This weekend’s Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs features some of the best teams in football, after a Wild Card Weekend in which the favorites mostly did their job in avoiding upsets. The one major exception was the Cleveland Browns, who knocked off the Pittsburgh Steelers after getting out to a 28-0 first quarter lead. The Browns will face a substantially tougher test this weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs, while the Buffalo Bills will draw the Baltimore Ravens at home. In the NFC, the Los Angeles Rams won on the road in Seattle and will head to Green Bay, while the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will square off for the third time this season.
See below for Friday’s line movement update!
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Betting Splits Breakdown
The first game of this weekend is easily the most lopsided one, with DraftKings bettors taking a large stand on the Green Bay Packers both in terms of bets and handle. The Packers have been dominant throughout the 2020 season, but injuries seems to be a playing a role in this disparity, too. The Los Angeles Rams are banged up, while the Packers had a bye-week to rest. Jared Goff, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp are all almost certain to be active this weekend, but all three are dealing with injuries and are all likely going to be playing at less than 100%.
In the other Saturday game, there’s a moderate stand being taken with the Buffalo Bills, but what’s more interesting is how even the betting is on the Sunday games. As 10-point underdogs, the Cleveland Browns are actually drawing more than a 50% betting split against the Kansas City Chiefs, which is already unusual for a large underdog, but especially so against the Chiefs. This breaks a season-long trend of the public universally backing the Chiefs, and it appears the Browns strong Wildcard game changed the minds of a lot of bettors.
As for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints, bettors have a slight preference for the Bucs side both in terms of bets and handle, perhaps buying into the idea that beating a team three times in one season is hard to do. It’s also possible that this game is being viewed as a toss-up and three points is simply too much in the eyes of most bettors.
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How the Lines are Moving
Most bettors are on the Packers for this game, but the line has actually fallen from -7 to -6.5. Since that initial half-point move there hasn’t been any shift in either direction, as it appears the line has settled right in this spot.
This game’s line has moved the most of any of the four in the Divisional Round, with the Bills opening at -3 and dropping to as low as -1.5 mid-week. It’s been bouncing around quite a bit, as the Bills have returned to -3 behind moderate support from the betting public.
The public has been leaning towards the Browns, but that hasn’t caused any line movement in their favor. The opening spread was Chiefs -9.5 and it crept up to -10, and that’s where it’s remained for the majority of the week.
The line opened with the Saints at -3.5 before quickly falling to -3, and it’s hovered back and forth between those two numbers all week long. Betting is fairly even on these two teams, and there’s not much reason to except a big line shift before kickoff.
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