Wild Card Round Unders Aplenty
So, after the college football national title game was an offensive barrage by the Georgia Bulldogs, the wild-card round is likely to be much less one-sided. We won’t see a team slap 65 points on the scoreboard, as under may be the best bet in several of the games. Betting on the over might offer the fun, but let’s take a look at the “under” games.
Seahawks Lacking Offense
There are six playoff games being played this round. All of the posted totals are in the 40s, according to NFL odds. The No. 7 Seattle Seahawks (9-8) are off to Santa Clara to take on the No. 2 San Francisco 49ers (13-4) in the opener.
This will be the lowest-scoring game. The 49ers are favored at -500 on the moneyline, -10½ (-105) on the spread, while the Seahawks are +385 and +10½ (-115). The total is set at 42½.
Rivals in the NFC West, the Seahawks, and the 49ers have already played twice this season. The under hit both times, Seattle struggling against a strong San Francisco defense to score a combined 20 points in these two games.
The Seahawks’ once-scary offense has gone to sleep, though rookie running back Kenneth Walker III (1,050 yards, nine touchdowns) went over the 100-yard mark in each of his last three games, Trends are pointing to this game going under 42½. Quarterback Geno Smith has been average at best over the past month, and It would be a surprise if the Seahawks scored more than two touchdowns.
Fireworks Fleeting in Minny
While a handful of games in the wild-card round are expected to be blowouts, the rematch of the No. 6 New York Giants (9-7-1) and the No. 3 Minnesota Vikings (13-4) does not figure to be one of those. These two teams met previously this season. It was a tale of two halves.
New York controlled much of the game until the home side rallied. Minnesota’s Greg Joseph nailed a 61-yard field goal at the gun to win the game, 27-24, while cementing the over.
Sunday’s battle has the Vikings favored at -160 on the moneyline and -3 (-110) on the spread. New York is priced at +140 and +3 (-110). A total of 48 is the highest in this round.
Big Blue was just 6-9-2 in over/under this season. Their last three games that finished under were wins by the Giants. That’s New York’s bread and butter, as in keep this a defensive encounter, run the ball, burn some clock and win. That’s one reason to look “under” here.
There’s another big reason this game will not go over 48.5 points.
Justin Jefferson absolutely dominated the Giants in their Week 16 game (12 catches, 133 yards, and one touchdown). Don Martindale has been preparing this Giants’ defense all week to stop Jefferson. A hobbled Dalvin Cook (knee) is forced to have a bigger role with the Vikings.
Betting against Prime Time Kirk Cousins is never a bad idea. Go under here.
History Repeats Itself
Week 1 of the NFL season was months ago, and the Dallas Cowboys want to forget about it.
In the first Sunday night game of the season, the ‘Boys (12-5) laid an egg in a home losing effort, 19-3 to the same 8-9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team they draw Monday night.
A lower seed despite a substantially better record this season, Dallas is favored at -140 on the moneyline and -2½ (-115) on the spread, while Tampa Bay is +120 and +2½ (-105). The total for the game is 45½ (-110).
This was the game where Dak Prescott suffered the injury that led to Cooper Rush holding down the fort, doing so admirably. Prior to exiting the game, Prescott was just 14-of-29 134 yards, with one interception). Ezekiel Elliot was limited to 52 yards on the ground, and nothing went right with Dallas.
Quarterback Tom Brady plays best when the pressure is the highest. In Week 17, when the Bucs needed to beat the Carolina Panthers to clinch their morbid division, Brady had 432 yards (three touchdowns) against one of the better defenses in the league. An abandoned run game in the latter portion of the season has made this team one-dimensional.
Brady is priced at 10-1 (+1000), Prescott at 14-1 (+1400) to lead the postseason in passing yards, as per NFL playoff odds.
With two defenses that can limit the opposition and a first meeting that resulted in a total of 22 points, this will certainly go under 45½.