NFL Betting By the Numbers: Divisional Weekend
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 NFL betting lines for Divisional Weekend. Here are the most important numbers that you need to remember for the week!
0 – The number of positive plays which QB Colin Kaepernick accounted for when he was on the run when his San Francisco 49ers took on the Carolina Panthers in the middle of the season. Kaepernick didn’t complete a single pass when he was flushed out of the pocket, and each of his four carries for 16 yards were on designed runs or run option plays. Not only that, but Carolina sacked Kaepernick six times on the day, two of which came when he scrambled out of the pocket. It is clear that the Niners are better off offensively when Kaepernick is making plays with his legs which he did against the Green Bay Packers last week, and if that doesn’t happen this weekend, there is a real chance that San Fran is going to be sent packing from the playoffs in Charlotte.
1 – The number of favorites this weekend who aren’t getting at least seven points. The 1 also represents the number of points which the Carolina Panthers are laying against the San Francisco 49ers. We know that these aren’t expected to be close games this weekend, but we also know that there is no doubt there are opportunities to shine for these underdogs. The fact of the matter is that there are big time upsets all the time this time of year, and taking all of the underdogs blindly might be a good recipe. Of course, these short underdogs, the ones you figure to be the upset candidates, are often the ones that end up getting blown out, so be very wary of where you put the 49ers on the pecking order of your bets in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
1 – The number of games which QB Russell Wilson has ever lost at home at CenturyLink Field. It is a stat you’re going to hear over and over again, and it is one which we are going to harp on as well. Of course, the issue came up a few weeks ago when the Arizona Cardinals came to town and walked out with a win that the Seahawks were now a beatable team, but the only home playoff games they have played of late, they have managed to win. On top of that, Seattle has never lost a home playoff game at this stadium; the last loss was at the old Kingdome. The task is a tough one for sure for the New Orleans Saints, a perpetually bad road team, but as Arizona proved a few weeks ago, it isn’t a totally impossible feat if you can play defense well enough to hold down Wilson and his offense.
2 – The number of times that QB Andrew Luck was pressured on his 25 drop backs against the Kansas City Chiefs when he ran the no-huddle offense in the second half on Saturday. Of course, it was that reason why the Indianapolis Colts staged the giant comeback which we will talk so much more about in this piece, and it is something which has to get Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton thinking. If Luck can do that against the Chiefs, who have one of the best pass rushes in the entire league, what could be on deck when the New England Patriots come calling? The Pats are thin up front, and they don’t nearly have the best pass defense or pass rush in the world. Perhaps using the no-huddle, something which Luck used a lot of down the stretch of the season, might be the key to victory in the second round of the playoffs.
2 – The number of games which Carolina Panthers’ QB Cam Newton has won in his career which were decided by three points or fewer. The first of those games in his career came against the San Francisco 49ers a few months ago, and the second of those wins came in Week 17 against the Atlanta Falcons. What’s scary is the fact that the Panthers have been beaten five times in Newton’s career by three points or fewer, and this time of year when the games are close (see: last week when three games were decided by three points or fewer), you need to have a quarterback which can win these close games. Newton hasn’t been that man yet in his career, but there is still plenty of time to change that, perhaps starting as early as this week.
6 – The number of interceptions which QB Andrew Luck has thrown in his last nine games which have gone into the hands of safeties. Luck has had all sorts of trouble throwing the ball over the middle of the field, and though WR TY Hilton has made plenty of big time plays in his time up the seams of the field, Luck needs to be careful with the football for sure. Two of his three picks last week went into the hands of S Husain Abdullah, who only had one interception the whole regular season. The New England Patriots’ safeties only have a total of one pick this year as well, but lo and behold, two of Luck’s three interceptions last season when playing the Pats were thrown to – you guessed it – safeties.
7 – The number of SU upsets there have been in the Divisional Round of the playoffs in the last six seasons by teams which were underdogs by at least seven points. There has been at least one of these SU upsets in each of the last six years, and there is a good chance that there are some teams on upset alert this week as well. The three big favorites are the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, and Seattle Seahawks, but history says that at least one of them is going to get pushed to the brink of elimination, while the other is going to ultimately get stunned. This is the time of year where the perceived best teams in the league prove that they aren’t all that much better than the next best teams in the league, and upsets happen all the time. Don’t be stunned when your favorite teams which are laying massive points and seem like sure things end up getting upset.
