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Total Talk - DP Saturday
Total Talk - Sunday

Wild Card Recap

The ‘under’ went 3-1 in last week's Wild Card round and while two of the results were never in doubt, the Titans and Chiefs were on pace at halftime (21-3) to go to the high side but Kansas City failed to score in the final 30 minutes. Including those results, the ‘under’ has gone 17-5-1 in the first round of the last six seasons.

Divisional Playoff History

The ‘over’ went 3-1 in the Divisional Playoffs last season and we’ve seen now totals go 8-8 the last four years in this round. From 2010 through 2012, there was an ‘over’ surge with an 11-1 record to the high side. New England will be making its eighth straight appearance in this round while Atlanta is showing up for the second consecutive season and they’re both in action on Saturday. Philadelphia and Tennessee haven’t played in this Divisional Playoffs since the 2008 postseason.

TOTAL History (2010-2016)
2016 (OVER 3-1) 2015 (TOTAL 2-2)
Seattle 20 Atlanta 36 - OVER 51.5 Kansas City 20 New England 27 - OVER 44
Houston 16 New England 34 - OVER 44.5 Green Bay 20 Arizona 26 - UNDER 49.5
Pittsburgh 18 Kansas City 16 - UNDER 45.5 Seattle 24 Carolina 31 - OVER 42
Green Bay 34 Dallas 31 - OVER 53.5 Pittsburgh 16 Denver 23 - UNDER 41.5
2014 (TOTAL 2-2) 2013 (UNDER 3-1)
Baltimore 31 New England 35 - OVER 47.5 New Orleans 15 Seattle 23 - UNDER 44
Carolina 17 Seattle 31 - OVER 40 Indianapolis 22 New England 43 - OVER 51
Dallas 21 Green Bay 26 - UNDER 52.5 San Francisco 23 Carolina 10 - UNDER 41
Indianapolis 24 Denver 13 - UNDER 52.5 San Diego 17 Denver 24 - UNDER 55
2012 (OVER 4-0) 2011 (OVER 3-1)
Baltimore 38 Denver 35 - OVER 44 New Orleans 32 San Francisco 36 - OVER 46.5
Green Bay 31 San Francisco 45 - OVER 45 Denver 10 New England 45 - OVER 50
Seattle 28 Atlanta 30 - OVER 46 Houston 13 Baltimore 20 - UNDER 33
Houston 28 New England 41 - OVER 50.5 N.Y. Giants 37 Green Bay 20 - OVER 54

For the playoffs, I’m going to break down every game and offer up my quick handicap and predictions for all the matchups. For those keeping track, my leans were 3-3 in the Wild Card round. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

Saturday, Jan. 13

Atlanta at Philadelphia (NBC, 4:35 p.m. ET)

The consensus opener on this game ranged from 43 ½ to 44 ½ and the sharps showed their hand right away and came in with a flurry of ‘under’ bets. Scott Cooley of offered his thoughts on the move. He said, “The under has definitely seen a ton of sharp money. But we've got the public mostly on the over so that's offsetting much of the liability.”

As of Friday afternoon, the majority of books are holding 41 and it’s hard to disagree with downward move.

The Falcons have watched the ‘under’ go 12-5 this season and they enter this game on a 6-0 run to the low side. Last Saturday, Atlanta shut down the league’s best offense as they stifled the Rams 26-13 at Los Angeles. The Falcons put together a great game plan and kept Los Angeles off the field with a dominating edge in time of possession (37-23 minutes).

Philadelphia enters this game with the third ranked scoring offense at 28.6 points per game but a lot of that production came with Carson Wentz at quarterback. After he went down, Nick Foles looked like a formidable replacement as he tossed four touchdowns in a 34-29 road win over the Giants. Then he looked below average in home games against the Raiders and Cowboys as the offense only managed 12 points. When you look at those performances coupled with Atlanta’s road win last week, you can see why the Eagles are listed as home underdogs.

Foles does have playoff experience, which came in 2013 in his first stint with the Eagles. Philadelphia dropped a 26-24 decision at home to New Orleans and he played rather well (23-of-33, 195 yards, 2 TDs) in the tight loss.

Similar to the Falcons, the Eagles boast a great defense. The unit was ranked fourth in both total defense (306.5 YPG) and scoring (18.4 PPG) this season. At home, they were even better as they surrendered just 13.4 PPG at Lincoln Financial Field and that helped the ‘under’ go 5-3.

These teams have met twice in the last three years. Atlanta earned a 26-24 win at home in 2015 while Philadelphia captured a 24-15 victory last season from the “Linc” as the defense stifled the Falcons to 303 yards and just 11 first downs as quarterback Matt Ryan couldn’t find any rhythm (18-of-33, 267 yards). The ‘under’ cashed in both of those games.

