NFL Divisional Round | The Saturday Spread
Divisional Weekend is upon us, and the Quest for the Lombardi for the Final Eight is set to kickoff on Saturday. With the top two teams from each conference having had their byes with the four Wild Card representatives being hosted by them, we’re bound to see some great football! Let’s get Saturday’s action. Have a look to see how the lines opened in my NFL Early Lines | Divisional Round piece.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
Divisional Weekend kickoffs at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro as the New England Patriots (12-4, 7-7-2 ATS, 9-7 O/U) host the Kansas City Chiefs (12-5, 9-8 ATS, 8-8-1 O/U), who come in as one of the hottest, if not THE hottest team in football right now. The Chiefs are riding an 11-game winning streak, including a 30-0 demolition of the Houston Texans in last week’s Wild Card bout.
The Chiefs looked good in all three phases last week, scoring on the opening kickoff, getting 141 yards on the ground as a team, with Alex Smith passing for 190 passing yards (17/22 – 190 yds – 1 TD – 1 INT) while their place kicker was 3 for 3 (49, 49, 33). Ask the Vikings how vital a place kicker is! On the defensive side of the ball, besides pitching the shutout, they picked off Brian Hoyer four times, holding him to 136 passing yards.
Then there’s this team called the Patriots that are led by quarterback Tom Brady and Coach Bill Belichick. They are the most successful QB-Coach tandem in NFL history with 172 regular season wins and wins in 21 playoff games. They have 32 wins in 37 games at home since the 2012 season and own an amazing 14-3 playoff record at Foxboro.
However, New England has been decimated by injuries and has lost four of their last six games, including their last 2. On a positive note for the Patriots, they are expected to get wide receiver Julian Edelman back after he missed the past seven games with a foot injury and will also get some much needed help on the o-line with the return of Sebastian Vollmer.
The line at America’s Bookie has held fairly steady since it opened at 5, with the Patriots now a 4½-point favorite. The same can be said for the total, as it opened at 42½ and is now at 42. I think this is going to be a great game to start the Divisional Round action, one I’m taking the Chiefs +4½.
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals
The second Saturday game on Divisional Weekend is a rematch of the Week 16 contest that saw the Arizona Cardinals (13-3, 9-7 ATS, 9-7 O/U) hand it to the Green Bay Packers (11-6, 10-7 ATS, 6-11-0 O/U) with a 38-8 victory at University of Phoenix Stadium, where Saturday’s game will be played.
The Packers stepped up their play to get back to Arizona for a chance at redemption with a 35-18 win in Washington last week. Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Packers rebounded after they fell behind 11-0 early in the 2nd quarter to score 17 consecutive points to take a 17-11 lead at the half. After exchanging TD’s in the 3rd, Green Bay ran away with it scoring a TD and a FG in the 4th to seal the victory.
The spread is unchanged since my Early Lines article, which has the Cardinals a 7-point favorite with the number at 49½. Although it’s the highest posted total of the Weekend, I’m still too scared to take a side in any game that involves the Packers, so I’m going to take the OVER.
Check out Ask the Bookie’s official Facebook page, then like and share it for the best info on the web. Have a look at Sunday’s Divisional match-ups from Joe Berra, NFL Divisional Round | The Saturday Spread.
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