Las Vegas is on the ball with its NFL playoff odds.
Spreads don’t always accurately tell the story of who should be favored and by how much, but they do for the divisional round of the postseason. Here are the matchups ranked by how realistic the point differential is and an analysis of each spread.
4. Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos
Spread (according to Covers): Denver (-9)
Sure, Denver defeated Baltimore by 17 points in Week 15, but the Ravens were without Ray Lewis. Not that Lewis is singlehandedly worth 17 points, but his presence, combined with their current momentum, should make the game much closer than the last.
Baltimore entered the Broncos game on a two-game losing streak. This time, it’ll play them coming off a 24-9 handling of the Indianapolis Colts, and the Ravens would’ve likely won by more if Ray Rice hadn’t uncharacteristically fumbled twice.
3. Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
Spread (according to Covers): Atlanta (-2.5)
Given that the Falcons haven’t lost a meaningful game at home all season long, this spread could be higher.
Yes, Matt Ryan has just as many postseason victories as Russell Wilson, but while Seattle came away with its sixth straight win on Sunday, the Washington Redskins jumped out to a 14-point lead in the first quarter. Who knows if the Seahawks could’ve kept pace with a healthy Robert Griffin III?
2. Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
Spread (according to Covers): San Francisco (-3)
Was the Packers' 24-10 beatdown of the Minnesota Vikings simply a result of facing the incompetent Joe Webb or are they hitting their stride? If it’s the latter, the game could easily end in a push.
San Francisco topped Green Bay in the regular season by the score of 30-22, but that was all the way back in Week 1. It deserves to be favored against the Pack, who still hasn’t defeated a playoff team besides the Vikings or Houston Texans, but not by a large margin.
Who's more likely to cover their large spread?
1. Houston Texans at New England Patriots
Spread (according to Covers): New England (-9)
New England beat Houston by 28 points in Week 14. I wouldn’t bet on the Texans’ top-notch defense allowing that many points again. But the Patriots haven’t been held under 20 since Week 2, while Matt Schaub and company haven’t reached the mark in the last three.
Houston definitely has the talent to upset the Pats, but the two-score spread is justified.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.