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We have a great weekend of football ahead of us as the NFL enters the Divisional Round. As a recap for Wildcard Weekend, I went 3-3 on game bets and if I could have let my heart stay quiet, we would have been 5-1 (Damn Flacco and the Birds). But it shows we have a good pulse on several of these teams and looking forward to dissecting these games. The storylines are also deep this week as we see San Fran and Green Bay matchup for the 10th time in the playoffs. And we have Mahomes vs. Allen for what is the third leg of their playoff trilogy.
The other two games have interesting parallels as both Houston/Baltimore and Tampa Bay/Detroit faced off in the regular season. The first rounds were both double digit affairs, but the dogs are coming into these games hot and with something to prove.
Last week against the Browns, CJ Stroud looked like a veteran QB that had navigated the pressures of the playoffs. But yet that was his first playoff game and he wowed by throwing 3 TD’s and completing 76% of his passes. In doing so, he became the youngest QB to win a playoff game in NFL history. He also tied Lamar Jackson, this week’s opposing QB, for career playoff victories.
This game will come down to whether the Texans can effectively move the ball through the air against the number 1 pass defense in the league. And whether the Ravens can move the ball on the ground against the number 2 rush defense in the NFL For Houston, they’ll need to establish the run to open up the pass similar to what they did against Cleveland. Stroud silenced the pass rush using play action early and often. And in Baltimore’s four losses this season they’ve allowed an average of 140 yards rushing per game.
Here’s the other points to consider. CJ Stroud is 6-1 ATS against teams over 0.500 this season. And since Week 2, he is 9-3 in games he started. The three losses have come by a combined 7 points. As for the Ravens, they are the number one seed for a reason and have the most well rounded team in the AFC. But since 2010, number one seeds are just 10-14-2 ATS. Even more worrisome is they are just 18-8 SU.
I think there’s enough juice in the tank, and enough players on the Houston sideline for them to compete for 60 minutes against Baltimore. They lost in week 1 by a score of 25-9. But they were only down 7-6 at half and actually outgained Baltimore by 3 yards. The difference was Baltimore scored TD’s on their drives while Houston settled for three FG’s. With a full season now under his belt, I expect Stroud to turn those three’s into seven’s and make this a much more competitive game.
DEVIN SINGLETARY anytime TD scorer (+130) and over 61.5 yards rushing (-110): If the Texans are to stay close, they’ll need Singletary to get yards on the ground and in the air. He’s scored a TD in two straight games so he has that going for him. And he’s gone over 61.5 yards in five of his last six.
ISAIAH LIKELY over 18.5 yards longest reception (-110): Likely gone well over this number in five straight games. And the one he missed, six weeks ago, his longest was 18 yards. Bottom line, he’s tough to tackle in open space and we saw Njoku have success against the Texans last week.
The Packers looked good as you possibly could last week against the Dallas Cowboys. Green Bay pulled off the massive upset winning in the Boys home stadium, something that hadn’t been done in 16 games. Now they face an even tougher task, and that’s the 49ers who are the best all-around football team in the NFL.
Looking at matchups, San Fran should have no problem moving the ball against Green Bay. The Pack are both 26th in passing defense and rushing defense DVOA. San Fran on the other hand is 4th in passing defense DVOA and 15th in rushing defense DVOA. But more impressively, they have the #1 rated offense according to DVOA. And that’s really the big difference here in this game. San Fran will put up points but can also get enough stops to win by margin.
I love Green Bay. From Matt LeFleur to Jordan Love, I’ve been riding the team from the bay in Wisconsin all year. But this is where the buck stops. I have concerns about Green Bay’s health on defense. Their star DB Jaire Alexander is questionable, and they have ruled out linebacker Kingsley Enagbare. Even at full strength, this is a defense that has often struggled against high-powered offenses.
San Fran is 5-2 against playoff teams this season with their only true loss to Baltimore (lost Week 18 to LA Rams). On the other hand, Green Bay was 3-3 against playoff teams during the regular season. Plus Kyle Shanahan is 4-0 ATS and SU at home in the playoffs.
GEORGE KITTLE over 54.5 yards receiving – The Packers allow the 5th most fantasy points to TE’s. They’ve allowed over this number to 5 of the last 6 TE’s they faced. And we saw what Cowboys TE Jake Ferguson did in the middle of the field last week.