Fearless Prediction: I’m going to play the ‘under’ (41) for the game and take the Falcons Team Total Under (21 ½) as well. Atlanta has played back-to-back road games three times this season and they’ve averaged 18.3 PPG in the second contest. Plus, they’ve had trouble scoring touchdowns and that was evident last week with four field goals and two touchdowns versus the Rams. I believe Philadelphia will keep Atlanta in check and I would’ve taken the Eagles Team Total Under (19 ½) as well but I believe the Birds defense could score or at least create more chances. The main trend that sticks out for the ‘under’ in the game is what Atlanta’s defense has done against top teams. Including last week’s win at the Rams, the Falcons have allowed 17.8 PPG in eight games against playoffs teams this season and the ‘under’ has cashed in all eight.

Tennessee at New England (CBS, 8:15 p.m. ET)

Can Tennessee go into Foxboro on Saturday night and slow down the Patriots? Based on the opening line of New England -13 ½ and a total of 47, the oddsmakers certainly aren’t buying the Titans and it’s hard to make a case for the visitors in this particular playoff round.

In the last six appearances in the Divisional Playoffs round, New England is averaging 37.5 PPG and not surprisingly the 'over' has gone 6-0 plus they covered five of those six games.

2017 - New England 34 vs. Houston 16 (Over 44 ½)
2016 - New England 27 vs. Kansas City 20 (Over 44 ½)
2015 – New England 35 vs. Baltimore 31 (Over 47 ½)
2014 – New England 43 vs. Indianapolis 22 (Over 51 ½)
2013 - New England 41 vs. Houston 28 (Over 50)
2012 – New England 45 vs. Denver 10 (Over 50 ½)

Tennessee put forth a great effort last week as it won 22-21 against Kansas City despite turning the ball over twice. The Titans held the Chiefs to 69 rushing yards and they shut out Kansas City in the second-half. The unit was fortunate as the Chiefs lost tight end Travis Kelce to a concussion in the first-half. His absence was felt as Kansas City QB Alex Smith was 19-of-23 for 231 yards in the first 30 minutes but he only completed five passes in the second-half for 33 yards.

The Tennessee defense has been great against the run (No. 4, 87.6 YPG) all season but the pass defense (No. 25, 240.2 YPG) has been suspect and that’s not great news when facing New England. The Patriots own the second-best passing attack in the league and they have the 10th ranked rushing offense (118.1 YPG).

New England’s offense is based on QB Tom Brady’s arm and he’s had success in his career against Tennessee (6-0) plus he’s also diced up the Titans legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. In eight games when he’s been the DC of the opponent, Brady is 6-2 and the Patriots posted 37.5 PPG in the wins and 17.5 PPG in the two setbacks. LeBeau does like to pressure QBs and Tennessee was ranked fifth this season in sacks (43) plus they posted four against the Chiefs last week.

Defensively, New England is still ranked near the bottom of the league in yards allowed (366 YPG, No. 28) but a lot of that damage came early in the season. The Patriots saw the ‘over’ cash in their first four games as they allowed 32 PPG. In the final 12 games, the ‘under’ went 10-2 and the defensive effort dropped to 14 PPG.

Titans QB Marcus Mariota has the ability to run and bettors should make a note that Carolina’s Cam Newton (44 yards) and Houston’s Deshaun Watson (41 yards) kept the chains moving early in the season with their legs against the Patriots at Foxboro, plus they both passed for 300-plus yards.

Unfortunately for Mariota, he doesn’t have the same type of weapons on offense that those teams have but maybe Tennessee head coach Mike Mularkey decides to let him loose this Saturday instead of trying to ground-and-pound with running back Derrick Henry. 

Knowing Tennessee is only averaging 20.9 PPG this season, it would be a bit of a surprise to see the Titans light up the scoreboard. However, the Titans have scored 30-plus points three times this season and they’ve gone 3-0 in those games with two of the wins coming against quality opponents (Jaguars, Seahawks).

Fearless Prediction: The Patriots-Over combination in the Divisional Playoff round has been practically automatic and the ticket count will likely lean that way on Saturday and I think it's a mistake. I believe this Patriots team has an uphill climb this postseason and even though they’re the No. 1 seed in the AFC, they have thrown up some clunkers this season and most of them took place in night games. The Week 1 opening loss at Foxboro to Kansas City (42-27) was alarming plus the offense struggled in a tight road win at Tampa Bay (19-14) before losing at Miami (27-20) in a Monday Night matchup in December. The primetime games usually receive a ton of ‘over’ support and that creates inflated lines. Did you know the ‘under’ is 11-4-1 (73%) in the last 16 night games this season? I’m going to lean ‘under’ (48) for the game and New England Team Total Under (30 ½) too. Also, I believe the Titans are going to score some points which has me leaning Tennessee Team Total Over (17 ½) in this matchup.

Chris David can be reached at

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