NFL Divisional Round Best Bets and Betting Trends

NFL Divisional Round Best Bets and Betting Trends

One week down into the NFL Playoffs! CJ Stroud and the Texans managed to dominate the Browns. The Jordan Love show was in full force in Dallas to hand the Cowboys yet another playoff loss. Baker and company proved my Eagles were frauds. The Lions won the battle of Matthew Stafford, and the football gods have graced us with another Bills and Chiefs playoff matchup. What a time to be alive.

Divisional Weekend is finally here, and we are here to bring you the best betting trends, information, and predictions to prepare you for the slate. Here you will find the best ways to bet on every Divisional Matchup. We went 7-2 last week and are looking for another great weekend of NFL bets. As always, you can find my writeup for every playoff game in this article.

Through the first Eighteen weeks, the public amassed a record of 147-117 ATS (a 56% win percentage). Who would have told you at the beginning of the year that backing the public was the best way to bet in 2023 with any public betting trend? The public has finished better than both the money and sharp differential this year, with it already significantly beating out the sharp differential. 

The Divisional round makes it a little tougher to talk about public betting trends since we have so little data to go off (only 4 games in this round per year). The main takeaway for the Wild Card round was that you did not have to fear a side if the public liked it with you unless that side was the Browns. The public ended up going 2-4 ATS last week, but that still fits within the narrative of them hitting around 53% in that round over the past 20 years.

As for the divisional round, I think something similar is very possible. Last year the public went 3-1 ATS in the Divisional Round, not really showing any signs of being wrong when you “fade the public.” The one loss they did have was backing the Giants against the Eagles where that was a tough one to get behind. We have a lot to get to in this article, with a plethora of trends (especially for the 1-seed games). So, I am going to focus more on those than public betting trends for my plays.

Although, throughout the season, dogs were not covering much. Now that we are into the playoffs, all of the teams are “relatively” capable of beating everyone else, so I am looking to back the dog most of the time. It’s going to be an amazing year for the playoffs and I cannot wait to see what they have in store. Let’s get into the trends and picks for Divisional Weekend. 

But as always, welcome to Happy Hour Sports, my name is DJ and I track how the public and money do each week in the NFL. We want to take the phrase “fade the public” further because everyone talks about the betting public and money data, but when those numbers are brought up, there is no context around them. People assume high tickets on one side is bad, and high money on the other side is good. However, we are here to prove those claims right or wrong, every single week.

Our goal with Sharpen the Public and the weekly articles on this website is to provide context to the numbers and develop discourse regarding the data. If you are ever curious as to when the public does good, or what sharp differentials are strong indicators that a bet is the sharp side, then you have come to the right place. Follow the podcast and listen to us break everything down each week! 

With that out of the way, it’s time to get into this week’s best bets and analysis. Here you will find the bets that I place every week and some discussion on why I am taking most of them. We’re not trying to be those Twitter handicappers that scream max play at you, we want you to trust us. Don’t forget you can always find my recaps of the weeks here as well – detailing where things went wrong and how I did. I cannot get past this skid of going even, despite hitting a 2u play last week I have gone even over the past several weeks.

Deej Record from Week 18: 

Bets: 4-5

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Regular Season NFL Betting Trends

We have made it through the entire NFL Regular Season. Check out the full recap article and many other NFL pieces at our NFL BETTING PICKS. Additionally, the recent podcasts always break down the updates to the trends. If you missed that, here they are:

  • Public Betting Percentage: 147-117 ATS (56%)
  • Money Betting Percentage: 141-123 ATS (53%)
  • Sharp Differential: 133-131 ATS (50%)
  • Public on Over: 71-83 (46%)
  • Money on Over: 48-54 (47%)
  • Sharp Diff. on Over: 32-28 (53%)
  • Public on Under: 60-50 (54%)
  • Money on Under: 88-75 (54%)
  • Sharp Diff on Under: 114-90 (56%)

Here are the trends for the Current Playoffs:

  • Public Betting Percentage: 2-4 ATS
  • Money Betting Percentage: 3-3 ATS
  • Sharp Differential: 3-3 ATS
  • Public on Over: 2-1
  • Money on Over: 2-1
  • Sharp Diff. on Over: 3-0
  • Public on Under: 2-1
  • Money on Under: 2-1
  • Sharp Diff on Under: 3-0

Now, we are the only people who provide deep recaps on these numbers like this every week; but, we are also the only sports betting brand that will dive deeper into these numbers and tell you important ranges that trends emerge from the already crazy trends you see above. 

