The 3 Most Popular NFL Bets for the Divisional Round
Betting NFL games can be a blast. Whether you take the time to analyze each line and cash in big, or you do it for the fun -- share your bets with friends and tilt with one another in a group chat. Either way, having another layer of interest in your weekly football-watching is great. A lot of times, whether you like or not, you're not alone, either.
And that's where numberFire's oddsFire tool comes in. oddsFire breaks down the differences in betting odds, lines, and totals across a number of sportsbooks, but it also shows us what percentage of total bets and money is being laid on any line at FanDuel Sportsbook. Using oddsFire, you can then decide if you would like to align yourself with the betting public -- and enjoy the sweat together -- or go against the grain to capitalize on an over-hyped situation.
In this weekly article, we're here to dive into the three lines (one spread, one moneyline, one over/under) getting the most love, with the goal of deciding whether the numbers support or contradict the public's heavy investment.
Saturday's opening Divisional Round matchup features Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers hosting Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams in the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. When the games were first set, the spread opened at an even 7.0 points in the Packers' favor, according to oddsFire. Since then they have lost a half-point at FanDuel Sportsbook (though they have remained touchdown favorites at other sportsbooks), but 82% of bets and 86% of the money are in the Pack to cover at home.
It's the same story on the moneyline. After opening at -336, Green Bay has made a marginal move to -310, yet they are garnering 80% of the bets and even more of the money (93%) to win outright.
When you look at our in-house power rankings, though, that wouldn't make much sense. Although the Packers check in fourth, the Rams are one spot ahead of them with the top overall defensive, per our schedule-adjusted metrics. Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey have led LA's elite defense all year, but Rodgers is an MVP candidate for a reason. Led by his connection with an unstoppable Davante Adams, Rodgers has led Green Bay to the second spot in our offensive ranks.
The deciding factor here might just be venue. On the year, the Packers are 7-1 at home, covering the spread in five of their eight regular-season home matchups. According to Killer Sports, they won by 12.1 points per game in the split, and they covered the spread by an average of 4.2 points. In the six games they have been favored by at least 6.5, they have covered in four, and one of those dropped games was with a 13.5-point spread in a four-point win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
If we dig even deeper, going back into Green Bay's track record in the playoffs, we see that Rodgers and company are 11-8 overall and 5-3 in the Divisional Round. At home, they are 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the second round of the playoffs.
As for Sean McVay and the visiting Rams, they are just 4-4 against the spread and straight up away from L.A. In the four road contests they have been underdogs, they've gone 2-2 both with and without the points.
The experience and trends favor Rodgers and the Pack. The LA defense might keep it closer than the experts think, but it's not a bad idea to take the Packers on the moneyline, even if they don't win by a touchdown.
The other NFC bout is a more evenly-matched game between future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Between the two of them, they possess 27 Pro Bowl appearances and 7 Super Bowls (6 rings on Brady's hands, of course) in their long and historic tenures. They've combined for nearly 160,000 passing yards and more than 1,150 passing touchdowns in their regular season careers -- and another 16,000 yards and 111 touchdowns in the postseason.
It's no wonder the public is in love with the over in this spot. But is all the hype warranted?
Although Brees missed a period of time with injury, his Saints ended the season 11th in passing offense and 7th in overall offense, whereas the Bucs ranked 5th in both departments. Both teams averaged north of 30 points per game, though it's worth noting that they've kept opponents to a combined 43.3 points between them.
This year's betting trends clearly favor the over. Despite an even record in all games, Tampa's seen the over win out in five of their eight road contests. Combined with their opponents, those matchups have averaged 53.5 points with four of at least 57 points.
As for Brees, Alvin Kamara and the Saints, their games have bypassed the total 10 of 16 times, averaging 51.2 total points and a margin of three points above the number. In their eight home games, they have scored 31.6 points to their foes' 24.8 a game. The over is 6-2 as a result.
Again, the betting public seems to be on the mark here. It might be a lot to do with the Brady-Brees hype, but either way, the over is a safe -- not to mention fun -- bet to make this weekend.