NFL Divisional Playoffs: Betting Advice & Props

Wild Card weekend was a boon to bettors who sided with the underdogs. Favorites went a big old 0-4 against the spread in the opening round of the playoffs, and two ‘dogs won straight-up (Atlanta and Tennessee), which was unexpected, given that every line closed at six points or higher. Heading into the Divisional Round, we have two more touchdown-plus spreads in the AFC, but a pair of tighter games in the NFC. We also have a historic first, as the Philadelphia Eagles are the first-ever no. 1-seed to be an underdog in their opening playoff game, sitting at +3 in their matchup with the Falcons. Henceforth, bettors shall refer to that as a “Foles-ian Adjustment.”

Will Matt Ryan and the Falcons send Nick Foles’ Eagles home early? Will the Patriots crush the Titans by double-digits as the current spread suggests? Will any of the Divisional Round games go to overtime? Time to assess all the odds and props for the NFL’s best weekend of the year, including a look ahead at the fate of the remaining coaches.

2018 Divisional Round Odds & Futures

Tom Brady of the New England Patriots
Tom Brady (Photo Credit: Andrew Campbell CC License)

Atlanta Falcons vs Philadelphia Eagles

Vegas spread: Falcons -3
MTS’ improved spread:
Falcons -3.5
MTS’ odds to win outright

  • Falcons: 2/3 (60%)
  • Eagles: 3/2 (40%)

Against-the-spread betting advice: Experience matters in the postseason. The Falcons have it. The Eagles don’t. They have Nick Foles instead. Take Atlanta -3.

[Also check out our comprehensive Falcons vs Eagles game preview.]

Tennessee Titans vs New England Patriots

Vegas spread: Patriots -14
MTS’ improved spread:
Patriots -12
MTS’ odds to win outright

  • Patriots: 1/7 (87.5%)
  • Titans: 7/1 (12.5%)

Against-the-spread betting advice: Travis Kelce was killing the Titans before he got injured in the Wild Card game. Rob Gronkowski is going to do the same … or worse. But Derrick Henry and the Tennessee run-game should find enough success against a suspect New England front seven to keep it within two touchdowns. Patriots win, Titans cover.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Vegas spread: Steelers -7.5
MTS’ improved spread:
Steelers -8.5
MTS’ odds to win outright

  • Steelers: 2/7 (78%)
  • Jaguars: 7/2 (22%)

Against-the-spread betting advice: Only another five-interception meltdown from Ben Roethlisberger is going to result in a Jaguar victory, and even that could be offset by a regressing Blake Bortles pulling his own Three Mile Island. While the Jags (pass) defense is elite, Pittsburgh has the horses to copy what the 49ers did to Jacksonville in Week 16. Roll with Pittsburgh -7.5.

New Orleans Saints vs Minnesota Vikings

Vegas spread: Vikings -4
MTS’ improved spread:
Vikings -2.5
MTS’ odds to win outright

  • Vikings: 3/4 (57%)
  • Saints: 4/3 (43%)

Against-the-spread betting advice: This is January, and this game is in a dome. Give me Drew Brees over Case Keenum all day long, Keenum’s immaculate 2017 season notwithstanding. Need a reason to write-off the Week 1 matchup, which Minny won 29-19? Adrian Peterson was getting carries for the Saints back then, and Dalvin Cook rushed for 122 yards for the Vikes. Take the Saints +4.

Super Bowl 52 Futures: Pre-Divisional Round

  • Patriots: 9/5
  • Vikings: 9/2
  • Steelers: 6/1
  • Falcons: 7/1
  • Saints: 11/1
  • Eagles: 15/1
  • Jaguars: 29/1
  • Titans: 49/1

2018 Divisional Round Props

Yannick Ngakoue of the Jacksonville Jaguars making a strip-sack
Yannick Ngakoue of the Jacksonville Jaguars making a strip-sack (Photo Credit: SanFranFanad YouTube)

Player Ejection Odds (assuming at least one ejection)

  • Taylor Lewan (Titans): 49/1
  • Yannick Ngakoue (Jaguars): 49/1
  • James Harrison (Patriots): 54/1
  • Jalen Ramsey (Jaguars): 54/1
  • Sean Davis (Steelers): 59/1
  • Deion Jones (Falcons): 59/1
  • Stephon Gilmore (Patriots): 59/1
  • Vonn Bell (Saints): 64/1
  • Cameron Jordan (Saints): 64/1
  • FIELD: 1/6

Lewan and Ngakoue are both hot-heads likely to be on the losing side. Their track records for unnecessary roughness penalties make them prime candidates for ejection, as does James Harrison’s track record for stuff like this.

