Bettors made the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills their first plays from scrimmage, jumping aboard opportunities for the teams in the Divisional Round of the 2023 NFL Playoffs.
DraftKings gamblers took the Giants at the opening +8.5 against the host Philadelphia Eagles heavily enough to drop the line to 7 on Monday. That’s when Eagles bettors boarded the betting train and nudged the line back up to -7.5.
Bills backers took the tricky -3.5 opening number to the extent it went up to +5 on Monday against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars mirror the spread from their November matchup. Kansas City was -9.5 then and triumphed 27-17. Host Kansas City opened at -8.5 for this one.
The San Francisco 49ers are favored over the Dallas Cowboys, who thumped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-14 on Monday night to punch their ticket to the divisional round.
Cowboys bettors made the first charge, lowering a line that had been as high as +4.5 at some sportsbooks down to +4 on early Tuesday morning.
Here are NFL betting trends and playoff props for the AFC and NFC Divisional Round at the best sportsbook apps.
Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5) vs. New York Giants
The Eagles seek the difficult accomplishment of beating a team three times in one season. Three times in December and January — in fact.
The Niners already pulled off the feat this year by topping the Seattle Seahawks last weekend, 41-23.
NFL · Sat (1/21) @ 8:15pm ET
|Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
The health of the Eagles is a major issue and has caused their failure to cover in four straight games.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played one game in the last four weeks, but he is expected to be 90-95% in the playoff contest. Doctors described Hurts’ shoulder strain as a level two, or intermediate severity.
Lane Johnson, a significant cog in the Eagles’ offensive line, is expected to make his return after four weeks away. Johnson has an NFL-high mark of 28 games without yielding a sack. He is expected to be about 90% in his battle against a sports hernia. Johnson has withheld surgery until after the season.
The Eagles need Johnson, who head coach Nick Sirianni terms “the best tackle in football.”
The Eagles, according to Pro Football Focus, are 59-29-1 with him in the lineup since 2016 and 9-21 without. There is no stat of Johnson at 90%, but that’s what bettors will be handicapping into the equation.
These additions, plus the recent return of Dallas Goedert and the potent receiving corps of DeVonta Smith and AJBrown, give the Eagles their best chance to recapture their early-season dominance.
The Giants are an NFL-best 14-4 against the spread (ATS). Daniel Jones’ running ability came back into force in New York’s 31-24 playoff triumph over the Minnesota Vikings. It was the Giants’ first playoff win in 11 years and this team comes rolling into Philly.
Saquon Barkley is again a receiving threat out of the backfield and wide receiver Darius Slayton has regained his spark.
The Giants have not been able to contain Philadelphia in two meetings, especially the 48-22 blowout at MetLife Stadium.
New York displayed the ability to thwart one standout receiver last week, limiting the league’s top receiver Justin Jefferson to just 47 yards. That opened the door for tight end TJ Hockenson to snare a Travis Kelce-like 129 yards for Minnesota.
Gamblers will weigh whether that elevates Goedert, the Eagles’ tight end, this week.
Philadelphia has two prolific receivers in Smith and Brown. If the Giants smother one with excessive coverage, the other receiver and Goedert could enjoy big days.
Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville hung right with Kansas City during their regular-season matchup, barely missing a cover with a 27-17 loss at +9.5. A missed field goal by Riley Patterson accounted for the spread difference.
That marked a season-low mark of 3-7 for the Jags, who have since gone 7-1 straight up (SU) and against the spread. That includes 6-0 on both counts in the last six weeks.
The Jags have a penchant for major rallies.
DraftKings bettors cashed +1200 for moneyline odds at halftime last week, when the Jags trailed the Los Angeles Chargers 27-7 and had to kick off to start the second half.
Gamblers also took the Jags at close to even-money with lopsided spreads across multiple sportsbooks late in the first half. That’s when Jacksonville received point spreads of +26.5 and +27. Some gamblers rode that trail all the way through the second half, including +450 at DraftKings when Jacksonville trailed 30-20 at the end of the third quarter.
Bettors picked up on the momentum that came with an increased Jacksonville pass rush, disturbing the timing Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert had secured with his receivers. A missed field goal when leading 30-20 in the fourth quarter also kept the Chargers from putting more pressure on Jacksonville.
