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NFL Divisional Round Predictions: Data-Driven Picks for Bengals vs Bills, More

NFL Divisional Round Predictions: Data-Driven Picks for Bengals vs Bills, More article feature image
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NFL Divisional Round Sunday Odds & Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead
 Bengals vs Bills: First Half Total
3 p.m. ET
 Brock Purdy Passing Yards
6:30 p.m. ET
49ers To Score First & Win
6:30 p.m. ET

Pick
 First Half Total Over 23.5 (-120)
Best Book
Time
3 p.m. ET

Billy Ward: When we get into the playoffs, we run the risk of overfitting the model when evaluating team pace in the first vs. second half of games. These are, in theory, the best eight teams in the NFL, so by definition they should’ve been playing with a lead more often than not in the second half of games.

With that said, both the Bengals and Bills had considerably better first-half offenses this season. Both teams scored between 2.5 and 3.0 more points before halftime than after.

Both teams will be playing aggressively early in this one, even if one or the other gets out in front. With a full game total of 48.5, the 23.5 first half line is awfully conservative.


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Pick
 Brock Purdy Under 238.5 Passing Yards (-115)
Best Book
Time
6:30 p.m. ET

Nick Giffen: Purdy has yet to face an extremely tough pass defense, with only two defenses falling inside the top half of the league in defensive pass DVOA, and none inside the top 12. The third-ranked Dallas pass defense by DVOA will undoubtedly be his toughest test yet.

Dallas has allowed a median of just 199 passing yards, and while that jumps to 209 passing yards in games Dak Prescott started, it’s still well under this prop.

Purdy has cleared 234 passing yards only twice. The first came in a 37-34 shootout against the Raiders in which the 49ers had the ball for 67 offensive snaps. The second came this past Wild Card Weekend, when he torched the 17th-ranked Seahawks pass defense in a 65 snap game. In those two games combined, Purdy was sacked just once.

Meanwhile, Dallas was third in the NFL with 54 sacks and generates pressure at the highest rate. We also project the 49ers to run around 59 offensive plays on average, instead of the 65-plus they ran in the two times Purdy cleared this number.

The Luck Rankings also favor San Francisco as the unlucky team by 11 places in this matchup, so it’s quite possible San Francisco is playing from ahead as a four-point favorite, resulting in fewer late-game throws.

I’d bet this down to about 235.5 to leave us with some wiggle room down to my median projection of 231.5.

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Pick
49ers To Score First & Win (+132)
Best Book
Time
6:30 p.m. ET

Billy Ward: While evaluating this prop, I looked at a sample of the past two seasons’ worth of games with a spread between three and seven, and a total in the upper 40s. Since three and seven are such key numbers to the spread, a few points in either direction within that range doesn’t tell us as much as crossing over either number.

In the roughly 100-game sample that fit this criteria, the favored team scored first and won about 45% of the time, which is implied odds of roughly +120. Therefore, we have a slight edge on the +132 line evaluating the sample as a whole.

With this game being on the lower end of both ranges, the true probability is likely slightly higher than that. Closer and lower scoring games both make scoring first relatively more valuable.

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