After an exciting wild-card round filled with blowout wins and last-minute collapses, the matchups are set for the divisional round.
The screenshot below, which is available for Sportsbook Insider subscribers, displays the opening odds and public betting trends for each matchup. Non-members can also keep up with all the latest line moves by visiting our free NFL odds page.
Last week featured one of the most bizarre storylines with all four home teams opening as underdogs. Green Bay ultimately closed as the lone road favorite and easily defeated the Washington Redskins. In fact, all four visitors were victorious during the wild-card round but only two road teams (Green Bay and Kansas City) covered the closing spread.
In this week’s slate of games, all four home teams opened as favorites. This is fairly interesting since our research shows that, since 2003, road underdogs have gone 30-16 ATS (65.2%) during the divisional round.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (-5)
The Patriots opened as 4.5-point favorites at CRIS and have received 53% of spread bets. Although public betting has been fairly even, the line has moved a half-point from New England -4.5 to -5. This may have been caused by the announcement that star receiver Julian Edelman (Foot) is expected to play on Saturday. It’s also worth noting that “5” is considered a dead number which makes this an inconsequential line move.
Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals (-7)
The Arizona Cardinals opened as 7-point favorites at CRIS and have received 52% of early spread bets. The more interesting line movement involves the total which opened at 50. Although 75% of bettors have taken the over, the total has dropped from 50 to 49.5 at CRIS. This reverse line movement indicates that sharp money has been pounding the under.
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (-2.5)
In what oddsmakers are expecting to be the most competitive game of the weekend, the Panthers opened as 3-point favorites at CRIS and 2.5-point favorites at Pinnacle. Although Carolina has received 69% of early spread bets, the line remains unchanged at both of these market-setting sportsbooks. Since “3” is considered the most valuable key number, bettors should be sure to shop for the best line before placing any bets on this game.
The screenshot below displays the public betting trends from six of our seven contributing offshore sportsbooks:
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos (-6.5)
There are numerous injury concerns for the Steelers with QB Ben Roethlisberger (Shoulder) listed as probable and WR Antonio Brown (Concussion) listed as doubtful. Although this game remains off the board at CRIS, the Broncos opened as 5.5-point favorites at Pinnacle. In early betting, 67% of spread bets have taken Denver which has pushed the line from Broncos -5.5 to -6.5. Our most recent research shows that “6” is the third most common margin of victory, making this a very significant line move.
On Monday morning, 5Dimes posted look-ahead lines for all eight potential conference championship game matchups. It’s interesting to note that only two road teams would be favored in these hypothetical matchups: the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.
AFC Championship Lines
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5)
- Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (-2.5)
- Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (-4)
- New England Patriots (-1.5) at Denver Broncos
NFC Championship Lines
- Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) at Green Bay Packers
- Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers (-3.5)
- Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (-2.5)
- Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers (-2.5)