When all the trends and all the public betting heads in one direction, it’s time to sit back and figure out why. And often, fading the public – betting the opposite way – is all you need to know to turn a healthy profit wagering the NFL playoffs.
So OddsShark.com handicappers are bucking the computer projections and trends that point to OVERs in both the NFC Title game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants along with the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens.
The OddsShark.com NFL scores engine picks a 31-21 win by the 49ers and a 34-30 win by the Patriots. If correct, those results would follow the two strongest trends in recent years – home teams win (they are 8-2 SU in the past five seasons) and games go OVER the total (10-2 past six seasons).
“The saying ‘defense wins championships’ is true but it doesn’t mean that playoff battles are instantly low-scoring slugfests,” said Mike Pickett of Odds Shark. “But there are a few stats and motivational factors that has us betting the other way.”
Patriots vs Ravens Odds – Matchup Report and Preview
One of those stats is defensive first downs. No team in the league allowed more first downs than the New England Patriots, according to sortable defensive rankings.
A team boasting a top running back like Ray Rice should be able to grind out yardage, wind the clock and keep Tom Brady’s offensive show on the sidelines. Less of Tom Brady means less scoring.
The total opened at 48, but was bet up to 50.5 by Wednesday at Bovada and stands to climb even higher as the recreational betting crowd continue betting OVER. The NFL consensus data has betting split pretty evenly.
“We will probably wait until the last minute to get the best UNDER possible, unless the weather forecast changes or we see an injury that affects it,” said Pickett.
Much was made of New England’s 7-1 ATS mark against the Ravens over the years, but that lone win was in Foxboro two years ago in a Wild Card game. Baltimore has won here and can do it again. If the computer is right, the Ravens will cover a 7-point spread.
49ers vs Giants Odds – Matchup Report and Preview
The Giants have been very tough lately, but backing Big Blue means you don’t think the San Francisco 49ers can continue a truly remarkable run of covering the spread at home.
They are 10-0-1 ATS in 11 games dating back to last season and took out the Saints last week. They boast the running game with Frank Gore to do the same to the visiting Giants, who come in as slight road underdogs.
New York rates in the NFL’s bottom third for defense, allowing 25 points per game. The 49ers ranked second, just behind the Steelers at 14.3 PPG, and didn’t give up a rushing TD until Week 17.
“That stingy run stop could help turn this into a field-goal battle, pushing this game UNDER the total too,” said Pickett. The total opened at 44 and has been bet down to about 42 at several shops tracked by Odds Shark.