Still well above .500 entering the NFL divisional playoffs, here are four fresh takes for arguably the best weekend of the year.
Lines are as of Friday Jan. 15 at BetRivers, watch for late line moves.
2020 RECORD: 128-119-11
NFL Divisional Round Picks
LOS ANGELES RAMS AT GREEN BAY PACKERS (-6.5): PACKERS
Injuries didn’t cost the Rams against the Seattle Seahawks on wild-card weekend, but Seattle was overrated and unable to properly take advantage of L.A.’s many deficiencies. It’ll be a different story in Green Bay against a Packers team that has outscored its opponents by 16.0 points per game over the course of a four-game home winning streak.
The Pack have also had two weeks to prepare. And although Rams breakout back Cam Akers could heat up against a vulnerable run defense, that unit has also improved. We saw that when they shut down David Montgomery in Week 17.
With big questions at quarterback and All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald hurting, there’s no way I’m taking the Rams with only 6.5 points on their side.
BALTIMORE RAVENS AT BUFFALO BILLS (-2.5): BILLS
I went back-and-forth on this one so I’d probably prefer to sit back and enjoy it. The Ravens are tempting because it’s hard to imagine anyone stopping Lamar Jackson right now, but let’s not forget that the Bills would be riding an 11-game winning streak if not for a Kyler Murray Hail Mary in Week 10.
Meanwhile, Baltimore’s hot streak is a bit deceptive because the Ravens spent much of December beating up on bad teams. Josh Allen can match Jackson’s impact, and both have monkeys off their back after registering their first playoff wins last weekend. The Bills might not win big, but they should at least be favored by a full field goal at home.
CLEVELAND BROWNS AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-10): BROWNS
Why are the Chiefs laying double-digit points? I know, Andy Reid is 25-5 in his career following regular-season or postseason byes, but the Chiefs haven’t been themselves for quite some time, they’re still pretty banged up, they might be rusty coming off essentially three weeks’ rest, and the Browns have absolutely nothing to lose right now.
That makes this a sucker’s line. Kansas City hasn’t won by more than six points in any of its last eight games, and Patrick Mahomes hasn’t been right for much of that stretch. Why should we suddenly expect that to change here, especially with standout right tackle Mitchell Schwartz still out of the lineup for the Chiefs?
The Browns are healthier now than they were when they rocked and shocked the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild-card round. They’ll hang around here, and the backdoor cover is your friend anyway.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-3): SAINTS
I’m really betting this game will push and taking this opportunity to warn you against betting against it at all with this line. The Saints are the much better all-around team and they won handily in Tampa in November, so it’d be silly to go against them with the Bucs slightly worn down on the road here.
Gun to my head, I’ll take the team I have pegged to win the game with only three points to give up, but add a hook and I’m jumping to the Bucs. That’s how serious I am about this thing being decided by about three points.
NFL Divisional Round Picks courtesy of Brad Gagnon. Watch NFL odds all week here at NFP.