Total Talk – WC SaturdayTotal Talk - WC Sunday
Week 17 Recap
Totals ended in a stalemate (8-8) in Week 17 and through 256 regular season games, the 'under' went 135-115-6 (54%).
Including the numbers from last Sunday, divisional games watched the 'under' go 52-43-1 on the season and we'll have at least one in this year's postseason as Indianapolis and Houston square off this wekeend.
Including Super Bowl 53 from Santa Clara, this year’s postseason will have three primetime games left with one night matchup scheduled on Saturday for both the Wild Card and Divisional Playoff Rounds. During the regular season, we didn't see a strong lean either way as the 'over' (26-25) held a slight edge and that includes a 2-0 'under' mark in the pair of games played on Saturday in Week 15 and 16.
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 last season and the low side is on a 17-6-1 (73.9%) run in the Wild Card round the past six postseasons. Going back to the 2004-05 playoffs, the 'under' is 35-20-1 (63%) overall in the first round.
|First Round Total History (2004-2017)|
Saturday, Jan. 5
For the playoffs, I’m going to break down 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!
Indianapolis at Houston (ESPN, 4:30 p.m. ET)
this total at 47 and the number has been pushed up to 48 ½ as of Thursday morning and a couple Las Vegas books have gone to 49. While it’s not rare to see a divisional matchup in the Wild Card round, it doesn’t happen often. Going back to 2004, there have been 10 instances and the ‘under’ has gone 5-4-1 in those contests.
This series has watched the ‘under’ go 4-1 in the last five games between the pair and that includes a 1-1 mark this season. The visitor won both games this regular season and the first encounter from Indianapolis could’ve and probably should’ve been a tie. Colts head coach Frank Reich decided to go for a first down in overtime on his side of the field and the club missed, which allowed Houston to win 37-34 in the extra session. The rematch in Houston watched the Colts avenge that loss with a 24-21 win in Week 14.
Indianapolis outgained Houston in total yards (436-315) in the road win and they also put up more yards (478-466) at home in the Week 4 setback. Looking at the numbers and the eyeball test, it’s clear that the Colts have the better quarterback on the field in Andrew Luck. It’s also clear that the Texans QB Deshaun Watson has taken a beating from Indy, getting sacked 12 times in the two meetings this season.
Watson will be making his first playoff start on Saturday, fortunately for him it’s at home. Luck owns a 3-3 all-time record in the playoffs and he’s 1-3 on the road, with the lone upset coming in 2014 at Denver (24-13). In four road postseason starts, the Colts have been held to 15.5 points per game and the ‘under’ has gone 3-1 in those contests.
Houston (15.3 PPG) has been very solid defensively at home, and that’s produced a 5-3 ‘under’ mark at NRG Stadium. The franchise has gone 3-4 all-time in the playoffs, 3-1 at home. In those four home games, we’ve seen averaged combined score of 36 PPG.
Fearless Prediction: This is the highest total on the board and while I would slightly lean to the ‘over’ in this matchup, I don’t have much confidence in the Texans offense. The unit is ranked 28th in red zone touchdown percentage and 20th in third down conversion percentage. I think Watson is a decent QB but far from ‘special’ and nowhere close to Luck. The Colts are first in 3rd down conversions and ranked fifth in red zones TDs. In five trips to Houston, Indy has averaged 24.8 PPG with Luck under center. I’ll ride that trend and play the Colts Team Total Over (24) here.
Seattle at Dallas (FOX, 8:15 p.m. ET)
Although not a divisional game, the primetime contest on Saturday is also a rematch from this year’s regular season and the early action is buying the high side. sent out 41 ½ and the numbers is up to 43 as of Thursday. The pair met in Week 3 from Seattle and the Seahawks captured a 24-13 win over the Cowboys and the ‘under’ (40) was in control for most of the game.
The game was scoreless after the first quarter before Seattle built a 17-3 lead at halftime. Neither the Seahawks (295 yards) or Cowboys (303 yards) could do much offensively and Dallas certainly didn’t help its cause with three turnovers.
A lot has changed since that meeting and that’s part of the reason the total has been pushed up for the second encounter. In the second-half of the season, Seattle found its groove offensively (30 PPG) behind the top-ranked rushing offense (160 YPG) and that production helped the ‘over’ go 7-1.
Dallas hasn’t been as potent offensively, but we’ve seen some sparks from the club since it acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper from Oakland. The Cowboys averaged 22.1 PPG with him in the lineup and that led to a 7-2 record. Without, the unit averaged 18.3 PPG and went 3-4. We’ve definitely seen some clunkers from the Dallas offense this season, in particular a recent shutout loss at Indianapolis in Week 15.
QB Dak Prescott takes a lot of criticism in Dallas and deservingly but the key to the offense is running back Ezekiel Elliot. The club is 6-1 this season when he gets 20-plus carries and the lone loss came by three points in overtime. In those games, the ‘Boys have averaged 25.3 PPG and the ‘over’ went 5-2.
Defensively, the Cowboys own the better defense on paper (329 YPG, 20.2 PPG) but their current form is a tad alarming. While I won’t put too much stock into the meaningless shootout at the Giants last week, it should be noted that Dallas has allowed 26 PPG and 398 YPG in its last three games overall.
Prescott has only played in one postseason game and he was productive (302 yards, 3 TDs) but Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay proved to be too much in their 34-31 win in the 2016-17 Divisional Playoff matchup.
While Dak lacks playoff experience, the same can’t be said for Seattle QB Russell Wilson. The Seahawks are 8-4 in the playoffs with him under center which includes a respectable 3-2 mark on the road. The ‘over’ has gone 7-5 in those games while Seattle has averaged 25.3 PPG.
Fearless Prediction: This isn’t an easy game to handicap but I’d lean to Dallas based on its strong home tendencies and Seattle has been a bully this season, just 2-4 versus playoff teams and both wins came at home. For the total I’m leaning to the Over (43) in the game and I also believe Dallas will get at least five scores in this game, hopefully more sixes instead of threes. I’ll play the Cowboys Team Total Over (22 ½) as well.
Chris David can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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