Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM
Total Talk - DP Saturday
Total Talk - Sunday
Wild Card Recap
The 'under' run in the Wild Card round continued last week as the low side produced a 3-1 mark and it could've easily been 4-0. For bettors playing the 'over' in the Seahawks-Cowboys, accept our congratulations and the same time we offer apologies to those who played the 'under' in the Saturday night tilt. Including those results, the 'under' is now 20-7-1 (74%) in the Wild Card round over the last eight postseasons.
Divisional Playoff History
The 'over' went 3-1 in the Divisional Playoff round last season and is on a 6-2 run (75%) the previous two years in this round. There were certainly a couple lucky tickets to the high side, which included last year's Mircale in Minnesota, plus the Titans tacked on a meaningless score in their loss to New England. Speaking of the Patriots, they will be making their eighth straight appearance in this round while both the Saints and Eagles are back for the second consecutive postseason. Looking below, the 'over' has connected at 62.5 percent (15-9) over the past six seasons.
|TOTAL History (2012-2017)|
For the playoffs, I'm going to break down every game and offer up my quick handicap and predictions for all the matchups. For those keeping track, we split last week (3-3) and while I was fortunate to cash the 'over' in the Seahawks-Cowboys, that Colts Team Total 'over' (24) was tough to stomach. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end - Good Luck!
Saturday, Jan. 12
Indianapolis at Kansas City (NBC, 4:35 p.m. ET)
The Divisional Playoff round is expected to begin with a shootout from Kansas City.ent out this total at 55 ½ and it was quickly pushed up and sits at 57 as of Thursday. These teams met in the 2013-14 postseason and the Colts rallied past the Chiefs for a 45-44 win at home and the ‘over’ (47 ½) was never in doubt. Coincidentally it was the first season for Kansas City head coach Andy Reid and his first playoff game with the club. Fast forward to 2019 and Reid still hasn’t found success with the Chiefs in the postseason with the club going 1-4 during his tenure.
Will that change this Saturday? You have to think they get over the edge sooner or later and fortunately they come into this matchup with an explosive attack. Kansas City finished the regular season with the top-ranked scoring offense at 35.3 points per game and it also led the league in total offense too with 425.6 yards per game.
Second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes had an incredible season, throwing for 5,381 yards and 50 touchdowns. The KC offense is loaded and it certainly needed to be since the defense (26.3 PPG) remains to be an issue. To put things in perspective, the Chiefs scored 37.5 PPG in their four losses.
Those high scoring numbers led to a 10-6 ‘over’ mark for Kansas City but the ‘under’ went 5-3 at Arrowhead Stadium. While the Chiefs defense wasn’t strong overall, they had solid numbers (18 PPG) at home but of the eight opponents that visited KC, only two made the playoffs (Ravens, Chargers) and they averaged 26.5 PPG.
Including last Saturday’s 21-7 result at Houston, the Colts have seen the ‘under’ go 9-8 this season. The Indianapolis defense (20.6 PPG) has put up strong numbers this season, especially down the stretch. In their last eight games, the defense has surrendered 14 PPG and that’s led to a 6-2 ‘under’ record.
VegasInsider.com senior handicapper Paul Bovi wasn’t as high on the Colts unit. He explained, “The Colts have been very poor at times this season, most notably against the pass. (Sam) Darnold, Eli (Manning) and (Blake) Bortles combined to complete 75-of-100 for 900 yards along with five touchdowns and two picks. Here they face the top-ranked offense in the AFC led by the MVP favorite.”
Mahomes should win the honor as the top player but will he succumb to the pressure in his first playoff start? In the Wild Card round, three QBs making their playoff debut went 0-3 and they combined to score 39 points and only six of those points came in the first-half. Just like Mahomes, all of those guys (Watson, Jackson, Trubisky) all had the benefit of playing at home.
Colts QB Andrew Luck has plenty of playoff experience and last week’s win over Houston improved his overall record to 4-3 in the postseason, which includes a 2-3 mark on the road. The ‘under’ has gone 5-2 in those games.
