Skip to main content

NFL Betting: What We Learned from the Divisional Round Playoffs

by January 18, 2021
Aaron Rodgers

Through the NFL playoffs, we will be taking a look back at what exactly happened from a betting standpoint in the previous round. What was the consensus favorite bet, what hit, and why? Hopefully, this will give us a better idea of how to bet on these games leading up to the Super Bowl.

Compare odds from all major sportsbooks for the NFL Conference Championship >>

Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers

DIVISIONAL ROUND RESULT SPREAD O/U MONEY EXPERTS (SPREAD) EXPERTS (O/U) EXPERTS (ML)
10-6 (10-8 ATS)
18
+7
-114
o45
-110
+275
13-3 (11-6 ATS)
32
-7
-106
u45
-110
-355

The Packers did everything right in this game to spell success. Aaron Rodgers was kept squeaky clean being hit just once in the game. The Pack dominated the time of possession, converted eight-of-12 third downs, and didn’t turn the ball over once. On defense, the Packers had one of their best performances of the season, holding the Rams to just 244 total yards of offense. That’s the fewest yards they’ve allowed to an opponent all season. The Packers are now 7-0 ATS in their last seven games against the Rams. The Rams fell just shy of their implied total in this game, but the Pack did their part in pushing the over. Considering the Packers were the second-biggest favorites straight-up, their win was no surprise.

The Packers now have a solid betting trend going having covered the spread and pushed the over to hit in each of their last three games. The early lines opened with them as -3.5 favorites this weekend against the Bucs. Picks will be much tougher to peg in this matchup. They lost to the Bucs 10-38 this season in Week 6, where they were also three-point favorites. The Packers had a season-low of 201 yards of total offense in that matchup. Rodgers uncharacteristically tossed two INTs in that game while taking four sacks.

Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills

DIVISIONAL ROUND RESULT SPREAD O/U MONEY EXPERTS (SPREAD) EXPERTS (O/U) EXPERTS (ML)
11-5 (11-6-1 ATS)
3
+2.5
-105
o49.5
-110
+120
13-3 (12-6 ATS)
17
-2.5
-115
u49.5
-110
-141

This game went completely sideways from what the consensus had expected. The total going over 49.5 points was the favorite O/U pick of the weekend, with 70% of experts anticipating more of a shootout. We knew the chances of that happening were shot to hell when we were greeted with a score of 3-3 at halftime. Neither offense could get anything going the entire game, and both were poor at converting third downs.

I don’t want to rain on the parade for the Bills, but if I were a Bills fan, I would be really concerned going forward. For the second week in a row, their opponent put up more total yards of offense and controlled the time of possession against them. Both the Colts and Ravens also secured more first downs than the Bills. The early lines opened with them as just three-point underdogs against the Chiefs and an O/U of 54. The numbers through the playoffs don’t favor them being able to cover this weekend, even though their ATS record has been amongst the strongest in the league this season.

Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs

DIVISIONAL ROUND RESULT SPREAD O/U MONEY EXPERTS (SPREAD) EXPERTS (O/U) EXPERTS (ML)
11-5 (8-10 ATS)
17
+8
-110
o56
-110
+310
14-2 (7-10 ATS)
22
-8
-110
u56
-110
-385

This game mostly went as expected for bettors. The Browns covering the spread had the favorite consensus pick of the weekend with 43 experts selecting them and the Chiefs winning SU was the second-biggest favorite just behind the Packers. The under hitting was the only unexpected bet here as just 12 experts had selected that, making it the second-least expected bet of the weekend. The Chiefs looked like they were potentially on their way to covering with a 12-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but a Kareem Hunt TD locked in the ATS win for the Browns.

The Chiefs walked away with another win and inch one week closer to another Super Bowl appearance but going up against a Browns team that had been shredded on defense often this season. You can’t help but feel like you expected more from them. The Chiefs are now 1-8 ATS in their last nine games, but I like their chances early to cover this weekend against the Bills.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

DIVISIONAL ROUND RESULT SPREAD O/U MONEY EXPERTS (SPREAD) EXPERTS (O/U) EXPERTS (ML)
11-5 (10-8 ATS)
30
+2.5
-105
o52.5
-110
+121
12-4 (10-8 ATS)
20
-2.5
-115
u52.5
-110
-141

The Bucs finally got their redemption against the Saints this weekend and were the only underdog to upset a favorite in the divisional round. The experts were all over that as the Bucs were the third-biggest favorite SU in the Divisional Round. The Saints lost four turnovers in this game, with three coming from Drew Brees INTs. You can’t win football games turning it over that often, especially in the playoffs against Tom Brady and his pals, the NFL officiating crew.

The Bucs offense is on a roll, having scored at least 30 points in each of their last five games. Considering their last two opponents boasted top-eight defenses in opponent points allowed this season, that is pretty impressive. They get the Packers next, who they beat 38-10 earlier this season. Coming in as +3.5-point ‘dogs, they could be a decent bet to cover and upset for the second week as unlikely underdogs. The early total is set at 51 points.

Join the BettingPros Discord Chat for Live Betting Advice >>


Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RadioPublic | Breaker | Castbox | Pocket Casts

Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our Sports Betting Strategy and Advice page is for you. You can get started with our 101 section — including 10 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners — or head to more advanced strategy — like Key Numbers When Betting Against the Spread — to learn more.

John Ferguson is a featured writer and editor at BettingPros. For more from John, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyFerguson.

NFL