NFL: Your Betting Guide to the NFL Divisional Round

NFL Sports News


  • Home teams went 5-1 in Super Wild Card weekend of the NFL, with only the Dallas Cowboys losing to the Packers at home.
  • How much was momentum a factor in Wild Card Weekend, and what about rematches?
  • We break down what’s happened in the NFL Divisional Round the last five years.

The NFL knows how to deliver excitement.

Three crazy days of football kicked off the NFL playoffs. There was snow (a lot of it) in Buffalo, ice (a lot of it) in Kansas City and drama (almost too much) in Detroit. Eight teams remain.

Michigan Sportsbooks have posted the lines for this weekend’s Divisional Round. Caesars and FanDuel will each have plenty of prop bets and game markets for each of the four games. No surprise the home teams: Baltimore, San Francisco, Detroit and Buffalo are all the early favorites.

Before we think about placing our bets on this weekend’s games, let’s review what we learned from the Wild Card Round.

No Place Like Home 

Home teams went 5-1 this weekend straight up. The two home underdogs, the Texans and the Bucs, each won by wide margins.

Taking the points was the move this weekend. The Lions had their historic win over the Rams, but didn’t cover the three-point spread. Favorites went 2-4 against the spread in the Wild Card Round.

Detroit was the best team in the NFL against the spread in the regular season at 12-5, so naturally, they were the only favored team not to cover.

The NFL Is Under

In the regular season, almost 53 percent of the regular season games hit the under. The final record in the regular season was 244 games over, 280 under and six ties.

That trend didn’t quite carry over into the playoffs. There was a lot of action on the total for two cold-weather games on the total in KC and Buffalo. The Chiefs game did hit the under, while Buffalo and Pittsburgh went over. That was no surprise, the Chiefs were one of the worst over/under teams in the NFL at 5-12.

For the weekend, it was an even over/under split at 3-3.

Will the weather be an issue this weekend? The early forecast in Buffalo for Sunday night is snow showers, but temperatures in the upper 20s. Saturday afternoon in Baltimore looks mild for this time of year.

Did Momentum And Rematches Matter? 

All 12 of the teams in the Wild Card Round had a streak one way or the other. The Eagles are the clearest indication of momentum. They had lost five of six, and looked horrible against the Bucs.

But Dallas hadn’t lost a home game in almost two years, and they also got crushed by the Packers. The Browns had won four of five, but Houston whipped them.

We had three rematches in the Wild Card Round from the regular season. The only team to win both the regular season game and the playoff game was Kansas City over Miami. Both Tampa Bay and Houston lost the first time, but won in the playoffs.

We have three rematches this weekend. Baltimore beat Houston back in Week 1. Detroit beat the Bucs in Week 5, and the Bills beat the Chiefs in Week 14.

Divisional Round History 

Pick one underdog to win and cover. That’s what the recent history of the NFL Divisional Round tells us.

In the last four years, at least one lower seeded team has won in the Divisional Round. In 2021, three of the four lower seeds went on the road and won. In 2018, it was a clean sweep of the higher seeds.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.