Divisional Round NFL Betting Primer

Divisional Round NFL Betting Primer

Best Over/Under, Spread, Teaser and Prop Bets for the weekend

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Sad to see our 10-game over/under win freeze out in the arctic atmosphere of Buffalo last Saturday. At least we still have plenty more playoff football to dive into while we keep riding our regular season profits.

Over/Unders: 13-4-1

Spreads: 10-8

Teasers: 8-10

Props: 9-9

Overall Record*: 40-31-1, +11.02 units

*Each over/under graded to win 2 units; everything else for 1 unit. Playoffs are half

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Best Over/Under Bet

Best Over/Under Bet

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Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Over/Under: 47.5

Here we go again, right? Tom Brady starring in another Divisional Round bout.

This time, though, he’ll be joined by a counterpart unfamiliar to the stage, albeit one that’s actually been around awhile.

Matthew Stafford gets the biggest assignment of his 13-year career Sunday. It’s the type of moment Stafford was long overdue for after wasting away his prime in Detroit, where a mostly hapless bunch that surrounded him helped shackle the stud QB1 to a mere three playoff games up to 2021. The Lions, unsurprisingly, lost all of them.

Figures that once Stafford was able to escape football’s wasteland in the Motor City, he would finally capture his first postseason victory after usurping the Cardinals last Monday. And with that proverbial monkey off his back, the former No. 1 overall draft pick is prime for more.

First of all, Stafford actually enjoyed a stellar first campaign in LA despite the relative lack of fanfare he’s received. Stafford notched the best passer rating (102.2) he’s ever had for a full non-injury-shortened season and also matched his highest mark with 41 touchdown passes.

Given the surplus of weapons around him, the Rams’ success on offense should be no surprise, as their 27.1 points average each week was topped by only two NFC clubs (including the Bucs). But Stafford deserves major credit leading the way.

After all, he did engineer another chase of the single-season receiving yards record. Though Cooper Kupp wound up 17 yards short of Calvin Johnson, what was the common denominator between the two?

Stafford. The man merits accolades for what he’s done in his new digs, and I certainly don’t envision him bowing out.

That would seem to point to a quality performance from Stafford and Co., which translates to points. Tampa possesses a good defense, of course, but that didn’t slow down Los Angeles when these two powerhouses met early in the campaign. Stafford registered his first four-touchdown, zero-interception game in five years that day en route to a statement W.

Brady also contributed a notable showing in this affair, accumulating 432 yards through the air — his most in a game since Super Bowl LII. That’s something.

That outing was also no coincidence if you look at the “how” in analyzing Brady’s dissection of them in the Week 3 meeting.

The future hall-of-famer paced all quarterbacks this season in every quick-pass category; that is, throws that are made from snap to release in 2.5 seconds or less. In fact, he connected on 25 of 28 such throws in that previous encounter for more than half of those 432 yards. Interestingly, no team yielded more yards on these types of throws than the Rams.

So there’s a blueprint already in place for Brady’s Bucs to regularly march down the field. Even if there wasn’t, I mean, this is Tom Brady in the playoffs. The most lethal player to ever participate in these games.

Fortunately, it appears he will also have his offensive line fully intact. Both Tristan Wirfs (ankle) and Ryan Jensen (ankle) returned to practice Friday, and even if only one suits up, that’s a huge difference.

Brace for dueling offenses. I’m buying a half point in case of a 27-20ish outcome.

Pick: OVER 47 (-120)

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Best Spread Bet

Best Spread Bet

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Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs

Spread: Bills +1.5/Chiefs -1.5

Who predicted three years ago when they became starting NFL quarterbacks that Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen would develop a legit rivalry for AFC supremacy?

Their battles have been explosive, like on this Sunday last year (Championship Sunday) when the Chiefs took down the Bills in a high-scoring bonanza to reach their second straight Super Bowl. Buffalo returned the favor early this season with a 38-20 shellacking of their own in Week 5.

Thus, it’s no surprise that this final game of the Divisional Round drew the highest over/under on the board (54). But we’re simply concerned about who will move on considering that microscopic low spread.

And to me, that’s the Chiefs. Other than a fluke-ish 34-31 loss to fellow postseason resident Cincinnati a few weeks ago, KC hasn’t shown any weaknesses since October while winning their other 10 ball games during this stretch. Most interesting, the defense is stepping up.

In fact, the Chiefs allowed less than two touchdowns per game in the 10 victories. They’re also creating turnovers, forcing a delightful 25 of them within this timeframe

A lot of credit goes to Josh Allen and his turnaround from a rocky rookie campaign in 2018 to pulling off historic playoff performances in glacial Buffalo weather.

But when the Chiefs are even looking good defensively, they’re arguably the best team in all of pro football while Mahomes is in rhythm. Such is this case.

Pick: CHIEFS -1.5 (-110)

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Best Teaser Bet (2-games, 6.5 points)

Best Teaser Bet (2-games, 6.5 points)



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Packers -5.5 —> +1 SF-GB U47.5 —> U54

Taking both details in the same game for a teaser normally isn’t recommended. When there’s far fewer games, though, inventive strategies can suddenly emerge.

Look at this Lambeau Winter Wonderland contest, for instance. The frozen tundra will be at its fiercest, hosting temperatures expected to hover around 10 degrees at the highest. There won’t be precipitation but you know the weather will play a pivotal role for at least one of two QBs.

Aaron Rodgers actually has crafted exceptional stats when playing in the cold. Then again, maybe Pat McAfee’s favorite podcast guest should be used to such harsh conditions, having spent the entirety of his NFL career in Green Bay.

On the other hand, Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t played a game in this frigid environment since... high school. Now he’s being tasked with beating the likely MVP?

So there’s one half of our teaser, seeking another academic Packers win at home. And no matter how it plays out, scoring will probably be on the more minimal side.

Due to the expected atmosphere (not to mention Garoppolo’s pre-existing injuries with his throwing thumb and shoulder), we can’t count out San Francisco for any sort of outburst on the offensive side of the ball. Likewise, we’ll tap into what’s gotten them this far: an extremely stout defense.

The 49ers concluded the season with a top-10 defensive unit against both the pass and run. That group’s tenacity was on full display a week ago when they had their way with the NFL’s highest-scoring team in Dallas. Given the run they’ve been on, the Niners’ D can absolutely ensure that this game doesn’t get far out of hand.

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Best Player Prop Bet

Best Player Prop Bet

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Patrick Mahomes Over/Under 37.5 Pass Attempts

Remember all those whispers the first half of the year that Mahomes had fallen off?

Ha, still funny to look back on. The Chiefs were actually in last place in the AFC West at one point with a 3-4 record but was their fate really actually in doubt? Nah.

Kansas City predictably forced itself back up the standings, and that reascension was on the back of one man: Mahomes.

The Texas Tech product has been especially on fire the past six weeks (including a dominant Wild Card showing last Sunday night), constructing an impenetrable 17-2 TD/INT ratio while compiling nearly 2,000 yards. Safe to say the Mahomes we all know is indeed back.

So why take his pass attempts prop then, you wonder? Well win or lose, I foresee a Herculean-type effort from Mahomes in at least keeping it close, if not outright beating down Buffalo like he usually does to any opponent that steps into Chiefs Kingdom. Either way, expect Mahomes to air it out plenty and be in decisive control.

Pick: OVER 37.5 (-120)

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