In the end, it was a momentum tsunami and Jacksonville is no longer concerned about having to rally. Here are some of the Jags’ second-half exploits:
- Hurdling a 17-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Dallas Cowboys
- Overcoming a 10-point fourth-quarter hole against the Baltimore Ravens
- Reversing a fourth-quarter deficit to the Tennessee Titans, in which their defense provided the winning TD
And now, the third-largest comeback in NFL postseason history (trailing only the Buffalo Bills’ 32 points versus the Houston Oilers in 1993, and the Indianapolis Colts’ 28 points against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014).
One important part of that consideration is that the Jags were home.
Now they visit Kansas City, where the athleticism of likely MVP Patrick Mahomes will be a formidable obstacle. Mahomes creates an abundance of targets by keeping plays alive long enough for receivers to break open.
Buffalo Bills (-5) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Both teams come in showing some vulnerability, coming off moneyline wins but no covers.
NFL · Sun (1/22) @ 3:01pm ET
|Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, New York|
The Bengals at -8.5 gave up some huge rushing chunks to Tyler Huntley before defeating the Baltimore Ravens, 24-17. They may face a similar scrambler in Josh Allen of the Bills.
Allen is also showing some weakness, however, which bettors have been playing into.
Allen finished the regular season with a league-high 19 turnovers, making him throwing a pick a profitable wager.
He did it again Sunday, returning +120 at DraftKings. He actually threw two interceptions.
Allen is a gunslinger, which is great for bettors playing his yardage totals. And an errant bomb can be picked off.
Allen’s two picks, his fumble that produced a TD, and lax special-teams coverage prompted Buffalo to allow 21 points via self-inflicted wounds last week. Buffalo barely survived the Miami Dolphins, 34-31, at -13. Bettors must decide if the near-seismic meltdown will now motivate this team.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, is seemingly in the 25-point range, on cue, every week.
Given injuries to his offensive line, quarterback Joe Burrow is throwing short passes. This negates Ja’Marr Chase’s deep-threat impact. He was nonetheless a clutch receiver for Cincinnati against the Ravens.
Backers of the Bills and Bengals cashed some nice tickets last weekend.
Bills bettors were all over Dawson Knox, the productive tight end. The scrambling ability of Allen allows him to slide into creases and hit paydirt.
Knox was the fifth-highest bet player at DraftKings to notch the first touchdown that he did. He returned +1100.
Chase provided the other big payoff to bettors. He returned +600 to be the first touchdown scorer and +105 to tally first.
PointsBet rewarded bettors at +240 for Knox as an anytime scorer.
If Buffalo and Kansas City triumph, they will meet for the AFC championship next week at a neutral site.
San Francisco 49ers (-4) vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Niners pulled off a methodical second half against the Seattle Seahawks.
One ball-control drive chewed up 75 yards and 7:45. Another took seven plays for 70 yards and 3:23. There was also the 74-yard touchdown strike from Brock Purdy to Deebo Samuel.
The Niners are a patient team and will be difficult for Dallas.
NFL · Sun (1/22) @ 6:40pm ET
|Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California|
Skeptics of the 49ers are waiting for the week that quarterback Brock Purdy plays like a rookie.
That hasn’t happened, in part, because Purdy is not asked to do too much. He has the luxury of handing off and dumping off to Christian McCaffrey, reducing the chance for errors.
That said, a revamped Dallas defense, which smothered Tom Brady on Monday night, will try to disrupt Purdy. Dallas seeks to win two postseason games in one year for the first time since 1995.
Bettors won’t know what to make of Brett Maher missing four extra points on Monday night. He’s an excellent kicker. Fortunately for Dallas, his accuracy was not needed.
Dalton Schultz, the Dallas tight end we have touted all year, continued his productivity on Monday night. He notched two touchdowns, including the big payout of +1300 at DraftKings to produce the first score.
Bettors may give him a longer look this week. The Cowboys also will prompt support for being the lone first-round team to wire its opponent.
Dallas’ win on Monday also could end the Tampa Bay career of Tom Brady, whom PointsBet announced as its +250 favorite to quarterback the Las Vegas Raiders on Opening Day next season.