NFL Betting Picks for Divisional Round: Titans-Ravens, Vikings-49ers, Seahawks-Packers & Texans-Chiefs
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: John Harbaugh and Lamar Jackson
- Looking for the latest betting odds and picks for this weekend's NFL Divisional Round games? You've come to the right place.
- Below our NFL experts analyze their favorite bets for each of the four games.
- Here are all of the spreads for this weekend's NFL games ... Vikings at 49ers: San Fran -7. Titans at Ravens: Baltimore -9.5. Texans at Chiefs: Kansas City -9.5. Seahawks at Packers: Green Bay -4.
Oddsmakers often open the spread and over/under for NFL playoff matchups right after they become finalized, and almost immediately, the odds are on the move.
Given the importance of beating the closing line in sports betting, it’s vital to get a jump on the market. That often means locking in a few bets earlier in the week.
Six of our experts have done just that, placing various bets on this weekend’s four games:
- Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers (spread: +6.5 | over/under 45)
- Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens (spread: -9 | over/under 47)
- Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (spread: -9.5 | over/under 50)
- Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers (spread: -4 | over/under 46)
Let’s dive into their bets.
Vikings vs. 49ers Betting Picks
Saturday, Jan. 11, 4:35 p.m. ET
Travis Reed: Vikings +7
The Action Network simulations really liked the Vikings against the Saints, and it is no surprise that the computer model likes Minnesota against the 49ers, as well. The simulations give the Vikings a 38.4% chance to win which equates to a line closer to +3.5 than +6.5.
The line opened at +7 (-115) at a few spots, and I jumped on that as soon as it opened up. While most of the market is now at Vikings +6.5, there are still a few books that are offering a juiced up +7.
I still like this bet at +6.5, but it would be wise to keep an eye on the odds and pounce on +7 if it shows up again.
Bet either the Vikings or 49ers moneyline at PointsBet and if your team scores the first touchdown, you’ll get paid out as if your wager won, no matter the final result. NJ only.
Titans vs. Ravens Betting Picks
Saturday, Jan. 11, 8:15 p.m. ET
Collin Wilson: Titans +9
The most important aspect about Divisional Round is to not fall in love with what happened during the Wild Card games. Seattle may have been given a freebee with the injury to Carson Wentz in Philadelphia, while Minnesota had a top 10 rush and pass defense on display in New Orleans. In the case of Tennessee, it’s worth questioning if the Titans are that good, or if New England was due for a severe letdown. According to the advanced box score, the answer may be somewhere in between.
Derrick Henry ran for 182 yards with 138 coming after contact. The Titans played excellent red zone defense and executed on third downs when needed.
The game in Foxboro may have been quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s worst since taking over starting duties, as he connected on just two of six passes over 10-plus yards. But it didn’t matter because a Patriots defense that ranked sixth against the rush per Football Outsiders could not contain Henry. Now the Titans face a Ravens defense that is 15th in rush defense and 12th in tackling per PFF, a stat that may be exposed against Henry’s big-play breakaway percentage of 32.8%.
The key to the Titans’ success is not just if Henry can bully the Baltimore front seven, but if Tannehill can get back on track as the best deep-ball passer in the league. Baltimore ranks ninth in pass coverage per PFF, but its opposing offensive strength of schedule that ranks 30th per Football Outsiders. Expect the Titans to continue having success on the ground, as the Ravens are in the bottom half of rush defense categories such as Power Success, Stuff Rate and 2nd Level Yards.
I bet this at Titans +10 and think the number should settle around Titans +8, so scooping any +9 or +9.5s that can be bought to 10 will be imperative early this week.
Matthew Freedman: Titans +9
The Ravens are the best team in the NFL, but the Titans are no pushover. Since quarterback Ryan Tannehill became the starter, they are 7-3-1 against the spread, good for a 35.4% return on investment.
Their splits with him are notable.
- Tannehill’s starts (11 games): 29.5 points scored, +5.6 point differential
- Other starts (six games): 16.3 points scored, +1.0 point differential
On top of that, in the entire history of the Bet Labs database (since 2003), Divisional Round road underdogs have a 36-24-1 ATS record (16.3% ROI), perhaps because bettors have overvalued home-field advantage and the bye week for the favored teams.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson has been sensational for the Ravens this year, and it would be a true upset if he weren’t NFL MVP, but he’s by no means a guarantor of success.
Road underdogs are 8-3 ATS (40.6% ROI) against the Ravens in Jackson’s starts.
Texans vs. Chiefs Betting Picks
Sunday, Jan. 12, 3:05 p.m. ET
Sean Zerillo: Chiefs -9.5
Specific coaches excel with additional time to prepare for games, and Andy Reid is one of the best at making his teams shine in those spots.
Dating back to 2003-04, when Reid’s teams have gone more than a week between games (8 to 15 days), they are 36-25-1 (59%) against the spread (ATS), generating a consistent $100 bettor $951 of profit.
With more than a week to prepare, Reid is the second most profitable coach against the number, behind only Bill Belichick (46-31-3, 59.7%) and ahead of Jim Harbaugh (25-15-2, 62.5%).
