The Divisional Round isn’t completely set, but oddsmakers put out early lines for three of the four games, which gives us something to chew on for the second weekend of the NFL Playoffs. The No. 1 seeds in both conferences will be on display after enjoying last week’s bye and both are favored at home, with lines that have increased based on the betting action Sunday night into Monday morning.
Here are a couple of early lines I have my eye on for the Divisional Round:
Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans (-3.5, 47)
Under bettors got a real scare from the Bengals and Raiders, as there were 33 points scored in the first half, but somehow the game managed to stay under the full-game total of 49. The Bengals really locked down defensively, but so did the Raiders.
The total for this game should be on the decline in my estimation, even though some early money hit the over. The Titans should get Derrick Henry back this week, which is obviously a huge development, but he also hasn’t played since Week 8. He’ll be healthier, but he had fewer than three yards per carry in his last two games. It will take some time to recalibrate the offense with Henry. Furthermore, the bye week can throw a team out of rhythm, which we saw a lot during the regular season.
The Titans have solid defensive numbers, but this is a step up in class relative to just about every team they saw in the second half of the year. Tennessee allowed 11.4 yards per reception and the ninth-most yards after catch. Cincinnati just beat a Raiders team that was better at limiting big plays in the passing game. Tennessee had one of the lowest blitz percentages in the NFL, so the biggest weakness for the Bengals (offensive line) shouldn’t be exploited to a high degree.
Not only do I think 3.5 is a little too high for this game, I also think the Bengals can win outright.
Pick: Bengals + 3.5
49ers at Packers (-5.5, 48)
The money that we’re seeing on Green Bay in this game should come as no surprise. A lot of people are enamored with the Packers and it doesn’t hurt that 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo will face temperatures in the 10-degree range and wind is in the early forecast. Garoppolo is dealing with that painful thumb injury and gripping the ball is even more difficult in the cold weather.
It wouldn’t be a total shocker to see -6 or -6.5 market-wide here, but my focus in this game is the total. Kyle Shanahan should have a good game-plan here, but he’s also really struggled in late-game situations in the postseason. Matt LaFleur will also have a strong script, but the Packers are not an explosive offense. They are a very methodical unit. For all of Green Bay’s success in going 13-4 with one of the best ATS records in the league, the Packers were only eighth in yards per play and were much lower than that throughout most of the season.
Both teams take good care of the football, so the offenses will be tasked with driving long distances in cold weather to score points. The stats would point towards the over, but the weather conditions and the stakes may me believe that this will be a lower-scoring game. For right now, I would think that the stats crowd that moves numbers early in the week could push this total up a little bit, but I think Wednesday is the day we see under money hit the board.
I’d jump in on this one before then.
Pick: Under 48