NFL Divisional Playoffs Sunday betting preview
There were seven new teams in the 2018 NFL playoffs compared to last year, but as we head to the Divisional Round there’s just one newbie among Sunday’s two games.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
That new club would be the AFC fifth-seeded Los Angeles Chargers, who visit the No. 2 New England Patriots in Sunday’s first game. The Patriots are just 4-point favorites, which seems a bit low considering how dominant the team has been at home overall and especially in the postseason since Tom Brady took over as quarterback.
New England was the NFL’s only unbeaten team at home this season and has won its past 15 (12-3 ATS) at Gillette Stadium by an average margin of nearly 16 points. Brady is 19-3 at home in his playoff career and has never lost to the Chargers, regular season or playoffs, in seven starts.
The Chargers are an ugly 3-17 in their past 20 against New England, and quarterback Philip Rivers is 0-7 in his career (including playoffs) as a starter against Brady. Rivers’ lone win against the Patriots was in 2008 when Matt Cassel was the starter. So why are the Chargers such short dogs? They haven’t lost a game outside of the Los Angeles area this season (only road loss at Rams). Los Angeles has also won its past five on the east coast, including last week in Baltimore in a fairly dominant effort – especially defensively.
The 2004 Patriots were the last team to repeat as Super Bowl champions, and the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles are still alive following a one-point upset in Chicago last Sunday thanks to a double-clanked last-second field-goal attempt by Bears kicker Cody Parkey. The sixth-seeded Eagles visit the No. 1 New Orleans Saints in Sunday’s second game, with New Orleans the biggest favorite of the round at -8.
That number makes some sense considering the Saints trashed the visiting Eagles 48-7 earlier this season and have won their past eight (6-2 ATS) at the Superdome against teams with winning records. However, the Saints beat Carson Wentz and not the magical Nick Foles in that first meeting, and the Eagles have won and covered five of their past seven as an underdog. Foles has won his past four playoff games as a dog. This could be his last game in a Philly uniform.