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Total Talk - DP Sunday


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Total Talk - Saturday

As stated in Saturday’s piece, the Divisional Playoff history has favored the home team and both hosts are expected to advance in these games too. The Chiefs are the only team that played in this round last season while the Texans, Seahawks and Packers made their last appearances in 2016.

Best Bet Selections

We went 3-3 in last week’s Wild Card round and I’m coming back firing for the Divisional Playoffs. Saturday’s plays are listed right below and my Sunday picks can be viewed in the Fearless Predictions.

Minnesota Team Total Over (19 ½)
Minnesota-San Francisco Over (44 ½)
Tennessee Team Total Under (19 ½)


You can check all my total analysis thoughts for the Divisional Round on the Bet and Collect Podcast this weekend. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

Houston at Kansas City (CBS, 3:05 p.m. ET)

Of the four playoff totals listed this weekend, this number was the only one to get pushed up. The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook sent out 50 and it sits at 51 as of Thursday evening. Unibet, a major sportsbook in NJ and PA, is also holding 51.

Based on the point-spread (Chiefs -9 ½), the oddsmakers are expecting a 30-20 outcome in this matchup and that number could seem high when we know the Texans defeated the Chiefs 31-24 at Arrowhead this season in Week 6. The ‘over’ cashed in that game and while the final outcome came close to the closing number (54 ½), the high side had a nice pace as the Texans led 23-17 at halftime. Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson completed 30-of-42 passes for 280 yards but was picked off twice. However, he ran for two touchdowns and rushed for 42 yards. In the 2017 regular season, Watson passed for five touchdowns against the Chiefs but Houston lost a 42-34 decision at home in a wild game that saw 40 points scored in the fourth quarter.

Despite the success against the Chiefs, Watson is 1-1 in two playoff starts and that includes last week’s 22-19 Wild Card win at Buffalo at home. Watson put up solid numbers (20-of-25, 247 yards passing, 55 rushing yards) in the win, but I keep reminding myself that he’s been held scoreless in the first-half of two postseason games at home. Now he's playing his road playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. Good Luck! 

For our purposes, the Texans saw the ‘under’ go 10-7 this season and the low side went 5-3 away from home. However, the defense surrendered 31.6 PPG in three road games versus playoff teams and the 41-7 blowout loss at Baltimore certainly pushed that number up. The unit stood firm in wins over Tennessee (24-21) and the win mentioned above over KC. 

In Saturday’s “Total Talk” piece, I touched on Ravens head coach John Harbaugh off the ‘bye’ and while he’s been great, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is the master of NFL rest. He’s 18-3 in his career, most during his tenure with Philadelphia. At Kansas City, he's gone 5-2 and he's a combined 4-1 record with both teams in the Divisional Round. That includes a 31-13 home win by KC in the postseason over Indianapolis last year in this spot. The ‘under’ cashed in that game and the low side stands at 4-3 in seven playoff games under Reid in KC.

The boss of the Chiefs has only gone 2-5 in the playoffs since coming over from Philadelphia, where he went 10-9 with the Eagles. The one thing that stood out with the Chiefs is that they’ve only allowed 13 points in their two postseason wins under Reid and the ‘under’ connected in both games. Another reason to back the ‘under’ here is based on Kansas City’s defensive form. The unit allowed 11.5 points per game in its last six contests and that led to a 5-1 ‘under’ mark but five of those affairs came against non-playoff teams.

Fearless Prediction - Over/Under Picks

Even though the Chiefs have been made healthy favorites, I believe this is the toughest side to handicap this weekend. I’m very hesitant to back Watson but I’m not sold on Reid in the playoffs either. I do like my total play though – Kansas City Team Total Over. While Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes can be erratic, he moves the chains better than anybody in the NFL and the offense ranked first in third down conversions. He’s shown good form in two playoff games, posting 31 in each contest. Also in two games when playing with rest, Mahomes and the Chiefs have posted 40 and 31 points. I believe KC will get at least five scores, possibly six in the revenge game. I’ll call it Kansas City 34 Houston 24 in what should be an entertaining game.

Seattle at Green Bay (FOX, 6:40 p.m. ET)

Oddsmakers sent out a strong total at 47 and Unibet (NJ & PA only) hasn’t nudged in either direction as of Thursday evening. Temperatures could get into the low 20s by kickoff at Lambeau Field on Sunday night but no strong winds or precipitation is expected.

Pun intended, Seattle has weathered everything and anything thrown at it on the road this season and it’s posted a league-best 8-1 record away from home. Last week’s 17-9 win at Philadelphia was an easy ‘under’ ticket and even though Eagles QB Carson Wentz was knocked out early, the defense did its part and that’s been a common theme. The unit has been lights out on the road, allowing 19.8 PPG and that effort led to a 5-4 ‘under’ record and it could’ve been more skewed to the low side but QB Russell Wilson and the offense scored 27 or more points in six of those games.

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Wilson has been a real gamer on the road in his career, going 38-25-1. In the playoffs, he’s 4-5 away from Century Link Field and that includes a 1-1 record in the Super Bowl. While all those numbers are impressive, the future Hall of Famer hasn’t been able to win at Lambeau Field. In three trips, Seattle has gone 0-3 and the ‘Hawks were held to 17, 10 and 9 points.

To be fair to Wilson, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers is just 1-3 in four career starts at Seattle and the one setback that sticks out was the 28-22 overtime loss to the Seahawks in the 2015 NFC Championship.

Circling back to this game, the Packers saw the ‘under’ go 7-1 in the second-half of the season and the defense only gave up 18.8 PPG but six of those games were against non-playoff teams. What’s more alarming for Green Bay is that the offense averaged 20.1 PPG during this span and the unit was held to 15.5 PPG in the two contests against postseason clubs.

Will the week off help Green Bay get back on track? Historically, the Packers are on a 5-1 ‘over’ run in the playoffs but they haven’t been in the postseason since 2016-17. Including last week’s outcome at the Eagles, Seattle has watched the ‘over’ go 4-3 in its last seven road playoff games with Wilson at QB. The defense has looked sharp in three wins over this span, allowing 10.6 PPG. However, the unit has surrendered 30.3 PPG in their four losses.

Fearless Prediction - Over/Under Picks

I said in last week’s piece that the winner of the Seahawks-Eagles will get lit up the following week and I’m sticking to that prediction. While Seattle’s scoring defense has been great on the road, we have to dissect the guys at QB that it’s faced – Rudolph, Murray, Mayfield, Schaub, Garropolo, Wentz, Goff, Allen. I believe Wentz is legit, when healthy and with weapons, two things he was without this season. I also like Jimmy G and Goff and they both lit up Seattle not once but twice this season. Rodgers, hasn’t looked sharp at times this season, but his teams have averaged 27.8 PPG in 10 career postseason wins and 35.6 PPG in the last three playoff victories. Green Bay Team Total (24 ½) is my strongest lean of the weekend and the Over (47) in the game will be locked up too. My projection calls for Green Bay 33 Seattle 22. 

Chris David can be reached at cdavid@vegasinsider.com


  
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