The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the NFL return from their byes to host the four games in the Divisional Round. We’ve already had a look at the games from an ATS perspective, so now let’s look at the action and see where the value lies for totals.
Minnesota Vikings @ San Francisco 49ers
Kirk Cousins and the Vikings are sailing with the wind at their backs after stunning the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card Round. However, the waters are about to get a lot choppier as they head to San Francisco to clash with the NFC’s top seed in the Divisional Round. Cousins delivered against the Saints by outdueling Drew Brees and throwing for 242 yards and a touchdown in a 26-20 overtime win. Running back Dalvin Cook was a beast on the ground with 94 rushing yards and two rushing scores. That tandem will need to be instrumental for Minnesota again this week if they are going to have any shot at keeping this game close. The 49ers are a talented, rested team that has had two weeks to recover, get healthy and prepare for this matchup. The potential return of linebacker Kwon Alexander should provide a spark for the San Francisco defense. Meanwhile, the three-headed running back tandem of Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida should see plenty of work against the Vikings. While Jimmy Garoppolo has shown time and again that he can put this team on his shoulders, the more likely scenario this week is that the 49ers run the ball a ton, win the time of possession battle and play tough defense to grind out a victory at home. With both teams focused on the ground game and limiting big plays on defense, there is a good chance this is one of the lower scoring games of the Divisional Round. The smart money is on the under in this one.
Tennessee Titans @ Baltimore Ravens
Speaking of rushing attacks, there is no question that the Titans and Ravens will be looking to run, run and then run some more when they clash on Saturday night. The NFL’s leading rusher Derrick Henry is coming off a monster performance in which he ran for 182 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 20-13 win over the New England Patriots. Henry could see even more than the 34 carries he had last week against Baltimore this weekend. Meanwhile, for as impressive as Lamar Jackson looked while leading the league with 36 touchdown passes during the regular season, there is a very good chance that he leans a little more on his legs in this matchup. The Ravens have an elite ground game led by Jackson, Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards. Each member of that trio will have a significant impact on this game. While Baltimore benefits from the first-round playoff bye in terms of rest and preparation, Jackson and company could look a little rusty early in this one after the week off. In another situation in which both team want to run the football and play smart defense to limit the big plays, this could be another low scoring game. Once again, it probably makes the most sense to take the under in this one.
Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs
The AFC showdown between the Texans and Chiefs has the highest number on the board for NFL totals this weekend. That isn’t by mistake. It took Houston’s head coach Bill O’Brien nearly three full quarters to realize it made sense to unleash one of the most talented dual-threat quarterbacks in the league in last week’s win over the Buffalo Bills. Deshaun Watson went off in the second half and overtime, helping the Texans survive a scare in a 22-19 win over Buffalo. Now, Watson and company head to Kansas City looking to carry over what they learned from last week and avoid another slow start. DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills are big-time wide receivers that have the potential to deliver big plays in this one. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes and a potent Chiefs offense had an extra week to prepare for a Houston defense that isn’t very good in the first place. After falling one win shy of the Super Bowl a year ago, Andy Reid and company have a chance to avenge that defeat and go all the way this time around. Mahomes and company should put up some massive numbers versus the Texans defense. That will put the burden on Watson, Hopkins and the Houston offense to try to keep up with them. While the Texans will ultimately fall short in the end, they should be able to score enough points to make this an interesting matchup. Houston should also be able to score enough points to push this game over the total. Take the over in this one.
Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers
The Seahawks have shown time and again that they can never be counted out as long as Wilson is at quarterback. Seattle will be an underdog against Green Bay in the Divisional Round. However, they will be the smallest dog on the board this weekend in a game that they could very well win outright. Of course, that isn’t to say that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers aren’t worthy Super Bowl contenders. It’s just that both offense have the potential to put up big numbers in a game that could go down to the wire. The Seahawks have been hit hard by injuries at the running back position. Marshawn Lynch remains an excellent red zone threat, but he doesn’t have the explosiveness to consistently make big plays on the ground. That will force Seattle to lean heavily on Wilson’s arm and legs this Sunday. Meanwhile, Rodgers has struggled with consistency at times. However, he still threw for 4,002 yards and 26 touchdowns this season. The elements could play a role if the forecast calls for snow or freezing rain. Then again, if there are clear skies over Lambeau Field then we could see a higher scoring game in the frozen tundra. Considering the 46 is the lowest number on the board, we will go in the opposite direction and wager on Wilson and Rodgers to deliver an entertaining game with more scoring than expected. Roll the dice and put some money on the over in this one.