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If you bet on all four underdogs in the NFL’s Wild-Card Weekend last season, you busted as all the favorites covered. In this past weekend’s Wild-Card action, however, all four underdogs were against the spread winners and two of them – Atlanta and Tennessee – won outright.
It’s generally tougher for underdogs to cover in the Divisional Round, however. That’s because the home teams all have had the bye week to rest up and scout the opponent. There’s a reason teams play so hard for a potential top-two seed in each conference.
The biggest favorite this weekend is also the Super Bowl 52 odds favorite, New England at -13.5 on Saturday night at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com against the Titans, who haven’t won in Foxboro since 1993. The Patriots have won their past 17 games, regular season and playoffs, straight up as a double-digit favorite. They were -16.5 in the Divisional Round last year against Houston and prevailed 34-16.
This past regular season, the Pats were at least -10 four times and were 3-1 ATS.
The early Saturday game is historic because Atlanta is a 3-point favorite at Philadelphia, the NFC’s top seed. The NFL began basing home-field advantage in the playoffs on team’s regular-season records back in 1975. This is the first time a No. 1 seed has been an underdog in its playoff opener. The Eagles are getting little respect because they lost starting quarterback and NFL MVP candidate Carson Wentz to a season-ending ACL injury in Week 14. The Falcons were +6.5 last week at the Los Angeles Rams and won 26-13.
Sunday’s first game features the Steelers as a 7.5-point home favorites over Jacksonville. Interesting number considering the Jaguars won 30-9 in Pittsburgh in Week 5 thanks to five interceptions of Ben Roethlisberger, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
Jacksonville did struggle offensively in last Sunday’s 10-3 win over Buffalo. The Steelers will have All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown after he missed the final two-plus games of the regular season to a calf injury.
The Divisional Round concludes Sunday with New Orleans at Minnesota, which is -4. The Vikings had the NFL’s best ATS record during the season at 11-5 and were 6-2 ATS at U.S. Bank Stadium, host of Super Bowl LII. This is a rematch of a Week 1 game there, in which Minnesota beat New Orleans 29-19 as a 3-point favorite. The Saints enter having covered only two of their past eight overall.
For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.