5 Key Betting Factors for 2018 NFL Playoff Divisional Round

January 11, 2018 Greg Turner

BY HARRY BONDI

Over the last few days, my staff and I have met multiple times to discuss what we have found through our extensive research regarding the NFL playoffs, and below are just a few key factors out of the dozens and dozens we have uncovered.

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Now, onto some key handicapping factors for NFL Divisional Round weekend:

1. BYE WEEK IS OVERRATED

Since 1978, when the first-round bye was introduced to the NFL playoff system, 59 of the 74 Super Bowl participants were teams that got to rest during the Wild Card Round. But that doesn’t make these teams invincible. In 10 of the last 11 years at least one of the teams coming off a bye in the divisional round lost outright, with 2015 as the exception. Last year, both Dallas and Kansas City got bounced, despite having the benefit of a week off.

Since 2006, teams that are off a bye week in the divisional round are 28-18 straight up, but just 18-27-1 ATS, and including the last six years when the record is 18-6 SU, but just 10-14 ATS. The fact that the record of these same rested teams was 51-13 SU and 38-26 ATS from 1990 thru 2005, makes us think the oddsmaker finally caught up and is baking the bye week factor into the line.

As for No. 1 seeds, they are just 10-18 ATS in Divisional Round games since 2003, despite the fact that the No. 1 seeds in each conference have advanced to the Super Bowl in three of the last four years.

2. THE DOGS HAVE BEEN BARKING
Since 1985, favorites are 84-79-4 ATS in the divisional round, but since 2006 underdogs have gone 25-18-1 ATS (59%) with 16 outright upsets. Also, double-digit favorites in this round are 24-20-2 ATS since 1990 with 12 of those big dogs winning outright.

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3. BLOWOUTS ARE COMMONPLACE
In 2015, all four divisional round games were decided by 7 points or less, but that was a rare occurrence. In the last 30 years, more than half the divisional round games (84 out of 164) have been decided by 11 points or more, and 70 of those games were decided by more than two touchdowns.

4. ATS PLAYOFF STRUGGLES FOR BRADY & THE PATS
New England has built a true dynasty and since 2003 they are the  best team in the NFL against the spread, going 158-106-7 (59.9%), including a 27-8 ATS run since the start of the 2016 season.

But the Pats have not been a dominant playoff ATS team. Despite a 3-0 record last year, the Patriots have covered just 9 of their last 21 playoff games. On that same note, Tom Brady is 25-9 straight up in the postseason, but just 17-17 ATS, including 3-4 ATS in the Super Bowl and 2-3 ATS as a double-digit favorite. And those numbers include the 10-0 SU/6-4 ATS start he got to his playoff career.

5. OVERS HAVE BEEN PROFITABLE
Since 1975, overs in the divisional round have cashed at a 55% clip (68-56), but they’ve been especially kind in recent years, going 19-9 (68%) since 2010, including 3-1 last year.

This is impressive since many of these games have been played in cold weather sites, just like this year where there is expected to be frigid conditions in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New England.

What does it all mean for this weekend’s games? Give Harry Bondi a call today to find out!

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