NFL Divisional round preview: Chiefs, Ravens huge favorites
The AFC has two clear favorites. Don’t believe us? Ask Vegas.
With the lines set for the NFL Divisional round of the 2019-20 NFL playoffs, oddsmakers think the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks of the NFC are about even. The opening line for the tilt has the host Packers laying four points over Seattle. In other words, Green Bay is a measly one-point favorite in a neutral setting. In the other NFC affair, the San Francisco 49ers are laying a decent 6.5 points to the sixth-seeded Minnesota Vikings. A sizable line considering the point in the season.
Then there’s the AFC.
On Saturday night, the Baltimore Ravens host the Tennessee Titans, with Nashville’s finest fresh off their monumental upset of the New England Patriots. On Sunday afternoon, it’s the Kansas City Chiefs welcoming in the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium. Houston escaped its Wild Card meeting with the Buffalo Bills, rallying from a 16-0 deficit to win 22-19 in overtime.
Want $250 to bet on the NFL Divisional Round?Sign up here!
Both Baltimore and Kansas City are whopping 9.5-point favorites, with some books having them at an even 10 points.
For historical comparison, think about the most lopsided NFL Divisional round matchups in recent memory. One would be the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Packers in 1994. Dallas was fresh off a pair of Super Bowl titles — and closing in on a three-peat — while the Packers snuck into the playoffs at 9-7. The Cowboys were 10-point favorites.
Two years later, the Denver Broncos earned the AFC’s top seed with a 13-3 mark and welcomed in the Jacksonville jaguars. Jacksonville finished the regular season at 9-7 with five consecutive wins before beating the Bills in the Wild Card round. Incredibly, the Jaguars upset Denver at Mile High Stadium, doing so as a 12.5-point underdog. It’s considered one of the great upsets in NFL history.
Point being? Should the public bet the Ravens or Chiefs up a bit, we’re closing in on what would be a historical upset for the Titans or Texans, should they have magic in them.
So why are the lines so high? Baltimore is riding a 12-game winning streak and some analytical models point to it as an all-time team. Lamar Jackson is almost assuredly the MVP, and the defense has been fantastic. As for Kansas City, it has Patrick Mahomes and an incredibly offensive supporting cast. Additionally, the defense has been the league’s best in some categories over the past six weeks, all wins.
It appears the Ravens and Chiefs are on a collision course. Then again, that’s why they play the games.