NFL Divisional Round Best Bets: Can the Bengals and Cowboys Win as Road Underdogs?

We break down the best bets of the 2023 NFL Divisional Round, featuring bets on the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, and more!

NFL Divisional Round Best Bets: Can the Bengals and Cowboys Win as Road Underdogs?

The 2023 NFL Divisional Round is upon us, and we have four intriguing matchups. We’re hoping this round is as explosive as last year’s was, but with two games with a touchdown spread or bigger, it’s unclear if we’ll get close games or duds. Either way, our best NFL bets for the Divisional Round will help your bankroll grow.

Both Saturday and Sunday have two games to bet on. Let’s dive into the most recent betting trends and betting options on games between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills, and Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.

NFL Divisional Round Best Bets

We have three spread plays and one total play for our NFL Divisional Round best bets. See why we’re choosing each below.

Jaguars vs. Chiefs | Chiefs -8.5

This is another round of games with a handful of regular-season rematches. We saw the Jaguars lose 27-17 to the Chiefs in Week 10. In that game, the Chiefs were able to move the ball wherever and however they wanted, producing 486 total yards. Yet, they missed scoring opportunities thanks to three turnovers.

Coming off a bye week and riding a five-game winning streak, the Chiefs seem poised to have a monstrous offensive performance once again. Even though Kansas City isn’t great against the spread — going 7-10 this season — they’ve scored 24 points or more in nine straight games. Now, they’re facing a defense they’ve already exploited and just allowed three red-zone touchdowns to the Chargers.

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Surely, the Jaguars won’t put themselves in a similar hole as the 27-0 deficit they had last week. Jacksonville is a solid team that will push Kansas City as long as they can protect the ball, but therein lies the explosive flaw with this young team. The Jaguars have coughed the ball up at least twice in three of their last five games, and in six games throughout the season.

There’s a recipe for this game to either be a considerable blowout or a close Kansas City win, and that really depends on which version of the Chiefs we get. With Patrick Mahomes having a reliable running game and an improved defense that has relatively held its own in the second half of the year, I think this ends up being a 38-21 type of game.

Giants vs. Eagles | Eagles -7.5

This is an easy trap game for bettors, as we just saw the Giants upset a Vikings team that had a giant warning sticker on their foreheads all season long. The Vikings’ impressive 13-4 record was never indicative of their level of play. They were historically lucky with a bad defense, and Daniel Jones took advantage of that with his two best games of the season against the unit.

Two of Jones’ three games throwing for more than 230 yards this season came against Minnesota. While public discourse has embraced Jones as a franchise quarterback for the Giants, we need to remember he’s been limited to doing the minimum for the offense in the vast majority of games. We’re going to see that version of Jones once again this week.

The Eagles have beaten the Giants by a 70-38 margin in their two meetings this season. They met in Week 18 with New York’s backups while Philadelphia looked to get some reps in with Jalen Hurts returning from injury. If Hurts’ shoulder is relatively healthy, this game should be a blowout.

MORE: Daniel Jones Is on a Hot Streak, Jalen Hurts Tries To Get Healthy

It’s important to remember the distinction between being a good overall team and being viewed favorably compared to expectations. The Giants were the people’s champs this year, covering their spread in 14 games. However, the Eagles will feast against New York’s 27th-ranked rush defense as they fully open the playbook and look to dominate their foe.

I’d consider buying this line down to 6.5 points since I can’t stand 7.5-point lines, but the Eagles are still a drastically stronger roster than the Giants. This has the look of a comfortable 27-17 final score for Philadelphia.

Bengals vs. Bills | Bengals +5.5

This is my game of the week. I’ve held throughout the year that the Bengals have been undersold as Super Bowl contenders. I think they’re the second-best team in the NFL right now, combining an explosive offense and great defense. We’re about to see whether the Bills have been overestimated in the betting market after their lucky escape against a decimated Dolphins team.

The Bengals have covered in 12 of their 17 regular-season games and in all eight of their games as underdogs. The under has hit in each of their last three matchups, though the canceled game just a few weeks ago after Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field appeared to be heading toward a barn-burner. With nine straight wins overall, the Bengals are red-hot and comfortable in their play style.

The Bills have a sky-high ceiling but are also less consistent with how they win. Quarterback Josh Allen has been taking the bait from defenses that dare him to throw deep under pressure. I don’t think Cincinnati continues that since it’s so easy to be burned on overly aggressive blitz pressures and will instead force Allen to win in the red zone, where Buffalo ranks only ninth in touchdown percentage.

Cincinnati’s offensive line is likely the key to the game. The unit has been struggling, with running back Joe Mixon totaling the second-fewest rushing yards of his career and Joe Burrow facing more pressure recently. Buffalo was tied for seventh in sacks per game this season, but this is theoretically where they feel the sting of missing Von Miller more than ever.

I could see the Bengals winning this one outright. Their pass defense can frustrate Allen and force turnovers effectively. Considering the Bills have coughed up three turnovers in three straight games, this will be a close game if that continues. Buffalo is at-risk of a home loss.

Cowboys vs. 49ers | Over 46

Dallas is the biggest wild card of the Divisional Round, making this four-point spread a dangerous one to lay money on. The 49ers have the best roster in the NFL but also a seventh-round rookie playing quarterback. While the 49ers have the scheme and playmaking to prop Brock Purdy up, his limitations have started to show more as games get closer.

Both of these teams were solid at covering their spreads this season and are coming off dominant wins in the Wild Card round.

The Cowboys’ offense seemingly kicked into overdrive after struggling to find consistency throughout the second half of the season. When Dak Prescott is firing on all cylinders, this offense is capable of hanging with anyone as he complements a dominant rushing attack led by Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott. If Dallas can find success on the ground, they can push this game into a dangerous territory that makes San Francisco uncomfortable.

MORE: The Dallas Cowboys Can Win, but Dak Prescott Needs To Play Perfect

Of course, the 49ers have the No. 2 rush defense in the NFL and have limited offenses to the fifth-fewest passing touchdowns. This is a phenomenal defense, both in terms of personnel and schematics. Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is a masterful technician and play-caller, and this game is the opportunity for him to put forth his finest showing yet.

This is a tough game to project. Despite the great talent on defense, we have to bank on playmakers helping their teams. That means turnovers, explosive plays, and points. I’m leaning toward a 49ers win, and Cowboys cover as well.