NFL Playoff Predictions: Latest Spreads for All Divisional Round Matchups

Jeff Grant@@JeffGrantSportsContributor IJanuary 9, 2012

NFL Playoff Predictions: Latest Spreads for All Divisional Round Matchups

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    The 2012 NFL playoffs have started out with home teams tallying a perfect 4-0 record during Wild Card Weekend, which could certainly change heading into the AFC and NFC divisional rounds.

    Las Vegas oddsmakers have established three of this weekend's four home teams as heavy favorites, with the New Orleans Saints being the only one asked to lay a smallish number on the road against the San Francisco 49ers.

    Let's take a closer look at the numbers from a betting perspective.

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots

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    I was sitting at a bar in the Bellagio sports book during the Denver Broncos' upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and told the bartenders that the New England Patriots would open up as 13.5-point home favorites.

    Sure enough, that's exactly the number that hit odds boards up and down the Las Vegas strip.

    New England came away with a 41-23 victory over Denver as seven-point road favorites in Week 15, but that affair was highly contested until turnovers came into play.

    Bettors will find that the Patriots are 3-14 against the spread (ATS) as a home favorite of 10.5 or more points, while the Broncos are 5-1 ATS in their last six trips to New England.

    Watch the line closely.

    Handicapper Line: New England Patriots (-13.5)

    Las Vegas Line: New England Patriots (-13.5)

New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers

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    The San Francisco 49ers are definitely not going to win a beauty contest on the football field, especially when going up against the New Orleans Saints.

    That's part of the reason that Las Vegas oddsmakers had to establish them as home underdogs on Saturday.

    The casual sports bettor will always lean toward wagering on the better offensive team, which could be a drastic mistake.

    There's tremendous value on a franchise that's 5-1 ATS as a home underdog of 3.5 to 10 points, but the Saints are 5-1 ATS in their last six trips to San Francisco.

    Handicapper Line: San Francisco 49ers (Pick)

    Las Vegas Line: New Orleans Saints (-3.5)

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

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    Trench warfare will be on display when the Houston Texans line up to run the football against the Baltimore Ravens front seven.

    I actually like this game to fall "under" the current total of 38 points, as both teams match up well against each other.

    The Ravens tallied a 29-14 regular-season victory over the Texans as seven-point home favorites on Oct. 16, causing the betting odds to be inflated a bit due to T.J. Yates being under center for Houston rather than Matt Schaub.

    Be careful with this one.

    Handicapper Line: Baltimore Ravens (-9.5)

    Las Vegas Line: Baltimore Ravens (-8)

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers

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    The Green Bay Packers came away with a 38-35 win over the New York Giants as seven-point road favorites on Dec. 4 during the regular season, which is the line that I established for the rematch.

    Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has piloted the team to victories in the last two meetings between these two proud franchises, gaining a combined 964 yards of offense.

    Almost every early wager on this game of significance has come in on the underdog, especially after the Giants dominated the Atlanta Falcons during Wild Card Weekend.

    The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings, while the Packers are enjoying an 18-7-1 ATS run when playing inside Lambeau Field.

    Handicapper Line: Green Bay Packers (-7)

    Las Vegas Line: Green Bay Packers (-9)