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Betting NFL Wild Card Games

The NFL’s Wild Card format has been a financial success, allowing more teams to make the playoffs and remain in playoff contention longer. That translates into more fans, more interest and of course, more money for the league in terms of ticket sales and television revenue.
It could mean more money for bettors, as well, and we;ll look at some of the trends that have developed from the NFL Wild Card playoffs.

Sides

When looking at sides, the first thing that becomes apparent is that there really aren’t long- or short-term trends that you can get behind. Favorites of 10 or more points are 2-0 against the spread the last five years, but a larger sample size is needed before concluding it’s anything worthwhile.
Favorites are essentially a break-even proposition, going 9-10-1 the last five years and 20-19-1 over the past 10 years. Home teams are 21-18-1 the past 10 years, but just 8-11-1 the past five years, so the short-term trend has been for the road teams to cover the spread, but it’s nothing to get behind.

Totals

Totals are a different story, however, and we begin to uncover some meaningful stats. The most obvious stat that jumps out is the tendency for the Wild Card to go under the total. The past 10 years there have been 14 overs and 26 unders and the short-term trend is just as noticeable with just six of 20 games going over the total.
Games in which the posted total is 45 or higher perform slightly worse than the overall average, as those games are five overs and eight under the past 10 seasons and three overs and six unders over the past five years.

Don’t hesitate to back the under in this year’s Wild Card games if that’s what your handicapping points to. The fans and television announcers may want to see a lot of points, but history shows that happens less often than not.

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