After this past weekend proved to NFL fans that nothing is ever certain, the playoff picture is now in better focus so today we’ll have a look at the favorites for the NFL Divisional Round. New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Bills players were left stunned and will now have to watch the rest of the action from their sofas, but that’s the price they pay for not stepping up when their skills were needed most. Coming up, things are only going to get more heated.
Who Are Favorites in NFL Divisional Round?
The Saints were taken down by the Minnesota Vikings in surprising (and still somewhat controversial) fashion this past weekend and the Vikings will now move on to face the San Francisco 49ers in California. This NFC divisional game on Saturday will see the lines move almost nowhere as the week progresses, as no major changes are expected throughout the week.
Going into the playoffs as the sixth seed, the Vikings had no alternative but to play an early game. The 49ers, however, possess the number-one seed, which gave them an extra week to rest and home-field advantage. That means they have a lot going for them and are the favorites to win. The Niners are 13-3 in straight-up action and 9-6-1 against the spread (ATS), so they have a solid history of supporting bettors when NFL odds are in their favor. They’re up about -6.5 currently, which is shorter than the -9 given before the Vikings won, and the -280 moneyline is a strong plus.
The New England Patriots fell to the Tennessee Titans this past weekend, although just barely. The Titans took a while to find their rhythm, and the underdog victory surprised many. Now having to take on the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday, they can’t wait long once the contest gets underway before figuring out how to advance the ball, or their playoff dreams are going to come to an end.
Just like the 49ers, the Ravens had a little extra time to prepare for the upcoming game, picking up a bye week and home-field advantage by taking the top seed in the AFC race. They haven’t lost a single game since September, and oddsmakers expect that run to continue this weekend. The opening line has Baltimore at -9 over Tennessee and the Ravens are 14-2 straight-up on the year. -429 on the moneyline means that the Titans aren’t expected to have much of a chance against the superior team.
In the penultimate game of the weekend, the Kansas City Chiefs are going to stare down the Houston Texans. The Texans just barely squeaked by against the Bills and couldn’t make anything happen for almost three quarters. The 22-19 overtime victory wasn’t pretty, but a win is still a win.
The Chiefs took the number-two seed in the AFC and earned some extra downtime in the process. They’re coming in well-rested and at home for this Sunday’s game and are expected to walk all over the Texans. Given the weakness Texas showed this past weekend, it isn’t too surprising that the moneyline sits at -450 to Kansas City. The -9.5 spread will be easily covered, which the Chiefs have done over two-thirds of the time this season, and the Texans will be denied.
The final game finds the Green Bay Packers hosting the Seattle Seahawks for the second NFC battle. The extra week the Packers picked up on a bye for beating the Detroit Lions was desperately needed. They only just barely beat the Lions, thanks to a last-second field goal, in a game that should have been an easy victory, and should have used this additional time to regroup.
The moneyline has the Packers at -195 to win this Sunday, and the spread sits at 4. The moneyline for the Seahawks, however, is at 170 and this could be worth some extra consideration. They just beat the Philadelphia Eagles and are going to be tougher this weekend than some expect. On passing and rushing yards and yards per play, the Seahawks have a slight edge over Green Bay. They’re also 8-1 straight-up in their most recent road games, but have had difficulty ATS against the Packers. Seattle could win, but be careful with the spread.
That’s it for our early look at the favorites for the Divisional Round in the NFL this season. Come back tomorrow for more picks, news and views from Sports Intel.