National Football League divisional playoffs: Picks and betting lines

Leslie Hanson
January 13, 2018

The Falcons have been in playoff mode for almost a month now, having to win three of their last four regular season games to make the postseason and putting on a defensive effort against the LA Rams on Wildcard weekend to get a chance to face the number one seed.

There were two upsets on Wild-Card Weekend, and it wouldn't be surprising to see multiple underdogs win outright in the divisional round of the 2018 NFL Playoffs. Factoring in the tendency of casual fans and recreational bettors to gravitate toward offense, a small slate of games could prove to present a surprisingly large array of options to take advantage by zigging where others are zagging. But I think the New Orleans defense will be the difference here. Saturday night will mark his 35th playoff start, whereas Marcus Mariota only made his first career playoff start last weekend.

Unfortunately for the Titans, they get the reward of traveling to New England and taking on quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots.

The Titans were down 21-3 to the Kansas City Chiefs last Saturday before storming back for a 22-21 victory at Arrowhead Stadium. The next round features match ups that will result in entertaining football.

This is a rematch of a Week One game that the Vikings won 29-19, but these are far different teams now. Not bad. The games this week seem a bit more easy to predict, but we all know how playoff football can go. Look for more passing. If he's at full strength after the first-round bye then this line is fair value, and if he's still hobbled, it could set the stage well for the Titans' defense to hold its own and let the ground game go to work.

Tasked with picking their playoff road to the Super Bowl, and eventual victor, can Graves triumph over the likes of England cricketer Liam Plunkett WWE superstar Baron Corbin and Sky Sports News Deadline Day expert Jim White?

Placing trust in Bortles always has been and still is next to impossible, but that's baked into this point spread. The Eagles have one of the NFL's best defenses and an underrated secondary.

Scroll down to see the complete list of playoff predictions, while Graves first guides you through his divisional round selections. And with this being a best bet, there's more to it than that. Ditto for the red-hot and healthy Falcons, who head to Philadelphia to face a Carson Wentz-less Eagles offense that hasn't scored since Christmas Day. Sarkisian vs. Rams DC Wade Phillips never came to fruition last week after two special teams turnovers gave the Falcons a favorable game script from the get-go, but in a late-and-close situation in Philadelphia, Schwartz would have a clear-cut upper hand based on the coaches' track records. With last season's offense largely intact, the Falcons have regressed sharply from 6.7 yards per play under Kyle Shanahan to 5.8 under Sarkisian. The defense has been dominant, allowing the fewest points per game in the league, but it is not as if the defense has been doing it all by themselves.

Graves' 11-5-1 mark on the season certainly would have been good enough to earn a playoff spot - so he is back, as are some of his fiercest competitors from the year, to take on the Super Bowl Challenge. Betting lines and trends are courtesy of OddsShark. Yes, Ryan and the Falcons have looked impressive the last two weeks. The top seed in each conference, the Patriots and Eagles, had some of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

Judging Jacksonville's chances to beat Pittsburgh based on their Wild-Card Weekend performance would be a mistake. The Steelers offense is out for revenge, and with all the talent on that side of the ball they will score at least 20 points.

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