Analysis: Online sportsbooks corner this game wholeheartedly in the Seahawks’ camp and for good reason. The Seahawks (13-3, 7-1 home) are nigh invincible at home; no side more intimately aware of their formidable form at home than the Saints (11-5, 3-5 away), who were on the business end of a humiliating 34-7 defeat in Week 13 NFL betting. By and large, the popular NFL pick for this game is Seattle Seahawks to win outright at -380 at Bet365. But, contrary to market opinion, this game could prove to be closer than the NFL odds would suggest, and that notion serves up our value NFL pick on the spread with the Saints to cover. The Saints are still stinging from the huge defeat to the Seahawks in Week 13. They owe their fans a big performance in this game, and with revenge on their minds they could play this closer than the eight-point spread listed across sportsbooks.
NFL Value Pick: Saints to cover.
Analysis: San Francisco 49ers (12-4, 6-2 away) take on the Carolina Panthers (12-4, 7-1 home) in one of the more intriguing matchups of the NFL Divisional playoffs betting. After the 49ers edged the Packers in the wildcard round, their estimation in NFL betting markets increased. They probably should have been at the disadvantage for this game according to playoff standings (seeding) and the fact that they’re on the road. Instead, they are tipped at the marginal advantage (depending on the sportsbook of choice, you’ll find them trading on a spread running as high as two-points. In some cases the game is listed as low as pick’em).
For our money, we agree the 49ers are slightly better than the Panthers, despite being on the road. They are the proven side while Cam Newton is making his playoff debut. So did Kaepernick last season and look how far he went. Which suggests Newton could potentially do the same, of course. What’s more, the Panthers beat the 49ers earlier this season convincingly and that could tip the scale in their favour. On that fateful day however Kaepernick was without his most potent weapon, Crabtree. He’ll have him by his side on Sunday and the pair could combine to lift the 49ers to the victory. What’s more, it might prove to be a more convincing performance than NFL odds makers would have you believe it will be.
NFL Value Pick: 49ers to win and cover
Analysis: Online sportsbooks send the Broncos into their Divisional playoff clash with the Chargers as the whopping favourites to win outright at -400 at Bet365 and the solid nine-point favourites on the spread. But are the Chargers being slightly underrated here? Despite persistent snubs in NFL betting markets, the Chargers have navigated a successful run through the regular season and into the playoffs. Moreover, they beat the Broncos 27-20 at Denver in Week 15. They deserve some respect here, don’t they?
Clearly, sportsbooks aren’t putting much stock into the Chargers but that doesn’t mean NFL bettors shouldn’t. Certainly, Peyton Manning and his Broncos are well aware of the threat the Chargers pose and they won’t be taking anything for granted. For some reason the Broncos, despite being infinitely better than the Chargers, don’t match up well against them. It has everything to do with Chargers’ ability to stifle Manning, what is an impressive feat given the historic numbers he’s posted throughout this season. Manning will want to atone for that defeat with a solid performance but the Chargers will try to keep it close, hence the latter is our value NFL Pick on the spread.
NFL Value Picks: Broncos to win outright; Chargers to cover.