Just one of four favourites prevailed on Wild Card Weekend, so if you think you’ve got the NFL figured out, think again.
Twelve teams down to eight, the Super Bowl is within reach for one of this week’s finalists, but after a week off for the likes of the Chiefs, Patriots, Rams and Saints, are we in for another round of upsets?
We’ve taken a look at all the numbers you need to know, and our complete 2019 NFL Divisional Round Tips can be found below.
Kansas City Chiefs Vs Indianapolis Colts
Sunday 13 January, 8:30am, Arrowhead Stadium
You wouldn’t call it the unthinkable, but the Colts heading into Houston and knocking off the 11-5 Texans last week was kind of a big deal.
Indy were superb (at least in the first half) against their bitter division rivals. Andrew Luck was lights out from the first snap, finishing with 222-yards and a pair of touchdowns in the 21-7 rout.
For the Chiefs, the biggest concern has to be stopping T.Y. Hilton. The Texans made the mistake of playing man-to-man last week, resulting in nothing more than a measly 85-yard game for the star receiver. Of course, over-committing to Hilton opens up the Eric Ebron option, leaving Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton with some decisions to make this week.
That’s easier said than done for Kansas City however, especially when you consider the Chiefs have struggled all year to stop the pass. The Chiefs ranked second in passing yards allowed during the regular season, and even with a week off, plus home-field advantage, there’s no way they can stop the likes of Hilton, Ebron, and even Marlon Mack for an entire 60-minutes.
What the Chiefs do have though, is Patrick Mahomes. We’ve already seen unexperienced quarterbacks like Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson falter in the playoffs, but this is Mahomes’ calling card in front of what should be a raucous Arrowhead crowd.
Even so, the Colts have the defence to stop the Chiefs. They forced an agile quarterback like Watson into three sacks and a pick last week, disrupting the pocket as well as silencing DeAndre Hopkins.
What’s to say they can’t do that again against Mahomes and Tyreek Hill?
The Colts are 13-3 in their last 16-games when playing Kansas City, and in their last trip to Arrowhead back in 2013, they walked away 23-7 victors.
Tip: Back the Colts To Win @ $3.05
Los Angeles Rams Vs Dallas Cowboys
Sunday 13 January, 12:20pm, Los Angeles Coliseum
The Cowboys were determined to make things interesting in their 24-22 win over the Seahawks last week, but for the third time in the last four years, Dallas are through to the Divisional Round.
Memories of 2016’s agonising loss to the Packers will be fresh in the mind of Cowboys’ fans, but it’s worth remembering just how different this team is. It’s also worth mentioning that by the midway point of the third quarter last week, running back Ezekiel Elliott had rushed for more yards than the Seahawks had total offence.
The Rams come into this one well-rested and ready to make up for last year’s 26-13 no-show against the Falcons. Los Angeles ranked second in the league in points-per-game during the regular season, and with a now healthy Todd Gurley to rely on, it’s no surprise to see the Rams at the shorter odds playing at home.
Dallas do have something going for them though that perhaps no other team in the NFC can attest to: defence. The Cowboys did a great job on the ground last week against Seattle, limiting the Seahawks to 73-rushing yards and the lone touchdown.
That kind of effort would go a long way against a team like the Rams, but only if Sean McVay’s side doesn’t shoot themselves in the foot first. In the final month of the season the Rams looked lost on offence, and although they blew out the 49ers and the Cardinals to close out the year, back-to-back losses to the Bears and the Eagles, two NFC playoff finalists, leaves a lot to be desired.
With a 7-1 record, there’s no denying how strong the Rams have been at home. But can they really rely on their offensive line, a unit that allowed 33 sacks this season, to keep Jared Goff upright in the pocket?
We saw how destructive the Cowboys can be when they dialed up the pressure last week against Seattle, and with Goff’s accuracy woes on full display in recent weeks, this has upset written all over it.
Tip: Back the Cowboys at the Line (+6.5 Points) @ $1.91
New England Patriots Vs Los Angeles Chargers
Monday 14 January, 5:00am, Gillette Stadium
This intriguing game between two classic AFC foes has New England as the four-point favourites in what could very well be their only home game of the 2019 playoffs. It’s a different feel as far as New England are concerned this year though, with many predicting the long reign of the Brady-Belichick era close to over.
First up, the Chargers will take a crack following their nail-biting win over the Ravens in the Wild Card round. Los Angeles nearly blew a 21-3 lead in the fourth quarter, but cooler heads prevailed, or should we say, Melvin Ingram’s strip-sack skills.
That’s exactly what needs to happen this week if the Chargers are to take care of the Patriots. LA, led by Ingram and Joey Bosa, need to rattle Tom Brady in the pocket, forcing him into throws which, given the state of New England’s receiving corp, should turn into 50/50 balls down-field.
