Football picksJanuary 15, 2021

Divisional Round NFL Trends

My Divisional Round NFL trends focus primarily on Sunday’s playoff matchups. The Browns are in Kansas City to take on Patrick Mahomes, and Tom Brady faces Drew Brees for the first time in postseason action.

When breaking down this weekend’s Divisional Round matchups, the big names say it all. Brady, Brees, Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers. Proven superstars. Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson have also shown us what they can do. And while all eight offenses rank inside the Top 12 for overall production, there is another stat that can’t be overlooked.

  • The Los Angeles Rams are the only remaining offense that faced a Strength of Schedule inside the Top 15.

Cleveland is routinely bashed for its soft schedule, but take a look at the sorry defenses Green Bay, Kansas City and Baltimore padded their stats against all season.

The Packers faced the Lions and Vikings twice each. Throw in the non-conference matchups vs. Houston, Jacksonville and Tennessee, all of whom ranked near the league’s cellar in terms of overall D, and you start to see how Rodgers led the league in scoring with 31.8 points per game (PPG).

With 29.6 PPG, the Chiefs weren’t far behind. Their list of victims included Houston, New England, Carolina and the Raiders twice. Just don’t mention that first game against Vegas in the concourse at Arrowhead. Bit of a touchy subject.

Baltimore’s list is similar to Cleveland’s, except the Browns had to face the Ravens twice! I covered the Ravens at Bills matchup here. Notes on Sunday’s games are below.

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Divisional Round NFL Trends

Tom Brady averaged 9.7 yards per attempt in the past month, more than 2.0 yards better than he was gaining in the first three months of the season

(6) Cleveland at (1) Kansas City
Sunday, 01/17, 3:05 PM Eastern
Line: Chiefs -10 and O/U 57

Cleveland is coming in hot following their 48-37 upset win over Pittsburgh. This is Kansas City’s third playoff game in the past two years involving at least one team off a playoff 40-Burger the previous week.

  • In 2018-19, the Patriots rolled in off a 41-28 win over the Chargers. It took overtime but Kansas City eventually won 37-31.
  • Last season, the Titans were in town and the Chiefs had just finished a wild 51-31 shootout vs. Houston. Once again, the Chiefs came away with a win, 35-24.

Playoff teams off a win in which they scored 40-plus points are 7-17 ATS (29%) but thanks in part to KC, the current ATS win streak is at three-straight. Also note that both playoff road teams off a playoff road win where they scored 40-plus, won against the spread.

  • Dogs of 3.5-10 points that allowed 30-plus last week are 136-79 ATS (64%) off opponents that lost by double-digits last time out.

Cleveland has a multi-faceted offense but will need to rely on its two-headed ground game to help control the clock and keep Mahomes off the field. Nick Chubb rushed for 76 yards last week, while Kareem Hunt posted 48 on the ground including two touchdowns.

  • The record for playoff teams off a playoff game where two RBs cracked 45-plus rushing yards is 30-14 ATS (68%).

Dogs of 7-10 points in the above angle are 8-2 ATS, with five of them winning straight up. Big news for Cleveland is the return of HC Kevin Stefanski. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire is questionable for KC, with Darell Williams and Le’Veon Bell on tap for the bulk of the ground work.

Divisional Round Teaser Tip

Since 2009, 44 Divisional Round NFL totals went OVER at a rate of 61% (27-17). The final scores averaged 4.75 points above the total, making it seem as if teasers were a safe haven for bettors that couldn’t commit to straight wagers.

While the 10-point variety jumped to an 84% hit rate when teased OVER, be cautious hooking up a total with a 6, 6.5 or 7-point tease.

  • 64% of Divisional Round totals were unaffected by the aid of a small, two-team teaser.

It didn’t matter whether the play was OVER or UNDER. The bottom line is that 28 of 44 Divisional Round totals since 2009 landed at least 7.5 points outside the range of a two-team teaser.

Hey, these bets earned their name for a good reason. If you’re going to play a total in the Divisional Round, flat betting it is king.

Follow @wunderdog for more of my Divisional Round, NFL Playoff betting trends!

(5) Tampa Bay at (2) New Orleans
Sunday, 01/17, 6:40 PM Eastern
Line: Saints -3 and O/U 52

The only thing missing from this All Pro matchup is the booming Superdome crowd. Brady struggled at times, getting this offense how he wanted it. In the end, he ranked third overall with 0.48 points per play. Only Green Bay and Buffalo were better, and the Saints ranked sixth.

New Orleans’ front seven ranks Top 5 in pass rush and run stop, and they were eighth with 2.7 QB sacks per game, but the Bucs rank second overall in pass protection.

  • Tampa Bay and New Orleans were T-7th in giveaways (1.1 per game) and road teams in this scenario are 34-14 ATS (73%) the past five years.

Tampa was a solid 60% OVER team indoors the past 15 years, with games averaging 49.5 total points. More recently, the Bucs are 12-2-1 OVER (86%) in road domes and they have a slight scoring edge, 30.3-29.7 thanks to the recent 47-7 blowout in Detroit. That game actually stayed UNDER the total but on average, their past 15 indoor road games went OVER by 10.2 PPG.

  • Three indoor road games with Tom Brady at the wheel, ended with 57-58-54 total points.

New Orleans was only 24th in the league this year for pass attempts, with 33.0. Brees missed some action with broken ribs, but he is 100% and has been flawless since returning. In 2019, the Saints averaged 36.2 attempts per game.

  • Brady has won five road games in a row vs. winning teams that average between 32-37 passes when the total is 49-plus points.

In their past 10 games, the Saints (9-1 ATS) have allowed just 14.9 PPG. Only the Eagles (24), Chiefs (32) and Vikings (33) were able to mount much of an attack. Of the seven other opponents, not one scored more than 16 points. Tampa’s 0-2 record vs. this Saints this year is the elephant in the room, and the 38-3 final in Week 9 was just plain bad. But when you think about what Brady has done in his career, and what he’s done with this team the past month? It will be a shock if this turns into a defensive battle. Leonard Fournette will start for Tampa Bay and RB Ronald Jones (quad) is a game-time decision.

I was 6-4 in the Wild Card Round for a +$3,170 gain. It was my seventh winning week out of the last 10 (70%)! I have seven primo picks for the Divisional Round to keep this streak rolling. My Max Plays are on a 12-3 (75%) run for a +$16,070 return on bankroll. Get my Round 2 NFL Playoff picks here!