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Market Insights: What early betting says about AFC divisional games

January 6, 2020 06:00 AM

Sunday was another thrilling day of NFL playoff betting. The Vikings came up huge for sharps and scored the biggest upset of wild-card weekend, beating the Saints 26-20 in overtime. Minnesota only received one-third of bets, but also took in sharp reverse line movement plus 8 to plus 7. The Vikings cashed plus 320 on the moneyline.

Sportsbooks took a hit in the late game as the Seahawks edged the Eagles 17-9. It was a big hit for the public as more than three-out-of-four bets backed Seattle. Pros loved the Eagles, who opened at plus 1, reached plus 2.5 and closed at a pick'em. Carson Wentz left the game with a concussion in the first quarter, much to the chagrin of wiseguys backing Philly. 

Unders went 2-0 for the second consecutive day. Minnesota-New Orleans opened at 47, reached 50 and landed on 46. Seattle-Philadelphia opened at 46, fell to 44 and landed on 26. Unders went a perfect 4-0 this weekend. Wild Card unders are now 44-24 (64.7%) since 2003 according to Bet Labs Sports. 

The Vikings will now travel to San Francisco to face the 49ers in the NFC Divisional Round while the Seahawks head to Green Bay to take on the Packers.

Here are the opening lines (consensus)

49ers -7 vs Vikings, OU 45.5

Packers -3.5 vs Vikings, OU 46

We'll have a full breakdown of both games, including early sharp action, in Tuesday's newsletter. 

Now it's on to Monday. Today's action includes one bowl game, 9 NBA games, 4 NHL games and 16 College Basketball games. For an updated breakdown of sharp action across the marketplace, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Until then, let's discuss where early sharp action is flowing for the two AFC divisional-round games. 

Saturday 8:15 p.m. ET: Tennessee Titans (10-7, 6 seed) at Baltimore Ravens (14-2, 1 seed)

The Titans are coming off a big 20-13 upset win over the Patriots in the wild-card round, covering as 4.5-point road dogs and winning straight up plus 190 on the moneyline. Tennessee is 10-7 ATS on the season including 6-3 ATS away, averaging 24.82 PPG on offense and giving up 20.24 PPG on defense. The Ravens finished with the best record in the NFL and a league best plus 249 point differential (the Titans were plus 71 in the regular season). Baltimore went 10-5-1 ATS (but just 4-4 ATS at home), averaging 33.19 PPG on offense and giving up 17.62 PPG on defense. 

This line opened with Baltimore listed as a 10-point home favorite. The public doesn't know which way to go. They love backing Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, especially at home. But the Titans secured an impressive win at Foxborough last week and 10-point seems a little high. Despite spread bets being split 50/50, this line has dipped to 9.5. Some shops are even down to 9. In a vacuum, a line shouldn't move at all if the tickets are even. So we know based on this line move that sharps are leaning Tennessee plus the points. Divisional round dogs are 38-24 ATS (61%) since 2003. Big playoff dogs plus 7 or more are 36-24 ATS (60%). Also, teams coming off a first round bye are only 43-52 ATS (45.3%). 

We've also seen some smart money target the under. The total opened at 48 and has dipped slightly down to 47.5. Weather could be a factor as the early forecast calls for mid 50s, rain and 7 MPH winds. 

Sunday 3:05 p.m. ET: Houston Texans (11-6, 4 seed) at Kansas City Chiefs (12-4, 2 seed)

The Texans took care of business on wild-card weekend, but it wasn't easy. Houston rallied from a 16-0 deficit to beat the Bills 22-19 in overtime, covering by the skin of their teeth as 2.5-point favorites. The Texans are 8-8-1 ATS on the season but 5-2-1 ATS on the road, averaging 23.53 PPG on offense and allowing 23.76 PPG on defense. Kansas City is coming off a first round bye after finishing the regular season 12-4 straight up and 11-5 ATS, including 5-3 ATS at home. The Chiefs averaged 28.19 PPG on offense and allowed 19.25 PPG on defense. 

This line opened with Kansas City listed as an 8-point home favorite. Sharps immediately pounded the Chiefs, pushing the line up to 9.5 or even 10 at some shops. The Texans have a lot of value as a road dog getting big points in the playoffs. Divisional round dogs are 38-24 ATS (61%) since 2003. Big playoff dogs plus 7 or more are 36-24 ATS (60%). Also, teams coming off a first round bye are only 43-52 ATS (45.3%). The Texans traveled to Arrowhead in mid-October and upset the Chiefs 31-24 as 3.5-point dogs. 

The total opened at 49.5 and has either stayed the same or fallen to 49. Some shops are inching closer to 48.5. The forecast calls for 10-15 MPH winds. When the wind blows 10 MPH or more in the postseason the under is 23-13 (63.9%) since 2003. Houston has gone 10-7 to the under this season while Kansas City is 8-8. 

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