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NFL Sunday predictions & betting tips: Best bets from Sunday’s Divisional Round games

Leigh Copson 12 Jan 2018
  • Get free predictions & betting tips for Sunday's Divisional Round games
  • Tips include Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers & New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
NFL (credit:Leigh Copson)

NFL predictions for Sunday’s NFL Divisional Round playoff games. Can the Jacksonville Jaguars upset the Pittsburgh Steelers for the second time this season, and will that awesome Minnesota Vikings defense help their team repeat their Week 1 win over the New Orleans Saints? Read on for all of our free predictions and betting tips.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday 18:05 GMT)

Between now and kick-off you are going to hear a lot about the first meeting between these two teams this season. Jacksonville rolled into Pittsburgh and picked off Ben Roethlisberger five times on their way to a surprise 30-9 victory at Heinz Field, and since that date the reputation of that secondary has grown in leaps and bounds as they ensured the Jaguars ranked number one against the pass in the regular season.

However, while this defense shines against the pass it continues to struggle in the run game. Jacksonville ranked just 21st at the end of the regular season and in their first playoff game in a decade – last weekend’s 10-3 win over Buffalo – they gave up 130 yards on the ground. In fact, the Jags have managed to restrict only one of their last seven opponents to less 100 yards rushing, and that is a worry statistic for a team that is relying almost completely on its defense to win games.

And of course, it is worrying for a team that is coming up against Le’Veon Bell. The Pittsburgh running back has rushed for over 100 yards in just one of his last eight appearances, but when he has been leant on heavily in the ground game this season – against the likes of Baltimore, Kansas City, Cincinnati and New England – he has rewarded his coach by delivering big numbers. He will almost certainly receive plenty of touches here as the Steelers look to exploit the Jaguars’ only weakness on defense, and if Pittsburgh can control the contest and dominate time of possession they should – barring a second-half collapse like the one they suffered in Week 5 – book their place in the AFC Championship Game.

But instead of just backing Pittsburgh to get the 'W' on Sunday night, I suggest heading into the Score/Win Double market to back Le'Veon Bell to score a touchdown & Pittsburgh Steelers to win. The running back found the endzone six times in his final five appearances in the regular season, and in this sort of form he is a great bet to score another TD as Mike Tomlin's team march on in the post-season.

New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (Sunday 21:40 GMT)

Sunday is certainly a day for rematches in the Divisional Round, with New Orleans and Minnesota going head-to-head for the second time this season. The Vikings ran out 29-19 winners on that occasion, and the scoreline would have been even more convincing had the Saints not scored a garbage-time touchdown to save some face.

New Orleans have hit their stride since then though, but can they really get their revenge at US Bank Stadium – the site for this season’s Super Bowl? I am not so sure.

While the Saints have undoubtedly found their form since that Week 1 loss, winning 12 of their last 15 games to reach the Divisional Round, Minnesota have established themselves as the cream of the crop in the NFC despite Philadelphia boasting a better record at the end of the regular season. Head coach Mike Zimmer has been able to pair an outstanding defense with a very underrated offense to make them the leading contender in the NFC in the minds of bookmakers, and you only have to look at some of their results in the second half of the season to know they can get the job done here.

This dominant Vikings defense has held five of its last seven opponents to 10 points or less and the likes of the Los Angeles Rams and the Atlanta Falcons were unable to reach double digits in defeats to Minnesota. In fact over the course of the entire season only four teams have managed to put 20 or more points on the board against this number one ranked unit, which is giving up on average just 15.8 points and 275.9 yards per game, so as talented as the Saints offense is I am going with that old adage that “defense wins championships”.

Zimmer’s men should battle their way past New Orleans on Sunday night and stay on course to make history by becoming the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.