I’ve made it a point over the entire year how well the public has performed in 2023. However, what may be even more interesting is how well they have done when there are more than 60% of the tickets on a side. The public went 84-59 (59%) when the teams are what I call an actually public side. Below 60%, games feel like either team could be the public side (depending on the number), but actual public teams have fared incredibly this year. Specifically between 60%-70%, those teams are 59-37. This means that above 70%, teams are 25-22, which is still far better than anyone would have predicted to start the year. This is one of the reasons I love bringing this information to everyone. Here are the public sides this weekend (none currently sit above 60% of the tickets):

  • Texans +9.5, 49ers -10, Buccaneers +6.5, Bills -2.5

The public went 3-1 ATS last Divisional Round.

Switching to totals:

Public on Over (Last 7 Weeks): 37-31

Money on Over (Last 7 Weeks): 27-18

Sharp Diff. on Over (Last 8 Weeks): 20-10 

A point I made during the midpoint of the season was that all of our metrics (public, money, and sharp diff.) would likely bounce back to finish out the year as we saw overs come back into the fold. Additionally, this was something we saw last year, so we could use that to our advantage in 2023. I did not think it would be as dominant as you see above. People are reading totals well, and last week every sharp differential predicted the total correctly. There are some weather concerns for a couple of games this week, but in line with the trends here are the games this weekend with the public on the over (any with sharp diff. to the over are bolded):

  • Packers/Niners (50.5), Buccaneers/Lions (49), Chiefs/Bills (45.5)

The public went 0-4 on Overs last Divisional Round.

Now we know the money is meant to be one of the metrics that performs well all season. To start the year, any team that had greater than 50% of the money percentage had covered about 50% of the time. Over the last 8 weeks (including playoffs), the money percentage has picked up pace and went 63-49, covering at a 60% rate to bring their season-long record to 141-123, and closer to what it was to end last year. Here are the teams with the money today (keep in mind the money may have come in at different numbers and bolded also have sharp differential):

  • Texans +9.5, Niners -10, Lions -6, Bills -2.5

The last thing I want to cover is a few team trends and Divisional Week Trends that stand out to me and are looking like they will happen today. Each of these trends is how the public betting metrics (public, money, and sharp diff.) have fared on certain teams in 2023:

  • The Public went 0-4 on Overs in last year’s divisional round.
  • The Public went 3-1 ATS last divisional round.
  • Sharp differential was a perfect 6-0 predicting totals in this year’s Wild Card round.
  • Lions were 8-2 ATS when the public backed them (currently sitting with 49% of the bets), 7-2 ATS when the money backed them, and 6-1 ATS when the sharp differential backed them.
  • Ravens went 8-3 ATS when the public backed them this year, 7-1 ATS when the money backed them, and 5-1 ATS when the sharp differential backed them. They currently only have a 4% sharp differential.
  • Bills went 6-4 ATS and 4-2 ATS when the money percentage and sharp differential, respectively, backed them. They currently have both metrics.
  • The Packers went 3-6 ATS this season when the public backed them, although 1-0 ATS when there were 75% of the tickets or more on them.
  • Lamar is historically terrible as a favorite (15-23 ATS as a home favorite). All 4 of his career playoff games have gone UNDER.
  • Teams to win in the WC round as a dog are 15-17 ATS in the Divisional Round – last 20 years.
  • 1 seeds have covered both games only twice in the last 20 years. 8 times they have both NOT covered.

I will add some more by the time my plays come out tomorrow.

Note that I am writing this around Noon on Saturday, so as bets come in these percentages will change. Although, they should remain relatively close to what they are now. Sometimes I will have late plays because I take public trends into account and those constantly update, so follow me @DeejHHSports on twitter to see those picks. Before we get into the picks I will plug the website one last time, thanks for checking us out! We are a small sports brand that is slowly growing. We provide daily and weekly content around the sports we love, so please consider sticking around and subscribing!

Staying with my new approach and going to release the plays a little closer to kickoff, but the Ravens and Texans preview is here. Packers/Niners will release later, same with plays for tomorrow!

