NFL playoff tips: Best bets for the divisional round
The 49ers and Chiefs are among the teams Jack Green is backing in his NFL tips for the second round of the postseason.
San Francisco 49ers (-7) to beat Minnesota Vikings (21:35)
Teams coming off a first-round bye have a major advantage this week. Of the 32 divisional round games over the last eight years, 25 were won by teams that rested during the wild card round, including all four in 2019.
The 49ers should benefit from having last week off against a Vikings team that are coming off a gruelling overtime win over the New Orleans Saints.
Minnesota played well on Sunday, although the Saints were nowhere near their best but still managed to force overtime as the Vikings faded in the second half.
San Francisco will make them pay for a similar performance. They came through an incredibly tough schedule over the second half of the season to secure the NFC’s top seed, and will be incredibly tough to beat following an extra week of preparation.
Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5) v Houston Texans (01:15)
Houston beat Kansas City back in Week 6, but it’s hard to see them repeating the feat on Saturday.
The Chiefs were in great form over the final few weeks of the regular season, winning six consecutive games while holding three of their opponents under 10 points.
The Texans lost three times in their last seven regular-season games, with all three of those defeats coming by a margin of 14 points or more.
They didn’t look particularly impressive last week in a scrappy victory over the Buffalo Bills, and will need to vastly improve to have any chance against a rested Kansas City team.
Tennessee Titans (+9.5) v Baltimore Ravens (20:05)
It’s tough to bet against a Ravens team that have won 12 consecutive games, but the Titans should keep this one close on Sunday evening.
Tennessee have won 11 of their 14 games since Ryan Tannehill took over as starting quarterback in Week 6, and haven’t lost by more than 10 points during that period.
The Titans’ offense has been their strength this season, but they were excellent defensively last week, holding the New England Patriots to just 13 points.
There’s little chance of them limiting Baltimore to a similar total, but the Ravens have stuttered slightly against playoff teams like the 49ers and Chiefs this season, so it’s worth trusting the Titans and taking the points in a hefty handicap.
Seattle Seahawks (+4) v Green Bay Packers (23:40)
The Seahawks have been the best road team in the NFL this season, winning seven of their eight away games in the regular season before beating the Eagles in Philadelphia last weekend.
The Eagles did lose quarterback Carson Wentz to a concussion during the game, but Seattle have proven themselves on the road all season and must be respected on Sunday.
The Packers went 13-3 in the regular season but were clearly the least impressive of the top four seeds. They nearly lost to the lowly Detroit Lions in Week 17, which would have cost them their first-round bye.
After two home favourites were beaten last week, this looks the likeliest upset of the weekend, and it’s worth taking the points in what should be a tight game.
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