Coach Ejection Odds (assuming at least one ejection)

  • Sean Payton (Saints): 4/1
  • Mike Mularkey (Titans): 5/1
  • Mike Tomlin (Steelers): 5/1
  • Mike Zimmer (Vikings): 7/1
  • Doug Pederson (Eagles): 8/1
  • Dan Quinn (Falcons): 9/1
  • Doug Marrone (Jaguars): 10/1
  • Bill Belichick (Patriots): 15/1

You show me a ref who’s prepared to toss Bill Belichick from a playoff game, and I’ll show you the star of my Dos Equis-inspired “Bravest Man in the World” ads.

O/U Passing Yards

  • Tom Brady (Patriots): 263.5
  • Matt Ryan (Falcons): 241.5
  • Drew Brees (Saints): 235.5
  • Case Keenum (Vikings): 230.5
  • Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers): 226.5
  • Marcus Mariota (Titans): 225.5
  • Blake Bortles (Jaguars): 209.5
  • Nick Foles (Eagles): 200.5

Odds to Go to Overtime

  • Falcons vs Eagles: 11/1
  • Saints vs Vikings: 13/1
  • Jaguars vs Steelers: 15/1
  • Titans vs Patriots: 19/1

Odds of Snow

  • Titans vs Patriots: 4/1
  • Jaguars vs Steelers: 9/2
  • Falcons vs Eagles: 17/1
  • Saints vs Vikings: OFF

Fanbase Most Likely to Throw Debris onto the Field

  • Eagles: 1/1
  • Vikings: 2/1
  • Steelers: 11/2
  • Patriots: 9/1

Team Most Likely to Have Sideline Blow-up

  • Titans: 4/1
  • Jaguars: 4/1
  • Eagles: 6/1
  • Saints: 8/1
  • Vikings: 9/1
  • Falcons: 9/1
  • Steelers: 11/1
  • Patriots: 15/1

Every team has guys who will get real angry if things don’t go their way, so the ordering here basically corresponds with which teams are most likely to be down big.

Odds to Have the Biggest End Zone Celebration

  • Vikings: 9/2
  • Steelers: 5/1
  • Eagles: 6/1
  • Falcons: 6/1
  • Saints: 8/1
  • Titans: 9/1
  • Jaguars: 9/1
  • Patriots: 18/1

The Vikings and Steelers’ celebration game has been on point all year. The Eagles’ too, and they’d be higher if they were more likely to find the end zone. Alas: Nick Foles.

Last time I checked, no one on the Patriots’ roster had “choreograph TD celebrations” as part of their job description.

2018-19 Playoff & Coaching Futures

Mike Mularkey, head coach of the Tennessee Titans
Mike Mularkey, head coach of the Tennessee Titans (Photo Credit: Vines Larsen YouTube)

Odds Remaining Playoff Coaches Are Not With Same Team Next Season

  • Mike Mularkey (Titans): 3/1
  • Sean Payton (Saints): 29/1
  • Mike Zimmer (Vikings): 39/1
  • Mike Tomlin (Steelers): 49/1
  • Dan Quinn (Falcons): 99/1
  • Doug Pederson (Eagles): 199/1
  • Doug Marrone (Jaguars): 199/1
  • Bill Belichick (Patriots): 499/1

Mularkey is the only one with a shot to lose his job based on performance, despite ownership’s vote of confidence following Tennessee’s Wild Card win. For the rest of this group, Payton is next because every offseason we hear he’s going to get traded. It’s not going to happen, not after a season like this, but still, the rumors will be out there, you can bank on that. Zimmer is next due to health concerns.

Odds Remaining Playoff Teams Miss 2019 Playoffs

  • Titans: 1/2
  • Falcons: 2/3
  • Saints: 3/4
  • Vikings: 5/4
  • Eagles: 4/3
  • Jaguars: 3/2
  • Steelers: 7/3
  • Patriots: 5/1

Those odds might seem a little short for most teams at first glance. But don’t get too caught up in the moment. One thing you can count on is substantial change in the playoff field from year to year … outside of the Patriots, that is. On average, only half of the playoff teams return next season.

AlexanderP

Alexander is the MTS editor-in-chief. Frank, Alex, and Geoff brought him in when they realized that their betting expertise far surpassed their grammatical abilities. He loves overanalyzing college basketball trends. Talking to him during the first weekend of March Madness is like talking to a wall. A very focused wall, but a wall nonetheless.