The Best Bets for the Divisional Round of the 2021 NFL Season

By in NFL on
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The Super Wild Card weekend was action packed with six games and plenty of on-field excitement. It was also a weekend where the Underdogs came out the big winner.

In the six games, the Underdogs went 2-4 SU, but 4-2 ATS. However, that wasn’t without controversy. The Saints only covered against the Bears because Chicago didn’t go for the extra point after time expired in the game.

Additionally, Washington kicked a late FG with less than a few minutes left in the game and that ended up helping the WFT cover a double digit spread.

For the season, not including Playoffs, Favorites went 170-79-1 SU and 112-136-2 ATS.

The two Underdogs to win outright were the Cleveland Browns and the Los Angeles Rams who both went on the road and defeated their divisional rivals.

Home teams went 2-4 SU and 2-4 ATS in the Wild Card Round. The only two teams to win at home were the Saints and the Bills. The only two home teams to cover the spread were Washington and the Saints.

For the season, Home teams were 125-124-1 SU and 123-125-2 ATS. The Wild Card results continued the season long trend where home field advantage was not a big factor.

The Over went 3-2-1 on the weekend with the Colts and Bills coming in as a Push. For the season, Overs were 123-120-7.

Let’s huddle up to take a look at the best bets for the Divisional Round of the 2021 NFL season. Betting odds are courtesy of BetOnline.

Quick Recap of Week 17’s Best Bets

In the Wild Card Round, we went 1-2 with the following NFL wagers:

  • Ravens vs Titans Go Over 54 Points
  • Bills Win by a TD Against the Colts
  • Rams Cover the Spread

There was a large consensus of betting sources that felt the Ravens and Titans would easily cruise past 54 total points. However, that was not the case as the Ravens showed up and played some serious defense as they held Tennessee to just 13 points. The teams combined to score just 33 total points.

The Bills and Colts played a thrilling game that was decided on the last few snaps of the game. There were multiple times in the 4th quarter where the Bills were up by more than a touchdown. Unfortunately, Rivers and the Colts offense kept coming back and scoring.

Ultimately, the Colts cut the Bills lead down to a field goal with a few minutes left in the game and were driving down to tie the game up with just seconds remaining. A Hail Mary attempt fell short and the Colts lost the game, but still covered the 6.5 point spread.

Lastly, the Rams not only covered a 3.5 point spread, but they ended up winning outright. Los Angeles looked good on both sides of the ball and would go on to beat the Seahawks 30 to 20 behind a powerful running game and the league’s top defense.

For the year, we are 43-26-1.

Rams Cover Spread vs Packers

  • Los Angeles +6.5 (-104)

I would buy a half point and take this spread up to +7 for the Los Angeles Rams.

The Packers ended up as the best team in the NFC largely due to their top ranked offense. However, they will be going up against the league’s #1 defense as the Rams come to town this weekend.

Los Angeles finished the regular season 1st in scoring (18.5ppg), 1st in total yards (281.9ypg), 1st against the pass (190.7ypg), and 3rd against the run (91.3ypg).

The Rams then went into Seattle and had a stellar performance against the explosive Seahawks offense as they held their divisional rival to 20 points and 278 total yards. LA also forced two turnovers and scored a touchdown on defense.

The Packers led the league in scoring for the regular season at 31.8ppg. They also finished 5th in total yards at 389ypg, 9th in passing at 256.6ypg, and 8th in rushing at 132.4ypg.

Green Bay is coming off a first round bye and will be rested. But, they have some changes along the offensive line due to injuries. This could prove dangerous for the Packers as they go up against Aaron Donald who is my pick for the defensive player of the year.

Another reason why I see the Rams covering is because they have a strong rushing attack where they can control the clock and keep the Packers offense on the sidelines.

LA averaged 128.3 rushing ypg this season and surpassed that mark in the Wild Card Round as they finished with 164 yards. Running Back Cam Akers had 131 yards and a TD as the workhorse with 28 carries. Green Bay gives up 112.8 rushing ypg.

Green Bay is only 10-9 ATS versus winning teams and 2-5 ATS versus the NFC West. The Rams went 6-1 ATS versus winning teams this season and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games as the Underdog.

Bills Defeat the Ravens

  • Buffalo (-145)

Of the four Divisional Round matchups, this one is the hardest to predict because both teams are so good. Each team features a young, dynamic, dual threat QB that could win the game on their talents alone.