7.7 – The number representing the quarterback rating for QB Colin Kaepernick against the Carolina Panthers when his San Francisco 49ers faced them in the middle of the season. Kaepernick went just 11-of-22, and he didn’t even reach 100 yards passing on the day. The Niners only had a total of 43 yards after the catch, which didn’t help matters any, but the fact of the matter is that LB Luke Kuechly, who led all tacklers with 11 stops on the day, really wreaked havoc on this San Francisco offense. It goes without saying that Kaepernick can’t have a situation once again where he has a QB rating under 80, let alone under 10, if there is any hope of advancing into the NFC Championship Game.
10 – The number of points which the San Diego Chargers are getting against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. That makes the Bolts the biggest underdogs in the second round of the playoffs. That’s nothing new to the Chargers though, as they were the biggest underdogs of the weekend in Wild Card Weekend as well, yet they were the only team in the week to win by more than a field goal. QB Philip Rivers and his Chargers are thriving in the underdog role, as they had one of the lowest probabilities of getting into the playoffs in the last month of the season, and they have been the biggest underdog every step of the way in the playoffs as well. It’s only fitting going into Mile High that that is the case once again for San Diego.
23 – The number of points representing the total margin of victory in the four games in Wild Card Weekend. Perhaps the better number is 6, which is the number of points in the margins of victory in the games for the San Francisco 49ers (3), New Orleans Saints (2), and Indianapolis Colts (1). It was one of the closest weekends of football in league history, and there is no doubt that there won’t be many weekends any closer than that. Only the San Diego Chargers, the biggest underdogs on the board last week, bucked the trend and won by 17, and even that only got a little more ridiculous at the end of the game when RB Ronnie Brown ran for a long touchdown with the Bolts just trying to run out the clock against the Cincinnati Bengals.
28 – The number of points which the Indianapolis Colts were trailing the Kansas City Chiefs by on Saturday afternoon at Lucas Oil Field. It was a bummer of a 38-10 deficit, and most in attendance and most watching on TV checked out of the game mentally and had no feelings of the Colts coming back. However, QB Andrew Luck, in moment of brilliance after moment of brilliance, was virtually perfect in the final 20 minutes or so of the game, and he guided the team on the biggest comeback in franchise history and the second biggest comeback in the history of the NFL playoffs. Of course, the only game which was more notable was the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Houston Oilers, one in which backup QB Frank Reich led the Bills back from down 32 points to win in overtime.
42 – The number of points in the lowest ‘total’ of the weekend. The game pits the San Francisco 49ers up against the Carolina Panthers. This makes all the sense in the world as well, as both of these defenses are out of this world, and when these teams met each other in the middle of the regular season, the final score was just 10-9, and there was just one offensive touchdown which was scored. These two offenses are very similar to one another, and this is the unit which these teams practice against all the time, so they are more or less mirror images of one another, and we once again expect that there is going to be a lot of hard-hitting football where points are extremely hard to come by in the end. To prove what just a low scoring game these two are expected to play, the next lowest ‘total’ of the weekend is the 48 on the board between the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks.
55 – The number of points in the highest ‘total’ of the weekend. The game pits the Denver Broncos up against the San Diego Chargers, and it is almost a bit surprising to think that the number would be this high. Playoff games trended towards going ‘over’ last week for sure, and Denver has been one of the best ‘over’ teams of the season. However, when these two teams met this year, both meetings of which have been relatively recent, the games only reached 48 and 47 points. That said, this is one of the two games with ‘totals’ in the 50s this week (the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots have a ‘total’ of 53), and it is expected to be the highest scoring game of the weekend.
59 – The number of points which the New England Patriots dropped on the Indianapolis Colts in their last meeting last season. Of course, that was QB Andrew Luck’s rookie year, and this might be a much different situation now that he is another 20 games or so in, including two playoff games, but the fact of the matter is that QB Tom Brady has to be licking his chops. Remember that this is the same Indy defense which just gave up 44 points last week to the Kansas City Chiefs. If QB Alex Smith can put up 44 in a game where RB Jamaal Charles got hurt and barely played, the Brady Bunch has to be able to put up some humongous numbers if given the chance, even in potentially suspect weather conditions.
109 – The number of yards which RB Marshawn Lynch has run for against the New Orleans Saints in his last two games against them if you take out the 67-yard “Beast Mode” run in the 2012 playoffs. Believe it or not, Lynch really hasn’t done all that much outside of that one run against New Orleans, and though the Seattle Seahawks have won and covered both of those games and done so with ease, it hasn’t been thanks to the best offensive weapon on the team. The truth of the matter is that the Saints haven’t been as awful as you might think defensively in those games, and if the ‘D’ manages to hold down Lynch, there is a real chance for QB Drew Brees to finally have that elite type of game against this Seattle Seahawks’ defense, which could lead to an upset at CenturyLink Field in the end.