NFL Playoffs: Divisional round betting tips, lines, trends, matchups to know for every game

Wild Card Weekend was incredible in terms of excitement, with half the games going to overtime and three underdogs winning outright. Now, it feels like we're in for a bit of a course correction in the divisional round.

Since the start of the new CBA in 2011, we've had 32 divisional-round matchups in the playoffs, with the home team going 25-7 straight up. With an average of about one upset per year, who could be the road team to shock the world this year? The lines suggest the Seahawks are the best candidate as the Packers are by far favored the least among the home teams, but the Titans and Vikings certainly proved last week that we shouldn't count them out either.

By the way, even though home teams are 25-7 straight up in the divisional round since 2011, they're only 15-17 against the spread. And favorites of seven points or more are only 7-11 ATS in that time frame, with four outright losses. So keep that in mind before you run to the window to take these heavy favorites.

Each week, I break down what you need to know about each game from a betting angle before you lock in your picks. I'll typically talk about big line moves, teasers and parlays to consider and more, but with our slate down to four games for the playoffs, we'll do more of a deep dive on each game.

If you want to know which sides I like, you can find that info at the SportsLine link below, where all my rated plays appear during the season along with my five SuperContest picks each week and plenty of great analysis from a fantastic collection of experts. You can also check out where all our CBS Sports staff lands on each game each week right here.

My picks

Over at SportsLine, I'll be posting my picks throughout the week. Join now and use promo code WHITE for $1 on your first month and you can get mine and every SportsLine expert's picks throughout the year, as well as my SuperContest picks each Saturday during the regular season. After a 4-1 finish in Week 17, I managed to scrape together a 53.7% hit rate. That wasn't nearly good enough to finish in the money, but it does give me a 57.2% hit rate over the last five years in the contest (a 425-pick sample size).

Get into the playoff action by playing CBS Sports Playoff Pick'em. Pick the games for your free chance to win $5,000 or start a fully customizable pool with friends. Terms apply.  

Vikings at 49ers (-7)

Home-field advantage: 3 points
Power rating line: 49ers -6
Opening line: 49ers -7


MINSF
Record vs. spread10-79-6-1
Record vs. playoff teams2-43-2
Strength of schedule rank2012
Yards per play differential+0.6+1.3
Weighted DVOA14.424.1
Points per drive offense rank64
Points per drive defense rank75
Pass offense DVOA rank108
Pass defense DVOA rank72
Run offense DVOA rank1513
Run defense DVOA rank911

Why to take Vikings

  • Power ratings say line is one point too high
  • Points per drive and offensive/defensive DVOA ranks show a close matchup
  • Vikings much better on both sides of ball in red zone

Why to take 49ers

  • Yards per play reveals a bigger gap than DVOA suggests
  • Tougher strength of schedule and better record vs. playoff teams
  • Extreme rest advantage after Vikings played OT game on Sunday
  • Defense likely better than second-half performance with Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander expected back

Titans at Ravens (-9)

Home-field advantage: 3.5 points
Power rating line: Ravens -8
Opening line: Ravens -10


TENBAL
Record vs. spread9-7-110-6
Record vs. playoff teams3-35-1
Strength of schedule rank2924
Yards per play differential+0.7+0.9
Weighted DVOA26.955.7
Points per drive offense rank151
Points per drive defense rank94
Pass offense DVOA rank61
Pass defense DVOA rank214
Run offense DVOA rank51
Run defense DVOA rank1019

Why to take Titans

  • Power ratings suggest line is one point too large
  • Ravens' one weakness is rush defense, surrendering a few big games during hot stretch
  • Not that far apart in yards per play differential
  • Ravens might be stale after two weeks of rest?

Why to take Ravens

  • 9-1 ATS in last 10 games, have been virtually unstoppable since Week 8 bye
  • Weighted DVOA suggests line isn't big enough thanks to Ravens' absurdly high metrics
  • Titans defense hasn't played as well as Patriots win suggests over second half of season
  • Huge red-zone mismatch with Baltimore offense (No. 2) and Tennessee defense (No. 31)

Texans at Chiefs (-9.5)

Home-field advantage: 3.5 points
Power rating line: Chiefs -10
Opening line: Chiefs -7.5


HOUKC
Record vs. spread8-8-110-5-1
Record vs. playoff teams4-33-3
Strength of schedule rank613
Yards per play differential-0.4+0.8
Weighted DVOA-12.136.1
Points per drive offense rank72
Points per drive defense rank2415
Pass offense DVOA rank152
Pass defense DVOA rank266
Run offense DVOA rank1114
Run defense DVOA rank2229

Why to take Texans

  • Already won in Kansas City during regular season
  • Texans rush offense has big advantage over Chiefs rush defense
  • Played a tougher schedule during season
  • Will Fuller expected back, which makes offense more dynamic

Why to take Chiefs

  • Massive advantage in most DVOA metrics, particularly when passing the ball on offense
  • Huge gap in weighted DVOA, yards per play suggests line should be even bigger
  • Chiefs have No. 1 third-down offense vs. No. 31 third-down defense
  • Bonus: Under is on a 7-3 run in Texans games and 5-1 run in Chiefs games

Seahawks at Packers (-4)

Home-field advantage: 4 points
Power rating line: Packers -6
Opening line: Packers -4


SEAGB
Record vs. spread8-8-110-6
Record vs. playoff teams4-33-2
Strength of schedule rank217
Yards per play differential-0.3-0.3
Weighted DVOA10.85.3
Points per drive offense rank129
Points per drive defense rank1711
Pass offense DVOA rank411
Pass defense DVOA rank1510
Run offense DVOA rank64
Run defense DVOA rank2623

Why to take Seahawks

  • Weighted DVOA says they're the better team, making Seahawks +4 a great value
  • Strength of schedule strongly favors Seahawks
  • Seahawks' run identity on offense plays into Packers' defensive weakness

Why to take Packers

  • Packers 5-1 ATS in home playoff games as favorites of less than six points (post-merger)
  • Packers have advantage in both points per drive metric
  • Packers run game should also dominate Seattle's defense
  • Bonus: Under is 7-1 in Packers' last eight games

Teaser of the week

Ravens -3 vs. Titans
Chiefs -3.5 vs. Texans

No nonsense to this one, as we're taking the two best teams likely in the entire playoffs and hoping each can win by at least four points. I also don't mind teasing the 49ers down if either one of the AFC favorites makes you uncomfortable, but I wouldn't risk teasing any of the road teams up this week.

The teaser of the week went just 8-9 during the regular season after a 12-5 run in 2018.

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