Your curated list of wagers for the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, from moneylines and player props to overlooked underdogs.
Once again, the National Football League did not disappoint with Wild Card weekend. We witnessed the usual chaotic drama and theatrics that have become a mainstay this time of year, including a massive comeback that Chargers fans won’t want to hear about at any time before the heat death of the universe.
NFL Divisional Round Best Bets Overview
Best Over/Under Bet of Divisional Playoffs
Moments in sports can bring about the belief that fate is a real thing. This has to undoubtedly be one of those moments.
It was only a few weeks ago when the Bengals and Bills hooked up in one of the most hyped Monday Night Football affairs in awhile. Not only are they two of the best teams in the NFL, the AFC’s No. 1 seed was also notably hanging in the balance.
Rewinding a bit before the Hamlin play was a whole lot of offense, if you’ll recall. Cincinnati drove down the field rather easily on their first drive and capped that off with a Joe Burrow touchdown pass. The ensuing first drive from Buffalo saw huge chunks of yards gained, leading to a short field goal. Cincy’s next drive also appeared to be moving swiftly before tragedy struck around the midfield point.
So there was a lot going on before the game’s cancellation and bettors shouldn’t expect anything different the second time around — even though the weather may not be as favorable for the offenses as it was that night at Paul Brown Stadium.
With this being a winter game in Buffalo, the conditions are always worth monitoring and it appears some snow is in store, albeit not as much as Orchard Park was hammered with last month in their date opposite the Miami Dolphins. Mid-30’s temperatures are being called for, which is about where it settled in at in last week’s high-scoring Wild Card playoff triumph.
Even as sports prognosticators, sometimes we must take a stab at weather environments but I don’t think this will be nearly as bad as it can be across Western New York. Thus, these two contending clubs can stick to their respective games.
When that’s the case, look out. The Bills obviously carry one of the most dangerous groups on offense, one that compiled the second-most yards per game this season (397.6) while finishing in the top 10 in both passing and rushing yardage. Their 28.4 points each week also ranked them second in the entire NFL.
The Bengals weren’t far behind them, manufacturing 26.1 points on average. That was in large part thanks to a passing game that registered a top-five finish.
Despite the pressure being so high, both quarterbacks will be in a comfortable position to continue their major contributions. Burrow lives for these types of big-game events, hence how he was able to garner a national championship in college on the back of a classic outing.
Burrow on the highest stage in the pros has provided more of the same, as the former No. 1 overall draft pick holds an outstanding 97.7 passer rating in his five playoff games thus far. Last week opposite a quality Ravens D, Burrow simply continued his postseason mastery.
True, Cincinnati will be down two of its starters on the offensive line but remember, Burrow is one of the quickest to dispose of the football based on his ultra-fast release time. In any event, the Bills’ pressure up front hasn’t been the same since Von Miller tore his ACL on Thanksgiving; they’ve logged more than two sacks only twice in their last six games.
Cincy’s pressure isn’t great either, which is why they finished with the fourth-fewest sacks (30) in football. The Bills protect Josh Allen well as is and this tendency will give enough time to craft what he wants.
I recommend buying a point and a half in order to be protected in the event of a 30-17/27-20-type scenario.
The Pick: OVER 47 (-140)
Best Spread Bet of Divisional Playoffs
A couple of interesting lines reside on the board but none worth being invested in, in my opinion. So, just not going to take one.
Best Teaser Bet (2-team, 7 points) of the NFL Divisional Playoffs
As has become tradition, the Kansas City Chiefs are hosting a Divisional round playoff affair at Arrowhead Stadium after their typical extraordinary regular season.
As a bonus, likely MVP winner Patrick Mahomes and Co. managed to dodge the division rival Chargers, who somehow coughed up a 27-0 lead in Jacksonville. This is important given that LA has either won, lost by three, or gone to overtime in their dates with KC since Justin Herbert was drafted. There goes that obstacle.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, present a much lighter challenge. Yeah, yeah; Trevor Lawrence pulled off one of the most captivating and shocking comebacks we’ve ever seen in the postseason. But something like that just isn’t feasible against the Chiefs.
Right. First of all, we know Mahomes will deliver ample scoring. It’s a home game at Arrowhead, after all, and it’s taking place during the postseason, a scenario in which this version of KC is tried and tested.
Kansas City has churned out 29.2 points per bout in Mahomes’ 47 career starts at Arrowhead (including playoffs), and in games in front of Chiefs faithful beyond the regular season, they’ve averaged a whopping 35.1 points. I’ve compared Mahomes to Michael Jordan for years, and these stats only emphasize the similarities he has in common akin to His Airness.
Plus, it helps to recall that the Texas Tech product already dominated the Jags once earlier this season, spinning one of his highest-rated performances (129.6) of what has been an authentically award-worthy campaign.
Expect the Chiefs to provide the usual show we’ve grown so accustomed to through the years and that’s something the Jaguars won’t be able to keep up with.
The second half of our teaser requires Dallas to at least hang around when they travel to San Francisco for a fascinating matchup of iconic football franchises with Super Bowl credentials multiple times over.
Brock Purdy deserves all the credit in the world for what he’s accomplished as “Mr. Irrelevant,” starring in a story that would previously only be viewed as Hollywood-esque by a skeptical Bay Area republic fully prepared for the Trey Lance era at Levi’s Stadium.
But is he good enough to beat a talented Cowboys squad by more than 10? What Dem Boyz did in Tampa to Tom Brady is evidence to suggest that this affair will at least be close.
Even aside from that shutdown showing against the Bucs in Monday evening’s Wild Card capper, enlisting Dallas to be competitive just seems like a smart play. Only once did they lose by double digits all year — and that came in the team’s mostly-meaningless Week 18 contest.
I’d say they bounced back from that nicely, wouldn’t you?
The Cowboys possess a top-10 pass defense and their 54 sacks had them tied for third in the league in the regular season. Preventing a monster game from Purdy — and thus capping San Francisco’s explosive offense — will be the key here.
Best Prop Bet of Divisional Playoffs
- Trevor Lawrence Over/Under 37.5 Pass Attempts
This wager has all to do with game script.
Kansas City is the biggest favorite of the four meetings this weekend — rightfully so — and it’s hard seeing any other result.
If nothing else, the Chiefs are the ones who will set the tone and the pacing — like they normally do considering their clear superiority over just about everyone — signifying that no matter whether they’re winning or losing for the duration, the Jags should be passing quite often.
Think about it: if KC is ahead decisively as expected, that means Jacksonville will be shoehorned to go to the air frequently in efforts of keeping up, like last week’s miraculous Wild Card comeback victory.
If the Jaguars surprisingly build a lead, that’ll be due to a successful passing attack that’s piling up points. We know the Chiefs won’t come into the fight empty.
As illustrated in our teaser bet, being a playoff game at Arrowhead and with Patrick Mahomes operating — against an opponent he already toyed with this year, too — ensures a productive day oncoming
So, either way, there figures to be plenty of arm action from Trevor Lawrence. Featured in the Jags’ come-from-behind magic of a week ago were 47 pass attempts. Here, he just needs 38 throws.
And I anticipate this particular encounter playing out in a similar way to the last one between these two sides back in November, when Lawrence chucked it 40 times. Being in a do-or-die predicament could also help ensure more than that.
The Pick: OVER 37.5 Pass Attempts (-114)
NFL Best Bets Record for the 2022 Season
- Over/Unders: “8-11“
- Spreads: 6-8-2
- Teasers: “6-10-1“
- Props: “11-11“
- Overall Record*: “31-39-3,” -22.41 units
*Each over/under is graded to win 2 units; everything else for 1 unit
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