N.Y. Giants 0 - UNDER 43.5
Minnesota 31 Green Bay 17 - UNDER 49.5 Pittsburgh 31 Cincinnati 17 - OVER 46.5
2006 (Under 3-1) 2007 (Total 2-2)
Indianapolis 23 Kansas City 8 - UNDER 50.5 Seattle 35 Washington 14 - OVER 39
Seattle 21 Dallas 20 - UNDER 48 Jacksonville 31 Pittsburgh 29 - OVER 41
New England 37 N.Y. Jets 16 - OVER 38.5 N.Y. Giants 24 Tampa Bay 14 - UNDER 39.5
Philadelphia 23 N.Y. Giants - UNDER 45.5 San Diego 17 Tennessee 6 - UNDER 39
2008 (Under 3-1) 2009 (Over 4-0)
Arizona 30 Atlanta 24 - OVER 51.5 N.Y. Jets 24 Cincinnati 14 - OVER 34
San Diego 23 Indianapolis 17 - UNDER 49 Dallas 34 Philadelphia 14 - OVER 45.5
Baltimore 27 Miami 9 - UNDER 38 Baltimore 33 New England 14 - OVER 43.5
Philadelphia 26 Minnesota 14 - UNDER 41 Arizona 51 Green Bay 45 - OVER 48
2010 (Under 3-1) 2011 (Over 3-1)
Seattle 41 New Orleans 36 - OVER 45.5 Cincinnati 10 Houston 31 - OVER 38
N.Y. Jets 17 Indianapolis 16 - UNDER 44 Detroit 28 New Orleans 45 - OVER 59.5
Baltimore 30 Kansas City 7 - UNDER 41 Atlanta 2 N.Y. Giants 24 - UNDER 47
Green Bay 21 Philadelphia 16 - UNDER 46.5 Pittsburgh 23 Denver 29 - OVER 34
2012 (Under 4-0) 2013
Cincinnati 13 Houston 19 - UNDER 42.5 Kansas City at Indianapolis
Minnesota 10 Green Bay 24 - UNDER 44 New Orleans at Philadelphia
Indianapolis 9 Baltimore 24 - UNDER 47.5 San Diego at Cincinnati
Seattle 24 Washington 14 - UNDER 45 San Francisco at Green Bay


Saturday, Jan. 4

Kansas City at Indianapolis: This is a very hard total to handicap because both teams have had great games statistically, which have made up for contests in which they looked dreadful. What we do know is that the Colts defeated the Chiefs 23-7 in Week 15 from Arrowhead Stadium and the closing total was 47. This week’s rematch has a number hovering in the same neighborhood (46, 46 ½) and that seems like a solid line when you look at the numbers. Kansas City started the season with an 8-2 record to the ‘under’ but the ‘over’ went 5-1 in its final six games, largely because the defense struggled down the stretch. Conversely the Colts defense played great in December, allowing 15.2 PPG and that average includes a 42-point outburst by the Bengals in Week 13. Take away that outcome, and the number dips to 8.5 PPG. It’s fair to say that both clubs are limited with big-play weapons on offense, but that hasn’t stopped the Chiefs (26.9 PPG) or Colts (24.4 PPG) from finding the end zone this season. As I mentioned above, these numbers are a tad misleading because of the up and down tendencies on both sides of the ball.

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New Orleans at Philadelphia:
Even though this has been an ‘over’ year in the NFL, it is surprising to know that the high-powered Saints have seen the ‘under’ go 11-5 and that includes a 7-1 mark on the road. That shouldn’t’ be surprising when you realize that New Orleans is only averaging 17.8 PPG away from home, plus its scoring defense (19.8 PPG) has improved this season. The Saints haven’t faced an offense all season like Philadelphia, who leads the league in rushing (160.4 YPG). In their final eight games of the regular season under QB Nick Foles, the Eagles averaged 33.3 PPG but the totals only went 4-4 during that span. Defensively, Philadelphia was the fourth worst unit in yards allowed (394.2) this season and more importantly, the worst against the pass (289.8 YPG), which is the strength of the Saints. Since he joined the Saints in 2006, Brees has never won a road playoff game and he shouldn’t take all the blame. In those defeats, the defense allowed 39, 41 and 46 points.

Sunday, Jan. 5

San Diego at Cincinnati: I’m a little surprised that the opening line (46 ½) hasn’t dropped on this matchup, especially with inclement weather expected. Plus, the Bengals defeated the Chargers 17-10 on Dec. 1 from San Diego in a game that was practically a stalemate in time of possession, yards, first downs and plays. The difference was turnovers, and the Chargers had three compared to two by the Bengals. Most would assume that San Diego will try to control the clock again but that’s a tough task at Cincinnati. However, a lot of people may've forgotten that the Chargers won their final two road games of the season, arguably against better opponents in the Chiefs (41-38) and Broncos (27-20). The Bengals are averaging 34.4 PPG at home, which has translated into an 8-0 record both SU and ATS. The ‘over’ has gone 6-2. If you’re looking for an angle to back the ‘under’ then you could turn to Bengals QB Andy Dalton, who will be taking his team to the playoffs for the third consecutive season. Unfortunately for Cincinnati, it has scored a combined 23 points in those games and Dalton has been intercepted four times.

San Francisco at Green Bay: Oddsmakers sent out an opening total of 48 and the number has dropped to 46. Temperatures will be in the single digits come Sunday evening and the wind chill will make it even worse. Knowing that it could be tough to throw the ball in windy conditions, most would expect both teams to run the ball, which San Francisco (137.6 YPG) and Green Bay (133.5 YPG) both do well. The 49ers have much better defense (17 PPG) than the Packers (26.8 PPG), especially against the run (95.9 YPG). These teams have met three times in the last two seasons and the 49ers have won and covered all three meetings while scoring 30, 45 and 34 points. The ‘over’ easily cashed in all three games but the weather conditions were ideal in each matchup. Green Bay watched the ‘under’ go 5-3 at Lambeau Field this season. San Francisco saw the ‘over’ go 5-3 on the road this season and it enters the playoff with a 3-0 run to the ‘over.’

Fearless Predictions

Back-to-back 1-3 weeks put us in the red for $190 through the regular season. We’ve got four weeks of postseason play to get in the black. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

Best Over: Saints-Eagles 54
Best Under: Chargers-Bengals 46 ½
Best Team Total: Over Saints 26

Three-Team Total Teaser (9-Point, +100):
Over 45 Saints-Eagles
Under 54 ½ Chargers-Bengals
Under 55 49ers-Packers

Chris David can be reached at cdavid@vegasinsider.com

  
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