Wild-card weekend saw the underdogs dominate. Three of the four winners went into their first-round playoff games getting points. The only favorite to win was the 49ers, and they were on the road.
The games were close, as the winners barely covered the betting line, Only the Chargers’ game was decided by more than three points.
Below are picks against the spread for the divisional round of the 2014 NFL playoffs
New Orleans Saints (+8) at Seattle Seahawks
The matchup took place at the beginning of December, and it didn’t go well for New Orleans. Since then, the Saints have won a road playoff game, but it doesn’t change the fact that they had the worst road record against the spread in the 2013 regular season. Seattle matches up well with New Orleans. They have the best pass defense in the NFL, and have proven they will contain any big name quarterback, even Drew Brees. The Saints have also been bad at stopping the run, and one good game in Philadelphia won’t change that.
Prediction ATS: Seattle
Indianapolis Colts (+7) at New England Patriots
Andrew Luck is living up to all the expectations that were placed on him when he entered the 2012 NFL Draft. He may not be in the same class as quarterbacks like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but his recent play suggests he’s not that far behind. The Colts offense was unstoppable in their first-round playoff game, and it has been very strong for the last month. The Patriots are unbeaten at home, and sport a high-powered offense of their own. However, they have their flaws, and Indianapolis should have a chance for most of the way.
Prediction ATS: Indianapolis
San Francisco 49ers (-1) at Carolina Panthers
The two teams were just about as even as possible this season. They both won 12 games, they finished No.2 and No.3 in points allowed, and their head-to-head matchup was decided by just one point. San Francisco, though, has the edge in the most important aspect of the game. Colin Kaepernick has proven on multiple occasions that he can get the job done in the postseason. While Cam Newton has played well in the regular season, the quarterback, as well as many of the Panthers, has never been to the playoffs. Experience should win out in this contest.
Prediction ATS: San Francisco
San Diego Chargers (+9.5) at Denver Broncos
The Chargers are playing much better than their 9-7 record might indicate, having won five in a row. They’ve been especially good against the better teams in the league, and don’t have to worry about a letdown in the playoffs. Peyton Manning has been incredible for the Broncos this year, but Philip Rivers has been as good as any other full-time starting quarterback. San Diego faced Denver twice in the regular season, and was never defeated by more than 9.5 points. Sunday should be no different.
Prediction ATS: San Diego