NFL Betting Value Picks for Divisional Playoffs

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, January 9, 2015 8:01 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 8:01 PM UTC

The NFL Playoffs have now reached the Divisional Round are here our best value plays. Once again we are providing one value selection for each of the four games this weekend!

Well, we went 3-1 with our NFL picks in this space during the Wild Card Round of the playoffs, although we went just 1-1 with our more selective monitored plays. We are still over 60 percent for the year though after 129 decisions at 78-51-2, 60.5%, +26.78 units as documented in the Sportsbook Review Forum! Hopefully the success we had picking all four games here last week will continue as we are doing the same thing this Divisional Round.

Our monitored winner last week was the Bengals and Colts staying ‘under’ while the loser was the Steelers, as Ben Roethlisberger did not go off again on the Baltimore selection as we expected. Our other two winners in this column were the Panthers and the Lions, with the latter covering in a rather controversial loss with the referees doing Detroit no favors.

So now we move on to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs this weekend and we are here with two sides and two totals. Both totals are ‘unders’, which is right in line with our contrarian nature, but uncharacteristically both of our side selections are favorites this week. And as has become the norm for us, all of these NFL odds come from Pinnacle Sports.

Saturday, January 10th
Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots ‘under’ 47½ (-102) (4:35 ET): The New England Patriots finished as the top seed in the AFC, but they do not exactly enter this contest with much momentum and they are facing perhaps their worst possible matchup in these playoffs in the Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots have not really played a complete game in about a month, but while it is true that they rested regulars in their season ending loss to the Buffalo Bills here at home, they also trailed the New York Jets in the fourth quarter for crying out loud in the Week 16 victory that wrapped up the top seed. Granted Tom Brady could potentially do some damage vs. a suspect Baltimore secondary here, but will he have enough time to do so? Despite the Patriots’ 12-4 record, they still had offensive line issues throughout the season and the Ravens have as good a defensive front seven as any in football, especially with Haloti Ngata back from suspension. Brady may be under constant siege from Ngata and Terrell Suggs all game long, and remember that the Ravens are also stout against the run allowing only 87.1 rushing yards per game in 3.6 yards per carry. On top of all that, because of the Ravens’ great linebackers they allowed no 100-yard receiving games and only five touchdowns to tight ends this year, so they should at least contain Rob Gronkowski. On the flip side, do not forget about the New England defense either as Baltimore’s Joe Flacco does not figure to have the same success he had vs. the Pittsburgh secondary against a Patriots’ defensive backfield that includes Darrelle Revis and the underrated Devin McCourty.

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Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks ‘under’ 39½ (+100) (8:15 ET): The Carolina Panthers became the second NFL team in five years to make the playoffs with a losing record this season, and wouldn’t you know it but both of those teams won at home in the Wild Card Round after Carolina unimpressively defeated the Arizona Cardinals with Ryan Lindley at quarterback 27-16. And as fate would have it, the Panthers are facing the other team that accomplished that feat as the Seattle Seahawks won a game after making the playoffs at 7-9 in 2010. Yes, the Carolina defense played spectacularly last week, setting an NFL Playoff record for the fewest total yards allowed in a game with a paltry 78! And yet the Panthers were rather fortunate to cover the spread as Cam Newton looked off completing 18-of-32 passes for 198 yards and grimacing in pain several times during the game. Thankfully Carolina got 123 rushing yards from Jonathan Stewart. Well, Newton does not figure to look any better vs. the Legion of Doom defense of the defending Super Bowl Champions and Stewart does not figure to sniff his recent success vs. a Seattle defense that finished second in the league in yards per rush allowed at 3.5, an average that has dipped to a miniscule 2.8 yards per carry in the four games since Bobby Wagner returned. So we are not really sure how Carolina will generate any offense here. At least the Panthers’ defense can possibly keep them in this game as the Seattle offense has not exactly been lighting up the scoreboard either, winning games with the time-honored combination of stiff defense and a power running game led by Marshawn Lynch. Thus expect another low-scoring affair as Seattle is on a 5-1 ‘under’ run.

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Sunday, January 11th
Green Bay Packers -5½ (-105) over Dallas Cowboys (1:05 ET):
Most of the publicity surrounding this game has centered around the slightly torn calf of Aaron Rodgers, but we feel so much so that this line of -5½ actually gives the Packers line value with the drop from the tougher opening number of -7. You see, Rodgers re-entered the season finale vs. the Lions where the Packers clinched the NFC North and thus earned this home game after sustaining the injury, and other than walking with a noticeable limp, Aaron seemed unaffected by the injury during the course of play, even scoring on a quarterback sneak. Now we totally get that the Cowboys went 8-0 on the road this season, but remember that Green Bay also went 8-0 at home, making this the first such matchup in NFL Playoff history with the 16-game schedule. The difference is that the Packers seemingly dominated teams in Lambeau Field while averaging 39.8 points per game and winning those eight games by an average of +19.4 points! Rodgers will be throwing to probably the best receiving duo in football in Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb and he has the support of the excellent running of Eddie Lacy. Dallas did not put much pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season ranking 28th in the NFL in sacks and the Cowboys were 26th in passing defense. Furthermore, focusing so much on trying to contain Rodgers’ great receiving targets could only make it easier for Lacy to have a big rushing day. Yes the Cowboys have a great trio at the offensive skill positions in Tony Romo, Demarco Murray and Dez Bryant, but the Cowboys may have too big a deficit to overcome if the Packers duplicate their home success of the regular season.

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Denver Broncos -7 (+102) over Indianapolis Colts (4:40 ET): These were two of the better offenses in the NFL this season with the Colts surprisingly ranking the higher of the two in total offense in second at 410.5 yards per game, although the defending AFC Champion Broncos were not far behind in fourth with 402.9 yards per contest. The major differences in these teams though was that the Broncos had the superior ground game the second half of the season thanks to the development of C.J. Anderson, and Denver is the team with the elite defense here. In fact, Denver seems more built for the playoffs this season than it did during their Super Bowl run last year because of its improvement in those two areas. Injuries to Denver starting running back to begin the year Montee Ball and to his backup Ronnie Hillman turned out to be blessings in disguise as it introduced the world to Anderson, who turned out to be the Broncos’ best running back despite beginning the year at third string. Anderson only stated the last seven games of the season yet finished with 849 rushing yards on 4.7 yards per carry with eight rushing touchdowns and two more touchdowns receiving, and his running was able to cover up the fact that Peyton Manning did not play well the final month of the season. We really have no worries about Manning bouncing back following a bye week, and remember too that Denver finished third in the NFL in total defense this year. Now the Colts’ Andrew Luck is obviously one of the best quarterbacks in the game, but this is one spot where he probably cannot win this game on his own without much of a running game or much of a defense. Interestingly the 11-5 Colts were unable to meet their biggest challenges this year, going 0-4 vs. other division winners including a loss to these Broncos, with the fifth loss coming to the second place Philadelphia Eagles at home.

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