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 Wild Card Weekend. Here are the most important numbers that you need to remember for the week!
0 – The number of SU and ATS losses this year that the Cincinnati Bengals had at home. You don’t think of the Bengals as a team which would have the best home field advantage in the game, but that’s exactly how this all played out this year. Sure, the AFC North wasn’t the best division in the world this year, but there were wins against the Green Bay Packers (with QB Aaron Rodgers in the saddle) and the New England Patriots at home as well. Cincinnati is no joke, and that’s why it is laying a ton of points in the opening playoff game of the year against the San Diego Chargers.
3 – The number of rematches from the regular season in the first round of the playoffs. It’s not all that strange to see this happening, but what is strange about it is that there could be a lot of revenge to be had. The winners of those games, the Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals, and San Francisco 49ers are all favored over the Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, and Green Bay Packers respectively. There could be some sweet revenge to be had, but if the chalk holds up, there’s a real chance that there will be nothing but sweeps as well.
4 – The number of times the Green Bay Packers have ever lost a playoff game at Lambeau Field. They have lost four of their last seven games at home in the postseason, but that doesn’t make the “Frozen Tundra” any less difficult to play at, especially for a team like the San Francisco 49ers who aren’t used to playing in inclement weather. QB Aaron Rodgers has been at the helm for a couple of those losses, but he’s back in the saddle and could be set to get some payback for three straight losses both SU and ATS to the 49ers just since the middle of last regular season.
4 – The number of consecutive ‘over’ games that the Cincinnati Bengals played to end the season. Most realize that the San Diego Chargers finished the year with four straight covers, but this is an interesting trend. The Bengals weren’t a big time ‘over’ team this year until DT Geno Atkins went down for the season with an injury. Now, the points are starting to rack up on both sides of the ball, and QB Andy Dalton is doing a great job creating points for both teams thanks to his touchdowns and, as we saw against the Baltimore Ravens in the final game of the regular season, his picks, too. These two teams played two straight ‘under’ games this year and last though, and neither game was all that close to the number (you’ll see why in just a second).
5 – The number of combined turnovers in each of the last two games for the San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals. There’s a reason that these two teams have failed to score all that many points in either of the outings, both of which were won by the Bengals on the road at Qualcomm Stadium. Here in the postseason, there really shouldn’t be all that much in the way of turnovers, and if there is, you can bet that the team which loses that battle is going to end up seeing its season come to a close.
7 – The number of points which the Cincinnati Bengals are favored by over the San Diego Chargers. This makes the Bengals the biggest favorites of the weekend, and as shocking as it is, they might be the most trendy of the upset picks as well. Many are on the San Diego bandwagon at this point after the team snuck into the postseason by winning the final four games of the regular season. Perhaps the better number to analyze would have been 2.5, which is the number which the rest of the favorites are getting the nod by in the other games. The favorites? The Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles at home and the San Francisco 49ers on the road.
11 – The number of sacks which the Kansas City Chiefs have had in their last seven games. This is a heck of a contrast from the 36 sacks which the team got in the first nine weeks of the season. Not surprisingly, all five losses have come in those last seven games. The competition has been tougher sure, but DE Tamba Hali only has one game with a sack since Week 9, and the injured DE Justin Houston hasn’t really done anything since Week 7. These two men are the keys to the whole season for KC as we see it, and if they aren’t going to be getting to QB Andrew Luck, the Indianapolis Colts are going to romp for the second straight meeting in this series.
14 – The number of times the Indianapolis Colts turned the ball over all season long. The Colts really did to the Kansas City Chiefs what the Chiefs had been doing to the rest of the league all season long, and it wasn’t until that game that anyone really realized that they were doing so well hanging onto the football. Indy has the second best turnover margin in the league, but the crowning moment of the year was going +4 in the turnover department against these Chiefs on the road, the team that led the league in turnover margin literally all season long.
