We will have our full AFC and NFC Divisional Round previews out later this week, but for now, this preview is going to give you a look into trends and game lines ahead of this weekend’s playoff games.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Green Bay Packers
Injuries are really going to have a big impact on this game as Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp both have questionable designations as of the writing of this article. We also have the whole “Jared Goff is probably missing his thumb” situation going on with the Rams offense, which will also be an issue going into this game.
However, Green Bay is currently getting 6.5 points in this one, with the game total set at 45.5 points. I would imagine this point total will creep down throughout the week as we find out how frozen Lambeau Field will be on Saturday afternoon. The Rams defense is stellar, allowing just 18.5 points per game, and they looked fantastic against Russell Wilson, who looked like a very, very bad cook against this pass rush. Aaron Rodgers is a completely different animal, though, and handles the pass rush much different. The Green Bay offense scores 31.8 points per game and allows 23.1 points per game. The defense is a question mark, and they have struggled against the run this season. With the emergence of Cam Akers, this could make the game interesting for sure.
The Rams are 6-4 against the spread in their last 10 games, while Green Bay is 5-5 against the spread making this spread incredibly hard to bet on. In fact, in the last 5 games, both teams are 3-2 against the spread.
Weather will also have an impact here. If the cold is aggressive and bitter this weekend, which is possible according to the forecast, this will be a ground dominant game keeping the Rams +6.5 in play and the UNDER within reach. The Moneyline is tempting with the Rams in this situation currently at +270, but I expect Aaron Rodgers to win at least one playoff game.
In fact, I expect that to be the case and am taking Rams +6.5 (-105) and UNDER 45.5 (-110) this weekend.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Buffalo Bills
While previewing this game, the write-up is lengthy but full of information about both quarterbacks and the matchup. I love this game from a fan standpoint, but as a bettor, I’m not sure.
2.5 points currently favor the Bills, and the game total is set at 50.5 points. The Ravens’ Moneyline is a nice bet to consider this weekend if you believe in the upset at +117.
Both of these teams are very good against the spread, so it is so low. Both teams are 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games and 11-6 overall. This is a tough game to bet based on trends. The trends get even muddier when we consider their status. The Ravens are 2-0 as away dogs, and the Bills are 4-2 as home favorites. You can pull your hair out trying to bet the spread on this one.
I love the OVER in this game of 50.5. Buffalo has seen that total in 3 of their last 4 games, and based on their scoring ability and the points their defense gives up, I expect that to be in play.
The only bet I’m taking this weekend is OVER 50.5. (-107).
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns
The Kansas City Chiefs are getting 10 points in this game, and the point total is sitting at 56. I almost choked on my water when I saw these numbers here at the beginning of the week. Neither of these defenses is particularly impressive as each of them gives up a ton of yards per game and allow over 20 points per game. The gap between the two offensively is actually not as great as you’d think. In fact, there isn’t much of a gap at all.
Cleveland scores 26 points per game and rushes for 148 yards per game, while Kansas City scores 30 points per game and runs for just 110 points per game. The key in this game is that Kansas City won 7 straight games by 1 score, and only 2 of those teams were playoff teams. The Chiefs are ripe for an upset, but betting the Moneyline for Cleveland seems especially risky and unwise this weekend even though the payout would be nice at +390.
However, I really like betting the other game lines for this game. The Chiefs getting 10 points is insane to me. While Cleveland could certainly lose by that many points, it seems unlikely based on the trend the Chiefs have been on over the last two months of the season. The Browns run game is fantastic with a two-headed beast that is likely the best backfield duo in the league. Neither of these defenses is particularly good at stopping anyone, so the OVER certainly seems in play.
We’ll talk about player props in an article later this week, but as far as game lines are concerned, I’m taking Cleveland to cover +10 (-112) and OVER 56 points (-109) in this one.
Tampa Bay vs. New Orleans.
The Saints are currently getting 3 points for this game, and the game total is set at 51.5 points. The matchup points toward the Saints covering here as they are 8-2 in their last 10 games against the spread and 10-7 overall. As home favorites, they are 5-3 against the spread. The Buccaneers as 0-1 as away underdogs this season and are 4-5 against the spread overall. All signs point toward the Saints covering the spread.
However, this is Tom Brady in the playoffs, so bettors beware here. The Bucs score 30.8 points per game and allow 22.2, while the Saints score 30.1 points per game and allow 21.1. This trend points toward covering OVER 51.5 points. The Bucs have seen over 50 point game totals in each of their last 4 games, while the Saints have seen it 2 times in their last 5 games. Kansas and Minnesota were the teams that New Orleans faced when seeing a 50 point game total. The teams they played when not seeing that game total were Chicago, Carolina, and Philadelphia, all struggling with offenses.
The Bucs Moneyline is sitting at +143 right now, which is extremely favorable if you want to play the “Brady in the playoffs” narrative here and take the Bucs to win against the Saints as plus value. The Saints would have to go 3-0 against the Bucs this season to win this game. Not many teams, professional or college, beat the same team 3 times.
I’m avoiding anything but the game total and taking OVER 51.5 (-112) in this game.