By Austin Payne
The Wildcard round was full of surprises for NFL bettors and fans alike this weekend, from the Patriots losing to the Titans to more bad luck for the Saints and the Bills taking Deshaun Watson to overtime, these games did not leave much on the table.
All this drama provides the perfect breeding ground for lucrative betting to take place, especially when upsets occur and spreads aren’t covered. Now, moving onto the Divisional round of the playoffs, we’ll take a look at some of the best odds and lines to attack during this weeks set of games.
Looking at it from an overview, we’ll have four games in total between Saturday and Sunday. The Vikings face off against the San Francisco 49er’s on Saturday at 4:30, followed by the Titans being tasked with upsetting the Ravens in the later slate, at 8:15. From a casual fan perspective it’s easy to suggest which one of these games will be closer, and that’s already being reflected in the early spreads. San Francisco sits currently as a -6.5 point favorite over the Vikings, while the Ravens sit comfortably at -8.5 to start the week.
Expect the Vikings/Niners matchup to be a very boring, low scoring game. I know, trash right? Both of these teams have competent defenses with one of them being elite, and with Minnesota’s reliance on the pass in games where they’re unable to let Dalvin Cook break off big plays, they’re not in a great position against one of the leagues best pass defenses. The over under on this game is 45.5 with that 6.5 point spread, take the under. Take the Vikings to cover.
With Baltimore’s year long improving defense and the fact that Tennessee didn’t even touch one hundred yards passing against the Patriots, if the Ravens can stop Henry it’s a wrap. They rank 5th in the league in total rushing yards allowed per game. The Titans, paradoxically, have the 21st ranked overall defense in the league. The Ravens, paradoxically again, have Lamar Jackson, who ranks as pretty damn good. Over under is set at 49 with that -8.5 point spread. Take the Ravens to cover, and the over.
Following these guys on Sunday we’ve got the Texans & Chiefs, and the Packers vs. Seahawks. Let’s start with the Texans at Chiefs.
Both of these teams possess either really bad or mediocre defenses, with the Chiefs saving grace being their decent passing defense and overall mediocrely ranked 17th defense as a whole. The last time these teams faced off we saw nearly 800 yards of total offense, with the Texans getting the win. We should expect much of the same in this game that the Chiefs “should” win, however “could” lose, because well, Deshaun. Over under is set at 48.5, take the over. The Chiefs are favored by a whole -9.5 in this game, take the Texans to cover.
Ah the Seahawks and Packers, two decent teams that happen to have elite quarterbacks and possibly a great coach. With the Seahawks losing their primary ball carrier and budding star back Chris Carson for the season, they’ll have to rely on Travis Homer and the ghost of Marshawn Lynch. The Packers meanwhile, well they’ll just throw it to Davante Adams i guess. Both of these teams rank sub 18th in total opponents yards per game, 22nd and 23rd in rush defense, and 14th and 27th in pass defense with Seattle proudly holding that 27th spot.
This game will most likely be played through the air and be a bit ugly, coming down to either punching it into the end zone or by one of these great quarterbacks making a late play. The Packers sit as -3.5 point favorites as of now, and they should win this game, theoretically. The likelihood of them covering that in the process is high, so take them to cover. An O/U of 46.5 is…probably about right? Take the over though, because the Legion Of Boom is no more.