As we know, the Patriots at home are a different beast. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is 0-7 lifetime against Tom Brady, and with an extra week to dial up schemes, you’d be foolish to back against Bill Belichick in this one.
For New England to win they not only need some Brady brilliance, but also a strong defensive effort. Teams like Pittsburgh paid the price when they overlooked Chargers’ wide receiver Keenan Allen during the regular season – you can bet Belichick won’t make that mistake.
Tip: Back the Patriots to Cover The Line (-4 Points) @ $1.90
New Orleans Saints Vs Philadelphia Eagles
Monday 14 January, 8:30am, Mercedes Benz Superdome
Call it luck or even a miracle, Philly are right back where they started: in the underdog role and loving every minute of it.
Big Nick energy stormed Chicago last week as Foles and the Eagles held on for the narrowest of one-point wins over the Bears. It took a last second clunked field goal from kicker Cody Parkey, but you can’t discount Foles’ resiliency on the game-winning drive just two minutes prior.
Sitting pretty with the first seed in the NFC, the Saints kicked back last week knowing the path to the Super Bowl runs through them. The Saints and the Eagles did battle way back in Week 11, a game Sean Payton’s side won comfortably 48-7.
We now await the rematch, and although the Saints are well-rested, sometimes the bye week can do more harm than good. Are the Saints ready for Doug Pederson’s high-tempo offence? And just how can they silence Alshon Jeffery?
New Orleans will go into this game knowing they have the sixth-best rushing attack to rely on, but of course, it’s all about the air. The Eagles allowed the seventh-most passing yards during the regular season, and just like in Week 11, if Philly fail to double-team Michael Thomas, he’ll easily burn them for 90+ yards and some points once again.
There is one other stat worth noting though: the Eagles ranked dead last in touchdowns scored once an opposing team reached the red zone during the regular season. That, matched up against the Saints’ high-scoring outfit, could pose a few problems for New Orleans if they get off to a slow start.
Tip: Back Under 51 Total Points @ $1.91
There are only eight teams left in the NFL Playoffs seven games of football will decide the NFL Champions.
The New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings will all be back in action after their first-round byes and they are joined in this stage of the NFL Playoffs by Wildcard Weekend winners the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars
The Division Playoff Round is always one of the highlights of the NFL season and we are set for four outstanding games this weekend.
We have analysed every game and our complete 2018 NFL Playoffs Divisional Round tips can be found below.
Philadelphia Eagles Vs Atlanta Falcons
Sunday 14 January, 8.35am, Lincoln Financial Field
The Philadelphia Eagles may have the home-ground advantage, but it is the Atlanta Falcons that will start this clash as favourites.
Philadelphia were the best team in the NFC all season long, but the loss of quarterback Carson Wentz has seen them lengthen significantly in Super Bowl betting and they failed to score a point in their most recent clash against the Dallas Cowboys.
Lincoln Financial Field has been a genuine fortress for the Eagles this season and they have won seven of their eight games at the venue, but they did lose and fail to cover the line in their only game as a home underdog.
The Atlanta Falcons secured their place in the Divisional Round with a big upset win over the Los Angeles Rams and their Playoffs experience could once again prove key against the Eagles.
Atlanta have won four of their five games as away favourites this season, but they are a poor 1-4 against the line in this scenario.
The value in this clash could be in the Total Points betting market.
Backing the Under has been a profitable betting play in games involving either of these teams and the total has gone Under in the past six games played by the Falcons.
Back Under 42.5 Points
New England Patriots Vs Tennessee Titans
Sunday 14 January, 12.15pm, Gillette Stadium
The New England Patriots are the shortest-priced favourites of the weekend in the NFL.
New England have been their usual dominant selves during the NFL season and it is tough to see them having any issues with this Tennessee Titans outfit.
The Patriots have won eight of their past ten games as home favourites for a clear profit and they have covered the line in seven of these wins, while they have won their last four games against the Titans.
Tennessee kept their season alive with a memorable come-from-behind win over the Kansas City Chiefs, but they will need to go to another level to have any chance of beating the Patriots.
The Titans have won only one of their past five games as underdogs and they are 2-2 against the line on the road when being given a start.
This looks set to be a one-sided contest and the Patriots should have no issues covering the line.
Back New England To Beat The Line (-13.5 Points)
Pittsburgh Steelers Vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Monday 15 January, 5.05am, Heinz Field
This shapes as the most interesting game of the weekend.
The Jacksonville Jaguars scored a big win over the Pittsburgh Steelers when they met earlier this season, but it is Pittsburgh that will start this clash as favourites.
Pittsburgh have won seven of their past eight games – with their only loss coming at the hands of the New England Patriots – but it is still fair to say that they haven’t been overly impressive in the second half of the season.
The Steelers have won six of their past seven games as home favourites, but they are only 3-4 against the line in this scenario.
