Posted January 10, 2014

NFL divisional round betting odds, lines

AFC East, AFC South, AFC West, Between The Lines, NFC South, NFC West, NFL Playoffs
It's hard to trust the Patriots as big favorites without Rob Gronkowski in the offense.

It’s hard to trust the Patriots as seven-point favorites without Rob Gronkowski in the offense. (Steven Senne/AP)

The divisional round of the NFL playoffs is here. Time to place your bets.

Which games should you pick and which should you avoid? Joe Fortenbaugh and Tom Mantzouranis break down everything you need to know entering this weekend’s NFL action.

Best Bet

Joe Fortenbaugh: Chargers +9 at Broncos.  Despite the variety of excuses for Peyton Manning’s 9-11 career mark during the postseason (9-11 against the spread), the bottom line is that after 15 years in the National Football League, it’s become increasingly difficult to back the future Hall of Famer come playoff time.  The most dangerous team in football at the moment, San Diego held Manning and the high-powered Denver offense to under 400 total yards in each of their two regular season encounters in 2013, the only team in the business to accomplish such a feat.  The Chargers are riding a five-game winning streak (4-1 ATS) and are surrendering an average of just 16.3 points per game over their last six outings.  Take note that San Diego is 8-3-1 ATS over its last 12 road games, while quarterback Philip Rivers is 2-0 both straight-up and ATS when facing Manning in the playoffs.  I’ll take the points in addition to backing San Diego on the moneyline at +350.

MORE COVERAGE: Picks | Best potential Super Bowl matchups | More betting analysis 

Tom Mantzouranis: 49ers -1 at Panthers. A lot of people are pointing to Carolina’s 10-9 win over in San Francisco in November as some proof that the Panthers have a shot at winning this game. That ignores three factors: Aldon Smith, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. Smith appeared in that game, but wasn’t much of a factor in his first showing post-rehab. Davis suffered a concussion in the second quarter and left after just one catch. And Crabtree was still out recovering from his Achilles tear. Crabtree’s addition has opened up the 49ers offense considerably; watching the 49ers’ win over Green Bay made plain how reliant Colin Kaepernick is on his trusty receiver. The Panthers, meanwhile, will be playing with a less-than-healthy Steve Smith. Forget the road angle; if 49ers can win in -273-degree Green Bay, I think they can handle whatever Carolina and its crowd has for them. The 49ers just have that look. They’re peaking at the right time, and I trust them more than a Panthers team that has underwhelmed in two straight games.

NFL Divisional Round Betting Odds

Matchup Date & Time Line Over/Under
New Orleans at Seattle 01/11 4:35 p.m. ET Seattle -8 45.5
Indianapolis at New England 01/11 8:15 p.m. ET New England -7 51.5
San Francisco at Carolina 01/12 1:05 p.m. ET Carolina +1 41.5
San Diego at Denver 01/12 4:40 p.m. ET Denver -9 54

(Odds courtesy of COVERS.com)

Stay Away From

Fortenbaugh: Patriots -7 vs. Colts.  Push me into a corner, and I’ll tell you that New England covers the number in this one, but I’m not interested in backing that gut feeling with cash at a Las Vegas sports book.  With Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski in the lineup this season, the Patriots averaged 32.0 points and 417.7 total yards of offense per game.  Without Gronk on the gridiron, the offense slowed to just 24.4 points and 358.6 total yards per contest .  Also worth mentioning is that New England is a shocking 2-8 ATS over its last 10 home playoff games.

Mantzouranis: Patriots -7 vs. Colts. Both teams feature leaky defenses and strong offenses, and when that’s the case there are just too many variables to feel good on either side. A fluke turnover or injury to either team could swing this game from a three-point nail-biter to a 17-point blowout.

Best Of The Rest

Fortenbaugh: Saints +8 at Seattle.  I cringe at the notion of fading the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, but this is just too many points to lay on a team that has averaged only 19.25 points and 263.0 total yards of offense per game over its last four outings.  The Saints got the monkey off their back with last week’s outdoor road victory at Philadelphia, and I find it hard to believe that there is a team in the league capable of blasting the playoff-savvy duo of Drew Brees and Sean Payton twice in the same season.  Be advised that Seattle is 3-4 ATS over its last seven games when favored by seven or more points.