Previous NFL Sunday Tips

Previous NFL Sunday Tips (winners in bold)

(10pt STAKE)
Week 1Falcons -6.5 win @ 10/11Ravens win @ 13/10Eagles -2.5 win @ 11/8Steelers -10.5 win @ 11/10Packers -3.5 win @ EVSGiants to win @ 17/10+6.75
Week 2Ravens -8 win @ 10/11Patriots -7.5 win @ 11/8Chiefs -6.5 win @ 11/10Raiders -14.5 win @ 11/10Cowboys -2 win @ 10/11Packers win @ 13/10+23.02
Week 3Eagles -7.5 win @ 23/20Patriots -13.5 win @ 10/11Steelers -9.5 win @ 11/10Packers -7.5 win @ 4/5Chiefs -4.5 win @ EVSRaiders -5.5 win @ 23/20U40
Week 4Vikings win @ 4/5Jaguars -3.5 win @ EVSSteelers -4.5 win @ 6/5Buccaneers -3.5 win @ EVSBroncos -3.5 win @ 11/10Seahawks -13 win @ 10/11+2.09
Week 5Bills win @ 7/5Panthers win @ 11/10Steelers -8.5 win @ 10/11Rams -2.5 win @ 11/10Cowboys win @ 3/4Chiefs -2.5 win @ 6/5U17
Week 6Texans -10 win @ 21/20Packers -6.5 win @ 6/4Patriots -6.5 win @ 4/7Rams win @ 6/5Chiefs -6.5 win @ 23/20Broncos -11.5 win @ 10/11U1.79
Week 7Vikings -6.5 win @ 11/10Jaguars -3 win @ 5/6Bills -6.5 win @ 6/4Steelers -5.5 win @ 10/11Seahawks -6.5 win & Under 39.5 Total Points @ 7/2Over 60 Total Points in Falcons at Patriots @ 6/4+43.42
Week 8Eagles -11.5 win @ 10/11Patriots -7.5 win @ EVSBills by 1-13 pts @ 5/4Seahawks by 1-13 pts @ EVSRedskins win @ 23/20Steelers -5 win @ 8/5U0.91
Week 9Falcons win @ 4/5Jaguars -6.5 win @ EVSEagles -9.5 win @ 11/10Seahawks -6.5 win @ 4/6Chiefs win @ 21/20Raiders -3.5 win @ 11/10U19
Week 10Jaguars -5 win @ 5/4Saints win @ 8/11Titans by 1-13 pts @ 7/5Rams -11.5 win @ 10/11Cowboys win @ 5/4Patriots -7.5 win @ 21/20+20.86
Week 11Jaguars win & -39.5 Total Points @ 10/3Vikings win @ 8/11Saints -7.5 win @ 10/11Chargers -4.5 win @ 21/20Bengals win @ 5/4Eagles -3 win @ 20/23+62.3
Week 12Chiefs by 1-13pts @ 7/5Eagles -13.5 win @ 10/11Falcons -10 win @ 11/10Saints win @ 5/4Raiders -4.5 win @ 10/11PIT -12.5 win & -42.5 Total Points @ 19/10U0.82
Week 13Vikings win @ 7/5Patriots -8 win @ 10/11Chargers -13.5 win @ 10/11Saints win & Over 49.5 Total Points @ 23/10Rams -7 win @ EVSEagles -7 win @ 7/5+36.09
Week 14Packers -3.5 win @ 21/20Vikings win @ 3/4Raiders win @ 9/5Eagles win @ 11/10Seahawks win @ 23/20Under 44.5 Total Points in Ravens at Steelers @ 8/11U18.5
Week 15Panthers win @ 3/4Jaguars -11.5 @ EVSVikings -11.5 win @ EVSRams win @ 11/10Steelers win @ 13/10Cowboys win @ 8/13+34.65
Week 16Patriots by 14+ pts @ EVSPanthers -10 win @ 10/11Saints -5.5 win & -54.5 Total Points @ 14/5Rams -7 win @ 23/20Jaguars -6.5 win @ 6/5Cowboys win @ 1/2U40
WildcardJaguars -8.5 win @ 4/5Saints -5.5 win & -49.5 Total Points @ 21/10----U20
DivisionalBell TD & Steelers win @ 8/11Vikings by 1-13 pts @ 6/4----+5
ChampionshipPatriots by 1-13 pts @ 7/5Jacksonville Jaguars Most Turnovers @ EVSRob Gronkowski Anytime TD @ 4/6Vikings by 1-13 pts @ 7/5Under 39.5 Total Points in Vikings at Eagles @ 4/5Latavius Murray Anytime TD @ 11/10U36
Super BowlPatriots by 1-10 pts @ 9/5Brady to win MVP @ 7/10----U20

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NFL Sunday predictions & betting tips: Best bets from Sunday’s Divisional Round games

NFL predictions for Sunday’s NFL Divisional Round playoff games.

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