22 – The number of years since the Cincinnati Bengals won a playoff game. You don’t think of Cincinnati as a team which hasn’t won a playoff in several generations of teams, but that has been the case, and it’s part of the reason why Head Coach Marvin Lewis was under fire for a number of seasons. He’ll be safe now for winning the AFC North this year, and this is the first playoff game in quite some time in which the Bengals were favored. In fact, the seven-point spread is the biggest point spread in a Bengals game in quite some time, and this is one which they aren’t going to want to squander under any stretch of the imagination.
46.5 – The number representing the lowest ‘total’ of the weekend. The Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts only played to 30 total points when these two teams met just 15 days ago, but the oddsmakers don’t think that is going to be the case again. In fact, this is the exact same number which was put on the board in Week 16 as well. To think that 46.5 is the lowest ‘total’ of the Wild Card weekend is a bit sickening, but it shows just how much offense has progressed in this league over the course of the last several seasons.
55 – The number representing the highest ‘total’ of the weekend. The New Orleans Saints and the Philadelphia Eagles are both high scoring outfits by nature, and the pros of both offenses mesh perfectly with the cons of both defenses. The Eagles had a tough time defending against any passing game this year, ranking 32nd in passing yards allowed. Meanwhile, Philly had the best rushing offense in the league this year, and we know that the New Orleans rush defense, though ranked a reasonable 19th in the NFL, probably is a whole heck of a lot worse than that, especially this time of year. Fireworks could be flying in this game for sure.
77.1 – The number representing the percentage of passes which QB Aaron Rodgers has completed to WR Randall Cobb in his career, the highest percentage for any quarterback to wide receiver with at least 150 attempts in the NFL. Most recall that the Green Bay Packers got Rodgers back from his broken collarbone last week, but most don’t recall the fact that Cobb came back after sitting out for three months as well. All of a sudden, the two had a pair of touchdowns together, including the bomb on 4th and 8 which put the Pack into the postseason and sent the Chicago Bears “packing.” This might be the most dangerous wide receiver/quarterback combination in all of football, and it certainly is one of the best in the playoffs.
95 – The number of times that the Indianapolis Colts got their franchise cornerstone, QB Andrew Luck hit this year. Luck might have only been sacked 31 times in 16 games, a very modest number, but in the end, getting hit 95 times is just far too much. No individual quarterback in the NFL suffered more hits, and only the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns got their quarterbacks hit more. And funny, isn’t it? How many games were missed due to injury for quarterbacks between those two teams this year? Enter: The Kansas City Chiefs, who, once upon a time, were averaging hitting quarterbacks over seven times per game this year themselves. That has dropped off significantly, but it is definitely something to watch out for if DE Tamba Hali, DE Justin Houston (if he plays), and his friends spend a lot of time in the Indy backfield this weekend.
129 – The number of rushing yards per game which the San Francisco 49ers have outrushed the Green Bay Packers in the three games in which they have played against each other since the start of the 2012 season. That’s right. Not 129 yards in total. 129 PER GAME! A lot of that was QB Colin Kaepernick in the playoffs last season setting the record for the most rushing yards by a signal caller in a playoff game in NFL history, but RB Frank Gore by himself has outrushed Green Bay in these games. However, RB Eddie Lacy didn’t play in the Week 1 meeting this year, and he has quietly put up the best year a Green Bay running back has had in decades in 2013. That could make all the difference in the world against the 49ers on Sunday.
733 – The number of passing yards which the Green Bay Packers allowed mobile quarterbacks this season. The good news for the Pack is that they haven’t faced a mobile quarterback since Week 2. The bad news is that QB Colin Kaepernick threw for over 400 of those yards on them, and QB Robert Griffin III threw for over 300 yards on them. That 400+ yard game for Kaepernick was the first time in his career which he even threw for 300 yards, let alone 400 yards, and to date, it remains his only career 300-yard game. The man from Nevada really needs everything to go right for him to get his arm going, as he usually never gets the chance to uncork the ball that much in the Head Coach Jim Harbaugh offense. He’ll get his chance again on Sunday, this time on the road, as the 49ers head to the Frozen Tundra with hopes of finding a way to put the Niners into the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.