NFL 2024 Divisional Round Picks, Odds, Stats and Insights

FairwayJay chips in more NFL Playoffs coverage with picks, tips and information you can bet on for the 2024 divisional round

NFL Divisional Round Playoff coverage, with betting tips and predictions

On to the NFL Divisional Round and perhaps more competitive contests after four blowout wins during the Wild Card round. That includes the two home underdogs winning outright in big wins for the Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Favorites went 3-3 SU but 2-4 ATS as the leading online sportsbooks crushed most bettors and had one of the biggest decisions of the season with the Green Bay Packers (+7) upset and outright win over the Dallas Cowboys, 48-32.

NFL Divisional playoff picksWe were close to a very solid wild card week, and still trying to figure out how the Rams-Lions game didn't go over the game total. We had picks on the Lions (-3) and over 51.5, and Detroit won 24-23 after leading 21-17 at halftime and building an early 14-3 lead. Four TDs in the first half, and none in the second half with just three made field goals. The live-betting in-play total was 69.5 points in the first half. The game total closed 53, and we would make those same bets again. Variance, but more disappointment. 

Our Opinions went 3-2 of the NFL Wild Card round, all on sides, and Picks and Opinions were 3-4 (3-3 sides). Leans were 3-0, all on totals. Picks, Opinions and Leans went 6-4 in the wild card round, and we'll chip-in more below for the divisional round and add some player props later Friday and into Saturday's two games and kickoffs with two more games on Sunday. 

Young Playoff QB's Shine

Two of four quarterbacks in the Wild Card round had big games in their playoff debuts - CJ Stroud (HOU) and Jordan Love (GB). Both the Texans and Buccaneers beat opponents they had lost to decisively during the regular season. Both Stroud and Love had 3 TD passes and zero INT's with identical passing numbers - 16/21 for 274/272 yards and near perfect 157.2 QB Ratings. Those were the two best passing performances of the Wild Card round with Mayfield (TB), Goff (DET) and Stafford (LAR) also in the mix and the LA-DET game the only competitive contest of six games (five double-digit wins). 

NFL Divisional Round playoff free picksRecall that NFL QBs making making their first playoff start were just 22-36-1 ATS since 2002 prior to last week's Wild Card round. 

But now the Texans and Packers QBs and teams match up against each conferences best defenses in the Ravens and 49ers, who also have a MVP QB in Lamar Jackson, and league-leader in QB Rating in Brock Purdy. Oh, and both Baltimore and San Francisco ranked top-3 in rushing yards and yards per rush while pounding the ball 30 times per game. Niners RB Christian McCaffrey led the NFL with 1,459 rushing yards and NFC-best 14 TD's and 5.4 yards per rush for running backs. 

When wagering, recency bias affects many bettors, including in live betting. The playoffs are much different than the regular season, yet we just saw two first time playoff QBs perform at an elite level. So it's tough to figure out what will happen, yet so many claim to be 'experts' when wagering or picking winners. The reality is there is much uncertainty and variance, and I'm quite certain more than 95% of them can't claim the documented NFL point spread prognostication results of this handicapper and analyst, that also includes 190-142 ATS (57%) over the last 7 years picking only NFL underdogs, and same 57% the past three years that included a 70% season

So keep your wagers in line, and don't be a fool like the guy last year who bet $1.4 million to win $11,000 in-game live betting on the Chargers in last year's playoffs, only to see them blow a 27-0 lead and lose 31-30 to the Jaguars. 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) and then watch the bumbling QB 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. More variance, or stupidity, or a bad officials call from having your bets blowout. 

Enjoy the games, watching and wagering, and bet responsibly and make good decisions. Not like Cowboys QB Dak Prescott last week.  Dallas (-7) was the most bet team in losing, and many top online sportsbooks had the best result (making money off bettors) on that playoff game over the past decade of NFL playoffs. 

NFL Playoffs Divisional Round 

Here is ATS playoff data since 1988, courtesy of Playbook Sports. Rested home teams in the Divisional Round (BAL and SF) have gone 102-36 SU and 72-62-4 ATS (2-0 SU/1-1 ATS last year and 0-2 SU/ATS in 2022). Road teams coming off a Wild Card Round SU and ATS win (HOU, GB, KC, TB) are 58-71-2 ATS in Divisional Round contests (0-3 SU/1-2 ATS last year). Also, Divisional Round visitors coming off a Wild Card SU & ATS home win (HOU, TB, KC) are just 22-50 SU and 30-40-2 ATS (0-1 SU/1-0 ATS last year).

Lines courtesy of BetOnline. All games times Eastern. Betting lines, totals, props and live-betting odds are subject to change at leading online sportsbooks.

Saturday, Jan. 20

No. 4 Houston Texans at No. 1 Baltimore Ravens | 4:30 p.m. | ESPN/ABC
Line: Ravens (-9.5), Total 43.5 - Opinion: Ravens and Lean Under (total has dropped 2 points) 

Much like the analysis below supporting a San Francisco victory, the Ravens powerful league-best rushing attack with duel-threat QB Lamar Jackson is going to not only move the ball and score more, but limit opportunities for the Texans offense and ROY quarterback CJ Stroud. Texans Ravens prediction pickThe Ravens dominant defense allows just 4.6 yards per play, and the birds will flock with pressure, harass and force QB Stoud and his linemen into mistakes and penalties. Houston averages the most penalties per game of the playoff teams remaining. Recall back in early December when Houston hit the road and QB Stroud was shut down for 10/23 and 91 yards passing in a 30-6 setback against the Jets in a game that was scoreless at halftime. The Ravens won't take that long to get rolling, but it will be a downhill game, or uphill battle for the Texans.

