NFL Picks, Computer Predictions Favor Underdogs to Cover Playoff Spreads

OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2014

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 12:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos emerges from the tunnel during player introductions before a game against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on December 12, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Every favorite will win, but every underdog will cover the spread if the Odds Shark prediction computer is as good this weekend as it was on Wild Card Weekend.

After picking all four road teams to cover the spread last weekend, the computer likes all the underdogs to cover this week.

From the fan’s perspective, that would mean the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will all win. From the bettor’s perspective, that would mean the Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers will cover.

The divisional playoff round sees most of the league’s glam quarterbacks in action, and three of them enjoy the respect of being big home favorites.

Seattle opened as eight-point chalk against the Saints, but they would fail to cover with a 31-26 result predicted by the computer.

Denver is the week’s biggest chalk, laying more than 10 points to the Chargers, who beat the Broncos here under similar circumstances (and facing a similar spread) a month ago. At 37-29, the Chargers would continue their 4-1 ATS road playoff streak.

New England gives a touchdown to Indianapolis, but the computer gives Tom Brady only a field goal (with a 29-26 projection).

The tightest point spread of the week is in Carolina, where the NFC South champs get a little disrespect from the oddsmakers as small 1.5-point home dogs to San Francisco. The computer has this one as too close to call (26.0-25.8), which would mean a Panthers cover.

Historically, this stage of the playoffs has witnessed many high-scoring games, which has forced handicappers to study the over-under numbers just as closely as the spreads. Over the past three seasons, only one of 12 divisional playoff games went UNDER the total.

For the math-inclined, that’s an 11-1 edge favoring OVER wagers.

The computer is predicting all four games will climb OVER the Vegas total again this weekend.


Computer predictions for Divisional Playoff Round

Seattle 31-26 vs. New Orleans (result: Saints cover +8, OVER 46)

San Francisco 26.0-25.8 vs. Carolina (result: Panthers cover +1.5, OVER 41.5)

Denver 37-29 vs. San Diego (result: Chargers cover +10, OVER 54)

New England 29-26 vs. Indianapolis (result: Colts +7, OVER 51.5)

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