By Doug Upstone of Sports-Watch
We are down to eight teams remaining with a chance to win the Super Bowl. Here is what sports bettors thought of the NFL divisional matchups and where the line moves occurred early and the week, along with the most recent updates.
NFL – Saturday (109) BALTIMORE at (110) DENVER 4:30 ET CBS
For the opening of the divisional playoffs, the earliest number we found on the total was 45.5. In reviewing several sportsbooks, there was a slight uptick to 46, which occurred on Sunday night and remained unchanged for 48 hours. Though the movement is certainly minimal, this would seem to profess football bettors have faith in Peyton Manning to exploit a Baltimore defense, which is a far cry from those that used to dominate a few years ago. Hard to determine what the ceiling is, but the total rising to 47 would appear to be a possibility since Denver is 10-2 OVER against winning teams and when favored between 3.5 and 9.5 points, the average total score of a Broncos game is 48.4 PPG.
Update – Since that time, 75 percent of sportsbooks reviewed have moved the total up to 46.5. Almost 60 percent of the bets have been on the OVER. In addition, 90 percent of the books have elevated Denver from -9 to -9.5 and do not be surprised if the Broncos are at -10 by kickoff. Presently, just over 60 percent are backing the home team. S-W Take – Play Over
NFL – Saturday (111) GREEN BAY at (112) SAN FRANCISCO 4:30 ET FOX
The first NFCencounter saw the total dip from 46 to 45 almost immediately. As of Tuesday morning, a sampling of wagering outlets has about 30 percent of those checked lowering their number even further to 44.5. Football bettors believe a rested San Francisco defense can curtail the Green Bay offense, similar to what they did in the season opener, especially playing at home. How the total tumbles is the uncertain play of Colin Kaepernick. While coach Jim Harbaugh is confident he has the right quarterback, his lack of experience in general and specifically in such a setting has bettors more comfortable with a lower score. The Packers are 12-4 UNDER away after a home win by 10 or more points.
Update – Though over 80 percent of wagers placed are on the OVER, two out of 10 books checked have lowered the total from 45 to 44.5. S-W Take Play Under
NFL – (113) SEATTLE at (114) ATLANTA 1:00 ET FOX
Depending on the book, Atlanta was released either as a -2 or -3 point home favorite over Seattle. With this scenario, oddly enough, the action moved both up and down by Monday morning, with everyone agreeing the Falcons should be favored by 2.5. This is a vexing matchup, because the Seahawks strengths almost perfectly fit against Atlanta. Seattle has the No.3 rush offense, something the Falcons have struggled with all year and the Hawks are 6th against the pass, which is what Atlanta does best on offense. Nevertheless, the Birds should be rested and ready, while Seattle has to make consecutive West Coast to East Coast trips, which can be taxing.
Update – Because Seattle has several statistical edges, the Seahawks are drawing increasing support and half the wagering outlets have taken them down from the all important 3 to +2.5. Atlanta still has garnered 65 percent of the action. S-W Take – Lean with Atlanta to cover
NFL – (115) HOUSTON at (116) NEW ENGLAND 4:30 ET CBS (side and total)
Sportsbooks who wanted to supply numbers quickly, posted New England at -10 over Houston. By early Sunday evening, the Patriots were down to -9. Monday morning saw a minor buyback to -9.5, before settling in later in the day at nine. For those who believe in revenge, the Texans are certainly tempting, as they are 10-2 ATS when trying to even the score from their 42-14 drubbing just over a month ago. The total of 49 has also taken a hit, first crumbling to 48 and further weakening to 47.5 by Tuesday morning at about half the books reviewed. If Houston is the correct play, a lower total would correlate.
Update – As the week has progressed, the Patriots have gathered momentum and are back to -9.5, attracting 72 percent of the bets. The total is evenly split at either 47.5 or 48, with 77 percent on the OVER. S-W Take – Houston covers and Under