Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:06 AM
Total Talk - WC Saturday
Total Talk - Sunday
Week 17 Recap
The ‘under’ went 9-7 in Week 17 and that’s been the trend in the last quarter of the season with the low side finishing strong. Through 256 regular season games, the ‘under’ went 133-119-4 (52.7%).
Last week’s card featured 16 divisional games and my numbers show the ‘under’ went 56-31-1 (64%) in those contests and we’ll have at least one in this year’s postseason with New Orleans and Carolina meeting this weekend.
Including Super Bowl 52, this year’s playoffs will have three primetime games left with one night game scheduled on Saturday for both the Wild Card and Divisional Playoff Rounds. The ‘over’ (25-22-1) held a slight edge on the season but make a note that the ‘under’ has gone 10-4-1 since Week 12 in night games.
Wild Card Trends
Looking at the below results, you can see that the opening week of the playoffs has leaned to the low side. The ‘under’ went 3-1 in 2017 and has gone 17-6-1 (74%) in the Wild Card round the past six postseasons and going back to the 2004-05 playoffs, the ‘under’ is 35-20-1 (64%) overall in the first round.
|First Round Total History (2004-2017)|
Saturday, Jan. 6
For the playoffs, I’m going to break every game and offer up my quick handicap and prediction for all the matchups. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!
Tennessee at Kansas City (ABC, 4:30 p.m. ET)
This total opened 45 last Sunday at [...] and has slightly dipped to 44 ½ as of Friday. The pair recently played in the 2014 and 2016 regular seasons and both games took place at Arrowhead Stadium. Surprisingly, Tennessee came away with victories in each game (26-10, 19-17) and the ‘under’ was never in doubt in both contests. The oddsmakers aren’t expecting the Titans to capture another victory, listing the Chiefs as healthy home favorites (-8 ½) for this game.
The spread on the game seems fair considering Kansas City closed the season with four straight wins and the offense turned it on again, averaging 28 points per game after a midseason drought. Also, the defense has stepped up as well and they only surrendered 16.3 PPG during this stretch and that’s where they should have an advantage in this game, especially at home.
In games at Kansas City, the defense has stifled opponents to 16.9 PPG and that’s helped produce a 5-2-1 ‘under’ mark. That unit will be facing a pedestrian Tennessee (20.9 PPG) offense that hasn’t been able to find any rhythm on the road (17.5 PPG) and it was held under 20 points in six of its eight away games.
The Titans won’t have running back DeMarco Murray (knee) available and that only puts more pressure on quarterback Marcus Mariota, who be making his playoff debut. The former Oregon standout has the ability to beat you with his legs but he doesn’t put much fear into you with his arm (13 TDs, 15 INTs) and that’s due to conservative play-calling and a lack of weapons on the outside.
Tennessee’s defense is tough to figure out due to its strength of schedule (31st) but it is ranked fourth against the run, allowing 88.8 yards per game. Overall, the team is ranked 13th in total defense (328 YPG) and that’s much better than Kansas City (265.1 YPG, No. 28). The Titans have gone 5-2 this season when they’ve held teams under 20 points and I would assume this week’s game-plan for Tennessee is to muck it up and try to be within striking distance of the Chiefs come the fourth quarter which is much easier said than done.
Fearless Prediction: Even though Kansas City has dropped its last five playoff games at home and it’s only averaged 14.2 PPG in those losses, I expect a big bounce back in this spot. The Titans are taking a major step up in class and they played the second weakest schedule this season. They’re 1-3 versus playoff teams, the lone win against the Jaguars early in the season. Under head coach Andy Reid, Kansas City is 1-3 in the playoffs but the best offensive efforts came in their opening games with 44 and 30 points posted. I expect another number in that neighborhood and would take Kansas City Team Total Over 26 ½ for the first playoff matchup on Saturday.
Atlanta at L.A. Rams (NBC, 8:15 p.m. ET)
According to Scott Cooley of [...], this total is shaping up to be a ‘Pros vs. Joes’ battle. He said, “The Falcons-Rams under has seen the most smart-money, but the public is offsetting our liability with over wagers.”
The total was sent out at 49 ½ last Sunday at the global outfit but is sitting at 48 as of Friday afternoon. I expect the number to get back to the opener with the game being played at night and a lot of the masses tend to lean Falcons-Over or Rams-Over when these teams are in action. The combination where Los Angeles has won, covered and gone ‘over’ has hit six times this season but it only occurred once at the L.A. Coliseum and that result occurred in Week 1 when they hammered the Colts 46-9.
The Rams were tied for the best ‘over’ mark in the NFL this season at 11-5 and they closed their campaign with five consecutive tickets to the high side. However, the ‘over’ was just 4-3 in games played in Los Angeles (1 London game) and I wouldn’t put much stock into the Week 17 result which was a 34-13 loss to the 49ers.
While the Rams have been leaning high, the Falcons ended the season with five straight ‘under’ tickets and they saw the low side go 11-5 this season which is a complete 180 from last year’s results. During their Super Bowl run, Atlanta saw the ‘over’ go 13-2-1 in the regular season and it also went 3-0 to the high side in the postseason too.
The offense averaged 34.1 PPG during last season but has taken drastic steps back to 22.1 PPG this season. While the attack has sputtered, the defense has only allowed 19.7 PPG and that’s a major improvement from last season when they allowed 25.3 PPG. They were ranked ninth in rushing defense (104 PG) but the unit will face a serious test against Rams running back Todd Gurley.
Los Angeles certainly doesn’t have the same postseason experience as Atlanta but most of the recent success in the playoffs for the franchise has come at home. QB Matt Ryan owns a career 3-5 mark in the playoffs and that includes a 0-2 record in true road games, 0-3 if you include the Super Bowl last season. To be fair to Ryan, Atlanta has allowed 30, 24 and 34 points in those games and that’s helped the ‘over’ go 2-1 in those games.
Fearless Prediction: While the Falcons have the playmakers and ability to put up points, they’ve been too inconsistent all season and the offense has settled more for field goals (34) instead of touchdowns (33). This total is inflated due to Atlanta’s past offensive trends and I believe its defense is one of the top units in football. In seven games against playoff teams, the Falcons allowed 18.6 PPG and the ‘under’ cashed in all those games. The Rams are new to this postseason and while the offense has travelled well, their attack hasn’t been as potent in Los Angeles and I believe they could be tight come Saturday night. My ‘Best Bet’ for this game is the ‘under’ (48) for the game and I would also play the Team Total Under on Atlanta (21) and Los Angeles (27) as well.
Chris David can be reached at [email protected]