A Look at Betting Totals in First Round NFL Playoff Games (Part 2)

NFL Jan 08, 2021

Note:  This is a continuation of a two-part article on this week's NFL playoff games and betting totals.  Read PART 1 here.


One of the most important factors which may influence how many points are scored is the weather.

The National Weather Service has a forecast for each host city, which is posted at NFLWEATHER.COM.  Looking at the predicted temperatures, conditions for a few of the games might be considered downright balmy considering it's mid-January.

When betting totals, always consider the weather — you don’t have scoring shootouts when the ball feels like it’s been dipped in liquid nitrogen. So here’s the forecast for this weekend.  This forecast is as of Friday.  Conditions are subject to change:

Sunday, January 9th

Indianapolis at Buffalo

– The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Indianapolis's last 8 games when playing Buffalo.
– The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Indianapolis's last 7 games when playing on the road against Buffalo.

LA Rams at Seattle

– The total has gone UNDER in 11 of LA Rams's last 13 games.
– The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Seattle's last 8 games.

Tampa Bay at Washington

– The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Washington's last 5 games.
– The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Washington's last 6 games at home.

Sunday, January 10th

Baltimore at Tennessee

– The total has gone OVER in 7 of Tennessee's last 8 games.
– The total has gone OVER in 11 of Tennessee's last 14 games at home.

Chicago at New Orleans

-- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Chicago's last 6 games.
– New Orleans has played 10-6 to the OVER in all games this season.

Cleveland @ Pittsburgh

-- No significant totals trends


BUF / IND OVER 51.5 – This higher-than-average total ignores the fact these are both above-average defences.  However, the focus here is on the Bills who have been a scoring machine.  Buffalo rolled up big numbers and seems to have improved in the later half of the season.  Bills went OVER 9-5-2 this season, averaging 35 points in their final eight games.  The Colts averaged 30 PPG the later half of the season.  Given weather isn't a factor in the early game, there's likely a small bit of value betting this one OVER.

LAR / SEA UNDER 42.5 – Seattle's defence is healthy and playing as well as anyteam in the NFL right now.  Combined with the Rams having some major concerns with the offense, as well as Seattle's offense sputtering down the stretch, this UNDER looks very attractive, even though it's one of the lowest this weekend.  Seahawks have posted UNDERs in 7 of their last 8.  Meanwhile, the Rams have been the best UNDER team in the NFL this season, going below the total in 12 of 16 games.  This one looks too obvious, but UNDER is the play.

TBY / WAS UNDER 45.5 – This all comes down to believing in the Washignton defence or Brady and the Bucs' offense.  Given that Washington has gone UNDER in 10 of 16 this season, including five straight games, that's compelling evidence.  Washington also fields the weakest offense of any playoff team.  They haven't broken 23 points in any of their last five games.  One of these teams is probably going to struggle, and if that happens, the game should fall well below the total, which seems a few points too high.  Betting this one UNDER.

BAL /TEN OVER 54.5 – Here's the highest total on the board of all six games, and it might not be set high enough given the current form of both offenses, and especially how bad the Titans defense has played down the stretch.  Tennessee is an OVER bettor's dream, eclipsing the total in a 12-3-1 run.  Ravens are a concern as an OVER bet since they've played just 7-9 to that outcome this season.  However, some of the Ravens' defensive success has simply been due to playing very weak opponents – Jaguars, Giants, and Bengals in last three games – which might skew some defensive numbers.  It looks like this could turn into a wild finish where the last team with the ball wins.  So, bet this one OVER.

CHI / NOR TOTAL 47 – The Saints are perceived as an OVER team, but they haven't been as high-scoring in the playoffs.  Caution is advised before jumping on the OVER in this game, especially with mixed signals coming in from the Bears.  Chicago turned their season around with a late surge, but looked outclassed in the loss to rival Packers last week, backing into the playoffs as an 8-8 team.  Very difficult to predict which offense, or defence will show up here.  Total at 47 looks about right, so this is the one game that appears to have no discernable value betting on the total.

CLE / PIT UNDER 47 – There are lots of question marks about how the Browns will react to injuries and COVID-issues.  It doesn't seem that Pittsburgh is the place to put up lots of points when this same team scored just 24 last week against the Steelers' backups.  Pittsburgh should come in a bit more rested, but has also been flat offensively down the stretch.  Cleveland's 11-5 record is misleading, since this team was actually outscored overall by opponents this season.  Now, with coaches and players dealing with extra issues, it's hard to foresee where the scoring will come from.  Total looks perhaps 2-3 points too high, so let's call this one UNDER