Wednesday, January 5, 2011

NFL Wild Card Betting Trends

By Bruce Marshall

Ryan and the Jets have stats in their favor as a short dog
Results-wise, there have been a few trends to note in wildcard games that differ from later playoff rounds. In particular, underdogs have more than held their own in these first-round games (a departure from division round and conference title action), especially the shorter-priced (1-3 point) dogs that stand 24-17-2 vs. the number since '78, including 7-3 the last three years.

Home dogs are usually rare in playoff action, but there will be two of them this weekend, and they're a noteworthy 11-3 vs. the number in first-round games since '78. Some insiders believe the absence of the top two conference seeds in the wildcard round has contributed to better overall underdog mark than in subsequent rounds, but it's worth noting that one-sided results are still fairly common in the first-round games, with nine of 20 contests since 2005 being decided by 14 points or more, as have close to half of all games (46 of 102) since the wildcard round was introduced in 1978. "Totals" results are almost equally split since 1990 ("unders" leading 20-19-1), although all four games went "over" a year ago.

Following are the point-spread results for wildcard playoff games since 1978 (excluding the 1982 "strike" season, when all 16 playoff teams participated in first-round games).


1-3 pt. dogs...24-17-2
3 1/2-6 1/2 pt. dogs...18-16-1
7-pt. or more dogs...11-12
Home dogs...11-3
Road dogs... 42-42-3

Margins of victory (102 total games)-21 games have been decided by 1-3 points, 22 games by 4-7 points, 13 games by 8-13 points, and 46 games have been decided by 14 points or more.

Current Las Vegas Hilton Super Book Wild Card Lines (as of January 5)

Saturday, January 8

Saints -10 ½ @ Seattle - total: 44 ½
Colts - 2 ½ vs. Jets - total: 44 ½ 

Sunday, January 9
Ravens -2 ½ @ Kansas City - total: 41
Eagles -2 ½ (-120) vs. Packers - total 46 ½  

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