It’s been noted this week that Kansas City hasn’t won a home playoff game since 1994 and it will be looking to snap a six-game postseason skid at Arrowhead. During this losing streak, the Chiefs have averaged 15.3 PPG and that’s led to a 5-1 ‘under’ mark. The expectations have certainly changed with this Kansas City squad, evident by this week’s team total on the Chiefs (30 ½).
Fearless Prediction: While some pundits believe defenses plays a factor in the playoffs, be aware that the last five NFL playoff totals that closed in the fifties or higher saw the ‘over’ go 5-0. Luck and the Colts made a statement early last week with a quick 21 points and then they milked the clock. I don’t see the same scenario playing out in this spot. Kansas City will score and my guess is at least five times. I believe the Colts can match that number as well. Barring an inordinate amount of field goals, both teams should get in or close to the thirties and my lean is the game Over (57).
Dallas at L.A. Rams (FOX, 8:15 p.m. ET)
This total opened 50 at and the number has dropped to 49 ½ as of Thursday at the book and most Las Vegas betting shops as well. Even though the ‘over’ luckily connected last week for the Cowboys, the club has leaned to the ‘under’ this season (9-8) and the majority of those tickets have come on the road.
The Dallas offense didn’t travel well (17.2 PPG) this season and that resulted in a 3-5 record and 6-2 ‘under’ mark. If you take away the 36-35 meaningless win at the N.Y. Giants in Week 17, Dallas averaged 15.5 PPG. Also, the Cowboys averaged 14 PPG against playoff teams on the road and they went 1-3 in those games while the ‘under’ went 3-1.
While the Dallas away trend could have you leaning low on Saturday night, the Rams angle at home would make you think otherwise. Los Angeles has seen its total results end in a stalemate (8-8) this season but they produced a 6-2 ‘over’ mark at home. The offense averaged 37.1 PPG in Los Angeles, which was the top mark in the league.
Defensively, the unit for Los Angeles (28.1 PPG) struggled at the Coliseum and it was diced up by quality opponents. Versus playoff teams, the Rams allowed 33.8 PPG and the ‘over’ cashed in all four of those games. Plus, signal callers Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers helped the Vikings and Packers to put up 31 and 27 respectively at Los Angeles.
Do I think Dallas QB Dak Prescott is in that class? No and in last week’s installment I mentioned that he’s (Dak) not the key to the Cowboys offense rather running back Ezekiel Elliott. Including the Wild Card win over Seattle, Dallas is 7-1 this season when he gets 20-plus carries and the lone loss came by three points in overtime. In those games, they’re averaging 25.1 PPG and the ‘over’ is now 6-2.
Last Saturday, Elliott had 26 carries for 137 yards last week in the win and Dallas ended up with 24 points and they left some off the board as Prescott was picked off in the endzone. Knowing the Rams are ranked 23rd against the run (122.3 YPG), a heavy dose of Elliott should be expected.
In last year’s playoffs, the Falcons executed that plan perfectly and they upset the Rams 26-13 in the Wild Card round as six-point road underdogs. Atlanta ran the ball 39 times for 124 yards and dominated the time of possession (37-23 minutes). It was a humbling loss for the Rams, especially for head coach Sean McVay.
Will he turtle up again if this year’s Rams get punched in the mouth again? That Atlanta defense was one really good last season and this Dallas unit has certainly shown the ability to launch haymakers. The Cowboys were ranked seven in total defense (327 YPG) and eighth in scoring (22 PPG).
These teams met in the 2017 regular season and Los Angeles captured a 35-31 win at Dallas and the ‘over’ (50 ½) cashed easily.
Fearless Prediction: McVay’s name has been tossed around all week, largely due to his apparent influence in recent NFL coaching hires. Even though this is only his second playoff game, it’s a big one for him and there will be deserved criticism if they lose and the offense lays another egg. I don’t see that happening, actually the opposite. Los Angeles has dominated teams at home and I believe the extra week will be key. In two games after the bye, the Rams have scored 51 and 30 points under McVay. I believe Los Angles will get in the neighborhood again and I’m buying the Rams Team Total Over (28 ½). I would’ve leaned to the ‘over’ in the game as well but I don’t have as much confidence in the Dallas offense on the road.
Chris David can be reached at [email protected]