NFL 2020-21 Playoffs Divisional Round Expert Analysis

NFL 2020-21 Playoffs Divisional Round Expert Analysis

Written by on January 12, 2021

Can Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers avoid the upset when they host Jared Goff and the stingy LA Rams in their NFC divisional date on Saturday?

Will Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens extend their winning ways when they hit the road to take on Josh Allen and the red-hot Buffalo Bills in their AFC divisional round meeting of Super Bowl hopefuls?

The defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and NFC South champion New Orleans Saints will both look to take care of business when they play host to their respective divisional round opponents on Sunday.

With eight teams remaining in the chase to reach and win Super Bowl 55, it’s time to take a look at both Saturday and Sunday NFL divisional round matchups this coming weekend. Now, let’s find out where the best betting value lies in both matchups, along with their NFL odds.

NFL Betting | Divisional Round Matches Prediction

LA Rams (11-6) at Green Bay (13-3)

  • When: Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 at at 4:35 PM ET
  • Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
  • TV: FOX
  • NFL Odds: Green Bay -7
  • Total: 45.5

Analysis: The Rams looked fantastic in their 30-20 dismantling of Seattle on Saturday. Jared Goff came off the bench to pass for 155 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions after backup-turned-starter John Wolford went 3 of 6 for 29 yards before getting injured. Rookie running back Cam Akers rushed for 131 yards and one score on 28 carries while Robert Woods added a touchdown grab in the win. Green Bay had a bye last weekend after getting the top seed in the NFC portion of the playoffs. The Packers won their final six regular season contests including a 35-16 smackdown of Chicago in their regular season finale.

Prediction: While Green Bay finished the regular season ranked fifth in total offense and first in scoring (31.8 ppg), the Packers finished a modest 13th in points allowed (23.1 ppg). On the flip side of the coin, the Rams finished an uninspiring 23rd in scoring (23.3 ppg), but first in total defense, first against the pass, third against the run and first in fewest points allowed (18.5 ppg).

For this divisional round matchup, I really like LA plus the seven points. I know the Rams will be playing in cold weather when they take to the gridiron at Lambeau Field, but I genuinely believe LA’s elite defense will keep them in this contest until the very end.

Los Angeles has put together a bunch of encouraging ATS trends coming into this affair. The Rams have gone 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games in the month of January, 6-1 ATS in their last seven games against a team with a winning record and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games as a road underdog.

Los Angeles snapped a five-game skid against Green Bay by recording a 27-9 home win the last time these two NFC rivals met in 2018 and the road team in this series has gone 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.

I know Green Bay has gone 4-1 ATS in their last 5 playoff home games, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 playoff games as a favorite and 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games against team with a winning record, but this matchup looks like a classic field goal finish just waiting to happen! Take the Rams and the points NFL betting nation!

Pick: LA Rams +7

Tampa Bay (12-5) at New Orleans (13-4)

  • When: Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021 at 6:40 PM ET
  • Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
  • TV: FOX
  • NFL Odds: New Orleans -3
  • Total: 51 1/2

Analysis: Tom Brady and the Buccaneers got past Washington 31-23 in their wild card opener on Saturday to reach the divisional round. Brady passed for 381 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while veteran running back Leonard Fournette made his presence felt by rushing for 93 rushing yards and one score. Wide receivers Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown added touchdown receptions to help the Bucs win its fifth straight game dating back to the regular season. Tampa Bay finished the regular season ranked seventh in total offense, second in passing and third in scoring (30.8 ppg). defensively, the Buccaneers finished sixth overall, first against the run and eighth in points allowed (22.2 ppg).

New Orleans didn’t look very impressive, but still managed to get past the mediocre Chicago Bears 21-9 in its wild card opener on Sunday. Drew Brees passed for 265 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while running back Alvin Kamara rushed for 99 yards and one score. Veteran wide receiver Michael Thomas added a touchdown reception in the win and the Saints held Chicago to three points until the final play of the game.

Prediction: New Orleans beat Tampa Bay 34-23 in Week 1 as a 4-point home favorite before laying an even more emphatic 38-3 smackdown win on the Buccaneers in Week 9 as a 3-point road dog. More importantly, while the Bucs have won five straight, each of Tampa Bay’s last five victories has come against a team with a losing record.

Tampa Bay has lost three of its last nine games overall while going an uninspiring 3-7-1 ATS in its last 11 games against a team with a winning record, 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games following a straight up win and 1-4 ATS in its last five games as a road underdog.

