NFL Divisional Round Best Moneyline Picks

NFL Divisional Round Best Moneyline Picks
Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Jones #33. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/AFP

We preview the four standout matchups in the divisional round and serve up choice straight up NFL picks to spot.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Green Bay Packers

Saturday, January 16, 2021 – 4:35 PM ET at Lambeau Field

The Los Angeles Rams advanced into the divisional round at the expense of the Seattle Seahawks, turning NFL betting markets on their heads with the upset. However, Jared Goff, who stepped in to replace an injured John Wolford, was clearly not at 100% so soon following thumb surgery. Had it not been for the Rams riding the coattails of their stout defense, which wreaked havoc on Seattle’s offense, Goff didn’t look capable of carrying the Rams to victory at all. Thus, one has to consider such a performance might not cut it against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field – an impression underpinned by the NFL odds.

As it is, the well-rested Packers enter the divisional round as the firm favorites to come through with the straight-up win. They’re also trading as touchdown faves in point spread betting markets, which further highlights the magnitude of the task before the Rams at Lambeau Field on Saturday.

By and large, the billing is being marketed as a clash between the No.1 defense and the No.1 offense. However, it could easily transcend that rudimentary angle if it turns into a chuck-fest between Jared Goff and Aaron Rodgers, in which pulling off the upset would be a tall order. Goff’s fortune is to be on a well-coached team that boasts undeniable talent on both sides of the ball, but he’s never been the sort of passer to consistently post dizzying numbers or dazzle in the passing game. In short, Goff is the product of the talent around him.

Rodgers, by contrast, is the definition of clutch, with a tradition of success in the passing game that has both inspired and awed fans and neutrals alike. He’s the kind of quarterback that makes the talent around him better. Admittedly, the Packers offense isn’t as loaded as some of the other playoff contenders, but they nevertheless finished the regular season with the best record in the NFC. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, what is?

Of course, one can’t discount the Rams from pulling off yet another upset in the playoffs. In theory, they have a shot, but that’s as far as it goes, at least for yours truly. In the betting, it’s hard to bet against the Packers to come through at home, given the way they’ve played all season long.

NFL Pick: Packers -300 at Intertops (visit our Intertops Review)

Packers (-300)
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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Buffalo Bills

Saturday, January 16, 2021 - 8:15 PM ET at Bills Stadium

Of all the games on the weekend’s NFL betting slate, the Saturday night football showdown between the Ravens and Bills offers up the tightest NFL betting lines across the board. Tighter than an accountant’s purse, from which prising capital is a daunting challenge.

The similarities between these two outfits are substantial, but so too are some of the differences. Both the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills hit their stride in the second half of the season, and they come into the playoffs playing some of their best football. It also helps each side’s cause that their respective signal-callers finally cracked the win column in the postseason. Lamar Jackson won his first game after going 0-2 SU in his first two playoff appearances. Josh Allen got his first win after getting bumped in his playoff debut last season.

Where some of the similarity ends is in playing style – or rather strength of play. Jackson and Allen are well-established dual threat quarterbacks in the game. However, the former’s strength is hands down the run game. while the latter is more balanced in the passing and run game. Thus, if were to split hairs looking for some sort of an advantage between these closely matched teams that could be one aspect to hang one’s hat on for straight up bets.

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The Ravens defense was on fire last weekend, evinced nowhere more so than in the low-scoring win over the Titans that included stifling Derrick Henry to a shocking 40 yards or so and zero touchdowns. That’s practically unheard of, which could tip the balance in favor of the Ravens if they bring the same level of intensity to Orchard Park. However, Allen has a big arm and Buffalo’s passing game is one of the best in the league, complimented extensively by Stefon Diggs who finished the season with the most receiving yards in the league.

Buffalo’s offense can light up in a hurry, overwhelming opponents with its explosiveness. The last three games of the season saw the Bills put up 48, 38 and 56 points in succession. Although they faced a much narrow 27-24 victory over the Colts, they didn’t wobble at any point in the game. Where the Bills could come up short is on the defensive side of the ball. They’re not as sound on defense as in season’s past, and that’s something that could play into the hands (or legs) of Lamar Jackson.

All told, this is a tossup for NFL picks. Push comes to shove, the Bills at home to come through is the choice bet here, but if the Ravens pull off the so-called upset, it wouldn’t be a shocker.

NFL Pick: Bills -130 with YouWager (visit our YouWager Review)

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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.

Josh Norman #29 of the Buffalo Bills and A.J. Epenesa #57 on January 03, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York. Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images/AFP

Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, January 17, 2021 - 2:05 PM ET at Arrowhead Stadium

Inasmuch as the Pittsburgh Steelers played badly, the Cleveland Browns played brilliantly. But they’re not getting enough credit for how cleverly they outplayed, outmuscled, and outgained the Steelers in the 48-37 win to advance into the second round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history this century. Indeed, it’s the first playoff win for Cleveland since 1994 (a year before Baker Mayfield was even born), and the first road playoff win since 1969.

