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The case for betting on the NFL Divisional Round’s underdogs

Hint: Tom Brady might be in for some trouble.

The case for betting on the NFL Divisional Round’s underdogs

Super Wild Card Weekend was only super for the favorites as five of the six covered their spread (lol Dallas). As we head into the ultra-competitive Divisional Round, will this trend continue? Or will the dogs have their day?

Let’s break down the four divisional matchups to determine which underdog has the best chance of delivering the goods with our handy-dandy Dog Meter.

Bengals (+3.5) @ Titans

Joe Burrow was the only QB to make his postseason debut and win last weekend. His reward? The top-seeded Nashville Ruffians. Cincy’s offense started off hot against the Raiders, scoring on their first four possessions but then stalled out late to end the game.

King Derrick Henry is questionable to return for this contest, but the Titans run game has flourished even without their almighty ruler as three of Tennessee’s top five rushing outputs have come without No. 22. However, the Bengals finished fifth in rushing defense, allowing just 102.5 yards per game. 

Dog Meter:  

Bengals have a tall task in front of them if they hope to usurp the King

49ers (+6) @ Packers

Ever since Terrell Owens made his miraculous, game-sealing touchdown catch against Brett Favre’s Packers, the Niners have been a thorn in Green Bay’s postseason sides. Four of the last five postseason meetings between these two teams have gone the way of the NorCal squad.

Aaron Rodgers is the presumptive MVP of the 2021 season and with both Nick Bosa and Fred Warner coming off of injuries, his excellence could continue. Davante Adams should eat as well as San Fran is just 31st in the league at covering an opponents’ top option.

Dog Meter:

With elite playmakers returning on both sides of the ball, the Packers should reverse their Niner fortunes in this one.

Rams (+3) @ Bucs

Congratulations to Matthew Stafford, who earned the first win of his postseason career by beating the pants off of the once dominant Arizona Cardinals. The Rams midseason trade targets proved lucrative as Odell Beckham found the end zone and Von Miller led the team in tackles. Even Cam Akers lit it up in his return from a preseason Achilles injury.

Speaking of injuries, the Bucs lost All-Pro tackle Tristan Wirfs to a high ankle sprain during their Wild Card battle which led to Tom Brady getting sacked four times. Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles called for a blitz on Philly’s Jalen Hurts on 55% of the plays. Stafford boasts 14 TDs and just one interception when facing the blitz this season.

Dog Meter:

These dogs are barking!

Bills (+2.5) @ Chiefs

In their regular season matchup in October, the Bills forced four turnovers from Kansas City and left the world wondering whether the budding Chiefs dynasty was over before it really even started. But that was the old KC. Following the loss, Pat Mahomes led his squad to eleven wins in 13 games and cruised to another AFC West title. 

While the Chiefs have lost to each of the remaining AFC playoff hopefuls, their late season surge propelled them to top the conference in yards per game and finish second in points per game.

Dog Meter:

A true toss-up. The Bills could absolutely deliver but it’s tough to bet against the defending AFC champions in Arrowhead.

Takeaway

We know betting against Brady is – more often than not – futile but as Ric Flair once said, “to be the man you gotta beat the man.” Matt Stafford will beat the man this Sunday. Rams +3.

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