Total Talk - Wild Card
January 4, 2012
Coincidentally, the season began with some shootouts and it ended with some too. Five teams busted the 40-point barrier in Week 17 and another four put up 30-plus as well. In the end, the ‘over’ went 9-7. On the season, the ‘under’ still produced a 129-120-5 (52%) mark. What’s a little surprising with the overall number is that the ‘over’ went 19-13-1 (59%) in the primetime games played on Sunday and Monday.
First Round Trends
The ‘under’ has produced a 17-11 (61%) in the first round of the playoffs the last seven seasons, which includes a 3-1 mark last year. Obviously anything can happen, evidenced by a 4-0 ‘over’ run in 2009 but the angles normally lead to low-scoring affairs.
First Round Total History (2004-2010)
2004 (Under 3-1) 2005 (Under 3-1)
St. Louis 27 Seattle 20 - UNDER 50.5 Washington 17 Tampa Bay 10 - UNDER 37
N.Y. Jets 20 San Diego 17 - UNDER 43 New England 28 Jacksonville - UNDER 37
Indianapolis 49 Denver 24 - OVER 56 Carolina 23 N.Y. Giants 0 - UNDER 43.5
Minnesota 31 Green Bay 17 - UNDER 49.5 Pittsburgh 31 Cincinnati 17 - OVER 46.5
2006 (Under 3-1) 2007 (Total 2-2)
Indianapolis 23 Kansas City 8 - UNDER 50.5 Seattle 35 Washington 14 - OVER 39
Seattle 21 Dallas 20 - UNDER 48 Jacksonville 31 Pittsburgh 29 - OVER 41
New England 37 N.Y. Jets 16 - OVER 38.5 N.Y. Giants 24 Tampa Bay 14 - UNDER 39.5
Philadelphia 23 N.Y. Giants - UNDER 45.5 San Diego 17 Tennessee 6 - UNDER 39
2008 (Under 3-1) 2009 (Over 4-0)
Arizona 30 Atlanta 24 - OVER 51.5 N.Y. Jets 24 Cincinnati 14 - OVER 34
San Diego 23 Indianapolis 17 - UNDER 49 Dallas 34 Philadelphia 14 - OVER 45.5
Baltimore 27 Baltimore 9 - UNDER 38 Baltimore 33 New England 14 - OVER 43.5
Philadelphia 26 Minnesota 14 - UNDER 41 Arizona 51 Green Bay 45 - OVER 48
2010 (Under 3-1) 2011 (TBD)
Seattle 41 New Orleans 36 - OVER 45.5 Cincinnati at Houston
N.Y. Jets 17 Indianapolis 16 - UNDER 44 New Orleans at Detroit
Baltimore 30 Kansas City 7 - UNDER 41 Atlanta at N.Y. Giants
Green Bay 21 Philadelphia 16 - UNDER 46.5 Pittsburgh at Denver
We mentioned these last year and while it may or may not matter, it’s good to know that you can still cash a late ticket or even worse, lose. From the NFL and other outlets -- this postseason, each squad will have at least one possession in overtime unless the team that wins the overtime coin flip scores a touchdown on its initial possession. If the team that receives the ball first connects on a field goal, the other team will get a chance to match that score or best it with a TD. If no one scores during the first two possessions of overtime, the game ends automatically on the next score. Should the team with the ball first be forced to punt, or is forced into a turnover, the game reverts to sudden death.
Even though it seems impossible, you could see up to 12 points scored in the extra session. How? If Team A scores 3, then Team B matches with 3. The game then heads to the regular season OT format, which could see either Team A or B win the game with a field goal or touchdown. Imagine that bad beat!
Saturday, Jan. 7
Cincinnati at Houston: The Texans beat the Bengals 20-19 in Week 14 on the road and the combined 39 points barely slid ‘over’ the closing total of 37 ½ points. The game had nine scores, but only three were touchdowns. The final score was the dagger for ‘under’ bettors, which came with two seconds left. QB T.J. Yates, who was making his first start, tied the game at 19-19 with a six-yard touchdown pass before Neil Rackers sealed the win with a PAT. The total for the second encounter opened at 39 but is sitting at 38 ½ points. You could make a case that the total is too high, considering the Texans (17.4 PPG) and Bengals (20.2) both have legit defensive units. Houston has seen the ‘under’ go 10-5-1 this season, including a 6-1-1 mark at Reliant Stadium. Conversely, Cincinnati has watched the ‘over’ go 5-3 on the road.
Detroit at New Orleans: This matchup will also feature two teams meeting for the second time this season, as the Saints beat the Lions 31-17 in Week 13 on SNF. The game went ‘under’ the number (55.5) but could’ve easily gone the other way. New Orleans led 24-7 at the break but only put up seven in the final 30 minutes. It’s hard to make a case for the ‘under’ when you look at the numbers. New Orleans has put up 41.1 points per game at home this season and Detroit’s attack (28.9 PPG) has been outside of the Motor City. The total is super-high (59), yet understood. The Lions have had three games with totals listed at 50 or higher and all three went ‘under.’ Meanwhile, New Orleans owns a 6-2 ‘over’ record with totals in the fifties.
Sunday, Jan. 8
Atlanta at N.Y. Giants: Tough total to handicap here, especially when the weather could be unpredictable by kickoff. The Falcons closed the season with four straight ‘over’ tickets, with the offense putting up an average of 33.3 PPG during this stretch. Meanwhile, the Giants closed with three consecutive ‘under’ winners behind a defense that gave up 51 combined points. So what will give here? Atlanta has been in two playoff games under head coach Mike Smith and both went ‘over’ as the team gave up 48 and 30 points albeit to Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) and Kurt Warner (Arizona). Is Eli in that class? If you judge a quarterback by his playoff performances, then make a note that the younger Manning is 4-3 in the postseason. Ironically, all four wins came during the incredible 2007 Super Bowl run and Eli has never led the Giants’ offense to more than 24 points in the playoffs.
Pittsburgh at Denver: The last game of the Wild Card round also has the lowest total and it keeps dropping. The opener was as high as 35 ½ at a couple offshore outfits and its hovering around 34. Despite having a one-dimensional attack, the Broncos have watched the ‘over’ go 9-7 on the season, including 5-3 at home. Also, Denver has played four playoff teams this season and its defense has given up 22, 49, 45 and 41 points. Pittsburgh enters this game banged up, but the defense is playing lights out. The unit has given up an average of 7.5 PPG in the final six games, and to no surprise the ‘under’ has cashed in all of these games too. We understand that the Steelers haven’t faced any juggernauts during this stretch, and it’s hard to see Denver explode here. If you want to make a case for the ‘over’ in this spot, then perhaps turn your attention to Pittsburgh’s head coach. Mike Tomlin has been on the sidelines for seven playoff games for the Black and Gold and all seven have gone ‘over’ the number. Will the trend continue at Mile High?