Welcome to NFL Divisional Round Weekend! Over the past 3-plus seasons (which coincides with the expansion of legalized sports betting), we've seen NFL playoff dogs go 25-15 ATS (62.5%), including 4-2 ATS this past Wild Card Weekend. While betting dogs has been profitable, the key has been to focus on dogs with a line move in their favor of at least a half point or more (think + 7 to + 6.5 or + 10 to + 9). These dogs are 12-2 ATS. Playoff dogs are often undervalued as the betting public focuses on favorites. The line more is important because it signals respected sharp action coming in on the dog.
For extensive Saturday betting analysis be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher, Mike Palm, Thomas Gable and myself this morning from 10 a.m.-noon on The Lombardi Line. We'll be dissecting all the big matchups, the top lines moves and breaking down late sharp action across all the major spots.
In the meantime, let's discuss where the money is flowing for today's big games...
4:35 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers
The Rams (11-6 SU, 10-7 ATS) enter as the Cinderella 6-seed, having just upset the Seahawks 30-20 on Wild Card Weekend, winning outright as 3-point road dogs. Now they head to Lambeau to face the top-seeded Packers (13-3 SU, 10-6 ATS). Green Bay has won six-straight and enjoys a bye week of rest. This line opened with the Packers listed as a 7-point home favorite. The public is happy to fade Jared Goff and is rushing to the window to back Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at home. However, despite this lopsided support in favor of the Packers, we've seen the line tumble from Green Bay -7 to -6.5. This signals some sharp reverse line movement on the road dog, with respected pro bettors grabbing the Rams + 7. This line movement is eerily similar to what we saw last week with the Colts falling from + 7 to + 6.5 despite heavy betting on the Bills. Divisional round dogs are 59% ATS over the past decade. Ron Torbert, the lead ref, has historically favored road teams (59% ATS). We've also seen some respected money hit this under, dropping the total from 46.5 to 45.5. The forecast calls for low 30s with 5-10 MPH winds. The Rams are 12-5 to the under this season. The Packers are 9-7 to the over. The Packers will be an incredibly popular teaser play this weekend (-6.5 to -0.5).
8:15 p.m. ET: Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills
The 5-seed Ravens (12-5 SU, 11-5-1 ATS) have won six-straight and just took down the Titans 20-13 in the Wild Card round, covering as 3.5-point road favorites. Now they travel to Western New York to face the 2-seed Bills (14-3 SU, 11-6 ATS). Buffalo has won seven straight, including a 27-24 win over the Colts in last week's playoff opener, although the Bills failed to cover as 7-point home favorites. This line opened with Buffalo listed as a 3-point home favorite. The public is leaning on Bills Mafia at home, yet we've seen Buffalo fall from -3 to -2.5. Some shops even touched -2 or -1.5 throughout the week. This sharp line move signals respected pro money getting down hard on Baltimore plus the points. Pros really loved Baltimore + 3 as soon as the line opened. Lamar Jackson is 5-1 ATS in his career as a dog. Smart money has leaned on this under, dropping the total from 50.5 to 49.5. The Ravens are 10-7 to the under this season but the Bills are 12-4-1 to the over. Weather could be an issue tonight. The forecast calls for low 30s with 10-15 MPH winds. The Bills enjoy a 1-day rest advantage, having played last Saturday while the Ravens played on Sunday. Baltimore is in prime teaser territory (+ 2.5 to + 8.5, passing through key numbers of 3 and 7).