Gambling on football is fun. In fact, gambling on football is so fun that it’s even fun after losing on DAL -2.5 vs SEA when the Seahawks backdoor-cover with a 2-point conversion down 4. And now that I’ve exorcized that ticket (along with a couple of others), taken a long hard look at my life choices and opted to press on, it’s time for the Divisional Round!
Dallas at LA Rams- 8:15pm EST, Saturday 1/12
We’ll start with the Cowboys again, this time getting seven points in Los Angeles. I like Dallas and the points here, though the over on the point total (21) is nice too and exposes you to less risk of Cowboys coach Jason Garrett doing something
very stupid suboptimal in the endgame. Mostly, this is about a specific strength — Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas rushing offense — against a specific weakness — the Rams stink against the run, allowing the most yards per carry in the regular season. As best I can tell, the sharps aren’t lined up on one side (58/42 DAL on Action Network as of Thursday), and the line has stayed put at a touchdown. DAL +7 or DAL over 21 points (By the way, if you want to take on *more* Jason Garrett risk, though I can’t imagine why, you can bet the moneyline at DAL +270. But again, I can’t imagine why.)
Philadelphia at New Orleans- 4:40pm EST, Sunday 1/13
I’m much more excited to watch the other NFC Divisional Round game than I am to bet on it. Gun to my head — which I now realize is a grim idiom in the world of proposition gambling — I’ll take NO -8 on the strength of the ass-whooping the Saints delivered to Philly in the regular season. This is complete voodoo and there’s no statistical relationship between that sort of regular-season win (45-7) and a playoff cover — i.e. it’s already baked into the line. But I don’t have anything better here.
Indianapolis at Kansas City- 4:35pm EST, Saturday 1/12
The over/under for IND @ KC is 57 points. FIFTY-SEVEN points. That’s a lot of points. Which is to say, if you’re going to throw in a bet “for fun” this weekend, you could do a lot worse than this one. Keep an eye on the weather report, but for the moment, it looks like Arrowhead (33 degrees at game time, per NFLWeather.com) can support a shootout. As for the game itself, it’s hard to imagine Pat Mahomes going from MVP frontrunner in the regular season to jittery this weekend, but the history of rookie/first-time QBs in the playoffs is sufficiently grim that a step back is believable. Meanwhile, the Colts are running supernova-hot. IND +200 moneyline or IND +5.5
LA Chargers at New England- 1:05pm EST, Sunday 1/13
Full disclosure: I’m a New Englander and a die-hard Patriots fan. So it hurts my heart to go with the sharps on LAC +4.5. And since this may be Rob Gronkowski’s last NFL game, let’s all please take a moment to enjoy Gronk being very sweet and very dumb: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=klcas4DV7G0
Happy gambling, and see you next weekend!