NFL Playoffs Divisional Round: Exotics and Parlays Worth Considering

NFL Jan 22, 2022

Here are a few NFL picks worth considering, including three first-half team totals and one parlay:

First Half Team Total:  Cincinnati OVER 9.5 (-140)

First Half Team Total:  San Francisco OVER 9.5 (-125)

First Half Team Total:  LA Rams OVER 9.5 (-172)

Comments:  There’s nothing especially deep so far as my analysis goes on each of these three first-half team totals.  I bet them all because I see value on the numbers.  My reasoning is based on data.  My simple logic here is that “9.5” is too low of a total in any half for just about any good offence.  This is especially true for teams that average scoring well above this number over the course of the season.  That’s the case for all three teams:

— First, let’s start with the Rams who have been excellent in the 1H (nearly 14 points on average) and who have put up 17 and 21 during the last two weeks.

— Second, despite their early slump and some worrisome QB problems during the midseason, the 49ers still averaged 13 points in the first half.  That’s an easy “over” bet, even if it’s cold and in Green Bay.

— And third, Cincinnati also posts 13 points on average over the full 17 games, plus 20 points in their last effort.

— I also like all three QBs Stafford, Garoppolo, and Burrow at the helm — two of which are highly experienced and the other (Burrow) one of the league’s best QBs statistically over the second half of the season.

— Let’s also look at the three defences they will face — the Packers have allowed 10+ points in 7 of their last 8 matchups in the first half; next, Bucs have allowed 10+ in 7 of last 11 games; while Tennessee poses perhaps the toughest challenge of the three (9.9 points per game in 1H overall) and a much better defence during later part of the season, though their competition was soft.

The high vig reduces the value of these wagers significantly, especially on the Rams.  I’m surprised that the 1H team total isn’t 10 or even 10.5 for that game.  So, to capture the 9.5 and win on a 10 strikes me as worth more than the 5:3 lay price.  In short, all three of these offences have big-play capabilities and should be able to hit 10 or more points in the first half.


Comments:  Parlays can be fools gold.  However, I in this rare instance, I decided to wager on two moneyline favourites this weekend, which are expected to win because both enjoy clear advantages versus their opponents.  The reasoning goes something like this:

— Tennessee is coming off a bye and should be well-rested.

— They’re at home.

— Getting RB D. Henry back in the lineup should help the Titans, and he will also be effective as a decoy, opening up the passing game.

— The passing attack is improving as well, getting back two starting WRs who have been hobbled with injuries all season.

— I also see Tennessee as one of the best defences of all the playoff teams, so they should be able to put together a win.

Let’s also be clear–I have been impressed with the Bengals all season, but they are still probably a few players away from championship game-level status.  Tennessee has been in playoff games before and fields the more experienced lineup.

So then, why not bet the Titans and lay the points?  The game is lined at -3.5, so the hook keeps me off the favourite.  KEY POINT:  I also think Tennessee feels very disrespected to be the top seed, and only a FG fave despite being at home off a bye.

As for the mentality on the other sideline: The Bengals have already surpassed everyone’s expectations.  That could break for them either way here — they play loose with nothing to lose, or they get exposed here versus a team of veterans all with playoff experience.  For these reasons, the Titans are an easy pick on the ML.  But I also don’t want to lay -185, so instead this parlay ticket is linked to the Green Bay Packers.

As is their rich history, the Packers will be tough to beat at home, and just as in the Titans game, we get the rested team coming off a playoff bye.

WEATHER FACTOR (ADVANTAGE PACKERS): The zero degrees temperature at kickoff is a concern for both teams.  But the Packers should be the better team able to make adjustments.

Injury Update:  QB J. Garoppolo is reportedly not at 100 percent, coming off some injuries last week.  Of course, he will play,  But he looked shaky in the 2nd half of the Dallas game.  At Green Bay, the test will be far greater.  It’s easy to pick the Packers here in their home, rested, and the weather on their side.  So, that’s the bet.


First Half Team Total:  Cincinnati OVER 9.5 (-140)

First Half Team Total:  San Francisco OVER 9.5 (-125)

First Half Team Total:  LA Rams OVER 9.5 (-172)