FanSided’s NFL Divisional Round betting guide is live.
We are officially on to Divisional Weekend, which many consider to be the best football weekend of the whole season. Four more big games are on tap as fans eagerly await the matchups for Championship Weekend.
Despite having only four games on tap there are plenty of interesting betting opportunities out there with a wide range of spreads and totals. Let’s take a look at how to bet each of the Divisional Round matchups with all lines coming courtesy of the FanDuel Sportsbook.
Saturday, January 16
Los Angeles Rams (11-6) at Green Bay Packers (13-3)
Line: Packers -6.5
Over/Under Total: 45.5
This is the lowest total on the board and a big part of it is tied directly to the Rams, who beat Seattle despite inept quarterback play from Jared Goff. Los Angeles’ defense is legit, shutting down Russell Wilson to secure the win, but Aaron Donald’s availability is in question thanks to a rib injury suffered late in the game on Saturday.
Green Bay got the week off and is favored by 6.5 points, which you should pounce on since a touchdown victory will get the job done. Unless Goff’s thumb has healed significantly more by Saturday it will be tough for the Rams offense to keep pace.
The best bet in this matchup is the under, which makes sense given the strength of the Los Angeles defense and Green Bay’s desire to run the ball first. The contest is trending towards a 24-14 kind of matchup, which would put you safely under the 45.5 point total.
Baltimore Ravens (12-5) at Buffalo Bills (14-3)
Line: Bills -1.5
Over/Under Total: 50
The Bills made things interesting on Saturday afternoon against the Colts, partially due to a horrendous call from the referees in the final minute, but they still held on to advance to the divisional round. One area of concern for Buffalo was its run defense, which gave up over 160 yards on the ground to Indianapolis.
That could be problematic against the red-hot Ravens, who are built on the run and saw Lamar Jackson rush for over 130 yards and a touchdown in their win over the Tennessee Titans. Baltimore’s defense was also brilliant in this game, limiting Derrick Henry to 40 yards on 18 carries.
This spread is the closest on the board with the Bills laying just 1.5 points, so this is essentially one where going with the team most likely to win gets the job done. The matchups favor the Ravens and lean towards taking the under on the total of 50 since Baltimore will look to attack Buffalo’s suspect run defense and control the clock, preventing Josh Allen from getting too many possessions.
Sunday, January 17
Cleveland Browns (12-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (14-2)
Line: Chiefs -10
Over/Under Total: 56
The Chiefs were off last week but the Browns made a major statement by demolishing the Pittsburgh Steelers without head coach Kevin Stefanski as well as several key starters like guard Joel Bitonio and cornerback Denzel Ward. Cleveland will now face a step up in weight class against Kansas City, which has the most explosive offense the Browns have faced this season.
The big worry from the Chiefs’ perspective is whether or not they have had too much rest. Most of Kansas City’s starters sat out in Week 17 with home-field advantage already secured and combined with a bye last week it means that keys players like Patrick Mahomes haven’t taken meaningful snaps since Dec. 20, when the Chiefs struggled to get past the Falcons to win by three.
Kansas City is laying 10 points, the largest number on the board this week, but they haven’t covered a spread since blowing out the Jets in Week 9 and are facing a quality opponent in Cleveland. The smarter play is to take the points with the Browns to keep it close and hammer the over in a game where Mahomes is involved.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-5) at New Orleans Saints (13-4)
Line: Saints -3
Over/Under Total: 51.5
The third meeting of the season between Tom Brady and Drew Brees is projected to be a close game by the books, which have the Saints as three-point favorites at home. That logic makes no sense since oddsmakers continue to disrespect the Saints and overrate the Buccaneers.
New Orleans blew out the Chicago Bears at home and are peaking, having won three straight games and putting up strong defensive efforts in their last two victories. Tampa Bay struggled to get past Taylor Heinicke, a quarterback who couldn’t crack the starting lineup in the XFL, in Washington last weekend and was swept by the Saints during the regular season.
The gap between these two teams is still considerable and New Orleans retains home-field advantage here so laying the three points with the Saints is a no-brainer in a game that has sneaky blowout potential. The total of 51.5 is also high but play the under in a game where the defenses should have a bigger role than initially anticipated.
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