This weekend’s Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs features some of the best teams in football, after a Wild Card Weekend in which the favorites mostly did their job in avoiding upsets. The one major exception was the Cleveland Browns, who knocked off the Pittsburgh Steelers after getting out to a 28-0 first quarter lead. The Browns will face a substantially tougher test this weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs, while the Buffalo Bills will draw the Baltimore Ravens at home. In the NFC, the Los Angeles Rams won on the road in Seattle and will head to Green Bay, while the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will square off for the third time this season.
The first game of this weekend is easily the most lopsided one, with DraftKings bettors taking a large stand on the Green Bay Packers both in terms of bets and handle. The Packers have been dominant throughout the 2020 season, but injuries seems to be a playing a role in this disparity, too. The Los Angeles Rams are banged up, while the Packers had a bye-week to rest. Jared Goff, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp are all almost certain to be active this weekend, but all three are dealing with injuries and are all likely going to be playing at less than 100%.
In the other Saturday game, there’s a moderate stand being taken with the Buffalo Bills, but what’s more interesting is how even the betting is on the Sunday games. As 10-point underdogs, the Cleveland Browns are actually drawing more than a 50% betting split against the Kansas City Chiefs, which is already unusual for a large underdog, but especially so against the Chiefs. This breaks a season-long trend of the public universally backing the Chiefs, and it appears the Browns strong Wildcard game changed the minds of a lot of bettors.
As for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints, bettors have a slight preference for the Bucs side both in terms of bets and handle, perhaps buying into the idea that beating a team three times in one season is hard to do. It’s also possible that this game is being viewed as a toss-up and three points is simply too much in the eyes of most bettors.
Check back on Friday to see how the lines have shifted throughout the week!
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