NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend Betting Previews and Picks

We’re through the first weekend of playoffs and now we move on to what is considered to be the best weekend of professional football: Divisional Round weekend. This is not one day but a full weekend with four games. Four teams are coming off playoff wins and four other teams are coming off bye weeks. History, stats and NFL betting tips show us that one upset is part of this weekend but teams coming off a bye week usually advance. Sometimes, the results of this weekend create an unexpected host team in the Conference Championship round.

Three of the four matchups are rematches we saw from the regular season, so those betting on the NFL will have some previous tape to review. Here’s the inside scoop on divisional playoff weekend for the NFL season.

San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos

Game Line: Broncos -10, 54.5 O/U

The Chargers are on a roll. They were 5-7 and seemingly out of the running for a playoff spot but then everything changed when they went into Denver and beat the Broncos, 27-20, in Week 15. San Diego is not going to be bothered by the weather conditions in this game as the Bolts have won in Kansas City, Denver, and Cincinnati. They’re going to be fine in that regard. What’s more of a concern for San Diego is that Denver gets back wide receiver Wes Welker, who was unable to play in Week 15. The Broncos’ passing game should be sharper and in more of a position to score a large number of points this time after being contained in each of the two regular season meetings against the Chargers. Denver didn’t score more than 28 points in either meeting.

If Denver scores 24 to 27 points in this game, San Diego should feel very confident about its ability to win it – especially since Denver’s defense is banged up and missing a number of key contributors. The Chargers have established their clear formula for victory: control the ball, keep Peyton Manning off the field and pressure him when the Broncos are on offense. This worked to perfection in Week 15 but one has to realize that the game was played on a Thursday, as Denver dealt with a very short week of preparation. This game is being played after a two-week break for the Broncos, who have to be happy that they were able to heal a lot of injuries, though definitely not all of them. The bigger thing for the Broncos is that their offense should be whole and if Denver can score a lot, its deficiencies on defense won’t matter as much. San Diego should cover the NFL football betting spread, but Denver should be able to do enough on offense to win the game outright.

Free Pick: Take the Chargers and the over. Broncos 34-27.Free Pick: Take the Chargers and the over. Broncos 34-27.

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots

Game Line: Patriots -7.5, 52.5 O/U

This game has the potential to be an NFL online betting blowout. Indianapolis was shelled by Kansas City for two and a half quarters, and came back not just because of Andrew Luck, but because the Chiefs suffered a dizzying string of injuries, one after another after another. The Colts played a Kansas City team that had no depth left in the fourth quarter, and the dynamics of that game changed as soon as Indianapolis was able to turn a 38-10 deficit into a 38-24 deficit with plenty of time left.

In this game, Indianapolis’ secondary should be ripe for the plucking at the hands of a master. Tom Brady should be able to throw the ball with great success and regularity, and as long as New England establishes a consistent offense in the first half, it’s going to be hard for the Colts’ defense to get a handle on this matchup. The Patriots should set a strong pace in the first half and then cruise to the finish line in the second half.

Free Pick: Take the Patriots and the over. Patriots 41-24.Free Pick: Take the Patriots and the over. Patriots 41-24.

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks

Game Line: Seahawks -8, 47.5 O/U

The Saints had never won a road playoff game… until this past Saturday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Now, though, they have to win a second straight road game in order to advance to the NFC Championship Game. Plus, they’re playing a team that’s much better than Philadelphia; Seattle set the standard in the NFC. The Seahawks have the best defense in the NFL and as long as they don’t turn the ball over in this game, they should be able to score a reasonable amount of points – something in the mid-20s – while not giving the Saints the field position or confidence needed to deliver a great game on offense.

The Saints ventured into Seattle in Week 13 and were crushed 34-7. People making their NFL betting picks are expecting a bit of a closer game but a similar result.

Free Pick: Take the Seahawks and the under. Seahawks 27-16.Free Pick: Take the Seahawks and the under. Seahawks 27-16.

San Francisco 49ers @ Carolina Panthers

Game Line: 49ers -2, 42 O/U

In the other NFC game of divisional playoff weekend, the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers should beat each other up for 60 minutes. This was a 10-9 game in November, with Carolina winning in San Francisco. No one should be surprised if the same type of game unfolds here. However, San Francisco now has receiver Michael Crabtree, which it lacked in the previous meeting between these teams. At the same time, the Panthers could be without their top receiver Steve Smith. Although he’s expected to play, it’s unclear how effective he’ll be as he’s dealing with a knee injury.

The 49ers have a huge edge in experience in this game as this will be the first playoff game for head coach Ron Rivera (as a head coach), quarterback Cam Newton and a number of other Panthers. As for the 49ers, they’ve been to the NFC Championship Game and beyond in each of the last two seasons.

Free Pick: Take the 49ers and the under. 49ers 20-17.Free Pick: Take the 49ers and the under. 49ers 20-17.

Biggest Underdog with the Best Chance to Win is… The San Diego Chargers

There’s no bigger underdog than the Chargers this weekend but San Diego has already won in Denver this season. The Chargers won’t be intimidated by the Broncos offense, the environment or the crowd. They’ve won five straight and are peaking at the right time.

Biggest Underdog of the Week: The San Diego Chargers

Most Important Injury of the Week is…

Von Miller. Those who bet on the NFL know that the Broncos are missing their best pass rusher. This will make it a lot tougher for Denver to stop San Diego’s offense on Sunday.

7-Point Teaser of the Week: Chargers +17 and Seahawks -1

The Chargers have faced the Broncos twice this season. The results were 27-20 (win) and 28-20 (loss). Both results were well within the current posted 10-point spread, so pushing the NFL betting odds to +17 makes sense here.

As for the Seahawks, they are coming off a bye and are hosting a team they’ve already crushed once this season. Teasing them down to a point means we just need them to win outright to cover for us.

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