ATS Notes: Teams advancing to the Divisional Round of the playoffs, coming off a Wild Card win as an underdog, are just 13-50 SU and 25-38 ATS overall.

No. 7 Green Bay Packers at No. 1 San Francisco 49ers | 8:15 p.m. | FOX
Line: 49ers (-9.5), Total 50.5 - Opinions: 49ers and Under  

The NFC top-seed 49ers are the best team by statistical measures entering the playoffs. San Francisco did lose to AFC top seed Baltimore Ravens 33-19 in Week 16 on Christmas Eve. Five interceptions including four by Niners QB Brock Purdy was the issue, and that game cost then-favorite Purdy the league-MVP award, which will now go to Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. Packers Niners predictionBut Packers QB Jordan Love has been a top-2 rated quarterback the second half of the season sporting an 18-to-1 TD-INT ratio and then tossed 3 more TD's in the Packers 48-32 upset and pounding of the Cowboys in last week's wild card round. Love was 16/21 for 272 yards, and another performance like that will likely make this a down to the wire contest, especially if Aaron Jones can rush for 100+ yards again after also finding pay-dirt for 3 TDs against the Cowboys. Green Bay is the youngest team in the NFL, and playing their best football. The Packers also have a higher health score rating that the 49ers entering this divisional round duel, according to Sports Injury Central. Still, Green Bay has the worst total yards defense of the remaining playoff teams. Packers 49ers predictions pickThe 49ers are so strong on offense, running the ball and playmakers outside, and have a dominant defense and solid special teams. Purdy showed he could be rattled against the Ravens, but I trust the NFC's best coach Kyle Shanahan to have the game plan to power past the Packers. End of the line for the young Packers and QB Love, who have exceeded expectations this season but find out the Niners are who we thought they were - the very best team.

ATS Notes: San Francisco fits strong ATS profiles with Playbook Sports noting that NFL teams playing at home who lost in last year's conference championship game are 38-17-2 ATS since 1982. Now if you bring in an opponent off a win of 7 or more points (GB), and the 49ers situations improves to 30-4 SU and 28-6 ATS. Add a final subset of the opponent (GB) coming off a game in which they were a 3 or more points underdog, and the Niners situation improves to 15-0 SU and 14-1 ATS. 

Sunday, Jan. 21 

No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 3 Detroit Lions | 3:00 p.m. | NBC
Line: Lions (-6.5) vs. Bucs, Total 48.5 - Pick: Over and Lean Bucs

The Buccaneers may get support, although the line has moved up from Lions -6 and briefly dipping to -5.5. Despite some difference in intensity from regular season to one-and-done format of playoff football, it's tough to ignore that the Lions went 3-3 SU and 4-2 ATS with a +309 yard differential vs. current playoff teams while the Buccaneers were a playoff-worst -718 yards differential while going 1-5 SU vs. playoff teams, but 4-2 ATS. The Lions have the worst yards-per-play defense of the remaining teams, which makes laying more than a TD (6 points is still a TD) a bit much to ask. The best play is over the game total and first half (24). 

No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs at No. 2 Buffalo Bills | 6:30 p.m. | CBS
Line: Bills (-2.5), Total 46.5 - Pick: Under and Opinion: Bills  

Another battle between these two playoff powerhouses, who played in one of the greatest playoff games in history in 2022 when the Chiefs beat the Bills 36-30 in OT after Buffalo had taken a 30-27 lead on a TD with 13 seconds left in regulation. Then a pair of long pass completions by Mahomes set up a game-tying 49-yard FG and overtime. Both these teams rank top 10 in offense and defense, joining the 49ers and Ravens. Chiefs NFL playoff free pickThe Chiefs have situational edges with 8 days since winning their wild card game to just 6 days for the Bills after their wild card game was pushed back due to severe weather. Another concern for Buffalo is injuries, with leading tackler Terrel Bernard (ankle, status) carted off the field in last week's Wild Card win over the Steelers. The Chiefs have the second-highest health score rating of the remaining teams behind the Bucs, according to Sports Injury Central (SIC). Making matters worse for the Bills is that they have the worst health SIC score, and this game has the biggest health differential. The four teams with the lowest SIC heath score in the Wild Card round all lost. I still lean the Bills way with the Chiefs on the playoff road for the first time in Patrick Mahomes' career (12th playoff start, excluding Super Bowl). Buffalo Bills playoff free pickMahomes is 11-1 ATS in his NFL career as an underdog with 8 outright wins. Coach Reid remains the best (behind Harbaugh) of those coaches remaining in the playoffs, but I'm still backing Buffalo as the hottest team for a chip-shot with more support under the game total. The most bet game of the divisional round will be generating tons of player prop bets and live betting and in-player wagering. Perhaps another storm will hit Buffalo, but for now follow the NFL weather with 15 degrees and 13 mph winds still enough to make it tough on the offenses against solid defenses in the most hostile environment of any Divisional Round game.

A Super Bowl lookahead line is posted at BetOnline - San Francisco (-2.5) vs. Baltimore 

Check back for more updates and information you can bet on for the divisional round on the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. 

FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper with unparalleled success in NFL pointspread prognosis. FairwayJay chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Follow FairwayJay here at and on Twitter @FairwayJay for more betting insights.  

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