NFL Betting Value Picks for Divisional Round Playoffs

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, January 16, 2016 1:10 AM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 1:10 AM UTC

Well, all four road teams won during the wild card round of the NFL Playoffs for the first time ever and we move forward with selections on all four games of this Divisional Round.

It was a historic wild card round of the 2015 NFL Playoffs as all four road teams won on the same weekend for the first time in history, but seeing how three of those road teams were favored and the fourth was close to a Pick’em, there have really been no upsets yet as we move on this weekend with our NFL picks for all four games of the divisional round.


Last Saturday, the playoffs opened with the Chiefs annihilating the Texans and the Steelers getting by the Bengals thanks to Cincinnati beating itself by self-destructing late in the game. Then on Sunday, the Seahawks escaped Minnesota with a 10-9 victory thanks to the Vikings’ Blair Walsh missing a chip-shot field goal in the final seconds, while the last game of the weekend had far less drama with the Packers beating the Redskins rather handily.

So the field is set for this weekend’s divisional round, and it is quite a nice field indeed. All four of our selections for this weekend are sides, evenly divided between two favorites and two underdogs, and as usual all of these NFL odds come from Pinnacle Sports.


Saturday, January 16th
New England Patriots -5 (+102) over Kansas City Chiefs (4:35 ET):
Believe it or not, teams coming off of a first round bye have not fared particularly well in the divisional round going just 21-31 ATS since the AFC and NFC expanded to four divisions each in 2002, and after going 3-1 ATS that season, the teams coming off byes are 18-30 ATS since then! However this is a special case where the bye week genuinely helped the Patriots get healthy as this was a team beset by a rash of injuries while losing its last two games to the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, thus surrendering to top seed in the conference to the Denver Broncos. Therefore, Tom Brady finally has his usually receiving targets this week in Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola both at or close to 100 percent, and Sebastian Vollmer is also back, which is crucial as he will be blocking against the excellent Kansas City edge rushers. In other words, Tom Brady has all of his weapons back and he should have more time to find them, which has to be an uncomfortable feeling for any opposing defense. Yes, the Chiefs have now won 11 straight games counting their wild card win, but the only real good team they beat during their 10-game regular season winning streak was the Broncos, and that was in the game where Peyton Manning got benched. We would not read too much into last week’s blowout either over probably the weakest of all AFC playoff teams, and Kansas City may have suffered a humongous loss in that game when Jeremy Maclin went down with a high ankle sprain.

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Arizona Cardinals -7 (+100) over Green Bay Packers (8:15 ET): We mentioned earlier how teams coming off of first round byes have not fared well since the current NFL Playoff system was instituted, and yet here we go again bucking that trend in both of Saturday’s games! This is a rematch from Week 16 here in Phoenix, when the Cardinals dominated the Packers 38-8 and abused Aaron Rodgers all game, as the Arizona defensive line overwhelmed the Green Bay offensive line while recording nine sacks. Now, Packer Nation is no doubt thrilled that the Packers finally looked like the Packers offensively in their 35-18 win over the Redskins in the wild card round after uncharacteristically finishing 23rd in the NFL in total offense this season and reaching 30 points just twice in their last 13 regular season games. However, as SBR contributor and TV personality Geno Bisconte points out, Washington beat just two teams all season that finished with winning records as they were fortunate to win the terrible NFC East with a 9-7 record. Yet, some experts seem to be overreacting to that Packer performance, and that could be serving to give us good line value on the Cardinals here by preventing this point spread from rising above the key -7. Meanwhile, we do not see a Green Bay defense slowed by injuries to both Sam Shields and Quinten Rollins doing much to stop one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL this season, as Arizona led the league in total offense with 408.3 yards per game while ranking second in passing offense and eighth in rushing offense, all while ranking second in scoring with 30.6 points per contest.

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Sunday, January 17th
Seattle Seahawks +1½ (+100) over Carolina Panthers (1:05 ET):
With the lower seeds winning all four games last weekend, it sets up two meetings between one-seeds and six-seeds this week, with both of those matchups taking place on Sunday including this game. Before getting into the specifics of this contest, keep in mind that six-seeds have been the best performing seeds since 2002 going 27-18, 60.0 percent ATS, while the top seeds have been the worst performing seeds going 21-35, 37.5 percent ATS! Now turning our focus to this particular game, is it not interesting that a top-seeded Carolina team that finished 15-1 this season is just a 1½-point favorite at home vs. a six-seed here? Also remember that the Panthers went into Seattle earlier this season and overcame a 13-point deficit en route to a 27-23 victory. However, this is a different Seattle team on both sides of the ball than the one that Carolina beat that day. Cam Newton may be the favorite to win the league MVP, but Russell Wilson was the hottest quarterback in the NFL over the second half of the season, and the Seattle defense is now once again playing at a Super Bowl level. Yes, the Seahawks are very lucky to be here after Walsh missed what amounted to an extra point last week, but you can just about toss that game as the weather conditions made it impossible for the Seattle to runs its offense in the third coldest game in NFL history. Look for Wilson to go back to playing like he did at the end of the year here in more ideal weather, and also running back Marshawn Lynch is now probable after missing the second half of the year. Add this all up and all signs point to the Seahawks returning to yet another NFC Championship Game.

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Pittsburgh Steelers +7 (-110) over Denver Broncos (4:40 ET): This is the other one-seed vs. six-seed matchup, so the same playoff seeding trends referenced in the earlier game also apply here. Now on the surface this looks like a daunting task for the Steelers with both wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back DeAngelo Williams confirmed out and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger expected to go while trying to play through a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder which could make throwing the ball downfield a difficult task. With all of that being said, we still feel that the Broncos are overvalued here because we do not expect the Denver offense to score a boatload of points, as while we may be in the minority, we actually see going back to Peyton Manning as the starting quarterback as a detriment. Keep in mind that the Broncos averaged only 20.4 points the second half of the year and the only time the offense looked efficient was when Brock Osweiler was under center. It would help of course if the Broncos could run the football, but the Pittsburgh defense is stout against the run finishing the regular season fifth in the NFL in rushing defense allowing 91.2 yards per game on the ground. Also we expect the Steelers to cheat up against the run here as long as Manning is in the game, virtually daring him to beat them deep after giving no indication that his long passing game has improved during his relief appearance in the season finale.

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