NFL Divisional Round props, odds: Will Cowboys kicker Brett Maher miss extra-point try vs. 49ers?
When was the last time that a kicker was one of the big stories entering an NFL playoff game? That's certainly the case for Sunday's NFC Divisional Round matchup between the Cowboys and 49ers from Santa Clara, Calif., as Dallas kicker Brett Maher was historically bad on extra-point tries in the Wild Card round win over Tampa Bay on Monday, and SportsLine offers odds on whether he misses yet another on Sunday.
It was almost painful watching Maher kick against the Bucs in the 31-14 win. He missed his first four PAT tries, becoming the first player in NFL history to miss that many in a regular-season or playoff game since 1932 -- a span of 16,207 games. Maher was wide right on his first two kicks, pulled his third try wide left, and then hit the top of the right upright on his fourth attempt. (The total was set at 45.5, so Maher absolutely destroyed over bettors.) He also had missed his lone PAT try in the regular-season finale vs. Washington.
At one point, Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott could be seen screaming at the coaching staff to stop letting Maher pick PATs and go for two points against the Bucs. Up 24-6 with about 10 minutes left in the game and facing fourth-and-4 at the Tampa Bay 18, Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy didn't allow Maher a chance to kick a field goal but instead went for it, and Prescott hit CeeDee Lamb on 18-yard touchdown pass. Maher wound up making that PAT right down the middle.
In the regular season, Maher made 29 of 32 field goal attempts, missing from 59 yards twice and once from 46 yards. He made 50 of 53 extra points and had missed only six PATs in 139 career attempts entering the postseason. Special teams coordinator John Fassel admitted his kicker had a case of the "yips."
"I believe in the hot hand and I believe in the yips, absolutely," said Fassel, who has been coaching special teams units in the NFL since 2005. "And you know, you wonder sometimes how you get into the yips and you wonder sometimes how you get back into the hot hand. I think it's keep stepping up to the line and shooting that thing. (Maher) missed a couple free throws (Monday night). I don't know what it is, but I believe in the yips and I believe in the hot hand. He had a hot hand. Let's face it. … And then the yips happen. So, I expect a hot hand coming up."
Dallas did sign Tristan Vizcaino to the practice squad Wednesday as insurance, but he apparently won't be used unless Maher struggles in practice today and Friday. Over his 10 career NFL appearances split across the 49ers, Chargers and Patriots, Vizcaino has made 11 of 12 field goals (91.7%) and 15 of 20 PATs (75% -- not good).
Caesars Sportsbook has over/under PATs made props for all Divisional Round kickers but isn't currently listing one for Maher in case Dallas makes a change. San Francisco counterpart Robbie Gould is set at O/U 2.5.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Will Cowboys' Brett Maher miss a PAT vs. the 49ers (at least one attempt)?
- No -450
- Yes +325
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