Total Talk - Championships
January 17, 2012
The ‘over’ has posted a 6-2 mark through the first eight playoff games and it could easily be 7-1 if the Houston-Baltimore matchup didn’t come to a screeching halt in the second-half. After seeing 30 points posted in the first 30 minutes, the pair combined for three points in the final two quarters.
While that outcome was tough to stomach for some ‘over’ bettors, the toughest beat of the weekend occurred in the Giants-Packers battle. With just seconds left in the first-half, New York added a Hail Mary touchdown as time expired to take a 20-10 lead over Green Bay at the break. Most shops had the first-half total at 27 ½ points.
Similar to the game results, the ‘over’ has gone 6-2 in the first-half of this year's postseason, while the ‘under’ has produced a 5-3 record in the second-half. And, that number could be 6-2 to the ‘under’ if the Saints and 49ers didn’t explode for a 34-point fourth quarter, 28 of them coming in the final four minutes. If San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith doesn’t play hero and stays inbounds instead of scoring (the smart play), you might’ve seen three points instead of 21.
Including the second round results, the ‘under’ stands at 122-119-5 (51%) on the season.
Let’s preface this section by saying that past playoff history has meant absolutely nothing this year. The Wild Card and Divisional Playoffs used to trend toward the ‘under’ and we’ve seen nothing but shootouts. Ironically, the Championship round has been geared towards high-scoring affairs. Does that mean we should expect some slugfests this weekend?
Looking at the below tables, you’ll notice that the ‘over’ has gone 15-5 (75%) in the last 20 conference title games.
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP OVER-UNDER HISTORY
Year Result Total
2010-2011 Pittsburgh 24 vs. N.Y. Jets 19 38, OVER
2009-2010 Indianapolis 30 vs. N.Y. Jets 17 40, OVER
2008-2009 Pittsburgh 23 vs. Baltimore 14 35, OVER
2007-2008 New England 21 vs. San Diego 12 48, UNDER
2006-2007 Indianapolis 38 vs. New England 34 47, OVER
2005-2006 Pittsburgh 34 @ Denver 17 41, OVER
2004-2005 New England 41 @ Pittsburgh 27 35, OVER
2003-2004 New England 24 vs. Indianapolis 14 43, UNDER
2002-2003 Oakland 41 vs. Tennessee 24 47, OVER
2001-2002 New England 24 @ Pittsburgh 17 37, OVER
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP OVER-UNDER HISTORY
Year Result Total
2010-2011 Green Bay 21 @ Chicago 14 42, UNDER
2009-2010 New Orleans 31 vs. Minnesota 28 54, OVER
2008-2009 Arizona 32 vs. Philadelphia 25 47, OVER
2007-2008 N.Y. Giants 23 @ Green Bay 20 41, OVER
2006-2007 Chicago 34 vs. New Orleans 14 42.5, OVER
2005-2006 Seattle 34 vs. Carolina 14 43.5, OVER
2004-2005 Philadelphia 27 vs. Atlanta 10 37.5, UNDER
2003-2004 Carolina 14 @ Philadelphia 3 36.5, UNDER
2002-2003 Tampa Bay 27 @ Philadelphia 10 34, OVER
2001-2002 St. Louis 29 vs. Philadelphia 24 49, OVER
AFC Championship – Baltimore at New England
Line Movement: Depending where you play, this game is hovering between 50 and 51 points, with the majority of betting shops holding steady at 50.5.
Quick Analysis: Assuming both teams can put up 24 points and you grab a number of 50.5, you got yourself a clear-cut ‘over’ winner, right? It’s simple handicapping and let's be honest, it’s real tough to argue against the facts. New England’s offense has put up 30-plus points in 13 of its 17 games, including 45 gainst Denver last week. And before you say Baltimore’s defense is great, let’s delve into those facts too. We understand the Ravens were ranked third in both points (16.6) and yards per game (288), but they haven’t face a dynamic offense or signal caller like Tom Brady all year. The last time Baltimore faced a legit QB, Philip Rivers and the Chargers dropped 34 on the board, rather easily too.
The other side of the total equation is Baltimore, who’s been anything been consistent on offense this season. Last week, bettors watched the Ravens’ attack put up 227 total yards of offense, yet they did score 20 points albeit with two short tracks. Plus the club came up empty with a first-and-goal from the nine-yard line too. The Patriots’ defense is coming off their second-best effort of the season last week when it held Denver to 10 points. Prior to stifling the one-dimensional Broncos, the New England allowed 20 or more points to quarterbacks named Young, Orlovsky, Grossman, Tebow, Moore, Fitzpatrick. Like a lot of other pundits, I’m not sold on Joe Flacco but he’s got weapons and I have to believe he does just as good as the aforementioned QBs.
Trends: Baltimore has watched the ‘over’ go 5-3 on the road, while New England has seen the ‘over’ go 6-3 at Gillette Stadium. The ‘over’ has gone 3-1 in the past four meetings between the pair.
Playoff History: The Patriots have played in five conference title games under the Belichick-Brady regime and the ‘over’ has gone 3-2, but the two ‘under’ tickets did take place in Foxborough. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh has been in eight playoff games and the 'under' has gone 5-3.
NFC Championship – New York Giants at San Francisco
Line Movement: Unlike the first affair set for next Sunday, this ‘over/under’ has received a ton of interest and it’s safe to say that the oddsmakers put out a bad line. The opener came out at 45 and has since dropped to 42, with a few major offshore outfits adding the hook (42.5).
Quick Analysis: The 49ers defeated the Giants 27-20 in Week 10 at home and the combined 47 points jumped ‘over’ the closing number of 42, which is the same number as this week’s rematch. The game in mid-November started with five field goals and ended with four touchdowns, three coming in the final quarter. It’s hard to see the Giants (37) and 49ers (36) putting up similar numbers like they did in the Divisional Playoff round, especially with expected precipitation in the Bay Area. Also, defense should play a big factor in the second encounter. Since getting exposed by the Saints (49), Packers (38) and Cowboys (34), the Giants’ defense has allowed an average of 14.6 PPG the last five weeks, which includes the 20 they allowed to the league's best offense in Green Bay last Sunday. San Francisco did allow New Orleans to drop 32 on the scoreboard last Saturday, which was an anomaly. During the regular season, the 49ers defense (13.2 PPG) was impossible to score on at home, with six opponents being held to 17 points or less.
Trends: The Giants saw the ‘over’ go 6-3 on the road, while the 49ers have watched the ‘over’ go 5-4 at home.
Playoff History: Prior to last week’s ‘over’ ticket, Eli Manning watched the ‘under’ go 7-1 in his first eight postseason games. These teams squared off in the playoffs of the 2002 season and San Francisco rallied past New York for a 39-38 victory.