New Orleans has gone a pristine 4-0 ATS in its last four games as a home favorite and a near-perfect 7-1 ATS in its last eight games as a favorite. The Saints are a bankroll-boosting 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games and 4-1 ATS in their last five home games.  Tampa Bay is 0-5 ATS in the last five meetings in this NFC South rivalry while New Orleans has gone 4-1 ATS in its last five home dates in this rivalry. While the Buccaneers have some legitimate Super Bowl hopes, I’m going with New Orleans to extinguish those hopes by getting the win and ATS cover.

Pick: New Orleans -3

Baltimore (12-5) at Buffalo (14-3)

  • When: Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 at at 8:15 PM ET
  • Where: Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
  • TV: NBC
  • NFL Odds: Buffalo -2
  • Total: 50

Analysis: Baltimore has won six straight dating back to the regular season. The Ravens got their first win of the Lamar Jackson era by storming back from a 10-0 deficit to beat Tennessee 20-13 on Sunday in the wild card round to cash in as a 3.5-point road dog.

Jackson passed for 179 yards with no touchdowns and one interception, but rushed for 136 yards and one score that came on a stunning 48-yard scamper that left football fans everywhere slack-jawed. Rookie running back J.K. Bobbins added 43 rushing yards and one score on nine carries.

Buffalo got past Indianapolis 27-24 in their wild card clash last weekend but failed to cover the chalk as a 7-point home favorite. Blossoming quarterback Josh Allen passed for 324 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing 11 times for 54 yards and another score. Pro Bowl wide receiver Stephon Diggs had six catches for 128 yards and one score.

Prediction: While Buffalo managed to win its playoff opener, I wasn’t overly impressed and I believe the Bills would have lost if Colts head coach Frank Reich didn’t mismanage the game by taking four points off the board. For this AFC divisional round matchup, I like the streaking Ravens to extend their winning ways at Buffalo’s expense, mostly because Baltimore has been in ‘playoff mode’ for the better part of the last two months.

Baltimore has won two straight in this rivalry including a 24-17 road win in December of 2019. Buffalo might be a near-perfect 8-1 ATS in its last nine games and 5-1 ATS in its last six games against their AFC counterparts, but Baltimore has gone a perfect 6-0 ATS in its last six games following an ATS win and an even more impressive 7-0 ATS in its last seven playoff road games.

While the home team in this series is 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings, Baltimore has gone an incendiary 8-2 ATS in its last 10 playoff games and a bankroll-boosting 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games overall. I’m going with the Ravens to get the ATS cover as a 2-point road dog – by winning outright!

Pick: Baltimore Ravens +2

Cleveland (12-5) at Kansas City (14-2)

  • When: Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021 at at 3:05 PM ET
  • Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
  • TV: CBS
  • NFL Odds: Kansas City -10
  • Total: 56

Analysis: Cleveland absolutely dominated Pittsburgh in its stunning 48-37 wild card road win on Sunday. The Browns put a mind-boggling 28 points on the board in the first quarter to set a new record for most first quarter points in playoff history.

Baker Mayfield passed for 263 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions while Kareem Hunt rushed for two scores and added a touchdown catch inn the win.

Cleveland’s defense picked off Ben Roethlisberger a mind-boggling four times to bring Pittsburgh’s postseason to an abrupt halt. Kansas City had a first round bye as the top seed in the AFC portion of the playoffs. Prior to dropping their meaningless regular season finale against the division rival LA Chargers in Week 17, the Chiefs had won 10 consecutive games.

Prediction: Cleveland finished the regular season ranked a stellar third in rushing and modest 14th in scoring (25.5 ppg) while also finishing ninth against the run, but an uninspiring 21st in points allowed (26.2 ppg). Kansas City enters the playoffs ranked first in passing and sixth in scoring (29.6 ppg). Defensively, the Chiefs finished the regular season ranked 10th in points allowed (22.6 ppg).

Prediction: While I’m not foolish enough to predict an outright road win by the Browns in this AFC divisional matchup, I do like Cleveland to cover the spread as a double-digit road dog after watching their destruction of Pittsburgh last weekend.

Kansas City has gone a dismal 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games as a favorite, 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games overall and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games. On the flip side of the coin, Cleveland has gone 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings against Kansas City while the road team in this AFC series has gone 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings. I like Kansas City to win to advance to the AFC Championship, but the 10 points looks like its a few points too high for the Chiefs to cover!

Pick: Cleveland +10

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Odds and Lines: Kansas City -10 | Live Betting | Super Bowl | Playoffs | AFC | NFC