NFL Early Lines | Divisional Round

By: Joe Berra

And then there were eight! With all four Wild Card entries into this year’s playoffs moving on to face the top two seeds in each conference, it’s time to have a look at the early lines and update the National Football League Futures for the Super Bowl winner. You can compare the futures odds last week at NFL Futures | Wild Card Weekend.

With all four road teams opening as the road favorite on Wild Card Weekend, it is not surprising that four division winners and home teams lost. Anyone could have expected the Chiefs, Seahawks and Packers to beat their Wild Card opponents, and the Steelers for that matter after the Bengals lost Andy Dalton in the same game the Steelers won in Cincinnati 33-20, but it does go to show the NFL playoff seeding process may need to be revamped. Is this the year a Wild Card team runs the table on the road and makes it to the Big Dance? Let’s see what the live lines tell us.

The first AFC match-up kicks-off on Saturday at 4:35 PM Eastern (CBS) in Foxboro, when the Kansas City Chiefs will put their 11-game winning streak on the line against the New England Patriots. The line opened and has held steady at -5 for the favored home team. The total is currently at 42½, with the Patriots at -235 on the moneyline and the Chiefs paying +195 for the outright win.

The second AFC tilt will close out the Divisional Round at Mile High as the Denver Broncos host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at 4:40 PM ET (CBS). Football odds experts at America’s Bookie have the Broncos a 6½-point favorite with no line posted yet, however it can be found between 39 and 40½.

This is an interesting line to watch, as questionably the top three players on the Steelers offense are dealing with injuries. After missing last weekend’s game, running back DeAngelo Williams is facing an “uphill battle” to play as reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, wide receiver Antonio Brown is “hopeful” according to Coach Tomlin but as reported by ESPN’s Bob Holtzman it’s “not looking good” while quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is dealing with torn ligaments in his throwing shoulder to go along with a sprained AC joint but is “very likely” to play.

In the NFC, the Green Bay Packers will travel to Arizona for a Week 16 rematch against the Cardinals; a game the Cards took easily winning 38-8. This game airs on Saturday starting at 8:15 PM ET (NBC). The Cardinals are currently a 7-point home favorite with the total at 50.

I’ve had trouble betting on the Packers this year, and I’ve called them the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the 2015 NFL Season. We’ll see how Arizona rebounds after their bye following a big 36-6 loss at home to rival Seattle Seahawks in Week 17.

The other NFC Divisional game has the Carolina Panthers hosting the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at 1:05 Eastern (FOX). The Seahawks scraped by after Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard chip shot field goal with less than a minute remaining and are a 3-point road dog for this one. The number is currently set at 44 with the Seahawks +125 on the moneyline with the Panthers at -145 for the win.

A quick look at the odds to win the Super Bowl at America’s Bookie:

New England +250
Arizona Cardinals +270
Denver Broncos +300
Carolina Panthers +350
Seattle Seahawks +350
Pittsburgh Steelers +700
Kansas City Chiefs +700
Green Bay Packers +850

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