NFL Divisional Round Weekend betting previews and picks
On to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs following a higher-scoring and heavily-bet Super Wild Card Weekend. Our Picks and Opinions went 3-0, but Leans were 0-4 for those following along or adding bets at your preferred online sportsbooks. Note, we had no underdogs last week, despite providing winning underdog picks this season again.
No significant weather of note although it will be cold and below 40 degrees in Kansas City, Philadelphia and Buffalo with light rain potential in Kansas City.
The two biggest spreads are Saturday's games, and the most watched and bet game is expected to be Sunday in Buffalo, where the line is up more than a full point favoring the Bills.
Despite last week's better game selection management going 1-0 on Picks and 2-0 on Opinions, we'll continue a lighter betting approach with recommendation of reduced wagers. Don't be a fool like the idiot who bet $1.4 million to win $11,000 in-game live betting on the Chargers only to see them blow a 27-0 lead and lose 31-30. Or think you have a significant edge, only to see your bet blowup like the guy who bet early and took the Ravens +6.5 for $880,000 (line moved to +8.5 or +9) only to see the bumbling QB as I described fumble the ball reaching out for goal line and see the Bengals return it 98 yards for the decisive fourth quarter TD and 24-17 win. Think that bettor is a little PO'd?
Clearly in-play live betting is an option to attack as the game unfolds as you monitor the personnel, play calling and try to handle the algorithms and line adjustments to get your bets in. And prop bets are a better option, but you should try to get in early to increase your payout potential and chance to win as those numbers move more quickly. I did bet Giants RB Saquon Barkley over 22.5 receiving yards last week as my top prop, and he went over that number easily in the third quarter having a 24-yard reception as part of his 5 catches for 56 yards receiving. I may add more props as time allows and sportsbooks post, but definitely plan on some for the Super Bowl smorgasbord of prop offerings.
NFL Playoffs Divisional Round
Here is ATS playoff data since 1988, courtesy of Playbook Newsletter. Rested home teams in the Divisional Round (KC and PHI) have gone 100-36 SU and 71-61-4 ATS (0-2 SU/ATS last year). Road teams coming off a Wild Card Round SU and ATS win (JAX, NYG, DAL) are 57-69-2 ATS in Divisional Round contests. Also, Divisional Round visitors coming off a Wild Card SU & ATS home win (JAX) are just 22-49 SU and 29-40-2 ATS.
Lines courtesy of BetOnline. All games times Eastern. Avoid the bad sportsbooks with slow or no payouts.
Saturday, Jan. 21
Jacksonville Jaguars (10-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (14-3) - 4:30 p.m on NBC
Line: Chiefs -9, Total 52
Two Super Bowl winning coaches who coached together with former QB/coach Doug Pederson leading the upstart Jaguars against Andy Reid and the Chiefs, who are 9-0 SU under QB Patrick Mahomes in non-Super Bowl games when playing with a week of rest. The Chiefs are 0-10 ATS in one-score games this season, but catch a break here by not facing the more capable Chargers who gave them fits again this season. Fifteen of coach Andy Reid's 19 playoff wins have been by double-digits, but coach Doug Pederson is 5-2 SU and 6-0 ATS as a playoff 'Dog in his career after last week's remarkable Wild Card comeback win from a 27-point deficit.
Added notes: In 6 games vs top-15 offenses, the Jaguars allowed 31 points per game and would have gone 0-6 but for erasing multi-score deficits in two games. Since Week 10, the Jaguars rank dead last in EPA/att and success rate vs play action. The Chiefs have gone under their team total in 9 straight home games.
New York Giants (10-7-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (14-3) - 8:15 p.m on FOX
Line: Eagles -7.5, Total 47.5
Top online sportsbook BookMaker is dealing Giants +8 and we'll take that with the G-men. Eagles QB Jalen Hurts (shoulder) is off the injury report, but not sure he's best and Hurts struggled in his playoff debut loss last year. The Giants running game and pass attack was solid last week in an opening road playoff win over the Vikings, and RB Saquon Barkley and QB Daniel Jones can keep them competitive on offense again. But New York's defense is worst of the remaining playoff teams ranking No. 29 in DVOA Defense, and the Eagles rolled the Giants 48-22 back in early December when both teams were healthy and Philly's ground game ruled. Still, lean the battle-tested Giants with a strong strength of schedule.
Leans: NY Giants and Over
Added Notes: The Giants have hit their Team Total 'Over' in 12 of their last 14 games. Despite the return of Adoree Jackson, Leonard Williams, or Xavier McKinney (who didn't play vs the Eagles this season in either game), the Giants did still allow 5.9 yards per play to the Vikings, which was the fourth most of all teams that played on Wild Card weekend and the most of any team that won last week.
Sunday, Jan. 22
Cincinnati Bengals (13-4) at Buffalo Bills (14-3) - 3:00 p.m on CBS
Line: Bills -5.5, Total 49
I bet the Bills at opener, and despite the rising line, we'll Pick the Bills to stampede the Bengals. Read more of my Bills-Bengals featured coverage in Forbes. Sure the Bengals are riding a 9-game winning streak. But injuries along the offensive line and struggles last week in a fortunate home win are a concern. So are sub-par stats as Cincinnati is now 5-2 SU/ATS vs. playoff teams this season despite being out-gained by 460 yards with a weaker strength of schedule compared to the Bills. Buffalo is 4-2 SU but just 1-4-1 ATS vs playoff teams this season despite out-gaining them by 609 yards - best in the NFL with the 49ers. End of the line for the Bengals.
Added notes: Carl Cheffers is the head referee for the Bills-Bengals game, and he led the NFL in penalties per game in 2021 and again in 2022. He called only 43% of overall penalties on home teams this season. The Bills are 6-1 with Carl Cheffers, as their referee. That includes 2-0 SU/ATS this season.
Dallas Cowboys (13-5) at San Francisco 49ers (14-4) - 6:30.m on FOX
Line: 49ers -4, Total 46.5
The Cowboys cashed for us as our only Pick in the Wild Card round, and the 'Boys have it much tougher this week against the dominant 49ers No. 1 defense riding an 11-game winning streak. Hard hitting and two defenses that rank No. 1 and No. 2 in DVOA Defense. The additional schedule edge goes to San Francisco with 8 days off their Wild Card Opinion winner for us last week while the Cowboys just 6 days off our winning Pick Monday night.
Check back for more updates and information you can bet on for the divisional round on the road to Super Bowl LVII.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper with unparalleled success in NFL pointspread prognosis. Fairway is recognized as one of the sports industry's insightful analysts, and he chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Follow FairwayJay here at OSGA.com and on Twitter @FairwayJay for more betting insights