When you bet on the NFL, you should know all about the numbers. Numbers for stats, numbers for trends, numbers for betting lines, numbers for ‘totals’ – You should know it all. Here at Bang the Book, we are set to talk about the football betting lines for the AFC and NFC Championship Games. Here are the most important numbers that you need to remember for the week!
0: The number of games that went ‘under’ the ‘total’ last weekend. In fact, it was the highest scoring weekend of playoff football in NFL history in terms of total points. That’s why all of the ‘totals’ in this week’s games are a bit inflated. The average number of points per game last week was a lofty 69.0, and the lowest scoring game was 58. In fact, you could have 10-point teased all of these ‘totals’ last weekend and still lost on each and every last one of them, and that’s something to definitely look at with a raised eyebrow.
0: The number of interceptions that QB Joe Flacco has thrown this year in the playoffs. This is a man that is truly rounding into an elite quarterback at this level. Flacco has thrown for over 600 yards and five TDs, and though it wasn’t the prettiest ball in the world, he did throw the game-tying 70-yard strike to WR Jacoby Jones that extended Baltimore’s season into overtime last week at the Denver Broncos. But here we are in the AFC Championship Game, where Flacco has been twice before without success. He has never won this one, and he still has one more big one to win beyond that if he wants to lift the Lombardi Trophy.
1: The number of quarterbacks of the four that are still playing this year that have ever sniffed the Super Bowl if their careers. QB Matt Ryan just won his very first playoff game last week, QB Colin Kaepernick just played in his first playoff game last week, and though QB Joe Flacco has gotten ever so close, he has never been there either. That leaves QB Tom Brady, who is trying to become the first quarterback in NFL history to start in six different Super Bowls in his career.
3: The number of touchdowns that RB Shane Vereen had last weekend for the New England Patriots. Surprise! Vereen came out of nowhere in that game, but he was lined up all over the field. TE Rob Gronkowski was injured once again, and instead of lining up another tight end, QB Tom Brady often split Vereen out wide, where he was matched up against linebackers that were just too slow to keep up with him. Will we hear from Vereen again in this game? It’s anyone’s guess. However, it’s a harsh reminder to the rest of the league that New England has weapons like you wouldn’t believe all over the field, and some of them rarely even make it off of the bench.
3.5: The number of points that the Atlanta Falcons are getting against the San Francisco 49ers this weekend in the NFC Championship Game. Atlanta is clearly a great home team, but after starting off at 7-0 here at the Georgia Dome this year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came to town in Week 17 and beat it, and the Seattle Seahawks darn near pulled it off last weekend as well. The Niners have already won on the road in New Orleans and New England this year with Kaepernick calling the shots, and they won at Lambeau Field earlier this season against the Packers as well, and that’s why the oddsmakers have made them the favorites.
4: The number of games that the Atlanta Falcons have won in a row against the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners have kept close in virtually all of those games, and that’s why both teams are 2-2 ATS to show for their work in these four games against each other, but when the rubber meets the road, it has been Atlanta that has been figuring out how to win these games. This is just the second time that these two will ever meet in the playoffs, and the first time around, the Falcons won and went on to the Super Bowl that season.
5: The number of games that the New England Patriots have covered in five tries against fellow AFC playoff teams this year. Yes, they did end up losing one of those games SU, but the loss to the Baltimore Ravens seems like it was eons ago. Most probably don’t even remember that New England successfully covered the spread that night at M&T Bank Stadium. The Pats are 8-1 ATS dating back to last year against teams that made the playoffs that season in conference play.
7: The total number of points that the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots have been separated by over the course of their last three games against each other. Baltimore claimed a 31-30 win way back in Week 3, and the two previous games both ended 23-20 in favor of the Patriots. If you like close football, this is surely going to be the game that you don’t want to miss on Sunday.
7: The minimum number of receptions that WR Michael Crabtree has had in five of his last six games for the San Francisco 49ers. Crabtree has averaged over 90 receiving yards per game since QB Colin Kaepernick has taken over as the team’s starting quarterback. It has taken awhile, but Crabtree has finally rounded into the form that the 49ers were hoping for when they drafted him seemingly eons ago.
8: The number of points that the Baltimore Ravens are getting against the New England Patriots. It’s a bit of a suspect number, knowing that most expect this game to be very close as it was at the start of the season. Still, the oddsmakers have looked at what the New England offense has been able to do over the course of the last several weeks offensively, averaging well over 400 yards and over 34 points per game for the season, and they just don’t see how Baltimore is going to keep up. Remember though, that the Ravens were dogs by even more than that last weekend in Denver, and they walked away with the upset of the playoffs as a result.
17: The number of playoff wins that QB Tom Brady now has for his career. That’s the most all-time by any quarterback, breaking the record of the great QB Joe Montana. Brady is surely going to see his statue sitting in Canton one day, and the argument is going to be made that the little sixth round draft pick out of Michigan is going to ultimately be called the best quarterback in the history of the NFL. He still has plenty of playoff games left to play in his career, and we know that he’ll be in the 20s, and maybe even in the 30s by the time he’s all said and done with.
49: The number of points in the ‘total’ in the NFC Championship Game this week. The 49ers and the Falcons both played to significantly lower ‘totals’ than that in the regular season against each other, which makes it all the more suspect to see a number this high in this game. However, with the way that both of these offenses have played over the course of the last few weeks, and the way that both defenses have struggled against elite units for most of the year, the oddsmakers are banking on a lot of points to be scored.
51.5: The number of points in the ‘total’ in the AFC Championship Game this week. Unlike in the NFC, where it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever that the ‘total’ is this high, it makes sense in the AFC. The Ravens and Patriots played to 61 points when these two met the first time in a game that was a dead nuts ‘over’ from the get go, and both teams put up at least 38 points last week in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Still, we have to remember that the Baltimore defense is fierce, and if you take away the two TDs that WR/KR Trindon Holliday scored last week for the Broncos, this unit has only allowed a total of 30 points in nine quarters here in the playoffs.
142: The number of yards that TE Zach Miller put up last week for the Seattle Seahawks against the Atlanta Falcons. That might not seem like an interesting number, as receivers have 100+ yard games all the time. However, with the San Francisco 49ers coming to town this weekend, this stat bears repeating. Why? Because TE Vernon Davis might be the X-Factor in this game for the Niners. Davis has had a slow year, and he just hasn’t caught on with QB Colin Kaepernick since he has been installed as the starter, but this could be the game where he busts out, especially if WR Michael Crabtree is kept in check by the Atlanta defense.
181: The number of yards that QB Colin Kaepernick rushed for last week against the Green Bay Packers. Not only was that the most rushing yards for a quarterback in a playoff game in league history, but it was also the most rushing yards for a quarterback in any game in league history. It was truly a sight to see Kaepernick racing like a gazelle up and down the sidelines, and he has proven that he was the right choice for Head Coach Jim Harbaugh to use as the quarterback of his team, specifically for games like that.
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.