NFL Divisional Round Betting Picks: Against the Spread
Wild Card Weekend Recap: Following a disastrous finish to the regular season, I went 2-1 with my betting picks for Wild Card weekend. Since I post my picks on Friday morning, I had a terrible line with Washington at +8.5, but fortunately, the Football Team held on for an 8-point loss and a cover versus the Bucs. My other win was the Ravens, who erased a 10-point deficit to knock off the Titans 20-13 as a three-point road favorite. My lone loss was the Steelers, who stood little to no chance of covering against the Browns after falling behind 28-0 in the first quarter.
301 Los Angeles Rams at 302 Green Bay Packers
- Spread: Packers -6.5
- O/U: 45.5
- Time: 4:35 p.m. ET, Saturday, January 16, 2021
Let me blunt: I don’t care who starts at quarterback for the Rams on Saturday. Clearly, oddsmakers don’t care either. Nobody knew whether Jared Goff or John Wolford would start for L.A. last Saturday in Seattle, yet oddsmakers set the line for that game at Seahawks -3. When it was announced shortly before kickoff Wolford would start, the line never moved.
Think about that for a second. Jared Goff, who quarterbacked the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance just three seasons ago, had no impact on the Vegas line for a playoff game. Either oddsmakers knew Wolford would start all week and set the line at only three anyway, or they saw no discernible difference between Goff and a guy making his first career playoff start. That’s insane.
Thus, when I hear the talking heads this week go on and on about Goff playing in the Wisconsin winter with a bad thumb, it has zero impact on my selection for this game. Jared Goff? Heck, Jared Leto could start tomorrow and I’d still take the points.
The Rams have the No. 1 scoring defense in the league this season, holding opponents to 18.5 points per game. They will be tested by MVP Aaron Rodgers but unlike most teams, the Rams actually have a legitimate answer for WR Davante Adams in CB Jalen Ramsey. They also have a pair of pass-rushers in DT Aaron Donald (who will play despite suffering an injury in the win over the Seahawks) and Leonard Floyd, who have combined to create 90 pressures this season, which is the most of any pass-rushing duo in the league.
In their victory over the Seahawks, the Rams also showed what they can do on the ground, which will be the most underrated aspect of Saturday’s Divisional matchup in Green Bay. Cam Akers set the Rams’ postseason rookie record for rushing yards (131) and scrimmage yards (176) in a game.
Since the start of the season, the Packers have improved defensively. That said, Mike Pettine’s system is still susceptible to getting gashed by outside-zone running teams, a la the 49ers and yes, the Rams. If Akers is effective again, L.A. will keep this game close.
Divisional Round ATS Pick: Los Angeles Rams +6.5
305 Cleveland Browns at 306 Kansas City Chiefs
- Spread: Chiefs -10
- O/U: 57
- Time: 3:05 p.m. ET, Sunday, January 17, 2021
The Browns burned me last week when I doubted whether or not they could survive without their head coach and play-caller, their stud offensive guard also overcame not practicing live until two days before they faced the Steelers (silly me!).
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