How wise guys are viewing NFL divisional-round matchups


Much to the chagrin of sportsbooks, It's been a public betting bonanza to start the NFL playoffs. Chalk favorites went 5-1 straight up and 5-1 against the spread over Wild-Card Weekend. Contrarian bettors enjoyed some success with totals, though, as Unders are off to a 4-2 start this postseason. With favorites dominating, data-driven bettors are left to wonder whether the divisional round will produce sell-high spots on favorites and buy-low spots on dogs, who might be receiving shaded or inflated numbers for those willing to go the other way.

Here's what we've seen across the betting market for all four divisional-round matchups.

Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans (-3.5, 47)

The No 4-seeded Bengals (11-7 SU, 11-7 ATS) are 4-1 over their last five games and just beat the Raiders 26-19 in the wild-card round, covering as 6-point home favorites. Meanwhile, the top-seeded Titans (12-5 SU, 10-7 ATS) are coming off a bye week after finishing off the regular season with three straight wins. 

This line opened with Tennessee as a 3-point home favorite. Respected money seems to be laying the points with the Titans as we've seen Tennessee move up to -3.5. Some shops are even hinting at a move to 4. The Titans are receiving 62% of bets and 71% of money at BetMGM. Much of the value seems to be gone on Tennessee, which wise guys preferred at the opener of -3. At this point, the Bengals offer some buy-low contrarian value getting the hook. Joe Burrow is 10-7 ATS in his career as a dog. Favorites off a bye in the divisional round are just 28-38 ATS (42%) since 2004. Both teams are giving up roughly 21 points per game on defense. The difference comes on offense, where the Bengals are averaging 27 points compared with the Titans averaging 24. We've also seen some Over money show up, raising the total from 46.5 to 47. The forecast calls for mid-30s temperatures with little to no wind. Currently 90% of bets and 91% of money is sweating the Over. 

San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers (-6, 47.5)

The sixth-seeded 49ers (11-7 SU, 10-8 ATS) pulled off the only upset in the wild-card round, taking down the Cowboys 23-17 as 3.5-point road dogs. Now they travel to Green Bay to face the top-seeded Packers (13-4 SU, 12-5 ATS), who finished the regular season with the best record in the NFL.

This line opened with Green Bay as a 4.5-point home favorite. Early money poured in on the Packers, driving this line up to the key number of 6. The Packers steam might have something to do with the 49ers’ injury report. Defensive stars Fred Warner and Nick Bosa both left the Dallas game with injuries and are questionable for this matchup. The Packers are the most lopsided play of the weekend, with 77% of bets laying the points. Green Bay will be a popular teaser as well, dropping the line from 6 to a pick-'em. The 49ers offer value now at the inflated + 6. Kyle Shanahan is 26-18 ATS (59%) in his career as a dog. Jimmy Garoppolo is 14-4 ATS (78%) as a dog. Ron Torbert, the lead ref, has historically favored road teams (62-44 ATS, 58%). 

Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3, 48.5)

Both of these divisional winners are coming off big wild-card wins. The fourth-seeded Rams (13-5 SU, 9-9 ATS) crushed the Cardinals 34-11, easily covering as 3.5-point home favorites. Similarly, the No. 2-seeded Bucs (14-4 SU, 10-8 ATS) brushed aside the Eagles 31-15, covering as 7-point home favorites. 

This line opened with Tampa Bay as a 3-point home favorite. Currently 64% of bets and 67% of money are laying the points with the Tom Brady at home. However, the line has remained frozen at 3 and the Rams + 3 is being juiced up to -115, signaling a possible fall to 2.5. This signals some respected money leaning Rams plus the points. Pros looking to back Brady might be waiting for a drop to 2.5 below the key number or targeting the Bucs on the moneyline (-150). The total opened at 48.5 and hasn't budged off the opener despite 87% of bets taking the Over. This indicates some wise-guy line freeze action on the Under. Shawn Hochuli, the lead ref, has historically favored Unders (34-25, 58%). The forecast calls for low-60s temperatures with 10- to 15-mph winds. 

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-2, 54.5)

These Super Bowl hopefuls are coming off wild-card weekend blowout wins. The third-seeded Bills (12-6 SU, 10-6-2 ATS) just dominated the Patriots 47-17, covering as 4.5-point home favorites. Similarly, the No. 2-seeded Chiefs (13-5 SU, 9-9 ATS) just crushed the Steelers 42-21, covering as 11.5-point home favorites.

This line opened with Kansas City listed as a 2-point home favorite. We've seen this line tick up to Chiefs -2.5 at some shops before falling back to the opener of 2. Currently 54% of bets and 60% of money is backing Mahomes at home. Buffalo could be in a prime teaser spot (+ 2 to + 8), which goes through multiple key numbers. Josh Allen is 16-9 ATS (64%) in his career as a dog. Pros and Joes both expect a high-scoring game, as the total has been steamed up from 53 to 55. Currently 90% of bets and 95% of money is on the Over. The forecast at Arrowhead calls for mid-30s with mild 5-mph winds. These teams met in Week 5 and Buffalo upset the Chiefs 38-20 at Arrowhead. 

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