Early Public/Sharp Action for Divisional Round of Playoffs

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, January 7, 2015 1:22 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015 1:22 PM UTC

In the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, top favourites for the SuperBowl get to trade their wares on the NFL odds board. Before locking in your NFL picks, join our discussion about where the consensus bets are in early trading.

Second Round Playoffs Betting 
Unlike the wildcard round, home favourites in the divisional round have the market cornered on hefty NFL odds across the board. Not only are SU NFL odds trading above the 250-price-point across most sportsbook platforms, but oddsmakers have also rolled out hefty spreads of no less than a touchdown for each and every game. Do the bookies have it right or will the pups punch above their perceived weight class? Here's a look at the NFL odds and the early NFL betting trends coming down the wire.


Ravens vs. Patriots -7.0
Opening Line
: -7.5
Early indications reveal a split between the Ravens and Patriots in NFL betting trends, which is hardly surprising given the Ravens have enjoyed a measure of success at the Foxboro in recent seasons, including a 28-13 shocker in the AFC Conference game two years ago en route to winning the Superbowl. At the time, the Ravens were matched as the 8-point road underdogs and the total odds were set to 49.5-points. Ravens are just 2-8 SU when playing New England at the Foxboro, but they are 3-4-2 ATS in their last nine games when playing on the road against the Patriots.

Odds makers opened the line at around the 7.5-point mark at most sportsbooks, but quickly reduced it by half-a-point as NFL bettors saw value in the Ravens at that high spread (-6.5 at 5Dimes). After all, the Ravens just upset the Steelers as the 3-point road pups. Why not roll with the Ravens plus the points in the divisional round.  That's as far as consensus bets go for the Ravens though. In straight up betting, the Patriots are the overwhelming favourites, having attracted 75% of early bets through the window. Total betting reveals a slight lean towards the OVER 48-point total currently trading.


Panthers vs. Seahawks -11.5
Opening Line: 11.0
The current narrative dubs this the least sexy game of the week. It's also the most lopsided NFL betting affair on the NFL odds board, so confident are the bookies it's going to be a whitewash affair at CenturyLink Field that the Seahawks are runaway favourites SU and against the spread. Given the hefty NFL odds, the risk factor is bigger making it one of the games casual NFL bettors are likely to avoid.

As it stands, bettors are almost split down the middle on the spread with 45% backing the Panthers and 55% backing the Seahawks. The really interesting trend is found in SU betting: 63% are backing the Panthers for the upset. This has to be down to two guiding factors a) the ridiculously tempting +425 price tag for a Panthers win or in other words the 425% rate of return on investment and b) the notion that the Panthers are a team built to beat the likes of the Seahawks. Indeed, earlier this season the pair collided with the Panthers very nearly proving that notion only to lose 13-9.


Cowboys vs. Packers -6.0
Opening Line: -6.5
NFL bettors are practically giddy over this matchup; it's the matchup all and sundry hoped would emerge in the NFC playoff race once the line up in the Conference was established. To have the best road team this season take on the best home team is what the playoffs are about: taking the measure of the best in the NFL. Predictably, there's been a lot of action on this game coming down the wire since windows opened.

Interestingly, spread betting stands in stark contrast to money line betting at early doors. While 62% of the public has weighed in on the Packers as the 6.5-point home chalk almost 80% of SU money is on the Cowboys as the tempting +215 underdogs to mastermind the upset at Lambeau. So far, the only real consensus bet for this game is in total betting with 80% of the money going towards the OVER 53-point total.


Colts vs. Broncos -7.0
Opening Line: 7.0
The AFC showdown between Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck holds appeal on so many levels to the general NFL betting public that the NFL betting lines are certain to gather momentum and move over the course of the week, according to bookies. Opening on 7-points, Broncos have had no trouble attracting public money their way. So popular is Peyton Manning and his Broncos in NFL betting circles. Already, they've garnered consensus bets across the board with 65% of spread money on Broncos as the 7-point chalk and 75% of SU money on the Broncos to win straight up at -300 (or thereabouts depending on your sportsbook of choice). Indeed, of all the games on the schedule in the divisional round, this game represents overwhelming consensus at early doors in favour of the Broncos.

The regular season for this pair started on a date at Mile High, which the Broncos won 31-24 but the Colts covered as the 8-point road underdogs. Sharp NFL bettors looking to back the Colts may be waiting until later in the week to see if bettors push the NFL lines up higher to better capitalise with the Colts on their NFL picks against the spread. It's unlikely to expect a bigger following in SU betting though for the Colts, even if they have a notional chance to beat the Broncos. Where the consensus bets are on this game are on the OVER 54-point total currently trading with 71% backing what is essentially the highest total of the week right now.

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