Baker Mayfield was contained, controlled, and conservative, playing within himself as he helped lead the offense to the stunning victory. He didn’t take foolish chances, spread the ball intelligently to complete several scoring drives, and got a lot of help from the defense too, which caused key turnovers and intercepted Big Ben several times. For diehard Cleveland fans, it was an awesome night.

On the merit of Cleveland’s wild card win, dismissing out of hand the idea of a second straight upset would be tantamount to gross negligence. On any given Sunday, the chance of an upset exists, no matter how slim it comes across vis-à-vis preconceived notions. That said, when the road to the AFC Championship game goes through Arrowhead Stadium, surmounting is quite understandably projected as a longshot bet. Depending on the preferred online sportsbook, the Browns are trading anywhere from +380 to +430 for the outright upset on the road. To put those NFL odds into the context of mathematical probability, it equates to an 18.9% probability of winning, which – let’s face it – is hardly a ringing endorsement of Cleveland’s chances.

The Kansas City Chiefs are defending Super Bowl champions and they’re the presumptive team to beat in the playoffs as a result. Simply put, they’re in a league of their own, and one would be hard pressed to find an NFL armchair critic that isn’t impressed by what Patrick Mahomes has accomplished in his very short NFL career. What’s more, the impression that he’s only barely scratched the surface of his otherworldly ability is a scary prospect for the rest of the league.

Kansas City picked up from where they left off in 2019 to deposit a 14-2-0 SU run in 2020 and clinch the No.1 seed in the AFC. The Chiefs have won 23 of their last 25 games, going back to week 11 in 2019 to winning SBLIV, and then all the way through the 2020 regular season. That’s an almost perfect record spanning more than 12 months, underscoring the kind of form that is only ever seen with elite competitors in any given sport.

This matchup stacks up as a lopsided contest on paper, but after what transpired in the wild card round it’s possible that it might yield a more interesting and competitive contest than NFL betting markets would have it. In the end though it’s hard to bet against the Chiefs at home.

NFL Pick: Chiefs -500 with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.

The Kansas City Chiefs run on to the field. Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints

Sunday, January 17, 2021 - 5:40 PM ET at Mercedes-Benz Superdome

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers collide with the New Orleans Saints for a third time this season, but for the first time ever in the postseason and in the most important game of the lot. The Divisional round of the playoffs, with a spot in the NFC Championship on the line. It doesn’t get bigger or more significant than it does in the playoffs, and the premium on the win is unquantifiable. Talk about must-see TV.

It’s a must-win game in order to keep playoff aspirations alive, of which both teams have aplenty—not least of all both and both quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, who are on the wrong side of 40 years of age, and are in the proverbial “last chance saloon.” How many more chances like this will either get? It’s impossible to say. Short of a crystal ball, it’s impossible to tell what the future will hold.

Rumor has it, for Drew Brees this may well be his last lap around the NFL before he hangs up his cleats. In that there is great motivation alone. Of course, he can’t win on his own. It requires a team effort, and the Saints will need to come out in full force as they did in the previous two meetings if they’re to come through as the home faves across multiple top sports betting sites.

Tom Brady may have only a couple of years left in the league, according to his contractual arrangement with Tampa Bay. But even he can’t be certain that he’ll have another chance to make the playoffs again. In that uncertainty, there is motivation too to capitalize on this opportunity, fuelled further by a deeper desire to prove he can be triumphant with more than one team. It’s taken the better part of the season for the new-fangled Buccaneers to gel, but they’re playing their best football at the right time.

There’s a lot to unpack in this matchup from an emotional level, as well in terms of posterity. The historical implications for these two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks and their respective legacy are unparalleled. First time in the playoffs facing off against each other; first time a pair of forty-something quarterbacks go head-to-head…it’s a big deal, suffice it to say.

At the face of it, the Saints have the edge down to a 2-0 SU mark on the season over Tampa Bay, but the last time they faced off was back in early November, which may as well be a moot point. The playoffs are an entirely different prospect, and no quarterback has been more successful in the playoffs than Tom Brady has, which underscores his intangible value in the betting.

In the end, betting on which team wins this game comes down to which quarterback one believes in more: Drew Brees or Tom Brady. It’s a bit sentimental that way too, but to be fair, one can’t go wrong with either. They’re both in charge of two of the league’s best teams this season, with excellent coaching and star-studded power to back up their credentials. For our money, the Bucs to come through with the so-called “upset” is the better bet here in terms of return on investment, but the Saints are just as good a good bet too.

NFL Pick: Buccaneers +150 with GTbets (visit our GTbets Review)

Buccaneers (+150)
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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.