Public bettors feasted on Saturday as popular home chalk favorites went 2-0 ATS. In the early game, the Packers (-7) took down the Rams 32-18 to advance to the NFC Championship game. Green Bay opened -7 and some respected Rams money dropped the line to 6.5 for much of the week. But then late on gameday we saw the line tick back up from -6.5 to -7, signaling some respected late money backing Green Bay below the key number of 7. The Packers also cashed popular teasers for the public (-6.5 to -0.5 or -7 to -1).
In the late game, the Bills (-2.5) beat the Ravens 17-3 to advance to the AFC Championship game. Sharp money got down hard on the Ravens early in the week, dropping the line from Bills -3 to -2. Some shops even reached 1.5. But then we saw sharp and consistent buyback hit Buffalo, pushing the line back up to a juiced up -2.5 (-115).
With the Packers and Bills both covering, divisional round home teams are now 35-11 (76%) straight up since 2010.
Divisional Round Weekend resumes today with two more big matchups. For extensive Sunday betting analysis and line move updates be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning from 10 a.m.-noon ET on The Lombardi Line. We'll also be joined by Mike Palm, Amal Shah, Thomas Gable and William Hill.
Until then, let's discuss where respected money is going for today's two playoff games...
3:05 p.m. ET: Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs
The 6-seed Browns (12-5 SU, 7-10 ATS) just shocked the Steelers 48-37 last week, winning outright as 5.5-point road dogs. It marked the first playoff win for the Browns since 1994. Now they travel to Kansas City to face the top-seed Chiefs (14-2 SU, 6-9-1 ATS). This line opened with Kansas City listed as a 10-point home favorite. The public is split and doesn't know who to back. They love Patrick Mahomes at home, but are also wary of laying double-digits against a feisty Browns squad. Despite the even ticket count, we've seen the line dip slightly from 10 to 9.5, signaling some liability on the road dog Browns. Clay Martin, the lead ref, has historically favored road teams (70% ATS). The Chiefs enjoy a rest advantage as they're coming off the bye. We could also be looking at a higher scoring game, as heavy action has pushed the total up from 54.5 to 57. The total briefly reached 57.5, but then got hit with some under money and fell back to 57. The Browns are 10-7 to the over. The Chiefs are 8-8. The forecast calls for low 40s with moderate 5-10 MPH winds. The Browns welcome back head coach Kevin Stefanski, offensive lineman Joel Bitonio and defensive backs Denzel Ward and Kevin Johnson, all of whom missed the Wild Card game due to COVID-19.
6:40 p.m. ET: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
The 5-seed Bucs (12-5 SU, 9-8 ATS) have won five-straight and just beat Washington 31-23 on Wild Card Weekend, although they failed to cover as 10-point road favorites. The 2-seed Saints (13-4 SU, 10-6-1 ATS) have won three straight, including a 21-9 victory over the Bears in last week's playoff opener, covering as 11-point home favorites. This line opened with New Orleans listed as a 3.5-point home favorite. Some shops opened closer to -4. Pros immediately pounced on Tom Brady and the Bucs getting the hook (+ 3.5), forcing oddsmakers to drop this line down to the key number of 3. The Saints went 2-0 against the Bucs during the regular season, winning 34-23 in Week 1 and 38-3 in Week 9. We've also seen pros hit this over, pushing the total up from 50 to 52. Playoff dome overs are roughly 65% over the past decade. Both teams are 10-7 to the over this season. Tampa is expected to get star linebacker Devin White back from the COVID list. The Bucs enjoy a 1-day rest advantage, having played last Saturday while the Saints played on Sunday.