NFL Picks: How Will the Public Place Their Playoff Bets?

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 4:16 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 4:16 PM UTC

With just two games to choose from for NFL picks on Championship Sunday, thought I would investigate the totals and money lines for each contest and analyze them from various perspectives.

As an experienced sports handicapper, I will break down the totals to see what might be the correct side against the sportsbooks and check in where the public is placing their money for NFL picks.


Packers vs. Seahawks
The total on this NFC championship opened at 47 and by Sunday evening was down a half point to 46.5. There are several reasons for this modest move to occur.

It starts with the Seattle defense, which allows just 15.9 points a game, which is nearly 30 percent below what their opponents have averaged on the season (22.3). During the Seahawks remarkable 7-0 SU and ATS run they are in the midst of, their defense has surrendered EIGHT points a contest, 8!

Many long-time NFL aficionados who have studied the NFL odds for decades are convinced Seattle’s defense is on par with the 1985 Chicago Bears, long regarded as the best of the modern era.  Pete Carroll’s crew is going on two complete seasons of dominance, which is more reminiscent of Pittsburgh’s “Steel Curtain” from the 1970’s.

Of course playing at home adds fuel to this defense and with Aaron Rodgers at no more than 75 percent and his mobility restricted at least 80 percent, how does Green Bay score on Seattle unless the defense wins field position or creates turnovers?

The Packers only average 21 points per game on the road this season and in there two trips to the Northwest in the past three years, they have totaled 28 points. Green Bay is 16-6 UNDER revenging a loss by 14 or more points and 6-0 UNDER if they are off two home games.  

Just over 50 percent of those working the NFL odds as sports bettors are on the UNDER. Why the number is not higher is because like last week, Seattle can generate explosive plays on offense or defense which could flip the situation.

Betting With the Public: Play Under 47 at The Greek

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Colts vs. Patriots
This past Sunday the total was released at 53.5 and various Nevada and offshore sportsbooks have been back and forth between the original starting point and 54.

The potential for fireworks is in place with Andrew Luck and Tom Brady at the controls. In the three previous matchups between these quarterbacks the OVER is 3-0; however, this has been mostly because of New England, who has tallied 42, 43 and 59 points. Conversely, Indianapolis has not manufactured more than 24 points in any contest.

The early NFL betting action on the total was heavy on the OVER, with reports of 3-to-1 action. This has subsided and at last peek, those betting the OVER were down to 55 percent.

New England is 19-9 OVER at home the past three years and in that same timeframe they are 10-0 OVER when the total is 49.5 or higher. The Colts have won eight of their past 10 and when this has occurred since 2012, they are 6-0 UNDER in their next outing.

I like the way the Colts defense is playing and the Patriots have shown they can slow Luck, thus I’ll take the UNDER for this AFC championship.

Betting Against the Public: Play Under

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Money Line Action
Many sports bettors will take a flyer this time of year on an underdog to win outright in these games, figuring a moderate wager is worth the risk for a potentially larger payout if correct.

In reviewing consensus reports in early betting action, Green Bay is attracting just over 60 percent of the money line action, however, that seems like a reach when you consider Seattle’s advantage at home and the fact they are 11-1 on the ML after allowing 17 points or less in three straight games the last three seasons. 

Football bettors are taking the more conservative route with Indianapolis and New England, with the money line wagers virtually divided in half. Interesting to find the Colts are 11-2 after two wins by 10 or more points. Yet, the Pats are 15-1 on the ML as a favorite of -160 to -475 the last two seasons. 

Money Line Plays: Seattle and New England

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