My betting breakdown of the two AFC divisional playoff games this weekend along with my picks:
Tennessee at New England -13, 47
If you’re wondering who hates the New England Patriots the most, it’s sportsbooks. The Pats are now a spit-your-coffee-out-unbelievable 30-8 against the spread over the last two seasons, including playoffs. Oddsmakers just can’t seem to set Pats lines high enough to deter the public and it’s no wonder since New England has also covered eight of the last nine when they’ve been set -13 or higher. They’ve also won 29 of the last 30 when favored by at least 13 so I’m not sure this is the one you want to roll the dice on for that monster moneyline upset.
If you’re looking for holes – New England is second-worst in yards per play against this season (5.7). On the other hand they own the fifth-best scoring defense in football. The Pats aren’t the best against the pass either (30th) but Marcus Mariota and the Titans prefer to use the run to do their damage. Another mismatch is the Pats send the No. 2 passing offense out against the No. 25 passing defense and I feel this Titans secondary is even worse than the numbers suggest.
Teasing the Patriots will be very popular this weekend and I can’t help myself from doing it too. If you must take the Titans, you can take some confidence in the fact they’ve covered six of their last seven and we might see rain on Saturday.
Pick: Patriots teased to -7 on a teaser with the Eagles (teased to +9)
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh -7, 41
The Steelers and Falcons are the worst remaining bets in the playoffs, both at 7-9 ATS. Pittsburgh has only covered in one of its last six games and it’s a great example of inflation considering they won five of those games. This line is a little inflated, too, after Sportsbook at 6.5 and you’d better believe books knew your Steelers money would come pouring in. It’s unusual to see books move a line so comfortably from 6.5 across the key number to 7.5 and I’m not surprised that midweek money bumped it back to 7. I’d say sportsbooks are happy to side here with the dog that allows the fewest red-zone scoring opportunities per game (1.7) and fewest yards per play (4.5) in the NFL this season.
Steelers are also 6-1 SU but just 2-5 ATS last 7 playoff home games when -7 or higher. More inflation. Antonio Brown is back for the Steelers but I think they learned from the previous meeting with Jacksonville they may not want to pass so much against the NFL’s No. 1 pass defense. Ben Roethlisberger threw it 55 times and was picked off a career-worst five times. It’s going to be brutally cold also – between 10 and 20 degrees – which I think will help the Steelers. Then again, the Jags own the No. 1 rushing offense in the NFL if it turns into a ground game.
Pick: Jacksonville +7