As the book closes on the regular season, another opens on the postseason. It's a stellar line up this season for the playoffs with plenty angles for profit. We look at this weekend's potential sharp moves.
Cardinals vs. Panthers
Sharp NFL Pick: Over 38
NFL betting trends reveal 68% of public money is on the Under 38 for this game in total betting markets. The total opened at 39-points across most sportsbooks but has come down to 38-points at early doors and stayed there for the most part. Over the course of the season, there were only few instances with totals UNDER 40-points, which is a clear indication that the bookies expect a very low-score for this game. Of those six previous instances of low totals in the regular season, the UNDER cashed four times. That's a case right there for backing the UNDER 38 on your NFL picks.
The sharp NFL pick for this game, however, is the OVER 38 in our opinion. Stats, trends and market outlook say otherwise, but there are intangibles one has to consider. Mainly the inexperience of Ryan Lindley on such a big occasion. Playoffs are career-defining. Look at experienced quarterbacks such as Andy Dalton and Andrew Luck. For all their successes in the season, they've yet to come through in a big way at this level. Heck, they have 14 picks between them in six playoff starts. Lindley has 4 picks in two regular season starts. Call it a hunch, but we think this occasion is going to prove too big for Ryan Lindley to contain, never mind overcome.
Another factor tipping the scale towards the OVER is Arizona's waning run defense down the stretch, taxed increasingly by each and every week since Carson Palmers' injury. Finally, the weather report is calling for a rain and foggy conditions. Conditions that can exacerbate the inexperience of Lindley and allow the Panthers to capitalise on both sides of the ball, mostly through special teams play and defensive plays.
Free NFL Picks: OVER 38
Ravens vs. Steelers
Sharp NFL Pick: OVER 45
The NFL odds total for this game opened at 48-points at most sportsbooks with some trading as high as 49-points. Since weather forecasts are increasingly leaning towards dreary conditions (almost 100% rain), the total has dropped significantly. It's now down to 45-points and could continue to sink. As it stands, it's almost a 50-50 split in betting markets on the OVER-UNDER. For our money, the sharp NFL pick is the OVER and if the number continues to drop it'll be even better.
Both meetings between this pair on the season were decided by a 20-point differential, which shows each team is capable of getting on a roll when they are hot. Steelers, most importantly, have a knack for coming out big in primetime games both home and away. They beat the Texans 30-23 on Monday Night Football, the Ravens 43-23 on Sunday Night Football, the Titans 27-24 on Monday Night Football and the Bengals 42-21 on Sunday Night Football, just to name a few of their late starts.
Add to that the Steelers' consistent performance in total betting cashing on the OVER, the quality of both quarterbacks when they gain momentum and both teams offensive abilities combined with secondary issues, the OVER looks to be the smart NFL pick. Granted the weather could be a factor but team tendencies are such that tip the scale towards a high-scoring affair on our NFL picks.
Free NFL Picks: OVER 44.5 at Betonline