Total Talk – Championships
Divisional Playoff Weekend RecapAfter watching the ‘under’ go 4-0 in the Wild Card Weekend, the low side trend continued in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday with another pair of winning tickets. The ‘over’ tickets finally showed up on Sunday and bettors pressing their bets with first and second-half wagers may’ve been able to recoup their losses from the previous six outcomes as they cashed easily. Through eight games, the ‘under’ sits at 6-2 in this year’s postseason.
Playoff Betting Results
Conference Championship HistoryPrior to last year’s 37-31 overtime shootout at Arrowhead between the Patriots and Chiefs, the ‘under’ was on a 6-1 run in this title game. Meanwhile, the NFC has been the exact opposite with the ‘over’ go 4-1 in the last five title games and even though last year’s result between the Rams and Saints went ‘under’ the number, the pair still combined for 49 points. That particular game was the fourth NFC Championship to see overtime in the last 10 years and we’ve seen even total results (2-2) in those tilts despite the extra session.
|Championship Total History (2009-2019)|
The Kansas City Chiefs have watched the ‘over/under’ go 1-1 in their two appearances in the AFC Championship while the Titans have watched the ‘over’ connect in their two visits to the conference title game. Make a note that Tennessee played both games on the road and they averaged 28.5 points per game while going 1-1.
Green Bay has played in the NFC Championship seven times and the ‘over’ has gone 5-2 in those contests. San Francisco has made more title appearances than any other NFL team, 15 in total. The club has gone 6-9 and the ‘under’ has gone 6-4 in the 10 games listed with a total.
Best Bet SelectionsFor the second consecutive weekend, I fired six plays and ended up breaking even at 3-3. It didn’t look good early with a 0-3 mark on Saturday but the ‘over’ winners on Sunday got us to 6-6 through 12 picks of the playoffs. As always, you can hear all the analysis for the AFC and NFC Championship on the Bet and Collect Podcast this weekend.
As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!
Tennessee at Kansas City (CBS, 3:05 p.m. ET)Oddsmakers at DraftKings (**NJ & PA Only) opened this matchup at 51 ½ and the number has been pushed up to 52 ½ as of Thursday. A few Las Vegas betting shops are holding 53 despite low temperatures in the twenties expected at Arrowhead Stadium this Sunday. Tennessee (10-8) and Kansas City (9-8) have both leaned to the ‘over’ this season and based on their offensive performances in the Divisional Playoff round, you can see why the number quickly moved up.
Even though points are expected by the oddsmakers, the old boxing adage ‘styles make fights’ certainly fits this year’s AFC Championship matchup and your total wager will likely be correlated to your side wager.
We’ve seen the Titans knock off three straight division winners on the road and they did it with their defense, holding the Texans, Patriots and Ravens to 14 points or less. To be fair, Houston laid down in Week 17 and New England wasn’t an offensive power this season by its standards but holding the Ravens to just three scores (2 FGs, 1 TD) on the road was eye-opening. If Tennessee completes this run, it would be unprecedented and the finale is easily the toughest test.
Kansas City is coming off a 51-31 win over Houston last Sunday in the Divisional Playoff round at home and the offense was unstoppable after the first quarter as quarterback Patrick Mahomes tossed five touchdowns. Mahomes improved to 2-1 in his young career in the playoffs and the Chiefs haven’t been held to less 31 points in any of those games.
This contest is a rematch from Week 10 of this year's regular season and Kansas City will be looking to avenge a 35-32 loss to the Titans at Nashville. Mahomes was on fire in that game too, throwing for 433 yards and three touchdowns but key penalties and special teams mistakes cost the Chiefs. They put up seven scores that day at Nissan Stadium, settling for four field goals and they missed two attempts as well. If Kansas City connected like it did in the final 45 minutes last Sunday, it probably would’ve posted 50-plus on Tennessee as well. The Titans only put up 371 yards of offense against the Chiefs in their win and seven of the 35 points came from the Tennessee defense, a fumble return touchdown.
Touchdowns have been a common theme for Tennessee and it’s a large reason why it’s been a great ‘over’ team since QB Ryan Tannehill became the starter in Week 7. The Titans have only made eight field goals all season, which is absolutely crazy. In their last eight games, Tennessee has seen the endzone 40 times and it’s only kicked one field goal and none in the playoffs. Crazy, righ!? You don’t have to be a genius to know that putting sixes on the board instead of threes are huge for ‘over’ tickets and the high side has gone 9-3 with Tannehill at QB. In the playoffs, the defense has helped the ‘under’ go 2-0 despite the team averaging 24 points per game.
