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Why the over/under could hit in NFC Championship game

We take a look at the point total for the NFC Championship and why the over or under could hit as the Lions face the 49ers.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The NFC Championship Game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 28. The San Francisco 49ers will take on the Detroit Lions at Levi’s Stadium. We take a look at how you should bet the total in this matchup. The Niners enter as 7-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, and the total is set at 52.

Here’s why the under and over could hit in the NFC Championship.

Lions-49ers: Over in NFC Championship

When the Detroit offense gets going, it really gets going. The Lions led the league this year in hitting the over, going 13-6 in the regular season and postseason. San Francisco is a more balanced 9-9 on the over.

Both teams rank in the top five in the league in points per game this season, with the Niners averaging 28.6 points per game and the Lions racking up 27.2. Playoff football has the potential to turn into an offensive shootout even between solid defensive teams, because there is effectively nothing to lose by playing it safe, especially as the game progresses.

We can expect the Lions to leave it all out on the field in their first conference championship in over three decades. Both teams’ secondaries have left something to be desired this season and have given up big plays to opposing offenses. San Francisco ranks 13th in passing yards allowed per game, and Detroit is all the way down at 31st.

Lions-49ers: Under in NFC Championship

While the secondaries may not be particularly impressive, each team’s rushing defense has been phenomenal this year. The Niners rank third in rushing yards allowed per game (87.7) and the Lions rank second (86.4). This will be especially helpful on the Lions’ side as they look to contain the 49ers’ biggest weapon in RB Christian McCaffrey. With Deebo Samuel a little banged up after the Divisional Round, the 49ers could be leaning heavily on McCaffrey in this matchup.

Every time a Lions total was set above 50 points this season, the under hit. This happened three times with a total of 53 every time, making Detroit 0-3 on the over with a total higher than 50. The 49ers’ defense ranks third in points allowed, keeping opponents to just 17.7 points per game on average, while their offense struggled to make things happen in the first three quarters of the Divisional Round against the Packers, whose defense was not as strong as Detroit’s.

Pick: Under 52

This game will be decided in the trenches, and I don’t see it becoming high-scoring enough to hit the over here. Brock Purdy struggled for the first three quarters against the Packers and may be playing without his top receiver. With both rushing offenses limited, the under is the safer bet to ride with on Sunday.