A Guide to Making Bank off Each of the NFL Divisional Picks, Lines and Prop Bets

Paul Tierney@PTT91Correspondent IJanuary 10, 2013

A Guide to Making Bank off Each of the NFL Divisional Picks, Lines and Prop Bets

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    There is always a calculated amount of risk that goes into betting an NFL game. As much as the pundits will attack every aspect of the matchup from all angles, the truth is that nobody really knows how any game is going to play out.

    On any given Sunday, any team is capable of pulling off an upset. This notion will likely hold true in the NFL Divisional playoffs this weekend.

    Due to the sheer level of competition, betting on playoff games is a precarious notion. The teams playing on Sunday are going to be out there for a reason.

    As the best eight squads that the NFL has to offer, each of them is capable of advancing to the next round. We've had an entire regular season to evaluate each respective roster, and we have a firm grasp on the injury situations, but this weekend is not a time to go predicting blowouts.

    As you will see in the following slides, it's probably best to play it safe while betting this weekend. Let's take a look at the betting lines for each matchup, identify the safest prop bets and then make a prediction of the outcome.

    All odds are courtesy of Footballocks.com, and this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only.

Green Bay Packers (plus 3) at San Francisco 49ers

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    Out of all the games to bet on this weekend, this one could be the toughest to predict. In Aaron Rodgers' last three games, he has completed over 70 percent of his passes and has thrown for eight touchdowns.

    The Packers have averaged over 37 points per game in that same time period, which makes their offense one of the most dangerous units in the NFL right now.

    On the other side of the ball, the San Francisco 49ers boast eight Pro Bowlers on the roster. It's unknown how Colin Kaepernick will respond in his first ever playoff game, but the 49ers defense is capable of keeping them in any game they play.

    If they can hold the Packers offense to under 30 points, there is a good chance they will emerge victorious in this one. If not, it will be another disappointing end to a promising 49ers regular season.

    Safest Prop Bets (Picks are Bold)

    • Total Completions By Aaron Rodgers (GB)
      • Over 25.5 -110
      • Under 25.5 -110
    • Total Points By Packers
      • Over 20.5 -120
      • Under 20.5 Even

    The Pick

    The Packers' offense is too hot for it to be stopped cold by anybody right now. The playoffs are not about how good a team was during the regular season. It no longer matters whether a team won 10 games or 13 games. The playoffs are about which team is playing the best football right now.

    Green Bay is firing on all cylinders right now, so look for them to win outright this weekend.

Houston Texans (plus 9.5) at New England Patriots

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    The Houston Texans won at home last weekend, but they did not put a great performance on film. If Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton didn't miss on a few wide open touchdown passes, we could easily be talking about how Houston collapsed under the bright lights in 2012.

    Alas, the Texans survived to fight another day, but they need to play better football in order for them to advance any further—especially considering who their next opponent is.

    The New England Patriots have won nine of their last 10 games, but they haven't done so the way one would expect them to.

    The team depends on stellar quarterback play to win, but Tom Brady has thrown four interceptions in the team's last three contests.

    The team lost a tough one to the 49ers at home in Week 15 and then struggled on the road the next weekend in Jacksonville.

    If the Patriots get into a rhythm on offense, they will cover the spread at home. However, that's easier said than done against Houston's pass rush.

    Safest Prop Bets (Picks are Bold)

    • Total Gross Passing Yards By Matt Schaub (HOU) 
      • Over 252.5 -110
      • Under 252.5 -110
    • Total Rushing Yards By Arian Foster (HOU) 
      • Over 82.5 -110
      • Under 82.5 -110 
    • Will Tom Brady (NE) Throw an Interception?
      • Yes -130
      • No +110

    The Pick

    The Patriots blew out the Texans at home 42-14 earlier this season. However, it's tough to blow out a good football team twice in one season, especially in the playoffs. The Patriots will probably win this football game, but they will not cover the spread.

Seattle Seahawks (plus 2.5) at Atlanta Falcons

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    The Seattle Seahawks were not a highly touted football team heading into this season. The talent has always been there on the defensive side of the ball, but nobody in his or her right mind could have imagined the impact that Russell Wilson had on this organization.

    Wilson brought the Seahawks from pretenders to contenders, as he showcased his talents to a national television audience last weekend against the Washington Redskins.

    If Wilson can manage to deal with the crowd noise and maintain his poise, he will have a chance to pull an upset on Sunday.

    The Falcons have perhaps the worst matchup they could have asked for on Sunday. The Seahawks have physical cornerbacks to man-up on Julio Jones and Roddy White, solid interior defensive line play and a mobile quarterback.

    If Atlanta can not keep Wilson in the pocket, it could lose its fifth-straight playoff game of the Matt Ryan era.

    Safest Prop Bets (Picks are Bold) 

    • First Score of the Game Will Be
      • Touchdown -170
      • Any Other Score +150
    • Total Receiving Yards By Julio Jones (ATL)
      • Over 69.5 -110
      • Under 69.5 -110

    The Pick

    Technically speaking, Russell Wilson is still a rookie, but he hasn't played like one in the latter stages of 2012.

    Wilson has 26 touchdowns, just 10 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 100 this season.

    To put that in perspective, Wilson had a better quarterback rating than Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers and not to mention, Andrew Luck.

    If Wilson keeps it up on Sunday, the Seahawks defense will be able to squeak the team into the conference championship round.

Baltimore Ravens (plus 9.5) at Denver Broncos

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    The Denver Broncos are simply better than the Baltimore Ravens. With Peyton Manning operating the offense, Denver should be able to run roughshod over Baltimore on Sunday.

    With the Ravens experiencing injuries at three of their four starting linebacker positions, it's going to be hard for them to effectively defend against the weapons Manning has at his disposal.

    The only way Baltimore stays in this game on the road is if Joe Flacco puts on a heroic performance. He is going to have to match Peyton Manning's level of play in this one or else the game will get ugly in a heartbeat.

    Safest Prop Bets (Picks are Bold) 

    • Total Points By Ravens
      • Over 18.5 -110
      • Under 18.5 -110
    • Total Touchdown Passes By Joe Flacco (BAL)
      • Over 1.5 +135
      • Under 1.5 -155

    The Pick

    The spread is this game is rather large. However, nobody has come within 9.5 points of the Broncos in their last four games.

    This team is on a roll right now, and there's no reason to suspect that the Broncos won't roll to a victory in their first playoff game of the Peyton Manning era.