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NFL Prop Bets Preview - Divisional Round Picks and Predictions


There has only been one No. 1 seed to lose in the divisional round the last five seasons (Cowboys in 2016 against Packers). In those nine games (excluding Cowboys loss), the No. 1 seeds have won by an average of 10 points. There were some blowouts that inflated those numbers but here are the winning margins; 4, 5, 7, 7, 7, 8, 14, 18, 21. In that same time span, No. 2 seeds are 6-4.

In this column, I will be breaking down all four games of the divisional round including several prop bets for each whether it's a player prop or game prop. Prop odds I used were on FanDuel Spoortsbook, Sportsbook.ag, and sportsinteraction.com.

These props are not only recommended bets but can also help you gauge a player while making your DFS lineups.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Colts (+5.5) @ Chiefs | Saturday - 4:30 PM ET

I was all-in on the Colts last week and they didn't disappoint. They jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and never looked back. They let Luck take control early throwing for 191 yards and two touchdowns in the first half before they let Marlon Mack take the game over rushing for a career-high 148 yards. Indy's offense will be set up against the 27th ranked rush defense and 31st pass defense. KC struggles to get off the field on third down (25th in league). Indy thrived on keeping drives alone during the season ranking first and continued that last week in Houston converting nine of 13 third downs.

Indy's defense has been terrific of late, but there's no stopping KC's offense. They can be slowed, but not stopped. For that reason, I expect Indy to open the game running while they keep the ball out of Pat Mahomes's hands. Marlon Mack should have another big game.

While Andy Reid is the Marty Schottenheimer of this generation with early playoff exits, this team may be different with Mahomes at the helm. No defense can stop them. The least amount of points KC has scored this season has been 26. So if neither team can stop one another so that means we can expect a shootout.

There's something magical about Mahomes and he himself can get Andy Reid over the playoff-hump.

*There is a high chance it snows during the game. If so, that favors the Colts because they will control the line of scrimmage.*

Prediction: Chiefs 38 - Colts 34

Recommended Prop Bets: Travis Kelce over 6.5 receptions (-120). *He is too hard to stop. Marlon Mack over 74.5 rushing yards (-125)

 

Cowboys @ Rams (-7.0) | Saturday - 8:00 PM ET

The under-the-radar Rams "host" the Cowboys and I put host in quotations because this game will be 40-50 percent Cowboy fans. But will that make a difference? I don't believe so. The Rams went 13-3, but it feels like a bad 13-3 because of their back-to-back losses in Weeks 14 and 15. Those losses came to the Bears and Eagles, both playoff teams. Their only other loss was against the Saints. It's not like their 13 wins were flukey as they were third in point differential while the Cowboys were 14th.

If you're a regular reader of my column, you know I love third-down conversion percentage and scoring touchdowns in the red zone. The Rams were fifth in third-down conversions, Dallas was 11th. However, the Cowboys struggle in getting off the field ranking 23rd while the Rams were much better ranking 12th.

In terms of red zone touchdown scoring, Dallas was 27th, LA was 18th. On the defensive side, the Cowboys ranked ninth while the Rams were 14th.

The Cowboys should try and get Ezekiel Elliot going often and early not only to keep the Rams offense off the field, but also because he's their best chance to win. The Rams struggled to stop the run all season ranking 23rd. But as good as Elliot has been this season and as good as the Cowboys defense has played, the Rams have been waiting for this game since last year's home playoff loss to Atlanta. That game got those first playoff jitters out. Wade Phillips will have a stout defensive game-plan against the team he used to coach. I trust Sean McVay a ton more than Jason "The Clapper" Garrett. I also just think the Rams are being disrespected by the public – not Vegas – and will come out firing. Once the Rams get a 7-0 lead, that will be it because Dak Prescott can't play from behind.

Prediction: Rams 34 - Cowboys 21

Recommended Prop Bets: Jared Goff over 281.5 passing yards (-120). *I think he regains his early-season form. Dak Prescott under 21.5 completions (-120)

 

Chargers (+4.0) @ Patriots | Sunday - 1:00 PM ET

The Pats have played 22 home playoff game in the Brady/Belichick era and only four other times has the line been 4 or less. It makes sense why this line is low. The Chargers have not lost outside of Los Angeles this season (8-0), while the Patriots have looked mortal. New England has not lost at home this season though and are 18 points better in differential at home than on the road.

I the Pats to run, run, and run some more. They ran the ball on average 10 more times at home than on the road for 59 more yards. How many times have you seen the New England in big games slow things down and physically beat the other team. They'll go on those long methodical seven minute drives that result in touchdowns.

The Chargers have been so good this year, but how will they respond to brutal cold weather and another early 10 a.m. game on their body clocks? This team has beaten the Steelers, Chiefs, and Ravens all on the road in cold weather. I can't doubt Phillip Rivers with how he's played this season. Their defense has the pass rushers to get to Tom Brady, but until Brady/Belichick go down at home in a playoff game, I can't pick against them. But I will pick against them here in terms of the spread. The other reason the Pats pull this off is because the Chargers were inept in the red zone against the Ravens and you can't do that against New England.

Prediction: Patriots 24 - Chargers 21

Recommended Prop Bets: Sony Michel over 61.5 rushing yards (-120). *This may very well be James White, but I think Belichick goes with the more physical back. Keenan Allen under 70.5 receiving yards (-120). *Since his injury in Kansas City a month ago, his games have been: 5-58, 4-64, 4-37. His two career games against the Pats he's averaged three receptions (four targets) for 32 yards.

 

Eagles @ Saints (-8.0) | Sunday - 4:30 PM ET

Like the Rams, it feels like the public – not Vegas – is against the Saints who have been nothing short of dominant this season. They lost one game at home which came in Week 1. They've won games in blowout fashion and even beat teams scoring 12 points. One of those teams embarrassed were the Eagles who lost 48-7 in Week 11. Since then the Eagles are 6-1. They're on a miracle run with Nick Foles, but that's going to end Sunday.

Drew Brees and Sean Payton are 5-0 at home in the playoffs. They are a different team in that dome. They may not have the sexiest defense but they get pressure on the quarterback. They have the fifth-most sacks in the league. I keep remembering the Thanksgiving game against the Falcons when Matt Ryan was under constant pressure. The defense seemed to feed off the crowd. It's going to be much louder in that dome Saturday.

While the Eagles have a good pass rush, Drew Brees has been hit the least amount of times and sacked second least. He will have time to shred the porous secondary that Mitchell Trubisky threw for 303 yards on them and had big windows to throw into. The Saints have one too many weapons plus the random receiver you've never heard of.

Prediction: Saints 37 - Eagles 21

Recommended Prop Bets: Keith Kirkwood over 24.5 receiving yards (-112). *He'll be the random receiver that gets a deep ball or two. Alvin Kamara over 38.5 receiving yards (-120)

 

Best of luck and be sure to check in next week for my preview of Championship Sunday!

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