NFL Odds: Expert’s Favorite Against the Spread Bets of the Divisional Round

NFL Odds: Expert’s Favorite Against the Spread Bets of the Divisional Round article feature image

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Hurts.

(Editor’s note: This story is taken from Simon’s analysis on Thursday’s edition of “The Favorites” podcast, breaking down the NFL odds for the Divisional Round and his favorite against the spread bets across the wild card games.)

Wild Card Weekend was a whirlwind. I finished 3-3, 12% worse than my season average of 62%

Losing juice to the oddsmakers this past week would have been OK. Unfortunately, I lost my biggest bet of the six Wild Card games which was the Bills minus the points.

And let me tell you, there is only one thing worse than losing your biggest bet of the first playoff weekend: losing your biggest bet of the weekend with Rovell on the other side.

Just look at my poor editor, Andrew Lynch, who is such a loyal colleague that he blindly bet my Big Balls Bet of the Week and subsequently had to suffer through Rovell’s victory lap. 

.@darrenrovell liking his Dolphins (+14.5) bet right now 😂

— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) January 15, 2023

Fortunately for Andrew and those who tail me, I am back this week with knock on wood four winners. Let’s begin in Philadelphia. 

Looking to place your bets? Head over to FanDuel Sportsbook now!

Giants at Eagles Odds, Pick

Nearly every sharp I know is on the Giants. Look, I understand it — there are a number of trends that support fading number one seeds in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. I, however, will be riding a different trend this week: the Eagles are undefeated with both Jordan Davis and Jalen Hurts active this season.

Simply put, I just think the Eagles are the better team. If Hurts played the last few games of the season and the Eagles won out, I believe this line may have opened with the Eagles being favored by 10. The line, however, opened at 8.5 depending on your book. Yet, the public continues to hammer the Giants.

I was hoping this line comes down to seven, though I doubted it got there. In fact, early on Saturday, the line went the other direction, with the consensus Philly 8. There were still -7.5s on the board, though, and there still are, including at FanDuel.

Shop around, as the Eagles -7.5 are my favorite bet of the week.

What is QuickSlip?

QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Jaguars at Chiefs Odds, Pick

Number one seeds with a winning percentage above 80% cover the spread less than 25% of the time in Divisional Round playoff games. So if I refuse to ride the Giants against the Eagles (who would qualify), then yep, you bet I will be riding the Jaguars in Kansas City.

Since taking over as the Chiefs starting quarterback in 2018, Patrick Mahomes is 15-21-1 against the spread when favored by a touchdown or more.

Give me Doug Pederson, Trevor Lawrence and 8.5 points.

Bengals at Bills Odds, Pick

I talked to a handful of pros the past few days and was repeatedly told the same message: throw out all the trends, throw out the models. When no one believes in Joe Burrow and his back is against the wall, you back him.

Here is what they've been missing: nearly 70% of the tickets thus far are on Burrow’s Bengals!

Admittedly, the Bills rushing defense has not performed well recently and neither has Josh Allen since returning from his elbow injury. He was tied for third in the league with 14 interceptions this year.

Yet I still trust the Bills to cover 5.5 points. The Bengals are without three starters on the offensive line, and there is not a defensive-minded coach I trust more to exploit this mismatch than Bills coach Sean McDermott.

Cowboys at 49ers Odds, Pick

Earlier in the week, I liked San Francisco -3.5, as I thought the line was an overreaction to Monday Night’s game. After all, according to our Luck Rankings, the Cowboys were the luckiest team of all Wild Card teams last week.

I have since flipped to Dallas.

The 49ers have played against two teams with a positive point differential this season: the Seahawks and Chiefs. Kyle Shanahan’s club smoked Seattle last week and twice in the regular season.

The Chiefs, however, beat the Niners by three touchdowns.

Against Kansas City, the 49ers linebackers were exhausted by halftime from chasing the Chiefs’ running backs across the field. This is bad news entering a matchup against one of the most explosive backs in the league, Tony Pollard.

On the other side of the ball, we finally saw Brock Purdy look uncomfortable last week. I anticipate Dan Quinn will draw up some exotic blitzes with his outstanding defensive line in order to make Purdy uncomfortable from the game’s outset. Will it be enough for Dallas to win?

I am not sure.

But I do know Kyle Shanahan is one of the worst fourth quarter coaches in the NFL, and if Dallas can just stay within ten points entering the fourth quarter, I like the Cowboys’ chances of outscoring San Francisco by a touchdown to cover 3.5.

Looking to place your bets? Head over to FanDuel Sportsbook now!

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