Divisional NFL Best Bets and Analysis

Hoston Texans vs Baltimore Ravens (-9.5), Total 43.5

I have been calling the Ravens out as the best team in the NFL since like Week 4. It is now time that they stand up to those claims, against an absolutely red-hot offense in the Texans. CJ Stroud has been the story of the year for the NFL, and it has been amazing to watch. Now, his ultimate test as he has to play the most stout defense in the league. It may not be as drastic as it was for the Browns, but the home and away splits for this Texans team are not great. They allow an average of +5.3 ppg more when playing at an away stadium, while also scoring 5 points less than they do at home. Add to that they now have to play the best defense in the league that has allowed only 17.8 ppg at home, and it starts to look like the odds are stacked against the underdogs here. However, historically, home favorites in this spot (specifically the one seed) are not great against the spread. Add to that a quarterback in Lamar Jackson who is historically bad against the spread as a favorite, and there seems to be a reason to back the Texans. Although, weather is expected to play a factor in this one. 30 mph gusts are predicted in Baltimore, and that is going to significantly impact the core of this Texans offense, which is throwing the ball (and throwing it deep). No Marlon Humphrey is a massive loss to this Ravens defense, but the weather makes me think that it’s unlikely it may make a difference. The Texans were middle to bottom of the pack in the NFL when it came to running the ball, and the Ravens were the best team on the ground in the league. The Texans’ defense actually allowed the 6th fewest yards on the ground all year, but let up 3 rushing TDs and 100+ yards on the ground in their matchup against the Ravens in Week 1 this year. The initial line movement off of 10 toward the Texans indicated there definitely was value on the Texans in this one, but I fear its all gone with the weather predictions in this one (also the line is only moving in the Ravens favor). I think it stays a gritty game on the ground that the Ravens manage to dominate. However, the trends against the Ravens in this one are too much for me, so my only straight play for the game will be the under.

The Plays:  Ravens -9.5 (lean) and Under 43.5

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (-10), Total 50.5

The Plays:  Packers +10 and Coming Later! 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Detroit Lions (-6.5), Total 46

After a loss with the Texans teaser and a near miss on Under 43.5, we managed to end day 1 of the Divisional round at 1-2. We were all over the Packers, and I am feeling great about this Lions and Bucs matchup as well. We have two of the most mysterious teams clashing in this one as Baker Mayfield or Jared Goff has the opportunity to make it to an NFC Championship game. The Lions barely skid by the Rams, while the Bucs managed to make the Eagles look like frauds in the divisional round. The best thing for the Lions here is that they get to play another game at home, in a dome. Jared Goff is widely known for being a not-so-great quarterback playing outside, and with this Bucs defense that is all about creating quick pressure via the blitz, I think Goff is going to have a field day today. The Lions average over 30 points per game at home, while the Buccaneers average a strong 23 on the road as well. Baker and company looked to be moving the ball very efficiently against the Eagles whilst coming into the Wild Card round as the worst rushing offense in the league. I think we are due for some point in the playoffs, and this one has Over written all over it. The total opened at 46 and has moved upwards of 50 in some spots. So, I know we are not getting a great number, but the total is the only thing I like in this one. I think the Lions manage to win and cover, but it may be close as well – I think the number at 6 is spot on. Give me some points to start our Sunday!

The Plays:  Over 50

Kansas City Chiefs vs Buffalo Bills (-2.5), Total 43

Well, well, well, the final game of the slate and the one everyone has been waiting for. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen clash yet again in the AFC playoffs. The Bills are able to take on the Chiefs at home for the first time in the recent playoff era. If the Bills’ defense was not so injured from the recent games, I would be all over them. However, these injuries and Patrick Mahomes worry me. The public has also slowly moved to back the Bills in this one as well, with a slight sharp differential towards the Chiefs. The Chiefs are 3-1 ATS with a sharp differential this year and the Bills are a whopping 1-4 ATS this season with public backing below 60% of the tickets. These trends and the Buffalo injuries are pulling me away from the Bills. I think they have the hot hand, but I am much more interested in the total. Both of these quarterbacks are going to do everything they can to take care of the football, knowing who is on the other side. The game will also stay on the ground as that has been the thing that turned the Bills season around, and Pacheco is carrying this Kansas City team. Shots will be taken, but both defenses will be the main focal point of tonight’s clash of the Titans. Chiefs games this year have gone 13-5 to the under, only three times surpassing 45.5. And we cannot forget to mention the weather. It will be cold and windy in Buffalo, setting the stage for a ground pounding grudge match in the trenches. As of right now, 61% of the tickets favor the over with 80% of the money on the under. This indicates a massive pro vs joes game on the total. Sharp differential went 6-0 in the Wild Card round for the totals and has gone 2-1 in the divisional round so far. I am going to put my money where the money is and roll with the under.

The Plays:  Under 45.5 and Bills -2.5 (lean)

Plays without a writeup (Podcast):

  • Sharpen the Public Teaser: Texans +15.5/Lions -0.5
  • Packers +10

Thanks for reading! If you guys like what you see or have any comments/critiques, please let me know on Twitter, I appreciate all feedback. Please also follow the podcast and share the website! I will see you on Tuesday with another recap episode of Sharpen the Public.

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This is an article written by DJ Bianco

DJ Bianco Author for Happy Hour Sports at the Colosseum in Rome


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