Total Talk – DP SaturdayTotal Talk - Sunday
Wild Card Weekend RecapThe ‘under’ trend continued in the Wild Card round last weekend as the low side went 4-0. Including those results, the ‘under’ has gone 10-2 (83%) the past three years in the opening round and it’s 24-7-1 (77%) in the last eight WC weekends. Going back even further to the 2004-05 postseason, the ‘under’ has gone 42-21-1 (67%). Perhaps things will change in 2021?
Divisional Playoff HistoryWhile the Wild Card weekend has produced a great return for ‘under’ bettors recently, the opposite can be said for the ‘over’ in the Divisional Playoffs. The high side has gone 8-4 (67%) in the last three years of the Divisional Round and we haven’t seen the ‘under’ produce a 3-1 mark or better since 2013. If you plan on chasing with ‘over’ wagers this weekend after the WC results, it’s safe to say you should hit at least one ticket.
|DP Total History (2018-2016)
If there are some angles that stick out in the above table, you can see that home teams have gone 9-3 in this round since 2016 and they’ve averaged 29.6 points per game while the visitors have notched 21.5 PPG.
Best Bet SelectionsI didn’t hold back last week and came to the betting counter with six selections and the sweat meter was raised in a few of them. While I was fortunate to cash a few Team Total wagers on Buffalo and Tennessee, the Saints and Patriots didn’t do their part. The ‘under’ in the Seattle-Philadelphia game was never in doubt and the Wentz injury (Thanks Jadeveon!) helped us finish 3-3 on the weekend. Once again, you can hear all the analysis for the Divisional Round on the Bet and Collect Podcast this weekend.
As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!
Minnesota at San Francisco (NBC, 4:35 p.m. ET)The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened this total at 45 ½ and the number has dropped to 44 ½ as of Thursday. FoxBet, a major online shop for NJ and PA bettors, is a bit shorter at 44. I’m a little surprised of the slight downward movement, especially since weather isn’t expected to be a factor on the West Coast this Saturday afternoon.
Minnesota is coming off a solid 26-20 overtime road win over New Orleans last Sunday and while you don’t want to take anything away from the Vikings defense, the Saints certainly weren’t sharp and they left a handful of points off the board. The game went ‘under’ (50) and that result snapped a 5-0 ‘over’ run on the road for the Vikings.
Despite that ticket going to the low side, the Vikings offense did their part and that’s been a steady trend for the offense. Since being held to a combined 22 points in their first two road games of the season, Minnesota is averaging 30.8 PPG in its last seven outside of Minneapolis and they’ve played in some hostile environments (Chiefs, Cowboys, Seahawks) all season too.
Levi’s Stadium doesn’t necessarily put a scare in opponents but the 49ers went 6-2 at home this season and the ‘over’ was 5-3 in those games behind a San Francisco offense that averaged 32.4 PPG, ranked second at home in the league. The 49ers will be playing with rest and the club defeated Cleveland 31-3 in Week 5 after its ‘bye’ week in this year’s regular season. Prior to that win, the 49ers were winless in their last eight games (0-7-1) in the regular season when playing with rest. The ‘under’ (48) cashed against the Browns and the low side is now 3-0 after the bye for the 49ers since head coach Kyle Shanahan took over the team.
Shanahan will be making his postseason debut and he certainly doesn’t have as much playoff experience as his counterpart, Mike Zimmer of the Vikings (2-2 playoff record). However, he was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons during their 2016 postseason run that ended in a collapsing 34-28 loss to New England. Prior to the Super Bowl, Atlanta scored 36 and 44 points at home in the playoffs as the top seed.
The 49ers won’t have Matt Ryan at quarterback, rather Jimmy Garropolo and some pundits would say that the youngster is better than Falcons veteran and that argument could be solidified this weekend if Jimmy G wins his playoff debut against the Vikings. You can’t dismiss his career record of 21-5 as a starter and he’s had to produce more lately because the Niners defensive unit has allowed 29.4 PPG in the final month of the season and that’s led to a 3-1-1 ‘over’ mark.
