Divisional Round: NFL Game Picks Against the Spread (2019 Playoffs)

Jan 10, 2019

At the very least, expect Phillip Rivers and the Chargers to keep things pretty close against the Patriots

This football weekend figures to be an exciting one with all four games set to be decided by one score. Most of the intensity figures to be in the AFC, where not only do both games have a smaller spread, but our Expert Consensus picks both AFC underdog teams, IND (+5) and LAC (+4), against the spread. In addition, the AFC may have the most exciting matchup with the Colts/Chiefs, which has the highest over/under at 57, so you can expect plenty of fireworks in a game featuring two of the NFL’s premier offenses.

Let’s not forget about the NFC action, though. Many think that both the Cowboys and Eagles appear to be overmatched by the Rams and Saints, respectively. However, both underdogs appear to have momentum on their side, while some could argue that Los Angeles and New Orleans each took a slight step back during the season’s second half. Remember, no pick is ever a lock as upsets can happen at any time and every game’s pace and flow is always susceptible to change, but having extensive insight into each team can help you identify which picks deserve the most confidence. As such, we’ve reached out to our most accurate sports betting experts to find out which picks against the spread and over/under picks you would be wise to trust with your hard earned money.

View picks from the entire consensus for each Divisional playoff game:
IND @ KC (-5) | DAL @ LAR (-7) | LAC @ NE (-4)PHI @ NO (-8)

Q1. Which team are you most confident in against the spread and why?

“Including the postseason, the Chargers (+4) have gone 8-0 in actual road games this season (discard the Rams meeting). There are certainly concerns with Melvin Gordon’s health and Philip Rivers’ recent down play, but this is one of the weakest Patriot teams in recent years, hurt by factors like Rob Gronkowski’s decline (26 or fewer yards in four of his last five games) and a stagnant pass rush.”
– Kevin English (Draft Sharks)

“The Chargers (+4) are a better team than the Patriots in almost every measurable way. They have the higher overall, offensive, and defensive DVOA ratings. Los Angeles won more games than New England, having to go on the road only because they play in the same division as the Chiefs. This game should be closer to a pick’em than four points. On top of that, road underdogs in the Divisional Round have gone 35-21-1 (63%) against the spread since 2003, according to Bet Labs.”
– Anthony Amico (RotoViz)

“The whole “West Coast teams out east” narrative is overplayed and hasn’t really meant much in recent years, so let’s throw that out. The Chargers (+4) match up well with the Patriots across the board and have been the hotter team all season. Also, it’s supposed to be below freezing and Tom Brady has been known to struggle when he can’t grip the ball as well. So if the balls are fully inflated, I’ll side with the Chargers.”
– Zach Brunner (FlurrySports)

“With the Colts (+5), you’re getting a ton of value with Andrew Luck, who has been excellent as an underdog and is playing some of the best ball of his career. While Indy faces a tough task with a third consecutive road contest, it’s a good spot. Dating back to 2002, quarterbacks getting the first playoff start of their careers are 7-13 straight up and 4-16 against the spread.”
– Jody Smith (FantasyPros)

“The Colts (+5) because I expect them to play a close game — if not win. Kansas City has played four teams with a winning record since Week 11 (Rams, Ravens, Chargers, and Seahawks). The Chiefs lost three of those games and beat Baltimore by just three points. Indianapolis will hang with Kansas City this week.”
– Jamey Eisenberg (CBS Sports)

“I was going to choose the Colts, but I am not ready to make that bold pick. Instead, I am confident in the Saints (-8). Things are a little bit different for the Eagles with Nick Foles as the starting QB, but we have to remember that Phily got destroyed by the Saints 48-7 in Week 11. Nick Foles’ magic can end in New Orleans; his only loss as a starter in his postseason career was against the Saints in 2014. Overall, the Saints are a much better team and the clear favorites to win it all.”
– Mauricio Gutierrez (Estadio Fantasy)

“I’ll take the Cowboys and the seven points. Dallas has been a notably worse team on the road this season, but I don’t believe the Rams’ home-field advantage will count for much, and I don’t think Los Angeles will be able to shut down the Cowboys’ balanced attack. On the other side, I like Dallas’ defense to give the Rams some trouble, and there were signs late in the season that quality opponents had started to figure out a few things about defending Sean McVay’s scheme.”
– Des Bieler (The Washington Post)

View full set of consensus picks Against the Spread here >>

Q2. Which matchup are you most confident in picking the over/under and why?

PHI at NO: 51 – Over 
“The total in the Saints/Eagles game is set at just 50.5, but 96% of the betting money is on the over according to The Action Network. Sharp bettors expect this game to go over. 55 points were scored in the first meeting between these two teams, and neither defense has improved tremendously since then. In fact, the Eagles should be in an even better position now with Nick Foles, who gets the ball out quicker than Carson Wentz, and can neutralize the Saints defensive line. Expect this one to be a shootout.”
– Anthony Amico (RotoViz)

IND at KC: 57 – Under
“It’s a huge number for any matchup and, while this one features two of the top offenses league-wide, we should at least observe Andrew Luck’s 2018 outdoors numbers (seven-game sample): 254.4 YPG, 6.1 YPA, and a 63.9% completion rate. DC Matt Eberflus is another key. His bend-but-don’t-break unit has allowed just 1.4 red zone scores per game (T-second fewest league-wide). The Colts also allowed just four receptions of 40+ yards all season.”
– Kevin English (Draft Sharks)

PHI at NO: 51 – Over 
“Give me the over (51) in New Orleans. Philadelphia has done wonders to coax respectable play from its injury-riddled secondary, but keeping Mitchell Trubisky in check is a totally different challenge than holding back Drew Brees at home, particularly with the Saints’ offensive line likely getting back left tackle Terron Armstead. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ o-line had a very impressive outing in Chicago, and Nick Foles should be able to hit on some big plays.”
– Des Bieler (The Washington Post)

LAC at NE: 47.5 – Over
“The average from these two teams equals about 54. The Chargers offense has actually put up more points on the road this season, and I expect them to play well against an easier defense this week. The Patriots always turn it on this time of year, and they will exploit their matchup with James White. 47 points really isn’t much for these offenses, and I expect them to clear it.”
– Zach Brunner (FlurrySports)

IND at KC: 57 – Over
“Five of the last six Chiefs games has gone over, averaging 65.5 points. Betting over in this one seems one of the most confident bets in the Divisional Round. Besides, the last time these two teams met each other in the playoffs was five years ago when the Colts won 45-44.”
– Mauricio Gutierrez (Estadio Fantasy)

PHI at NO: 51 – Under
“Seems like the Eagles and Saints should be able to get over 51 points in the Superdome, but both defenses have been playing well of late and it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen Drew Brees airing it out as we’re used to. I think this game will be more of a struggle and could be in the low-to-mid 40s.”
– Jody Smith (FantasyPros)

PHI at NO: 51 – Over 
“PHI-NO should go over 51 points. The Saints have averaged 39.6 points in the past five home games that Drew Brees has played, including a 48-7 victory against the Eagles in Week 11, and Philadelphia has scored at least 30 points twice in four starts with Nick Foles.”
– Jamey Eisenberg (CBS Sports)

View full set of consensus Over/Under game picks here >>

Thank you to the experts for taking the time to provide their picks and analysis. Please give them a follow on Twitter for more advice throughout the playoffs.

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