Betting the Divisional Round

Four more games are on the board as the NFL enters the Divisional round of the playoffs this weekend.

The Wild Card round saw three underdogs cover the spread while winning outright (New York Jets, Baltimore and Arizona), two home favorites lose outright (Cincinnati and New England) and all four games go OVER the total.

With four more matchups to analyze and kickoff in the Arizona-New Orleans game just over 24 hours away, let’s get down to business.

ATS: Against the Spread
SU: Straight Up

Saturday, January 16, 2009
4:30pm eastern

ARIZONA CARDINALS (11-6, 6-2 road) at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (13-3, 6-2 home)

Opening Line: Saints -7 56.5
Current Line: Saints -7 57

Where the money is going: 61% of the people are betting on the Cardinals plus the points.

Recent Hot Trends

1. The Cardinals are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 playoff games.
2. The Cardinals are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 playoff games as an underdog of 3.5-10.0.
3. The Cardinals are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games as a road underdog.
4. The OVER is 5-1 in the Cardinals' last 6 playoff games.
5. The Saints are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a home favorite of 3.5-10.0.
6. The Saints are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games following a SU loss.
7. The Saints are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
8. The UNDER is 4-0 in the Saints' last 4 games overall.

The Matchup: Despite going 3-3 down the stretch, the Arizona Cardinals opened up postseason play in a big way last Sunday by knocking off the red-hot Green Bay Packers 51-45. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin did not play due to knee and ankle injuries and there is no official word as of yet regarding his status for Saturday’s game at New Orleans. On the other side of the ball, the Saints look to rebound and begin their march towards a Super Bowl title after finishing the regular season on a three-game losing streak. The Saints have gone 1-4 ATS in their last five home games while Arizona is 6-0 ATS in its last six games as a road underdog. New Orleans is 0-4 ATS in its last four January games, last four Saturday games and last four games as a favorite.

Saturday, January 16, 2009
8:15pm eastern

BALTIMORE RAVENS (10-7, 4-5 road) at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (14-2, 7-1 home)

Opening Line: Colts -6.5 44.5
Current Line: Colts -6.5 44

Where the money is going: 69% of the people are betting on the Colts and laying the points.

Recent Hot Trends

1. The Ravens are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 playoff road games.
2. The Ravens are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
3. The Ravens are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games in January.
4. The OVER is 5-1-1 in the Ravens' last 7 games as a road underdog.
5. The Colts are 3-0-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
6. The Colts are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite.
7. The Colts are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite of 3.5-10.0.
8. The OVER is 4-0 in the Colts' last 4 games overall.

The Matchup: Baltimore jumped out to a 24-0 lead over the Patriots in Foxboro last Sunday and never looked back, winning 33-14. An impressive win despite the fact that quarterback Joe Flacco completed just four of ten passes for 34 yards. The Ravens were aggressive defensively and leaned heavily on a running game that produced 234 yards on the ground, 159 of which came from second-year running back Ray Rice. Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning looks to lead the Colts to their second Super Bowl title since 2007, but has a 7-8 career record in the postseason and has lost his last two playoff games (both to San Diego). Baltimore is 1-4 ATS in its last five games vs. a team with a winning record, as well as 1-4 ATS in their last five games on fieldturf. Meanwhile, Indianapolis is 4-1 ATS in its last five playoff games as a favorite of 3.5-10.0 points.

Sunday, January 17, 2009
1:00pm eastern

DALLAS COWBOYS (12-5, 5-3 road) at MINNESOTA VIKINGS (12-4, 8-0 home)

Opening Line: Vikings -2.5 47.5
Current Line: Vikings -2.5 45.5

Where the money is going: 54% of the people are betting on the Cowboys plus the points.

Recent Hot Trends

1. The Cowboys are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
2. The Cowboys are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. NFC.
3. The Cowboys are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a SU win.
4. The OVER is 6-1 in the Cowboys' last 7 games on turf.
5. The Vikings are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
6. The Vikings are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a home favorite.
7. The Vikings are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games on turf.
8. The UNDER is 4-1 in the Vikings' last 5 home games.

The Matchup: Is there any team in the NFL right now hotter than the Dallas Cowboys? Big D has ripped off four straight wins by an average of 17.0 points. That includes last weekend’s 34-14 beat down of the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite dropping three of their last five games and almost letting a first-round bye slip through their fingers, the Vikings closed out the 2009 regular season on a strong note, knocking off the New York Giants 44-7. Be advised: Minnesota is 8-0 at home this season and has topped 30+ points in six of eight contests at the Metrodome, winning by an average of 17.2 points per game. The Cowboys are 0-4 ATS in their last four games on turf while the Vikings are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games on turf.

Sunday, January 17, 2009
4:40pm eastern

NEW YORK JETS (10-7, 6-3 road) at SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (13-3, 6-2 home)

Opening Line: Chargers -9.5 42.5
Current Line: Chargers -7 42

Where the money is going: 56% of the people are betting on the Jets plus the points.

Recent Hot Trends

1. The Jets are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games.
2. The Jets are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. AFC.
3. The Jets are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
4. The OVER is 6-1-1 in the Jets' last 8 vs. AFC.
5. The Chargers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 playoff games.
6. The Chargers are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
7. The Chargers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games in January.
8. The OVER is 4-0 in the Chargers' last 4 home games.

The Matchup: You’ve got to hand it to Jets head coach Rex Ryan because he sure knows how to motivate his football team. New York came out strong in the first round of the playoffs by delivering a 24-14 knockout punch to the Cincinnati Bengals for their sixth win in seven weeks. Meanwhile, Norv Turner’s Chargers enter postseason play having won 11 straight regular season contests. The key to this game will be San Diego’s run defense. The Chargers ranked 20th against the run during the regular season (117.8 yds/gm) and will face their toughest challenge yet against a Jets rushing attack that led the NFL in yards per game (172.2). If San Diego can slow down New York running backs Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene while getting a solid pass rush on rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez, look for the Bolts to cruise. The Chargers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games vs. teams with a winning record and 4-1-1 ATS in their last six January games.

Note: This game opened with the Chargers as 9.5 point favorites and fell to 7 in less than one day, meaning the sharp money is on the Jets.

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