Now is a great time for bettors to make some money in the 2014 NFL playoffs with the divisional round on the horizon.
The Wild Card Round is a bit too uncomfortable to bet on with a vote of confidence. Dangerous teams like the San Diego Chargers seemingly hit the road and upset a favorite like the Cincinnati Bengals each year.
The divisional round is easier to project. What's not to like about top seeds coming out sluggish after a week off and being forced into a bout with a hot team that just got a big win to stay alive?
This early in the week is an especially strong time for bettors. Lines at this point are just asking to be taken advantage of by bettors who have done their due diligence on each matchup. Two in particular stick out.
|Away Team||Home Team||Line||Prediction (ATS)|
|New Orleans Saints||Seattle Seahawks||SEA -8||NO|
|Indianapolis Colts||New England Patriots||NE -7||NE|
|San Francisco 49ers||Carolina Panthers||SF -2||CAR|
|San Diego Chargers||Denver Broncos||DEN -10||SD|
New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks (-8)
Bettors have known this one was in the cards for quite some time. It just felt like fate, and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees concurs, as he told the media after their first bout, per Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune:
We know they are a team we are going to have to deal with in the future. We are going to have to find a way to play better against these guys when that time comes [...] Nothing we did offensively was right, we really couldn't get anything going.
It is hard to imagine many bettors were burned by the contest to which Brees refers. The Saints went to CenturyLink Field in Week 13 and were crushed by the Seattle Seahawks, 34-7.
This time the line is a bit trickier. Duncan put it best:
The Seahawks open as 7.5-to-10-point favorites over the Saints this weekend. Realize SEA routed the Saints last month but still seems high.— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) January 6, 2014
It seems reasonable at first glance, especially when one takes into account the outcome of the last meeting between these sides and the fact Seattle has been able to rest an extra week.
But these Saints surely burned more than a few bettors in the Wild Card Round, as they went to Philadelphia a hefty underdog. After all, all five of the Saints' losses had occurred away from home, and there was still a negative stigma about the New Orleans defense.
Well, the Saints held the Eagles to 256 total yards and escaped with a 26-24 win.
The Saints are on a revenge path, this time with the Lombardi Trophy in their sights. This game will be much closer than the current odds project, so throw some cash down and rest easy.
San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos (-10)
San Diego is not the team to bet against at this juncture.
It is impossible to guess how much cash the Chargers have lost bettors in recent weeks, so let's just call it a lot. Philip Rivers and the Chargers are shockingly the NFL's hottest team and ride a five-game win streak into their bout with the Denver Broncos.
Which, by the way, is a rematch of a Week 15 showdown bettors would surely love to forget. San Diego made the trip to Denver and won, 27-20.
The line here is simply too much. When these two met in Week 10, it was just an eight-point victory for Denver.
Things are much different now. The Chargers just rushed for 196 total yards against the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card Round on the way to a 27-10 win. Not only did the Bengals enter that game with a top-five run defense, but they were also 8-0 on the year at home before San Diego came to town.
Now let's sprinkle in some history, via NFL AM, and it is easy to see why bettors should take advantage of this line:
Peyton Manning is 0-2 in the playoffs vs Rivers-led @chargers teams.— NFL AM (@NFL_AM) January 6, 2014
The matchup seems overwhelmingly in Denver's favor, but it is time to ride the hot hand. The Chargers will do right by bettors given the immensity of this line.