Windy Forecasts Affecting NFL Totals
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
While the phrase “bomb cyclone” is luckily not associated with this weekend’s weather forecasts, there are two NFL playoff Divisional Round games expected to be played in sustained double-digit winds.
More importantly, both games should experience winds blowing across the field, which makes it more difficult to kick field goals and throw deep passes, meaning bettors should be aware of these conditions before placing bets for this weekend’s games.
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
This total opened at 43.5 and was quickly bet down to the key number of 41 early in the week. On Saturday morning, it moved down to 40 behind a flood of under money. Based on the forecast as of Friday morning, a steady 14 mph wind is expected to blow diagonally across Lincoln Financial Field.
At the time of publication, 60% of the bets and 53% of the total money wagered were on the over (live numbers here), indicating public bettors aren’t afraid of Mother Nature wreaking havoc on this game.
The matchup that will likely decide this total is the Falcons offense (No. 9 in DVOA) vs. the Eagles defense (No. 5 in DVOA). Are you buying Matt Ryan on the road, or do you think a well-rested Eagles defense can keep this a low-scoring battle?
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots
Unlike the Falcons-Eagles game, the total for this matchup has yet to see an adjustment for weather. After opening at 47, the number has actually increased to 48 at Bookmaker.eu.
It’s forecasted to be cold (mid-20s) and windy (11 mph) at kickoff on Saturday night. As we saw in last week’s Bills-Jaguars game, windy weather can have an adverse effect on the passing game and scoring.
But a few items to consider with this matchup: Brady relies on short passes, which are obviously less affected by the wind, and the Titans (if they’re smart) should lean heavily on their ground game against New England’s 31st-ranked yards-per-carry defense.
In full disclosure, the wind alone isn’t enough to warrant a wager, but if you’re already looking at playing the total, weather is one of many important factors to consider as part of your decision-making process.