Today in my Wild Card Weekend betting trends feature, I’m looking at Over/Under trends plus handicapping tips on all three Saturday games.
Records are meant to be broken, and perhaps no league does a better job of consistently setting the table for its playmakers to shatter long-standing high marks than the NFL.
- Offensive Scoring, 2020 = 24.8 (all-time high)
*Previous record = 23.4 set in 2013 — Shout out to Peyton Manning!
- Yards per Game, 2020 = 359.0 (all-time high)
*Previous record = 352.7 set in 2015 — Shout out to Drew Brees!
- Rushing Yards per Carry, 2020 = 4.4 (T-all-time high)
*2018 also set a new high and 2019 was not far behind (4.3). Shout out to Derrick Henry!
First downs (21.7), completions (23.0), points per drive (2.2) — new highs set in 2020, each and every one of them. And anyone who watched in Week 17 saw what happens when you combine a bunch of offenses on ephedrine, with unseasonably good weather, and a group of defenders with little to play for. Yeah, I’m looking at you Atlanta, Kansas City, Minnesota, Detroit…
The list goes on.
Wild Card Weekend Totals
Another thing the NFL does well? Shift gears. Like in 2019, when the Week 17 games went 12-2-2 OVER and the Wild Card Weekend served up four out of four UNDERS.
The record for last week’s scoring extravaganza was 10 OVERS and 6 UNDERS. It has led us to the league’s first ever Super Wild Card Weekend, where the average posted total = 48.
- Since 2010, Wild Card Weekend games with Over/Under odds between 42.5-49 have resulted in 7 OVERS and 21 UNDERS (75%).
48 is not the highest Wild Card Weekend total. But it’s close. The highest was 49.6 in 2004, followed by 48.4 in 2013. Six games, including the 2-seed in each conference, also creates a greater notion of high scoring, but the books have sharpened their pencils.
Read the rest of my Wild Card Weekend trends and follow @Wunderdog on Twitter for daily updates, free picks and more!
I made a profit in 11 of 17 weeks (65%) throughout the season and Wild Card Weekend, I’ll have 10 plays posted at the site.
(7) Indianapolis at (2) Buffalo
Saturday, 01/09, 1:05 PM Eastern
Line: Bills -6.5 and O/U 51
Buffalo made a quick exit from the playoffs last season, losing in overtime to the Texans. This year they are home, and although it’s quieter than usual, the team’s only loss at Bills Stadium was Week 6 against the Chiefs. Buffalo lit up the Dolphins for 56 points in Week 17, finishing with 455 total yards of offense.
- The Bills are 15-4 ATS at home after gaining more than 400 total yards in their previous contest.
- Home faves between -3 and -10 points were 29-16 OVER (64%) in 2020, when the posted total was 49-plus points.
First-year Bills WR Stefon Diggs (oblique) did not practice Wednesday. Diggs led the team in receptions (127) and yards (1,535), and he caught eight TD passes. With Cole Beasley (knee) out, Diggs is essential.
(6) Los Angeles Rams at (3) Seattle
Saturday, 01/09, 4:40 PM Eastern
Line: Seahawks -3.5 and O/U 42.5
Divisional playoff games are always great and these two team have no love lost. The Rams heard good news this week when WR Cooper Kupp was activated from the Covid list, but they are still waiting to see if Jared Goff can start. The backup plan is John Wolford, who shook off an early interception last week to finish 22 of 38 for 231 yards. He also ran for 56 yards, more than double Goff’s highest total of the season (23).
- Teams like Seattle, who are off a SU fave win and ATS loss, are 44-11 OVER (80%) when facing teams off a home win the past five seasons.
The Rams D ranks #1 overall and Seattle is #11, but in the second half the Hawks have led the league with just 16.0 points allowed per game. New Orleans (17.1) is second, followed by the Saints (17.6) and the Rams (18.0).
- In non-Sunday games, Seattle is 20-7-5 ATS (74%) since Pete Carroll took over, including a current run of 6-0-2 ATS.
Coach Sean McVay is 16-8 SU and 14-10 ATS against the division since taking over, but the past two seasons, he’s only 2-4 on the road, both wins at Arizona.
(5) Tampa Bay at (4) Washington
Saturday, 01/09, 8:15 PM Eastern
Line: Buccaneers -8.5 and O/U 45
The Bucs have been in a development stage throughout the season. They had the talent and enough experience that a lack of preseason wasn’t going to have a long lasting effect. Duds like their Week 5 loss in Chicago are distant memories. The offense is firing on all cylinders during a current four-game win streak, but of course the competition has been soft.
- Tampa’s past three games against winning teams, they went 0-3 SU and were outscored 30.7 to 17.
Washington QB Alex Smith provided optimism when he returned in Week 17. Smith finished 22 of 32 for 162 yards, two TDs, two picks and three sacks. Not exactly a vote of confidence against a defense that was #5 against the pass and #1 against the rush. And keep in mind, Washington (7-9) isn’t a winning team.
- Washington is 29-13 ATS in the second half of the season vs. teams that average more than 260 passing yards per game.
The Team was #2 against the pass and #11 against the rush. Coach Ron Rivera also has experience coming into the playoffs with an inferior team. He brought his 7-8-1 Panthers to the dance in 2014, beating Arizona 27-16 on Wild Card Weekend.
- Rivera is 33-15-1 ATS (69%) at home off a road game, including a 2-0-1 ATS record since taking over in Washington.
Taylor Heinicke could be used in this game as a change of pace ‘back’. Also keep an eye on Bucs WR Mike Evans (knee). He did not practice Wednesday but Bruce Arians is optimistic.