Fearless Predictions - Over/Under PicksWhat’s impressive about the offensive numbers for the Titans is that they’re doing it with a ground attack behind running back Derrick Henry. Knowing Tannehill has only completed 15 passes in two playoffs games is another stat that seems unbelievable. I thought Tennessee would run out of gas last week but I was proved wrong and so were many other bettors. So why fade now? Well, the offense has been on fire but what happens when it doesn't click? The Titans scored 28 last Saturday but 14 of those points came on two big plays and the other pair of touchdowns were set up with short tracks (35 yards, 20 yards) from Baltimore turnovers. We're all well aware that the KC offense showed us how dangerous it could be last week but during the regular season, it averaged 24.3 PPG after scoring 30-plus points in its previous game. Tennessee has only seen one total close in the fifties this season, an inflated Week 10 number versus Houston, and the ‘under’ cashed. Even though Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has Mahomes, let's not forget that we've seen him tighten up in the postseason before and I could totally see him bleeding the clock early and often. My leans for this game are Tennessee Team Total Under (21 ½) and the Under (53) for the game as well. I’ll call it Kansas City 26 Tennessee 15.
Green Bay at San Francisco (FOX, 6:40 p.m. ET)Oddsmakers sent out a solid opening total of 45 on the NFC Championship and the number has held steady as of Thursday at DraftKings (**NJ & PA Only) and other major books in the US.
San Francisco has produced great back-and-forth total results (8-8-1) all season and that includes the ‘under’ (44 ½) ticket in last Saturday’s 27-10 home win over Minnesota in the Divisional Playoffs. Green Bay watched the ‘over’ (45 ½) cash last Sunday evening as it held off Seattle 28-23 at home and that result snapped a 4-0 ‘under’ run by the Packers. Including that outcome, the ‘under’ has gone 10-7 for the Packers this season and that includes a 5-3 mark on the road.
Similar to the AFC Championship, this is a rematch from the regular season and the first encounter wasn’t close as San Francisco blasted Green Bay 37-8 on the Sunday Night Football spot in Week 12. QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers couldn’t do anything that night, getting held to 198 total yards. The unit was 1-of-15 on third down conversations and he was sacked five times. San Francisco QB Jimmy Garropolo didn’t have to do much (14-of-20, 253 yards, 2 TDs) as the 49ers led 23-0 at halftime and they could’ve been up 31-0 if they didn’t settle for two short field goals (29, 27 yards).
The ‘under’ (48) cashed in that game and the books have dropped the number three points for the rematch. Both clubs have been solid defensively down the stretch, especially San Francisco. The unit flustered Rodgers in November at home and they were incredible last week against Minnesota, surrendering just 147 total yards to QB Kirk Cousins and a Vikings team that traveled well this season. Rodgers is certainly a step above Cousins but the key to beating or competing with San Francisco is running the football and hoping the offense makes mistakes. Green Bay went 10-1 when rushing for 100-plus yards this season but the one loss came to 49ers – so maybe that theory could be tossed.
Rodgers has gone 4-5 in his career versus San Francisco, 0-2 in the playoffs, and that includes a 1-3 mark in Northern California. Unfortunately for him, the defense allowed 36.3 PPG at San Francisco in the losses and just three points in the lone victory. Buying the Packers based on the narrative of Rodgers alone is certainly justified. He’s 10-7 all-time as a starter in the postseason and the Packers have never been held under 20 points with him under center. That production has helped the ‘over’ go 11-6 in his playoff starts and that includes a 6-1 run to the high side entering this game. In his playoff wins, the Packers have averaged 30.6 PPG. So if you expect Green Bay to be competitive on Sunday then you’re assuming points to follow suit.
Fearless Predictions - Over/Under PicksThis isn’t an easy game to handicap but I believe the point-spread is fair and San Francisco is definitely the better team but I can also see how bettors are afraid to go against Rodgers, similar to fading Tom Brady or Drew Brees – two guys already sent packing this postseason. This 49ers defense is the real deal and their numbers against non-divisional opponents has been even better this season, especially at home. The game will be closer than the first meeting and Green Bay will score more than 8 points but my lean would be to the Under (45). San Francisco wins a tight one – let’s call it 23-17.
Chris David can be reached at email@example.com
**Odds Subject to Change
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