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Strategy Addict: NFL Divisional Round Wagering Guide

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Hello, Field Gull friends. Wish I would have had time to discuss my picks last week as the DVOA monster was in full swing in Houston and Cincinnati. It was good that I was able to get that video up for you guys before the week went sideways anyway. Even though my analysis of how Marshawn Lynch was going to save the day for us was just a taaaad bit off. At least I was right about Rubin and Russell!

Mainly cashing this weekend
Mainly cashing this weekend
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

You see, no article last week because I lost my grandma Betty last Wednesday shortly after filming that video. It was coming soon and I thankfully had a chance to say goodbye the weekend before of course, but it was still so sudden that I was taken aback. You can prepare for these types of things in the abstract, but when you realize ‘I don’t have any grandmas anymore’ the relentless march of time and inevitableness of the stages of our lives becomes painfully clear. Everyone has their time for this feeling.

At this point I’m inclined to agree with my kid brother in that grandma was ‘kind of badass’. Consciously choosing to end your life a month earlier than medically possible because you see your loved ones suffering more than you… yep, kind of badass. The straight definition of grace.

So, back to the weekend before last where I am talking to my grandma for the last time. After exhausting all small talk and pleasantries I see a moment of clarity on her face, ‘The Seahawks", she says. "I had them set up the game in my room, we were all here to watch… and they played horrible!" "Oh god, not the fucking RAMS," I thought. I can’t imagine someone seeing the Seahawks for the last time being that game.

Fast forward a few weeks and I’m feeling pretty comfortable with myself (I still believe the most self-conscious space in the world is in the front row at a funeral) and as the services are wrapping up I remember that last conversation about the Hawks with grandma. Asking my father about the Seahawks was an appreciated diversion to the event at hand anyway and he was able to assay my fears. No, the Rams game was not the last game grandma saw. She was able to follow the next game where they beat the piss out of Arizona.

That makes me feel better than it probably should.

Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots (-5.5)
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals (-7)

Truth time. The Divisional round of the NFL playoffs is the reason that I got into sports betting. You see, there is a phenomenon at work that always creates value on the team holding the bye for the next round. Not value to win or lose the game, but value to cover the spread. When I heard about this repeating phenomenon I was amazed.

What happens is the betting public just saw a "dangerous" Wild Card team beat up on another not so fortunate team. This year it is Kansas City and Green Bay. They can’t be stopped! This will create a situation where lines makers have to set the line lower than they would have otherwise to even out the action. What do you think the line for Kansas City at New England would have been if we didn’t just see them obliterate the Texans? Hint: Not -5.5.

No, let’s be honest here; the Chiefs just beat a back up QB and the Packers just beat a first year starter. Tom Brady and Carson Palmer with a bye week to prepare can’t be farther than the situation we just saw. This is a trap situation for square bettors, and I love taking advantage of it year after year.

You might fondly remember last year that Carolina beat Arizona in the Wild Card round and then got handily beat by the Seahawks in the Divisional Round. Then it was also the Ravens who piled on Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, just to get beat by New England. Dallas squeaked by the Lions before getting beat by Green Bay, in Green Bay. Only the Colts won on the road in the Divisional Round in 2014. The #1 and #2 seed SU records in the Divisional round from 2009 to 2014 is 17-7.

I’m staying away from Pittsburgh and Seattle as those lines are pretty sharp given there is no big win or momentum going into the next round. But the Patriots and Arizona lines are playing perfectly into the typical Divisional Round thesis.

Betting System: Ready and Rested

Odds and trends provided by sportsbookreview.com.

As always, do your due diligence and be aware that lines are made to get action at 50% on each side and are not a 50/50 proposition. Good luck!