The NFL playoffs gets underway this weekend with the opening Wild Card Round. Four teams advance to the Divisional Round and the other four go home in the first step towards earning a spot in Super Bowl LII on Sunday, Feb. 4 in Minnesota.
Betting trends are always an important part of the overall handicapping process since past results can sometimes offer some insight as to what might happen in future matchups. The following betting trends for the Wild Card Round clearly point to a betting favorite for all four games.
Saturday, Jan. 6
4:20 p.m. (ESPN) Tennessee Titans (9-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
The Titans come into this AFC matchup as heavy nine-point road underdogs with the early money going towards the Chiefs after this spread opened at seven points. The total has settled in at 44 points.
The betting consensus has shifted slightly in Tennessee’ favor (54%) in light of the current spread reaching nine points and there might be some solid value in that play. The Titans have not played all that well down the stretch with just three straight-up victories in their last seven games, but they have paid off against the spread in five of their last six outings.
Head-to-head in this matchup, Tennessee has gone 4-2 both SU and ATS in the last six meetings and it has a 5-1 edge ATS in its last six road games against Kansas City.
8:15 p.m. (NBC) Atlanta Falcons (10-6) at Los Angeles Rams (11-5)
Atlanta begins its quest for a second-straight trip to the Super Bowl as a 6.5-point road underdog against the surprising Rams in the opening round of the postseason. The total in this NFC pairing has been set at 48.5 points.
The Falcons needed a Week 17 victory against Carolina just to earn the sixth seed in the conference and so far, the bettors have gravitated towards Los Angeles after this spread was first released at 5.5 points. The betting consensus points that way as well with 54 percent leaning towards the Rams covering ATS in this one. Atlanta has been a losing proposition on the road this season at 2-6 ATS and it has failed to cover in three of its last five games overall.
Head-to-head, Atlanta has won six of the last seven meetings SU while going 5-2 ATS, but Los Angeles is 5-2 SU in its last seven home games against the Falcons.
Sunday, Jan. 7
1:05 p.m. (CBS) Buffalo Bills (9-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)
You would have to go all the way back to the 1999 season to find the last time Buffalo was in the playoffs and Jacksonville is making its first postseason appearance since 2007. The Jaguars are set as heavy nine-point home favorites between the two with the total line listed at 39.5 points for Sunday’s game.
The Bills basically needed a miracle to earn the No. 6 seed in the AFC, but the faithful are not on their side after this spread opened at 6.5 points. Jacksonville has gone 6-4 ATS as a favorite this season including recent covers as a double-digit favorite against Indianapolis and Houston at home. The Jaguars are 5-3 ATS at home this season after covering in four of their last five home games.
Head-to-head, Buffalo has been able to cover in five of its last seven road games against the Jaguars and the total has gone OVER in four of the last six meetings in Jacksonville.
4:40 p.m. (FOX) Carolina Panthers (11-5) at New Orleans Saints (11-5)
In what will be the third meeting this season between these two NFC South rivals, New Orleans is currently listed as a 6.5-point home favorite to pull off the sweep. The Saints won the first two meetings both SU and ATS; outscoring Carolina by a combined 31 points. The total went OVER in both contests and it has been set at 48.5 points this time around.
The Panthers opened as four-point underdogs, but their 5-3 road record ATS this season has obviously not impressed the early bettors. The betting consensus backs New Orleans at 56 percent and the fact that it is 7-4 ATS as a favorite this season is an added plus.
Head-to-head, the Saints have had the clear edge in this matchup at the betting window. They are 4-0-1 ATS in the last five meetings overall and 4-1 ATS in their last five home games against the Panthers. The total has gone OVER in six of the last seven meetings in New Orleans.