266 games down, 3 to go. With only a trio of games left in the NFL season, there are limited opportunities to find winning bets, but luckily, after a perfect week in the divisional round we were able to pinpoint a few bets that are great values, including some player props.
While the media was hesitant to discuss in the aftermath of last week’s win over the Saints, Tom Brady really looked quite mediocre against New Orleans, completing just 54.5% of his passes, while averaging just six yards per pass attempt. Aaron Rodgers, on the other hand, completed 23 of 36 passes for 296 yards against the Rams last Saturday.
Tampa Bay did demolish the Packers 38-10 in October, and that definitely should be a concern for potential Green Bay bettors. But the Bucs are coming off a double digit victory over a Saints team that thrashed them twice during the regular season, which should temper the fears of a repeat performance. In that game Brady threw for two touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over or get sacked once, while Rodgers threw two interceptions and no touchdowns, while being sacked four times. It was the only game this season where Rodgers did not throw a TD pass, in fact he only had one other game with fewer than two TD passes all year. Those two interceptions were also forty percent of the picks Rodgers has thrown this season.
What has changed for the Packers since that Week 5 blowout? Green Bay is 10-2 in their twelve games since the Bucs loss, having only lost a close game to the Vikings and an overtime game in Indianapolis. The Packers are 8-1 in Lambeau this season, with the first Bucs matchup having taken place in Tampa. After losing to the Colts in Week 11, the Packers have reeled off seven consecutive wins, all by at last seven points. In all fourteen of Green Bay’s wins this season, they have won by four points or more, a greater margin than this week’s spread.
It’s hard to criticize a Bucs team that has scored 61 points in two playoff wins, but watching the games, it’s clear that the Bucs offense has looked sluggish at times, while the quality of offenses they have faced pale in comparison to the well-oiled machine led by Aaron Rodgers. If a hobbled Alex Smith can score 20 points on the Bucs D, and a shouldn’t-have-still-been-playing Drew Brees can manage 23 points, it says here that the Packers will top the 30 mark.
Final Score: Packers 31, Bucs 23
Both teams have 15 wins this season, but they have gone about their business very differently this season. The Chiefs are 6-10-1 against the spread while the Bills are 12-6, the best mark in the league. Only the Dallas Cowboys won fewer games ATS than the Chiefs did this season.
While the Bills were an average of 5.4 points per game better than their projected spreads, also the best number in the NFL, the Chiefs were a half point per game worse than their projected spreads.
If you are planning on betting on the Bills, then you have two options. You can either put the bet in now before the line moves towards Buffalo if Patrick Mahomes is a legitimate question mark heading into Sunday. Alternatively, if you think Mahomes is a lock to play Sunday then you should wait until that becomes clear, at which point the line may shift more towards the Chiefs.
Either way, the play here is to bet the Bills on the moneyline. If Mahomes doesn’t play, the bet looks fantastic, and if he does, the +140 number is still pretty enticing for a spread this small.
Final Score: Bills 27, Chiefs 24
Props of the Week
Jones has only gone under 56.5 rushing yards four times all season, but one of those games was against the Bucs, where he carried the ball ten times for 19 yards. The Bucs defense was stifling against the run all year, allowing only 1,289 yards on the season at a clip of 3.6 yards per carry. While he has played well of late, the running back has only 35 carries over the last three weeks, a sign that Green Bay is going away from the running game.
Gronk has only caught one pass in his first two postseason games this year, but a closer look at the data shows that over 26.5 is a juicy proposition. Last week, Brady threw six passes Gronk’s way, though he only caught one for 14 yards. The week before he did not catch his only target. But in the regular season, Gronkowski topped that number in 11 of his last 44 games, including an excellent 5 catch, 78 yards, one TD day against the Packers. This figures to be a big passing day for Brady and there’s also a real chance the Bucs will be playing from behind.