Betting Advice For NFL Divisional Round

Betting Advice For NFL Divisional Round

Written by on January 17, 2023

The NFL is down to its final eight teams: Top-seeded Philadelphia, No. 2 San Francisco, No. 5 Dallas and No. 6 New York Giants in the NFC; and No. 1 Kansas City, No. 2 Buffalo, No. 3 Cincinnati and No. 4 Jacksonville in the AFC, which obviously went chalk in the Wild Card Round. Here is some betting advice for this weekend’s four Divisional Round games.

Jacksonville at Kansas City (-8.5), Saturday

Kansas City beat Jacksonville 27-17 in week 10 at Arrowhead Stadium. The Jaguars won the takeaway statistic 3-0 and recovered a game-opening onside kick, but never led against the seven-time AFC West champions. The Jaguars scored seven points on five first-half possessions in Kansas City territory. The Chiefs sacked Trevor Lawrence five times.

“Too many missed opportunities too early,” said Lawrence, who completed 29 of 40 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. “We still had our chances at the end of the game and didn’t get back in it.”

Patrick Mahomes found four different players for scores while completing 26-of-35 passes for 331 yards, marking his league-most 12th game with 300+ passing yards and 4+ touchdowns since 2018. Chris Jones, who finished the game with 1.5 sacks, contributed to a defensive effort that held the Jaguars to just 4-of-14 on third down.

Over the course of the regular season, the Chiefs had the most efficient offense in football, and it wasn’t even close (0.17 expected points added per play, with the Bills next at 0.12). KC’s three losses were by four points or less. In one, they lost the lead midway through the fourth. In the other two, their opponents scored their game-winners in the final minute. Pick: Chiefs.

New York Giants at Philadelphia (-7.5), Saturday

The Eagles go for the three-game sweep as they won easily in New Jersey and then 22-16 in Week 18 at home when the Giants rested most starters. Jalen Hurts returned from a shoulder injury for that latter matchup but didn’t look fully healthy. He’s still not 100 percent but obviously will play here. The Eagles typically call about five designed runs for Hurts per game but largely stayed away from them in their last game against the Giants to protect Hurts’ shoulder.

Could the Giants target that shoulder? “It’s football. I’ve got a bounty on me every week I go out there on the field,” Hurts said. “So, I’m going to go out there and just play my game and whatever happens, happens.” Hurts finished the regular season with 3,701 yards passing, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions while running for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns.

History shows that the two-time regular-season winner has won the playoff rematch in 15 of the 24 previous situations like this one since the NFL merger in 1970, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Giants head coach Brian Daboll predictably said Monday that there is no impact from the first two games on the third: “Obviously, you have matchups that you’ve went against here over the last two times you played ’em. One week really has nothing to do with the next week, or one game has nothing with the next game, other than you take things from it, you learned from it, you try to grow from it.” Pick: Giants.

Cincinnati at Buffalo (-5), Sunday

Of course, these teams were playing on Monday night in Week 17 with the Bengals leading 7-3 at home when Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed and nearly died after a tackle and the game was postponed and then canceled. Hamlin thankfully is healthy now but obviously not playing.

The circumstances and stakes are different this time around, but the storylines remain the same. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase against Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, plus Cincinnati’s front vs. a Bills offensive line that gave up seven sacks in the wild-card round.

Burrow and his elite-tiered receivers are tough to beat. However, Burrow continues to get hit, taking 41 sacks (plus four more on Sunday vs. Baltimore) after leading the league with 51 in the 2021 regular season (plus 19 more in the playoffs).

Josh Allen threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns in the close Wild Card win over Miami, but also threw two interceptions and fumbled three times, losing one of them. Buffalo can’t lose the turnover battle against Cincinnati if it wants to advance to the AFC Championship Game. Pick: Bills.

Dallas at San Francisco (-4), Sunday

The Niners won 23-17 in Dallas in the Wild Card round last season and they didn’t play in the 2022 regular season. The Cowboys looked fantastic Monday night in a 31-14 win at Tampa Bay. Dak Prescott threw for 305 yards, completing 25 of 33 passes with four touchdown passes and, perhaps more importantly, he was not intercepted after leading the league with 15 during the season. He also ran for a touchdown. Prescott joined Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach as the only Cowboys quarterbacks with four touchdown passes in a playoff game.

San Francisco has won 11 games in a row and is dominant on both sides of the ball. Add in the fact that it’s another game on grass (and the Cowboys are much better on turf) and that the Niners will have had two extra days of rest, and it will be much more difficult for the Cowboys to win next week than it was Monday.

Dallas kicker Brett Maher impossibly missed four straight extra points on Monday. He pushed two kicks to the right, hooked a third left and then doinked a fourth off the right upright. He admitted after the game that his hook was because he was afraid of missing right. He missed two of the kicks so badly that the Cowboys were down to their last kicking ball. It’s not clear if the Cowboys will look at other kickers this week but it’s a quick turnaround. Pick: 49ers.


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