The NFL divisional round of the playoffs is upon us, which means that we have eight teams left in the chase for the Lombardi Trophy. In the AFC, we have Indianapolis visiting Kansas City on Saturday and the Patriots hosting the Chargers on Sunday. In the NFC, Dallas heads to Los Angeles to take on the Rams on Saturday, and Philadelphia is in New Orleans for the second time this season, facing the Saints. Straight up sports betting involves playing against the moneyline rather than with a point spread, and with the right picks you can make real value from the right choices. If you haven’t bet with a moneyline before, take a look at the first matchup below. Indianapolis (+175) means that if you bet $100 on the Colts and they win, you win $175 — getting $275 back. Kansas City (-225) means that you have to bet $225 on the Chiefs to win $100 — getting $325 back. So your value per betting dollar increases when you hit on underdogs. To see our perspective on each matchup, check out our NFL betting picks for each of the four games.
NFL Divisional Round SU Picks
Who will reach the peak of Football Mountain and hoist the Lombardi Trophy after #SBLIII? @Dameshek & @MJD break down this weekend’s divisional round games to see who’s getting that much closer to the top! #DDFP pic.twitter.com/hCsF3nfYee
— NFL Podcasts (@NFL_Podcasts) January 10, 2019
Saturday, January 12
Indianapolis (+175) at Kansas City (-225) (4:35pm ET, NBC)
The Colts roll into Kansas City red hot, winners of 10 of their last 11, and they needed every win down the stretch thanks to their 1-5 start. The Colts had to win in Week 17 to get the last seed in the AFC playoffs, and then they went to Houston last week and delivered a convincing, 21-7 win. Andrew Luck is showing the same courageous passing he used to lead the Colts to an AFC Championship showdown with the Patriots several seasons ago, and the running of Marlon Mack provides balance. Add a tenacious defense to the mix and you have a dangerous playoff team.
What about the Chiefs? Patrick Mahomes has thrown 50 touchdown passes, and the team seems to score at will — even after the departure of Kareem Hunt to suspension. However, the defense is porous, particularly against the run, and Mahomes is only 11 touchdown passes ahead of Luck on the season. Indianapolis comes in with all the momentum — and I’m picking Indianapolis to win.
Dallas (+245) at Los Angeles Rams (-305) (8:15pm ET, FOX)
A lot of people thought that Dallas’ season would end at home last week against a hot Seattle team, but the Cowboys ground out some key drives late and held off a Seahawks comeback. Dak Prescott converted a key 3rd-and-14 in the red zone with a gutsy quarterback draw and then smashed into the end zone to give the Cowboys their last touchdown of the game. Their offense grinds with Ezekiel Elliott running the ball, but the addition of Amari Cooper means they can also get teams with the long ball.
The Rams have a lot more going than the Seahawks did — at least on paper. Jared Goff has a deep weapon in Brandin Cooks, although the injury to Cooper Kupp gave L.A. less depth down the field. Todd Gurley II is just as bruising a back as Elliott, and the Rams’ defense has a ferocious pass rush and solid secondary coverage. With that said, the Rams have played with less consistency coming into the postseason, while the Cowboys have won eight of nine. I see the game coming down to a late drive, and if I’m betting straight up, I’m picking Dallas to win.
Sunday, January 13
Los Angeles Chargers (+155) at New England (-185) (1:05pm ET, CBS)
This is the closest game of the four in terms of moneyline. Why? New England is down as far as offensive weaponry goes thanks to the suspension of Josh Gordon. The Chargers are playing the best football they have in years; if they hadn’t lost to Baltimore in the waning weeks of the regular season, they would have passed the Chiefs to win the AFC West. With that said, the Chargers only beat Baltimore by six in their wild card matchup, despite the fact that Lamar Jackson was largely ineffective. The Patriots will have more up their sleeves on offense, and they will take this game in the last drive. I’m picking New England to win.
Philadelphia (+295) at New Orleans (-385) (4:40pm ET, FOX)
The Eagles barely made it out of Soldier Field, thanks to a blocked Cody Parkey field goal that still almost made it in, clanking off an upright and the crossbar. Nick Foles threw two interceptions, and the running game was also dreadful. The 16-15 Eagles win was one of the uglier playoff games in recent memory. This week, the game moves inside, where Drew Brees is a master of running the passing game, and the Saints have a hungry and opportunistic defense that has been resting up for the divisional round. The Nick Foles magic is about to run out in the Crescent City; I’m picking New Orleans to win.