And then there were eight. After an exciting Wild Card Weekend that lived up to its name – featuring the “double doink” heard round the world and both #6 seeds notching road upsets over division winners – the field has been carved down to eight for the Lombardi Trophy. Here’s a look at the NFL Divisional Playoffs odds.
Divisional Playoffs action kicks off this Saturday, so read on to see how each team stacks up based on the current betting lines posted by online sportsbook Bovada.
As one of the aforementioned #6 seeds to escape the first round, the Colts sure didn’t look like the underdog during their thrashing of the Texans.
Powered by an offensive line that bullied Texans defenders at every turn, the Colts stormed out to a 21-0 lead by halftime. And the defense also came to play, limiting Houston’s offense to a lone touchdown – one scored in garbage time no less.
Repeating that near whitewashing this week will be a difficult task, however, as the Colts head to Arrowhead Stadium for a date with the dynamic Chiefs.
The Chiefs’ prolific offense is powered by second-year phenom Patrick Mahomes, who dazzled with 50 touchdown passes – a feat only accomplished by two other quarterbacks in league history (Peyton Manning and Tom Brady). In his first year starting under center, Mahomes guided the K.C. offense to 425.6 yards per game (YPG), 309.7 passing YPG, and 35.3 points per game – leading the league across the board.
Bettors can expect points aplenty in this one, as evidenced by the (57.0) game total, but the Chiefs are only (-5) home favorites here thanks to their lackluster defense. Only the woeful Bengals surrendered more passing YPG than Kansas City’s 273.4 average during the regular season, giving Colts quarterback Andrew Luck a puncher’s chance to lead yet another road upset.
In a pass-happy league, both Dallas and Los Angeles hitch their wagons to All-Pro running backs.
Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys led the league in rushing with 1,434 total yards, and if not for two games on the bench due to injury, Todd Gurley of the Rams (1,251) may have taken the title.
Both have their eyes on a Super Bowl title, thanks in large part to playing as part of well-rounded rosters that boast stars on both sides of the ball.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff has blossomed into an MVP contender under offensive guru and head coach Sean McVay. And on defense, L.A. sends game-wreckers like DT Aaron Donald – the only player to eclipse 20 sacks this year – and run-stuffing NT Ndamukong Suh to attack opposing quarterbacks.
That’s bad news for Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, who can shine when given a clean pocket, but struggles mightily when pressured. Prescott will need to rely on Elliott to dominate like he did in Dallas’ 24-22 defeat of the Seahawks, when ‘Zeke rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown, with 32 receiving yards thrown in for good measure.
The ‘Boys didn’t fare well on the road this year at 3-5, so their status as big (+7) underdogs here is understandable.
The last time Chargers QB Philip Rivers had a legitimate chance to win his first Super Bowl, the dream was cut short by Tom Brady and the Patriots in the 2007 AFC Championship Game.
In fact, Rivers has never beaten Brady (0-7), an ignominious mark the 37-year old would love to see washed away this week.
He’ll have a chance this week though, bringing a stacked L.A. team to Foxboro to face a 41-year old Brady who is finally in decline. Tom Terrific didn’t have a terrible year by any stretch, but by the five-time Super Bowl winner’s standards, he wasn’t the juggernaut football fans have come to know over the last two decades.
The Chargers haven’t lost a game outside of La La Land all year – their lone road loss was to the Rams – so their line of (+4.5) offers ‘dog backers a decent level of value.
Saints QB Drew Brees has played in 264 games during his storied career, while his Eagles counterpart Nick Foles only has 54 games under his belt.
But both Brees and Foles have something in common – a Super Bowl MVP award.
Foles – a career backup turned Philadelphia hero after last year’s improbable title run – saved the Eagles season with a three-game winning streak to end the regular season. From there, “Big Nick Energy” became contagious, as Foles threw the game-winning touchdown to upset the Bears last weekend.
He’ll need another magical moment to get past the Saints, who whipped the Eagles in the Superdome to the tune of 48-7 earlier this year. That marked one of six occasions in which the New Orleans offense scored 40+ points in 2018, making them the biggest favorites on the board at (-8) here.