The NFL Divisional Round Trend Eagles and Chiefs Fans Should Be Worried About

The NFL Divisional Round Trend Eagles and Chiefs Fans Should Be Worried About article feature image

Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images. Pictured: Daniel Jones.

As the NFL Divisional Round looms this weekend, there's an NFL Divisional Round trend Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs fans — let alone bettors — should know.

In Brandon Anderson’s recent piece, “7 NFL Divisional Round Trends You Need to Know Before Betting,” he states there is roughly a 60% chance that either the Eagles or Chiefs – both seven to 11 point favorites in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs – will lose this weekend.

Since 2003, 33 NFL teams have been underdogs of seven to 11 points in the Divisional Round of the playoffs — a club we'll henceforth refer to as meeting the “7/11" criteria.  Their opponents – ie the teams favored by seven to 11 points in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs – are 21-12 overall, marking a 64% winning percentage.

64% * 64% = 40%, hence a 40% chance both the Eagles and Chiefs win this weekend. 

This is not the week to ride the public-backed Chiefs/Eagles moneyline parlay. Whereas historical trends suggest a 40% chance of this parlay (Eagles ML, Chiefs ML) cashing, one can find this moneyline parlay for -180 at most sportsbooks.

But with a clear disparity in betting value, might this be the week to take a chance on the moneyline with one of these bigger dogs? The rest of this article will be devoted to highlighting key trends that support the Giants and Jaguars pulling off upsets this weekend. 

The Case for the Giants to Potentially Upset the Eagles

The Giants were 13-4 against the spread in the regular season, a 76% cover rate which was the best among all NFL teams. Of the 33 teams fitting the 7/11 criteria, only two squads finished their respective seasons with a 66% cover rate: the Colts in 2014 and the Chargers in 2007. Both teams went on and won their Divisional Round matchups. While a two game sample size might not be that statistically significant, it is worth looking at teams that consistently outperformed oddsmakers' expectations, such as the Giants. 

One trend also exists to support betting on teams in the 7/11 club when facing a divisional opponent. Dating back to 2003, 7/11 teams are 2-1 with a ROI of 160% against divisional opponents. Again, it's a small sample size. Most notably, however, Eli Manning and the Giants upset Tony Romo and the Cowboys in 2008 as a seven point underdog. 

Speaking of Eli Manning, many are quick to make a comparison between him and Daniel Jones. After all, Jones was selected by the Giants to succeed Manning. Jones is a scrappy quarterback that simply has found ways to win games this season, a style eerily similar to Eli Manning. Jones, however, is entering an offseason due for a new contract. 

Since 2003, five quarterbacks on 7/11 teams have been due for a new contract in the next offseason: Ryan Tannehill, Blake Bortles, Nick Foles, Joe Flacco and Matt Hasselbeck. These quarterbacks are 3-2 with a ROI around 150%.

There is something to be said about betting on a quarterback entering an offseason in search of a new contract, especially on teams that are heavy underdogs, such as those in the 7/11 realm. 

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The Case for the Jaguars to Potentially Upset the Chiefs

A different quarterback trend supports betting on the Jaguars: Of the 33 teams in our 7/11 club, only three started quarterbacks they picked first overall in the NFL draft. These quarterbacks — Eli Manning, Andrew Luck and Baker Mayfield — were 3-2 with a ROI of 160%. Of course, Trevor Lawrence was drafted first overall by Jacksonville in 2021.

So number one picks are capable of pulling off an upset as a heavy dog in the divisional round of the playoffs. But what if they are facing elite quarterbacks, such as the task Lawrence has when lining up against Patrick Mahomes this weekend?

Since 2003, if you faded Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes as a seven to 11 point favorite in the divisional round of the playoffs, you would be 6-8 with a 100% ROI and would have earned over $1,400 simply by betting $100 on the underdog’s moneyline in all 14 games. 

On the flip side, Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid is 3-0 outright as a seven to 11 point favorite in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. 

While facing Reid might not be ideal for Jacksonville, the biggest question for the Jaguars is whether their passing defense can stop Mahomes. They ranked 27th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (239.3). 

7/11 teams that allowed between 235 and 245 passing yards per game are 2-3 with an ROI near 80% in the Divisional Round.

The two losing quarterbacks in this scenario? Lamar Jackson and Peyton Manning.

This stat suggests elite quarterbacks can lose as a heavy favorite in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, even if the opposing passing defense performed poorly in the regular season.

Does any of this mean we're set for an upset this weekend? Not necessarily, of course. Nothing is a lock, and these are small sample sizes.

But at the very least, I am hopeful you will avoid parlaying the Chiefs and Eagles on the moneyline. 

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