After the road teams dominated on Wild Card Weekend, there should be a shift in the 2016 divisional playoffs. All four home teams in the second round are favored, according to vegasinsider.com, and history indicates that most of the higher seeds will advance to the conference championship games.
In the last four years, home teams have gone 12-4 in divisional-round games. However, road teams have lost against the spread just once in the last two years in the second round, according to OddsShark. In the past 20 seasons, divisional-round favorites are 35-42-2 against the spread.
Below are picks against the spread for every game in the divisional playoffs, as well as updated betting odds at Las Vegas casinos.
Kansas City Chiefs (+5) at New England Patriots
The Chiefs haven’t lost in nearly three months, but it will be difficult for them to win at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots have reached the AFC Championship Game in four straight seasons, and they are in a good position to do so again in 2016. New England scored nearly 34 points per game before Julian Edelman got hurt, and the team’s offense will get a boost with the return of the wide receiver. Alex Smith is averaging 166 passing yards and an interception in his last six games, and putting up numbers like that won’t be nearly good enough to defeat the Patriots on Saturday.
Prediction ATS: New England
Green Bay Packers (+7) at Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals beat the Packers by 30 points less than three weeks ago, and not much has changed since then. Green Bay managed to defeat Washington in the first round, but the Cardinals are on another level than the Redskins. Aaron Rodgers will need a big game to keep up with Carson Palmer and Arizona’s No.1 ranked offense, but he doesn’t have the weapons around him to do so. Even against the Redskins, the quarterback only threw for 210 yards while completing less than 60 percent of his passes. If Palmer plays like he has for most of the season, it could be a long night for Green Bay.
Prediction ATS: Arizona
Seattle Seahawks (+3) at Carolina Panthers
It should be a close game for much of the way, but the Panthers are the smart pick with the betting line no higher than three points. The Panthers have already won in Seattle this season, and now they get to face the Seahawks in Carolina, where they’ve won 11 consecutive games, including four straight against the spread. As good as Seattle’s defense has been of late, they’ll have trouble limiting the likely MVP and the No.1 scoring offense. Russell Wilson led the NFL in regular-season passer rating, but the Panthers have allowed opposing quarterbacks to post just a 73.5 rating this year.
Prediction ATS: Carolina
Pittsburgh Steelers (+6.5) at Denver Broncos
Considering all their injuries, it will be very difficult for the Steelers to win in Denver. A concussion could keep Antonio Brown from playing, and a shoulder injury might limit Ben Roethlisberger’s effectiveness. But Pittsburgh certainly has a chance to keep Sunday’s game within a touchdown against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Denver's quarterback hasn’t started a game in two months, and he was probably the NFL’s worst signal caller before he went down with an injury. The Broncos have scored more than 27 points in regulation just once this season, and they’ll have a difficult time pulling away in this one.
Prediction ATS: Pittsburgh