49ers -1 at Panthers.  I’ll have to hold my nose playing against the league’s second-ranked defense, which just so happens to own an 11-1 straight-up and 8-3-1 ATS record over its last 12 outings.  But I believe the playoff experience of Jim Harbaugh (seventh playoff game) and Colin Kaepernick (fifth) will be the deciding factor against the first-time postseason tandem of Ron Rivera and Cam Newton.  Note that the 49ers are 18-7-1 ATS over their last 26 road outings.

Mantzouranis: Patriots vs. Colts, under 51.5. Despite what you read above about the leaky defenses and strong offenses, I don’t anticipate this being as high-scoring an affair as it appears. For starters, let me just get this out of the way: Three of the four games last week came in at the under. Beyond that, as Joe notes, the Patriots’ offense hasn’t been as prolific sans Gronk, and I think the Colts expended a lot of energy, and mojo, in the second half against the Chiefs (especially when you consider that they really only have one true top-notch weapon in T.Y. Hilton (sorry, Donald Brown). The winds are supposed to be whipping in Foxboro this weekend, so I can see the total coming in at something like 48.

Saints +8 at Seahawks. Seattle was 4-0 in games nine through 12 this season, averaging almost 34 points a game. In the final four contests, it went 2-2, averaging a little over 19 per game. In those two time periods, Russell Wilson’s rating went from 128.0 to 79.1. Granted, one of those games in the Seahawks’ monster stretch came against the Saints, but even if Seattle wins again, I wouldn’t expect it to be as one-sided. The Saints showed last week that they can play the way they’re going to need to play this week — with their running game and defense leading the way — and Sean Payton knows how to motivate his team when it’s being counted out. I think he’ll push the right buttons again this week.

THE PLAYBOOK: Previewing Saints-Seahawks, every NFL divisional round matchup

7 comments
fnut19621330
fnut19621330

The REFs and the NFL tried hard to give Sand Diego the win against the Broncos yesterday. Week after week now there are all these super games that a 17 or 24 point lead mean nothing in. Anyone who can't see that these games are fake, are raging morons.The NFL hates Manning, Tebo, Favre and anyone else who is a God-loving, honest person. Manning has always done his job against Brady and Phillip Rivers and has always proven he's the best QB in the game but between his players dropping easy passes, fumbling, missing easy field goals with time running out or REFs just blatantly ripping his team off on calls, they've managed to make him look like someone who chokes in the playoffs or second fiddle to QB's that wouldn't even been in his class if the NFL was still real. I've noticed so far in every playoff game this year, the only time the team with the biggest market (money maker) didn't win was the Denver, San Diego game and the refs tried to give them the win but the Broncos are so much better than the Chargers that it was to hard for the NFL instructed refs to pull it off. New Orleans was hosed by the refs in their game against the Seahawks. Even though I hate the Saints, they were the real winners of that game had it been officiated fairly and it just so happens the Seahawks make the NFL a lot more money than the Saints do. People are making bets on these games in Vegas and they are rigged. People use to go to prison for rigging professional sports. That just goes to show you what our government (lawmakers) has become for allowing this to take place in America. People have become too busy staring at their smart phones (while getting dumber by the second) and defending unnatural, immoral homosexuals to notice that our country has become a sewer.

RS1022
RS1022

The public is ALL-IN on SD +9.5 and SF -1 and they are probably the biggest public plays of last few years if NFL playoffs. Last time I checked, echoing the 'public plays' isn't the best way to win at sports betting.

jbc123
jbc123

It's going to rain two inches here on Saturday night. The Pat's have been running the heck out of the ball recently and are coming off a week of rest and getting ready. If you like money, take the Pat's

anon76
anon76

Sigh.  I'd expect betting guys to be less duped by the "QB vs. QB" narrative that seems to fuel sports writing.  Up until last weekend Rivers had a worse playoff record than Manning, in spite of Manning losing in his last three playoff games.  Manning has a substantially better passer rating than Rivers over the course of their playoff careers.  Yes Rivers is 2-0 vs Manning- in one game he played excellent while Manning played only 'well', while in the other game Rivers played poorly, Manning played well, and Sproles played much better than any of them, propelling SD to the win.


This is a team game- whichever team plays better on Sunday will win, and it will have nothing to do with how well a sure-fire Hall of Famer is perceived to perform during the playoffs.