BRANDON AIYUK over 4.5 receptions – Green Bay is 26th in DVOA against #1 WR’s. And even if Alexander plays, he primarily plays on one side of the field. It’s a toss up between Deebo and Aiyuk as who is truly #1 WR in this offense. But in this particular matchup I think Deebo will get more of the focus leaving opportunities for Aiyuk.
Between WinDaily staff and subscribers, I feel like I’m in the minority for this game. On the surface, Tampa was dominant, and Detroit looked lucky to win. There are several recent events where the team that squeaked by in the Wild Card round failed to win in the Divisional round. But there aren’t many occasions where that team played at home two weeks in a row (wildcard to divisional) since that could only happen in the new playoff format which started in 2020-21.
But I tend to believe the Lions should play better this week without the pressure of having to win a playoff game for the first time in 32 years. Plus, facing the Rams was additional pressure that definitely weighed on the Lions. That was all lifted off their back and now they can dial completely in on their opponent this week, who they dominated earlier this year winning 20-6 in Tampa. As for Tampa, they looked great last week but played a flawed team in Philly. If they come with the same game plan, all-out blitzes, and leave the middle open, they will get exposed by the short passing game of the Lions.
A key factor to me will be redzone possessions. I was impressed with the Lions redzone defense as they forced the Rams into three FG’s. That could be a difference this week as Detroit is 2nd in redzone TD efficiency and Tampa Bay is 30th.
Finally, QB Jared Goff actually plays well against teams above 0.500. He’s 7-3 ATS at home and 14-5 ATS overall against such teams in a Lions uniform. And for all the research I did, I can’t find a team with 8 losses to ever make the conference championship game. So as much as I fear backing Dan Campbell, I just think the Lions have the right mix to roll over the Bucs.
JAMESON WILLIAMS over 35.5 yard (-110) / over 50 yards (+170) / over 75 yards (+470) – He let a lot of people down last week so that’s the exact reason to go back to the well in this one. We saw Devonta Smith beat Tampa over the top last week which is a weekly occurrence for the Bucs D. Williams is the one deep threat in this offense. The Lions WR had two catches for 53 yards, including a 45 yard TD catch, in their first outing.
MIKE EVANS over 5.5 receptions (+125) – Don’t get turned off by Evans’ numbers last week as he had a tough matchup versus CB Darius Slay. But he also dropped two balls that would have put him over 100 yards. Evans saw 7 targets last week and saw 10 targets when the Bucs played Detroit back in Week 6. This is a good number for a high volume WR.
I am a Bills fan at heart. The small city in Western New York has endured too many heartbreaks over the past 3 decades. And today, they face their biggest adversary in the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are 2-0 against the Bills in the playoffs. And while Buffalo won the game in KC earlier this year, that goes out the window for this affair.
I’m buying up the Chiefs to 3 points but think they’re live on the moneyline as well. Mahomes is 9-2-1 ATS as an underdog. And Andy Reid is 7-3-1 ATS as an underdog in the playoffs. As much as I want the Bills to win one for Buffalo, I can’t ignore those numbers.
JAMES COOK over 2.5 receptions – He doesn’t score TD’s but he makes up for that in the passing game. Cook has 44 receptions on the year and went over this total in the past two weeks. He also had five catches on five targets in the first game against KC. How often the Chiefs blitz helps drive this number up.
RASHEE RICE over 70.5 yards – Rice has been on a tear since midseason. He’s the beneficiary of teams trying to minimize Kelce’s impact on games. He had 10 targets and 72 yards in his first matchup against Buffalo. I expect a similar workload today, and one where he could break one of those quick hitters for a big game to help get him over this number.
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Dave is a lifelong enthusiast of fantasy sports, actively engaging in football, baseball, basketball, and golf. Hailing from the Philadelphia area, he holds a deep devotion to the Philadelphia Eagles, owning season tickets to support his beloved team. Embracing DFS in 2012, Dave has achieved notable success with several significant takedowns on DraftKings. He has developed a newfound passion for CFB DFS, going by the username @dgloeck.
In 2022, Dave became a valued member of the WinDaily team, contributing video and written content across the platform. Additionally, he shares his betting picks through WinDaily and Tallysite, boasting an impressive record of 42-19 for the MLB 2023 season. Recognized as the Bell Ringer, Dave also lends his voice to the WinDaily Show on Sirius radio, airing on Sundays. On Twitter (@dgloeck), he actively shares his content and passionate insights on a daily basis.
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