Furthermore, Reid is 13-4 (76.5%) ATS with at least that much rest, while also closing as a favorite of a touchdown or higher.
With 11 or more days of rest, Reid is 15-9 (62.5%) ATS overall, and 7-2 (77.8%) ATS while favored by at least one touchdown.
And, finally, with extra rest in the playoffs, Reid’s teams are 3-1 ATS, including Kansas City’s 31-13 victory in last year’s Divisional Round over the Colts.
This is also a particularly strong matchup for the Chiefs, who rank No. 3 in weighted DVOA, versus the Texans, a bottom 10 NFL team (No. 23) per Football Outsiders.
Bill O’Brien is just 3-8-1 ATS (27.3%) as an underdog of a touchdown or more, and 17-20-1 (45.9%) ATS as a road underdog.
This game looks to be a coaching mismatch on paper, and the historical trends bear that out.
I’ll lay -9.5 or better with the Chiefs, anticipating that this line will move to or through -10 before kickoff.
Mike Randle: Chiefs -9.5
The only place for this line to go is up. Buffalo failed to exploit Houston’s vulnerable pass defense. The Bills only threw for 253 yards and their only touchdown pass came from wide receiver John Brown. Basically, the Bills didn’t have the offensive personnel to attack Houston through the air.
Kansas City certainly does.
The Chiefs ranked second in pass offense DVOA per Football Outsiders and will be at full strength after their bye week. And as Sean mentioned above, Reid has been superb with extra time to prepare for an opponent.
In their earlier Week 6 matchup, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes tallied 273 passing yards and three touchdowns against Houston. He did this despite playing with an injured ankle and with wideout Tyreek Hill just returning from a broken collarbone.
The Texans are also vulnerable against tight ends, which is great news for Travis Kelce, who ranked first at the position in fantasy points per game. Kelce finished the year strong, with five games of more than 60 yards in his final six contests.
Despite the Texans’ earlier win at Arrowhead, this line is likely going to head north of double-digits. I grabbed the Chiefs -9.5 and would continue to bet up to 10.5.
John Ewing: Chiefs-Texans Under 49
The weather forecast for Saturday’s game in Kansas City calls for 12 mph winds. Windy conditions impact the passing and kicking games, which creates a low-scoring environment. As a result it has historically been profitable to bet the under when it is gusty.
Since 2003, a $100 bettor wagering on the under in windy games has returned a profit of $7,619.
In playoffs games matching this system, the under has gone 23-13-2 (64%). That isn’t a large sample but it follows a bigger trend.
The under has also been profitable in all outdoor playoff games, as weather is more likely to play a factor. Since 2003, in outdoor playoff games the under is 75-56-4 (57%).
Nearly 75% of the early betting tickets are on the Chiefs-Texans over because Mahomes and Deshaun Watson are playing quarterback but history suggests bettors will be disappointed by the results.
Seahawks vs. Packers Betting Picks
Sunday, Jan. 12, 6:45 p.m. ET
Chris Raybon: Seahawks-Packers Under 46
Aaron Rodgers vs. Russell Wilson will be billed as a matchup between two all-time great QBs. But that doesn’t mean we should expect a high-scoring affair.
Over the past five years, Rodgers hasn’t quite been the same QB he was earlier in his career. After posting 8.2 yards per attempt over his first 10 years in the league, he has failed to crack 7.3 YPA in any of his five seasons since, including a mediocre 7.0 mark this season that places him 17th among 32 qualifiers. Five years later, the market still hasn’t quite caught on, particularly in cold-weather spots where we’re not expecting a full-on shootout. In Rodgers’ cold-weather starts (under 50 degrees) with a total below 51 since 2015, the under is 37-27 (58%), including 4-1 this season, according to our Bet Labs data.
Then you have Wilson, whose road starts have trended toward the under throughout his career (39-33) and this season (5-4). Amid a rise in competition level down the stretch, Wilson led his team to more than the 21 points that they’re implied to score in this matchup just twice over the past seven games. And just last week, Seattle mustered only 17 points in a victory over the Eagles despite not committing a turnover and Wilson shredding Philly for 325 yards on 30 pass attempts and 45 yards on nine carries. Much of it has to do with a deteriorating offensive line and run game that is missing left tackle Duane Brown (knee), center Justin Britt (ACL), and running backs Chris Carson (hip) and Rashaad Penny (knee), among others.
But here’s where the greatness of Rodgers and Wilson, perhaps counterintuitively, really makes the under a strong bet: Both of these quarterbacks are expert game managers. Rodgers has thrown only four interceptions all year, and Wilson has been picked just five times. But of the eight remaining playoff signal-callers, guess which two have fared the worst at converting their dropbacks/carries into first downs on third/fourth down this season? That’s right, it’s Wilson (37.7%) and Rodgers (36.5%).
I thought the open of 46.5 was a tad high — likely the books hoping to entice casual bettors into grabbing the over — and sure enough, it’s down to 46 at most books as of Monday afternoon. I was even able to find a slightly juiced 47 (-115), but I would bet it down to 45 at standard juice, as my numbers are in agreement with my ever-sharp colleague Sean “The Oddsmaker” Koerner, who pegs this line at 44.5 in his initial projections.