Garoppolo and Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins went head-to-head in Week 1 of the 2018 regular season and the Vikings captured a 24-16 win as the ‘under’ (46) connected. Cousins passed for 244 yards and two touchdowns in the win while Jimmy G struggled, tossing a career-high three interceptions. San Francisco hasn’t been in the playoffs since the 2013-14 season and during that run, the ‘under’ went 3-0 in three games. The Vikings have seen their ‘over/under’ results go 2-2 in the playoffs under Zimmer.
Fearless Prediction - Over/Under PicksOf the four Divisional Playoff teams going on the road this weekend, I believe Minnesota will have the best opportunity to put up points. The offense has traveled well recently and playing on the West Coast hasn’t been in issue either. They scored 39 at the Chargers and 30 at the Seahawks this season, plus they put up 31 on the Rams at Los Angeles in the 2018 regular season. All three of those games went ‘over’ and I believe this matchup will see points too. Along with playing the Minnesota Team Total Over (19 ½) in this spot, I believe San Francisco will match points too and that has me leaning Over (44 ½) in the game too. Let’s call it 34-30 for the 49ers.
Tennessee at Baltimore (CBS, 8:15 p.m. ET)Saturday’s primetime matchup has also seen money come in on the ‘under’ as the total on the Tennessee-Baltimore matchup at FoxBet (NJ & PA only) moved from 49 to 47.
Similar to the Vikings, the Titans were on a great ‘over’ run to close the season (9-1) and on the road (4-0) but that came to an end in the WC round as they stifled the Patriots 20-13 as road favorites. Overall, Tennessee has watched the ‘over’ go 10-7 this season and that includes a 5-4 mark outside of Nashville. Since QB Ryan Tannehill took over as starter, the Titans have seen the ‘over’ go 9-2 and the team has scored 20 or more points in every game and the defense has certainly helped the cause – see last week's late touchdown at Foxboro.
I wasn’t surprised by Tennessee winning outright last Saturday but holding New England’s offense in check was certainly eye-opening especially since its scoring defense (20.2 PPG) wasn’t exactly lights out this season, ranked 12th in the league. However, its numbers on the road dropped to 17.1 PPG albeit seven of those games came against non-playoff teams and the Texans, one of the two playoff clubs, rolled out backups in Week 17.
Now Tennessee faces the top-ranked scoring offense in Baltimore (33.2 PPG) on the road and that’s a much stiffer test than New England. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson has put up MVP numbers this season but the unit was better on the road (36.5 PPG) than at home (29.9 PPG). In eight games from Maryland, the total results went 4-4 and the Baltimore defense (18.6 PPG) certainly helped those outcomes.
Even though Jackson is 0-1 in the playoffs, the experienced edge goes to the Ravens with John Harbaugh as coach. He’s owns a 10-6 career postseason mark, which includes a 2-1 SU and 1-2 ATS mark at home. The loss came last season with Jackson under center and he played horrible in a 23-17 setback to the Los Angeles Chargers, completing just 48 percent of his passes.
Historically, the Ravens have seen the ‘under’ cash in six straight home playoff games and only two opponents were able to score more than 20 points during that span. Also, Tennessee has watched the ‘under’ cash in six of their last seven postseason games. Those stats have nothing to do with these teams but facts are facts. If you want another good tidbit for this game, check out Matt Blunt’s Sunday’s Best Bets, which focuses on an angle circling around NFL leading rusher -- Titans running back Derrick Henry.
Fearless Prediction - Over/Under PicksI believe Jackson will avenge what happened to him in last year’s playoffs and Baltimore will be hosting the AFC Championship next Sunday. However, my lean is based on the defense of Baltimore and I believe the unit will step up in this spot and I’m riding the tendencies we’ve seen under Harbaugh. When playing with rest, the Ravens have gone 11-2 SU and 9-4 ATS under him and the defense has only allowed 15.1 PPG which has helped the ‘under’ go 8-4-1. I’m going to stay away from the Under on the game but back the Tennessee Team Total Under (19 ½) instead. Ravens by double digits here, 30-12 is my projection.
Chris David can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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