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NFL Playoffs betting tips: Best bets for the Divisional Round

Leigh Copson 10 Jan 2019
Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints (credit:Credit by bettingpro)

NFL predictions for the Divisional Round in the NFL Playoffs. Who will advance to the AFC and NFC Championship Games and keep their Super Bowl dream alive? Read on for all of our free predictions and betting tips.

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs (Saturday 21:35 GMT)

The Indianapolis Colts’ late-season surge was not enough for them to pip Houston to the AFC South title, but that did not matter on Wildcard weekend as they walked into NRG Stadium and dominated the Texans en route to a 21-7 win. The Colts stormed to a 21-0 lead in less than two quarters as Andrew Luck hit Eric Ebron and Dontrelle Inman for touchdowns either side of a Marlon Mack score, and from there they simply kept Houston at bay for the rest of the game to claim the ‘W’. It was impressive stuff from Indy, but they are going to have to find another level if they are to now pull off another road win in the postseason by knocking off Kansas City. The Chiefs were far from impressive during the final few weeks of the regular season as they dropped two of their last three games, but I am backing them to be back to their best here. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is going to enjoy plenty of success against that poor Kansas City defense in order to keep his team in the game, but in a shootout there is simply no way I can go against a Chiefs team that averaged 35.5 points per game during the regular season – making them number one in points scored. Even in their four defeats they put up 40, 51, 28 and 31 points respectively, so I expect these two offenses to go toe-to-toe here, trading touchdowns, but ultimately Patrick Mahomes and that explosive Kansas City unit will have too much firepower for Luck & Co. to keep up with.

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams (Sunday 01:15 GMT)

The Dallas Cowboys are dreaming of Super Bowl success after seeing off Seattle a week ago. I have to be honest, I fancied the Seahawks to get the job done in that one, but the Cowboys once again put the game on the back of running back Ezekiel Elliott and they rewarded with a 24-22 win. Amari Cooper chipped in through the air as he continued to breathe some life into the Dallas passing game, but can that unit now better a Los Angeles Rams unit that was on fire for much of the season? The Rams were looking almost unstoppable until Chicago shut them down in Week 14 and Philadelphia then poured salt in the wound, but the final few weeks of the season were kind to them as games against Arizona and San Francisco allowed the offense the opportunity to get back on track, and they must now follow up those performances with another big offensive showing here. This Dallas defensive unit will be a much tougher nut to crack than those Cardinals and 49ers groups, but the Rams are boosted by the return of running back Todd Gurley and they do have the two most productive receivers in the game in Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. On paper this offense is much stronger than their Cowboys counterparts, who rely massively on Elliott, so I am backing Jared Goff & Co. to get the job done here. The Dallas defense will ensure Los Angeles do not run away with this one and it is unlikely to be a high-scoring affair, but when all is said and done the Rams should exorcise the demons of last season’s playoff defeat to Atlanta by marching on to the Championship Game.

Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots (Sunday 18:05 GMT)

While the final score does not suggest dominance, it was hard not to be impressed with the way the Los Angeles Chargers shut down Baltimore on their way to a 23-17 win. Moving the ball and putting points on that excellent Ravens defense was never going to be easy, but the Chargers did a decent job at getting into scoring positions during the first half and Michael Badgley rewarded them with four field goals. Melvin Gordon finally scored the game’s first touchdown early in the fourth before another Badgley kick gave them a commanding 23-3 lead with just over nine minutes to go, and although Michael Crabtree did haul in a couple of late touchdown passes those scores merely spared some of Baltimore’s blushes. Simply put, the Chargers were far too good for them on the day and they are going to have to be on the top of their game on Sunday because they are paying a visit to New England. The Patriots, as we all know, are not a team that regularly lose in front of their home fans, especially in the postseason, but this current squad is not at the same level as previous groups and you have to wonder if the golden era of Brady & Belichick is finally coming to an end? That has proven to be a dangerous thought over the years, with New England often responding to their ‘obituary’ in emphatic fashion, but I really do find myself liking the chances of an upset here. Philip Rivers has been in outstanding form this season, with the help of Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen, and that defense has been performing very well too to rank in the top 10 for points allowed and yards allowed. Pass rushers Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa are causing major headaches for opposition quarterbacks too, so I am going to take a risk and back LA to knock off New England here. 

Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints (Sunday 21:40 GMT)

Can Nick Foles really lead Philadelphia to another Super Bowl? The Eagles made it through to the Divisional Round of the playoffs with a surprise win in Chicago a week ago that saw them snatch the lead with less than a minute to go and then survive the drama of a last-gasp Bears field goal attempt that saw Cody Parkey – yet again – showcase his ridiculous knack for hitting the upright. Replays later showed that Parkey’s kick did have a little help in hitting the frame of the goal in the form of a fingertip, but ultimate the ‘Double Doink’ play will go down in infamy in Chicago and be a play that Eagles fans laugh about for years to come. However, this Sunday’s Divisional game will be no laughing matter. The Eagles are heading back to New Orleans for the second time this season and they will head there knowing they simply cannot afford another pathetic showing like the one the one they produced as they were annihilated 48-7 by the Saints in Week 11. Philly have undoubtedly improved since then and they will be full of confidence after beating one of the best defenses in the entire NFL, but can they really go toe-to-toe and point-for-point with this Saints offense? This New Orleans unit is a gigantic step up from the Chicago unit that they struggled to contain at times a week ago, and when the Saints are in the Superdome they are incredibly difficult to slow down, let alone stop. Therefore I expect Drew Brees and his pals to come out firing, light up the scoreboard and win this matchup in comfortable fashion.

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NFL Playoffs betting tips: Best bets for the Divisional Round

NFL predictions for the Divisional Round in the NFL Playoffs.

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