Could Favorites Go Four-for-Four Again In Divisional Round?
Casual bettors generally jump all over the favorites in the NFL playoffs. However, on Wild Card Weekend the book came out ahead when all four favorites covered because three of the four games were bet pretty evenly. The only one that wasn't was Seattle at Washington, with the Seahawks as three-point road favorites taking almost 75% of the total money in their 24-14 win over the Redskins.
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The script has been flipped heading into Divisional Round weekend, with Baltimore at Denver and Green Bay at San Francisco on Saturday, and Seattle at Atlanta and Houston at New England on Sunday. The only matchup of those four that isn't a regular-season rematch is Seahawks-Falcons.
"Unlike last week, we have three of the four matchups getting pretty one-sided action at this point in the week. The two double-digit favorites in Denver (-10) and New England (-10), and Green Bay getting three points, are what our bettors are pounding right now. It's a bit to my surprise we are seeing a slight lean toward the Falcons at -3," said Kevin Bradley, the sportsbook manager at Bovada.
The three rematch games all were pretty one-sided during the season. The 49ers won in Green Bay 30-22 in Week 1, but that was with experienced quarterback Alex Smith under center. On Saturday, second-year Colin Kaepernick makes his first postseason start. Smith threw for 211 yards in that game. Kaepernick is at -250 to throw for more than Smith (+170) did on Saturday. The Packers probably don't mind playing on the road. Whereas the Pack lost in the Divisional Round at Lambeau last year to the Giants, Green Bay is 4-1 in road playoff games with Aaron Rodgers as the starting QB.
Denver won at Baltimore 34-17 in Week 15. The Broncos held the Ravens to 278 total yards - only 56 rushing - and 12 first downs. Denver held the ball for nearly 17 minutes longer than Baltimore and forced two Ravens turnovers. Peyton Manning threw for just 204 yards in that game, by far a season low. His over/under total for this week is set at 290.5.
New England crushed Houston 42-14 in Week 14 at Foxboro on a Monday night. Tom Brady had 296 yards passing and four touchdowns, while Houston's Matt Schaub had 232 but no touchdowns and an interception. Brady's passing yards total is set at 300.5 this week along with two touchdowns. Schaub is set at 265.5 yards. He has surpassed that once in the past five games: 275 last week against Indianapolis.
That the Patriots destroyed Houston in the first meeting isn't necessarily a good thing. Teams that lost by at least 28 points to an opponent they then faced again in the playoffs have managed to go 11-11 in the rematch. The team on the regular-season losing end has won three of the past five. The most recent example was the New York Jets getting bombed 45-3 at New England in Week 13 of the 2010 season, only to upset the Patriots 28-21 there in Divisional Round.
History favors the top-seeded Falcons and, to a lesser extent, Broncos this week. NFC No. 1 seeds are a sterling 18-4 in the Divisional Round since 1990, while the AFC top seeds are 13-9.
"Most" Favorites This Weekend
Green Bay's Rodgers was the Wild Card Round favorite to throw for the most yards of any QB that weekend. Minnesota's Adrian Peterson was the rushing favorite while Houston's Andre Johnson the receiving yards favorite. None of the three won the prop. Indy's Andrew Luck had the most passing yards (288), Houston's Arian Foster the most rushing yards (140) and Baltimore's Anquan Boldin the most receiving yards (145; only he and the Colts' Reggie Wayne had more than 100).
This week, Rodgers and Brady are the co-7/2 favorites on the passing prop. Brady had those 296 in the first meeting with Houston. Rodgers had 303 in the opener against the Niners and 274 last week against Minnesota. The long shot this week is Seattle rookie Russell Wilson at 15/1.
On the rushing, Seattle's Marshawn Lynch is the 2/1 favorite. Lynch finished third in the NFL in rushing during the regular season and had 132 in last week's win over the Redskins. It was his fourth-straight game with at least 100. The long shot on this prop is Atlanta's Michael Turner at 10/1.
On the receiving, the Texans' Johnson is again the favorite, this time at 4/1. He was fairly quiet last week with 62 yards on five catches against Cincinnati. Johnson had 95 yards on eight catches in the first meeting with New England. The long shot here is Seattle's Golden Tate at 18/1.
NFL Divisional Round: Eight teams remain in the quest for NFL glory. Bet each game on the go with Bovada Mobile.