However, the key to this matchup will be the defenses for each team

Baltimore needs to contain Josh Allen while remaining true to their identity in blitzing. Buffalo needs to force Lamar Jackson to throw and not run the ball as this Ravens offense led the league in rushing at nearly 195 yards per game.

I believe the Buffalo Bills will survive this war of attrition and win the game. But, I’m not sold on them winning by a field goal. It’s safer to just take their moneyline instead.

Buffalo went 11-2 SU this season against conference opponents and were 11-1 SU as the betting favorite. The Ravens went 3-3 SU against winning teams this year and are 2-2 SU in their last four January games.

The weather could be a factor in this game as well. There might be snow, which would definitely impact the outcome of this matchup. Lamar Jackson hasn’t played in snow, but Josh Allen has and that would definitely give the Bills the advantage.

There’s an argument to be made for both teams, but I like the Bills to win at home in front of their fans and possibly in difficult weather.

Browns Cover Double Digit Spread

  • Cleveland +10 (-118)

The Cleveland Browns pulled off the biggest upset in Wild Card Weekend as they went into Pittsburgh and beat up their bully. The Steelers have owned the Browns the last decade, but Cleveland took out 10+ years of frustration against Pittsburgh last weekend in spectacular fashion.

For their efforts, the Browns won a trip to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the best team in the NFL the -Kansas City Chiefs.

This game could go either way. The Chiefs could blow out the Browns or it could be a close contest. I’m hesitant to believe that the Browns would even sniff a shootout with how prolific the Chiefs offense is.

Cleveland has one of the best run games in the NFL as they were 3rd in the NFL averaging 147.1 yards per game. The Chiefs allowed 122.1 rushing yards per game this season.

Even more impressive is that the Browns are 10-3 SU when Nick Chubb plays. The team averages 163 rushing yards per game when Chubb is in the lineup.

Against the top ranked Steelers defense last weekend, the Browns finished with 127 rushing yards and 2 TDs. They didn’t need to do more because they were blowing out the Steelers for most of the game.

This weekend, I see the Browns taking away the Chiefs’ vertical passing attack and forcing Mahomes to throw short. That will make KC have to take more time to score. Additionally, the Browns will control the clock on offense with a rushing attack that will force the Chiefs into a physical battle.

The Chiefs were 6-9-1 ATS and 3-5 ATS at home this season. Yet, they went 0-7-1 ATS in their last eight games and went 1-4 ATS in their last five AFC games. KC is 3-6 ATS when the spread is -3.5 to -9.5pts, 1-3 ATS when a home favorite of 7.5 to 10pts, and 3-3 ATS versus winning teams this year.

We all know that Andy Reid teams coming off a bye usually win. They’re 8-3 SU in their last 11 games following a bye. But, they’re only 6-5 ATS in those contests.

The Browns are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against the Chiefs. They’re 5-2 ATS as an Underdog this year, 9-4 ATS versus the AFC this season, and 6-1 ATS versus winning teams this year.

Bucs to Cover a Field Goal

  • Tampa Bay +3 (-104)

For this bet, I suggest buying a half point to get the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at +3.5 that way you actually win when they cover and not just push. If not, then at the very least you should be able to Push at +3 points as I believe this game will be decided by a late score.

All of the betting trends point to the Saints covering, but this bet is not on Tampa’s past or the Saints betting success. This bet is on “The Goat” Tom Brady.

The Saints swept the Bucs this season by the scores of 34-23 and 38-3. The divisional matchups weren’t even close. Yet, the Bucs have improved a lot over the last month of the season and they’re hitting their stride on offense.

Last weekend versus Washington, which was another top rated defense, Brady went 22-of-40 for 381 yards and 2 TDs. Both Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin had solid performances. In fact, they each have five receiving TDs over their last four games.

So, even if Marshon Lattimore is able to nullify Mike Evans like he has already this season, Brady and the Bucs have some other favorable matchups especially with Brown and Tight End Rob Gronkowsi who has 12 TDs in the Playoffs which is the second most of all-time.

I believe that the Saints will pull out the victory, but I don’t see it being by more than a FG. This is going to be a game where the outcome is decided by the final possession.

If the Bucs top ranked rush defense can slow down the Saints rushing attack then this game will turn into a passing battle. If that happens, then I really like Brady and the Bucs to win a passing duel.

Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...

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