NFL Playoffs Preview and Latest Odds – The Divisional Round

nfl-playoffsIt’s time for the second round of the 2014-15 NFL playoffs. How did the betting favorites do last weekend? Pretty darn well. Despite being 7-8-1 the Carolina Panthers were a -310 favorite, and lived up to it with a 27-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals. The Indianapolis Colts were a -185 on the hapless Bengals, who hadn’t won a playoff game since 1990, and this wasn’t their year either – the Colts prevailed 26-10. The Cowboys were a strong -300 favorite, but a questionable non-call of pass interference proved to be the difference in their 24-20 victory over the Detroit Lions. The only upset was the +150 Baltimore Ravens winning 30-17 over the -170 Pittsburgh Steelers, though with running back Le’Veon Bell out due to injury, that was the one game where you would have wanted to have bet the dog. The favorites look strong again this weekend. The New England Patriots are a -300 money line favorite over the aforementioned the Baltimore Ravens at +250, in an AFC divisional playoff that kicks off at 4:35 PM ET. Here’s how I feel about the Ravens at this point – if they’re your team (you live in Baltimore, you wear a Ravens jersey every weekend) bet them all the way to the big game. Joe Flacco is a good quarterback, but Tom Brady is a GREAT quarterback. The further they go the wider the talent gap gets at every offensive position, and you can’t count on forcing three turnovers in every game. The Patriots are a very safe pick but if the Ravens pull off the upset again you can “bet” I’ll be surprised. The Seattle Seahawks are a whopping -570 favorite over the Carolina Panthers at +435 in the NFC divisional playoffs, and that game kicks off at 8:15 PM ET. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that last year’s Super Bowl champions are picked to win, especially on an extra week’s rest the Panthers didn’t get. Early season struggles melted away as the Legion of Boom piled up hit after hit and Russell Wilson hit his stride, winning 9 out of their last 10 games (a narrow loss to the Chiefs the lone blip on their radar). If the 8-8-1 Panthers knocked off the Seahawks it would be the biggest story of 2015 so far in sports other than the passing of Stuart Scott on January 4th – R.I.P. On Sunday the Green Bay Packers are a -255 money line favorite and the Dallas Cowboys are the +215 dogs. That will upset fans of “America’s Team” but Tony Romo’s record of success in the post-season is middling at best. A slight calf tear for Aaron Rodgers may make some betters pick the longshot anyway, but Rodgers has played through worse. He’s 7-4 in post-season play with a Super Bowl victory in 2011 included. Much like Brady, Rodgers is good all year, but even better in the big games. I’d choose the Denver Broncos over the Indianapolis Colts for the same reason. Peyton Manning vs. Andrew Luck? Please. The one reason the Broncos are suspect is their D. How did they give up 36 points to the Dolphins in week 12, and 37 to the Bengals in a loss on week 16? Manning can win a shootout with his arm, which is why they’re a -300 favorite for a 4:40 PM kick on Sunday, but the defense better show up ready to shut Luck down. All previews are for entertainment purposes. Please wager responsibly.

Written by Stevie J

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