What We Learned From Betting on the NFL Divisional Round Weekend

Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles carries the ball against the New York Giants during the first half in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 21, 2023, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mitchell Leff/Getty Images/AFP

The division round is over and the conference title tilts await. But what have we learned from last week’s games and how can we use it to help us in evaluating the NFL odds and make sharp decisions concerning our NFL picks? 

San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles 

NFC Conference Championship 

Sunday, January 29, 2023 – 03:00 PM EST at Lincoln Financial Field 

Philadelphia Eagles (15-3 SU, 9-9 ATS) 

Jalen Hurts was a one-man wrecking crew on Saturday as he passed for two touchdowns and engineered a 14-play, 72-yard drive, that culminated in a 5-yard scamper into the Giants’ end zone which put the Eagles up 28-0 at the half. 

Of course, we didn’t expect much less of Hurts as he is an MVP candidate with odds of +1200 over at BetMGM. However, what we didn’t know is how well his sprained shoulder, suffered in Week 15 against the Bears, would heal. Apparently, it healed quite well and the bye week the Eagles received as having the best record in the NFC helped a great deal. 

What’s scary about the Eagles is that Hurts was intentionally kept out of the rushing attack, having only seven designed running plays that limited his exposure to brutal hits and unnecessary injury. The Philadelphia defense was also impressive, limiting New York quarterback, Daniel Jones, to just 135 yards, zero touchdowns, and one pick.  

Can anyone stop this team? 

NFL Pick: Eagles -2 ½ (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

San Francisco 49ers (15-4 SU, 13-6 ATS) 

The 49ers’ freight train just keeps chuggin’ along with their third-string, seventh-round pick, Brock Purdy, making very few mistakes and not withering under the bright hot spotlight that is the NFL playoffs.  

If you missed it, and you probably didn’t, the Niners played rock-solid defense and Purdy proved to be the ultimate facilitator with 214 passing yards, no touchdowns, but more importantly no interceptions, unlike Dak Prescott’s pair of picks.

Christian McCaffrey was barely a complementary piece in the 19-12 victory over the Cowboys but it was the Niners’ defense that proved too much for Dallas in front of a raucous San Francisco partisan crowd at Levi’s Stadium.  

San Francisco has now won 12 consecutive games and Purdy appears unflappable. But if defense wins championships, then the 49ers better make room on the mantle because they have an outstanding linebacking corps buttressed by a phenomenal pass rush with Nick Bosa leading the way.  

NFL Pick: 49ers +3 (-115) at BetMGM 

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs 

AFC Conference Championship 

Sunday, January 29, 2023 – 06:30 PM EST at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium 

Kansas City Chiefs (15-3 SU, 5-12-1 ATS) 

If we needed any further assurance that all the Chiefs do is win then look no further than their 27-20 victory over the gritty Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday. But what it also confirmed is that this year’s edition of the Kansas City Chiefs does many things well but covering the spread is not one of them.  

Yet again, the Chiefs failed to cover the 9-point impost and are now a dismal 5-12-1 ATS as they prepare to welcome the high-flying Bengals on Sunday night. Patrick Mahomes is arguably the best quarterback in the league but without a speed merchant like Tyreek Hill spreading the field, the Chiefs’ offense is not as explosive. This has led to smaller margins of victory but the public still hasn’t caught on and it is why the Chiefs backers continue to lose money at the betting windows. 

Lastly, Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain in the win over the Jaguars and how that will affect his performance this weekend against Cincinnati’s high-octane offense is a major question mark looming that may not get answered until Mahomes takes the field against the Bengals.  

NFL Pick: Chiefs -1 (-105) at BetMGM

Cincinnati Bengals (14-4 SU, 13-4-1 ATS) 

Joe Burrow outdueled Josh Allen in the snowy, blustery, conditions of Buffalo’s Highmark Stadium last weekend by connecting on 23-of-36 for 242 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in a game that the Bengals dominated from start to finish. 

After struggling out of the gate with a 2-3 record the Cats have gone 12-1 since that time with a no-decision in Week 17 versus the Bills when the game was canceled due to the nearly fatal cardiac arrest of Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin.  

Despite an offensive line that has been beset by injuries throughout the season, and played without three starters and an injured Ted Karras, Burrow was seamless in executing quick-strike passes and spread the ball around on a slow, snowy track that removed much of the deep threats posed by the likes of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.  

The biggest concern for the Bengals is, how healthy will their offensive line be in this one against another offensive juggernaut like the Chiefs. 

NFL Pick: Bengals +1 (-110) at Bet365

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