Wild Card weekend was very kind to underdog bettors in NFL circles and, by proxy, that means it was a near-spotless weekend in this space. The first result of the NFL Playoffs was brutal for anyone that laid points with the Dallas Cowboys but, in getting a decent number, we avoided disaster with a push and, from there, the floodgates opened to the tune of a 3-0 run on Sunday.
Not every weekend will be that profitable but, as usual, there is value to be found during a four-game slate during the Divisional Round and we’ll try to bring it to you here. Before we arrive at this week’s picks, however, let’s check in on the season-long progress.
- Wild Card: 3-0-1
- 2018 Season: 47-38-4
Come get these winners.
Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs UNDER 57 points
The world is on the over in a game involving the two best offenses in the NFL (at least according to DVOA) and that isn’t exactly a shock. We like to zig when others zag, however, and that is part of the reason for this play. The other basis is that Indy has a top-10 defense (albeit quietly) and it is also possible that the Colts elect to run the ball regularly against a “challenged” Chiefs defense. We like when the clock keeps moving and we like when everyone else is on the over. That’s the combination here.
Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams UNDER 49.5 points
The Rams boast a high-flying offense and it isn’t fun to root against points when they are involved. However, Los Angeles hasn’t been quite as dominant down the stretch and this Dallas defense is legitimately stellar. The Rams don’t abandon the run under any circumstances, which should keep the clock moving, and the Cowboys always churn through precious seconds with their run-heavy attack. This isn’t my favorite bet of the bunch but getting the hook is nice and this feels right.
Los Angeles Rams (-1) and New Orleans Saints (-2) on a 6-point teaser
A teaser! This isn’t something we normally do in this space but both of these games meet the criteria. First, you want to tease across two key numbers when possible and we’re doing that here. Then, teasing home teams is always preferable to road teams and that’s incorporated. In an overall sense, though, this is a simple formula. It’s a square play to take the top two seeds to meet for the NFC crown but the Rams are simply better than the Cowboys and the Saints are a terrifying squad when playing at home. It feels easy and that’s scary, but the math likes this play.
Los Angeles Chargers (+4) over New England Patriots
I don’t love that this is a public side but, as soon as the number opened, I declared my allegiance (at least internally) to the Chargers. Would I pick the Patriots to win on the field? Probably, but it wouldn’t be an easy choice. Los Angeles is playing better right now and, if anything, they are a better bet away from home given their lack of home-field advantage. It’s tough to lay points with this New England team when encountering a defense that features some legitimate studs and we’ll take the candy.
Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots UNDER 48 points
This total is all over the place. It opened at 47 in most places but, as a result of a weather forecast that included snow, the number tumbled into the 44 range. Now, with clearer weather predicted, the total is again rising and has touched 48 in some spots. It isn’t available at 48 everywhere at the moment but I gobbled it up immediately and, even at 47.5, there should be an opportunity to buy the half point for a key number. This has the feel of a slug-fest in many ways, with the Patriots not as explosive as they normally are and the Chargers content to play at the slowest pace in the league.