Jan 14, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) throws against the Dallas cowboys during the second quarter in a 2024 NFC wild card game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wm. Glasheen-USA TODAY Sports

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NFC Playoff Betting Primer: End of Love story?

We love the Love story, but the final chapter is expected to be completed Saturday in Santa Clara.

Quarterback Jordan Love piloted the Packers’ magical ride, from legions of fans lamenting the Green Bay departure of the wise one, Aaron Rodgers, to convincing themselves they’re far better off with No. 10 behind center.

The 49ers aren’t worried, and there’s a major reason for their confidence.

See how our NFC playoff best bet developed, and catch our bonus bet and a player prop below.

THE HEADLINER

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
When: Saturday.
Time, TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, CBS.
Odds: 49ers -9.5, total 50.5.

There is no dismissing the special sauce concocted by Packers coach Matt LaFleur and his quarterback Jordan Love.

Green Bay has been dominant down the stretch this season and proved itself with a blowout of Dallas in the wild-card round.

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan and his staff saw it, digested it and have very likely solved the major challenges.

The 49ers, dominant the past couple of seasons, are routinely favored by double digits. More often than not, the oddsmakers didn’t reach high enough.

With a relatively clean injury report, San Francisco is set to do what it usually does when its stars are healthy: win and cover.

The big boys – Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey – are ready to play Saturday night and assuming four quarters of health, the 49ers will be moving on to the NFC title game next week.

When Samuel and McCaffrey start, San Francisco is 20-3 straight up and 16-7 against the spread (ATS) over the past 23 such games.

In the past 29 games McCaffrey has started, the Niners covered 19 times.

With a raucous crowd comfortably fueled up on a Saturday night, let’s bring the home field and quarterback Brock Purdy into the conversation.

Over the past 12 home games, Purdy is 10-2 straight up, 8-4 ATS. And those spreads were frequently big numbers.

We don’t want to belittle Green Bay’s chances, so we’ll tease the number down a little – but we’ll still use San Francisco in our wager.

Our second leg is simple, the 49ers start quickly and score early. According to Action Network numbers, San Francisco was 11-4-2 on the first-quarter moneyline and 13-7 the past 20 games hitting the first-half over.

And, in Green Bay’s past eight games, it’s 7-1 to the over.

The bet: Two-leg parlay, 49ers -2.5 for the full game with the over 25.5 for the first half (+132 at DraftKings).

BONUS BET
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions, 3 p.m. ET, Sunday, NBC.

We can’t draw too many conclusions from Tampa Bay’s rout of the mystifying Philadelphia Eagles last week, but a win is a win.

The Bucs defense will challenge the Lions, who cleared a major postseason hurdle in their victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

In winning six of its past seven games, Tampa has held its opponents to an average of 15.3 points.

“We’ve gotten tougher over the course of the past few weeks,” Bucs coach Todd Bowles said. “Everybody has finally gotten back and playing at the same time. … Communication has gotten a lot better, everybody’s trusting each other next to them and they’re playing for each other.”

Quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles, but was less than stellar in a Week 6 home loss to these Lions.

Detroit quarterback Jared Goff threw for 353 yards in that one and passed a big test in the Rams win.

The Rams were a worthy opponent; the Eagles were not.

The Lions are a cover machine:
35-17 ATS (67.3 percent) over the past three seasons – best mark in the NFL
24-11 ATS since the start of last season.
21-7 ATS in their past 28 games overall.
12-6 ATS this season.

Sportsbooks have dangled the number at 6.5 and bettors have not pushed it to the magic seven. We’re biting.

The bet: Lions -6.5.

PROP PLAY
If the game goes as we expect, the Lions and coach Dan Campbell will enjoy a ground-and-pound second half that features Detroit running backs David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs.

The Bucs’ Rachaad White just won’t have the volume to keep up.

The bet: David Montgomery more rushing yards than Rachaad White (-130 at BetMGM).

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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