For the first time since the NFL expanded to the current playoff format, all four road teams won in the wild card round of the playoffs. Not many people are betting on the same happening in the divisional round.
The home teams — New England, Arizona, Carolina and Denver — are favored in all four divisional round games.
New England opened as a 4.5-point favorite and has risen to a 5 or 5.5-point favorite at some sports books. The Chiefs are on an impressive 11-game winning streak, but they haven’t beaten anyone as good as the Patriots during that streak.
Arizona opened as a 6.5-point favorite and quickly rose to a favorite of 7.5 or 8.5 points at some books, as bettors think the Cardinals will beat the Packers handily, as they did in Week 16. It’s hard to ignore the score of Cardinals 38, Packers 8 when picking that game.
Carolina opened as a 2.5-point favorite and has risen to 3 points at some books. That essentially means the oddsmakers think the 15-1 Panthers are approximately as good a team as the Seahawks, a wild card team that barely beat the Vikings on Sunday. The Seahawks haven’t always been at the top of their game this season, but when they’re playing their best, they’re as good as anyone in the NFL. The oddsmakers recognize that.
Denver opened as a 3-point favorite over Pittsburgh and has risen to as high as a 7-point favorite, although some sports books aren’t taking action on that game until there’s more clarity on the status of injured Steelers stars Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and DeAngelo Williams. If all three are healthy, the point spread in that game will drop. If all three are ruled out, it will rise.
If you think all four road teams will win for the second consecutive weekend, a four-team money line parlay on Kansas City, Green Bay, Seattle and Pittsburgh would pay $8,256 on a $100 bet. Not exactly a safe bet, but better odds than the Powerball.