After a fantastic Wild Card Weekend to open the 2020-2021 NFL playoffs, our NFL betting team discerns the odds to bet on for the Divisional Round. The weekend begins with two versions of the Shanahan offense facing off and ends with the old man bowl — Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees. Let’s see if we can find some value and make some money this weekend!
**odds courtesy of DraftKings sportsbook
2020-2021 NFL Divisional Round playoff odds: Saturday
Los Angeles Rams (+6.5, -106) at Green Bay Packers (-6.5, -115)
Total (Over/Under): 45.5 (-110/-110)
Money Line: +270/-315
Based on their yards per play differentials (YPP), Green Bay should only be a (-0.5) favorite on a neutral field over Los Angeles. The Rams also somewhat resemble a team that dominated the Packers in 2019 — the San Francisco 49ers. Given those data points, Los Angeles is the easy bet here, correct?
I’m not so sure about that. The 49ers possessed an explosive offense, whereas the Rams are limited in that regard. That’s reflected in their yards per play average on offense — 5.5, which is 18th in the NFL. Green Bay, on the other hand, averaged 6.3 YPP, for second in the league. Jared Goff doesn’t play well in cold weather either, but I’m sure you’ve already heard that.
How will the injury report affect the game?
Goff will play in this game. Additionally, All-Pro Aaron Donald will, too. Donald did not show up on the final injury report, so he should be a full go for this game. Cooper Kupp did not practice all week and is questionable. As for the Packers, they’re as healthy as can be.
Football is a game of matchups and coaches. The Rams have the better coach and match up well with the Packers’ offense. Even though they’re a Southern California dome team, they’re built more like a cold-weather northern team. That said, I’m not crazy about their odds in this 2020-2021 NFL Divisional Round playoff matchup.
The Rams have to play a near-perfect game to have a chance in this one. While they have the run game and defense to make that happen, Goff will have to throw at some point. Cold weather or not, he has not played well this season. The Rams will have to score points to be competitive in this game, and I don’t see it.
Pick: Green Bay (-6.5)
Baltimore Ravens (+3, -117) at Buffalo Bills (-3, -105)
Total (Over/Under) 49.5 (-108/-113)
Money Line: +128/-148
Lamar Jackson proved his doubters wrong when he led his team to a playoff victory after an early 10-0 hole. Meanwhile, Josh Allen earned his first playoff victory by defeating the Indianapolis Colts. If you weigh recent performance more, I can see how the bookmakers landed on these odds for this 2020-2021 NFL Division Round playoff matchup.
Both teams are healthy and expect to field all relevant starters for this game. I mentioned recent trends above — the Bills ended the regular season on an absolute tear. They finished 7-1, including 8-0 against the spread in their final eight games. The Ravens had a strong finish of their own, however. They went 5-0 straight up and against the spread in their last five games.
How do the offenses and defenses stack up against each other?
The Ravens present exceedingly poor matchups for the Bills defense. They have the best running game in the league against a defense that invites the run. The Bills have also struggled against tight ends, which doesn’t bode well against Mark Andrews.
This won’t be easy for the Ravens defense, however. The Bills pass at the third-highest rate in the league on early downs, where they finished second in success rate. The Ravens defense ranked 18th in passing success rate against them on early downs.
If I were going to make a bet on the odds for this 2020-2021 NFL Divisional Round playoff matchup, I’d take the over. I’m also interested in overs for Jackson’s rushing yards prop, Andrews’ receiving yards prop, and both players’ anytime touchdown prop.
Pick: Over 49.5
Sunday’s Playoff Games
Cleveland Browns (+10, -110) at Kansas City Chiefs (-10, -110)
Total (Over/Under): 57.5 (-107/-114)
Money Line: +400/-500
The Browns’ reward toppling their eternal foe in Pittsburgh is a trip to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. The Chiefs might miss Sammy Watkins for this game, while the Browns hope to have Jack Conklin available.
The YPP differential suggests only a two-point difference between these two teams on a neutral field. That only considers how each team played this year, not necessarily each team’s actual talent level.
That said, I think 10 is a bit extreme. However, the odds for this 2020-2021 NFL Divisional Round playoff matchup are a stay away for me. Kansas City has looked as unimpressive as you could for a 14-2 team. They finished 0-6-1 against the spread (excluding Week 17), having not covered a game since November 1st.
Any totals or live bets to consider?
I don’t want to bet the under in a Chiefs game, while the over is way too high for me to feel comfortable taking it. The Browns money line is quite intriguing. I don’t think the Browns win, but 20% seems pretty low, in my opinion.
One path I think is viable is to wait in-game for a chance to back the Browns. If they enter the 4th quarter within one score, you might be able to support them on the live money line. Andy Reid is notorious for terrible clock management, so telling yourself he blows the final four minutes of a one-score game is well within the range of outcomes.
Even though Kansas City is the odds on favorite to win the Super Bowl, the Browns money line is the only bet I’d consider before kickoff.
Pick: Pass, lean Browns money line
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3, -110) at New Orleans Saints (-3, -110)
Total (Over/Under): 52 (-109/-112)
Money Line: +130/-150
The Buccaneers and Saints meet for the third time this season, with the Saints having won both meetings by a combined 46 points. The Buccaneers lost starting guard Alex Cappa against Washington and hope to get Ronald Jones back for this game. As for the Saints, they don’t have many injuries of note headed into this contest.
For a series that has been as lopsided as this has, the odds for their 2020-2021 NFL Divisional Round playoff rematch suggests these teams are about even. YPP says the Buccaneers are (0.5) points better than the Saints. They have the better QB and the better passing game, but their advantages stop there.
Is the third time the charm for the Buccaneers?
The Saints have, arguably, the best roster in the league and a better head coach. It doesn’t help the Buccaneers’ case that both games have been super uncompetitive. Brady and Tampa Bay finished the season strong, albeit against some lackluster competition.
I took an early (+3.5) with Tampa Bay, but I’m starting to doubt that. Football is a game of matchups, and apparently, the Saints match up exceptionally well with the Buccaneers. I’ll be looking for an in-game middle myself, and if the Buccaneers do prove to be competitive, I can’t foresee them winning by a large margin. The bet I would consider is Saints (-3). Maybe an alternate spread if you think the Saints’ dominance continues.
Pick: Saints (-3)