Jacksonville produced a massive defensive effort to beat Pittsburgh in October and their defence was at their best again against the Buffalo Bills last weekend.
The Jaguars have won two of their past three games as away underdogs for a big profit and their really isn’t as much between these two teams as the current market suggests.
This should be a fairly low-scoring affair and the Jaguars are a great bet to cover the line with a start of 7.5 points.
Back Jacksonville To Beat The Line (+7.5 Points)
Minnesota Vikings Vs New Orleans Saints
Monday 15 January, 8.40am, U.S. Bank Stadium
The Minnesota Vikings beat the New Orleans Saints earlier this season and they will start this clash as clear favourites.
Minnesota won seven of their past eight games of the regular season in very comfortable fashion and their record in front of their home fans has been particularly strong.
The Vikings have won seven of their past eight games at the U.S. Bank Stadium – the site for this year’s Super Bowl – and they are 6-2 against the line at this venue.
Consistency has been something of an issue for the Saints, but there is no doubt that they are capable of brilliance on their day and they were excellent against the Carolina Panthers last weekend.
The Saints don’t have the best record on the road and they have won only one of their past four games as away underdogs, while their record against the line is no better.
Minnesota need to show that they are capable of taking the next step in the NFL Playoffs – as the Los Angeles Rams failed to do against the Atlanta Falcons – but if they produce their best football they will prove too strong for this Saints outfit.
Back Minnesota To Beat The Line (-4 Points)
The 2017 NFL Playoffs continue this weekend and there are four intriguing clashes set to take place during the Divisional Round.
The New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons will all return to action after their first-round byes, while the Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks are all coming off wins.
There is plenty of betting value in each of the four games this weekend and you can find our recommended plays for each below!
Atlanta Falcons Vs Seattle Seahawks
Sunday 14 January, 8.35am, Georgia Dome
The Atlanta Falcons finished the regular season with four straight wins and they will go into this clash with the Seattle Seahawks as clear favourites.
Atlanta have been excellent in 2016 – particularly Matt Ryan – but one position in which they have struggled is as home favourites.
They have won just four of their seven games in this scenario for a clear loss and they are a poor 2-5 against the line.
Seattle were far too strong for Detroit last weekend and they will fancy their chances of qualifying for another NFC Conference Championship.
The Seahawks have won one of their past three games as away underdogs for a narrow profit and I really don’t think there is as much between these two teams as the current betting market suggests.
Seattle are great value at $2.75 and arguably the best bet of the weekend.
Back Seattle To Win @ $2.75
New England Patriots Vs Houston Texans
Sunday 14 January, 12.15pm, Gillette Stadium
The New England Patriots are dominant favourites to beat the Houston Texans and the line has been set at a massive 15.5 points.
New England head into the NFL Playoffs on the back of seven straight victories and they have won their past five games against the Texans.
The Patriots have won seven of their past nine games as home favourites and they have the exact same record against the line.
Houston did enough to get the job done against a poor Oakland Raiders last weekend, but there was still not much to like about their performance.
The Texans are a side that generally perform to market expectations – they have won just two of their past eight games as away underdogs and they have the exact same record against the line.
There is little doubt that New England should prove far too strong for Houston and they are a good enough team to cover the big line.
Back New England To Beat The Line (-15.5 Points)
Kansas City Chiefs Vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Monday 15 January, 5.05am, Arrowhead Field
This will arguably be the toughest clash this weekend and there really is not a great deal between these two sides.
It is the Kansas City Chiefs that will start this clash as narrow favourites and they have won five of their past six games heading into the NFL Playoffs.
Kansas City have won six of their past eight games as home favourites, but they have a lacklustre record against the line in this scenario.
Pittsburgh have flown under the radar in the second half of the season and they have played some outstanding football in recent weeks.
The Steelers have an uncanny knack of being able to find a result and that really is what you need to win during the NFL Playoffs.
Pittsburgh don’t start many games as underdogs, but their record in this situation is not great and there is an issue over the fitness of Ben Roethlisberger.
This is a tricky game to analyse, but the home ground advantage should be enough to get them over the line in what should be a very tough race.
Back Kansas City Chiefs To Win @ $1.80
Dallas Cowboys Vs Green Bay Packers
Monday 15 January, 8.40am, AT & T Stadium
The Dallas Cowboys recorded a dominant victory over the Green Bay Packers earlier this season and they will start this clash as clear favourites.
Dallas lost their first game of the regular season, but they went into that clash without the majority of their starters and they will be a fresh team for this clash.
The Cowboys have won all six of their games as home favourites for a big profit and their record against the line is 4-2.
Aaron Rodgers played at his brilliant best to lead the Green Bay Packers to victory over the New York Giants and they have now won seven games on the trot.
Green Bay have only won one of their four games as away underdogs this season for a clear loss, but they have been a profitable betting proposition against the line this season.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting perspective.