Wild wild-card weekend
The lower-seeded teams in the NFL Standings ruled on wild-card weekend in the NFL playoffs.
Both six seeds advanced to the Divisional Round with stunning victories as the Indianapolis Colts blasted the Houston Texans 21-7 and the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles shocked the Chicago Bears 16-15. The Los Angeles Chargers, a No. 5 seed, also advanced with a 23-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
The only favorites in the NFL Betting Lines to move on were the Dallas Cowboys. They knocked off the Seattle Seahawks 24-22.
The top two seeds in each conference have ruled the divisional round over the last five years. No. 1 and No. 2 in the AFC and NFC have posted a 15-5 record (.750), meaning these teams win three out of every four games.
All four top seeds are favored to advance to the conference finals (odds provided by Bovada).
- 2017-18: Top seeds 3-1 — No. 3 Jacksonville lost in AFC final.
- 2016-17: Top seeds 2-2 — No. 3 Pittsburgh lost in AFC final, No. 4 Green Bay lost in NFC final.
- 2015-16: Top seeds 4-0 — All top seeds advanced to conference finals.
- 2014-15: Top seeds 3-1 — No. 4 Indianapolis lost in AFC final.
- 2013-14: Top seeds 3-1 — No. 5 San Francisco lost in NFC final.
The No. 1 seeds have reached the Super Bowl in nine out of a possible 10 spots in the last five championships. Obviously, it helps the top teams when they have home-field advantage.
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NFL Divisional Odds Explained
The most common bets on divisional playoff games are the money line, point spread and over/under totals.
The money line on Bovada for the Indianapolis-Kansas City game has the Chiefs listed at -230, while the Colts are sitting at +190 as the underdogs. A winning $100 ticket on the Colts would return $290 ($100 bet + $190 profit = $290 total return). A winning $230 ticket on the Chiefs would return $330 ($230 bet + $100 profit = $330 total return).
Bettors can play any of the remaining eight teams in a NFL Futures Bet to win Super Bowl LIII. The odds of these teams will continue to change as the championship approaches, but your odds are fixed when you make your bet.
The New Orleans Saints, the top seed in the NFC, currently remain the top pick in NFL Odds at +250, while the Kansas City Chiefs, the AFC’s top seed, are the second pick at +425. A winning $100 bet on the Saints would return $350 ($100 bet + $250 profit = $350 total return). A winning $100 bet on the Chiefs would return $525 ($100 bet + $425 profit = $525 total return).
Divisional Round Predictions, NFL Schedule and NFL Picks
Indianapolis Colts (+190) at Kansas City Chiefs (-230)
Saturday, 4:35 p.m. — The Chiefs have struggled winning playoff games under Andy Reid. The head coach’s postseason record is just 1-5 with the Chiefs since taking over in 2013. Now, they run into the hottest team in football. The Colts and comeback player of the year Andrew Luck have won nine of their last 10 games after starting the regular season 1-5. Luck will take advantage of one of the worst pass defenses in the league and outscore MVP favorite Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Pick — Indianapolis (+190)
Dallas Cowboys (+260) at Los Angeles Rams (-320)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. — Can the Rams stop another of the hottest teams in the NFL? Can their defense ranked 23rd against the run shut down Ezekiel Elliott? These questions and more will decide whether the Rams can earn a spot in the conference final. The Cowboys, who have won eight of their last nine, are just 3-5 on the road this season. The Rams, who have not won a playoff game since 2005, are 7-1 at home and 4-3 against playoff teams this season. Whoever plays better between the quarterbacks — Dak Prescott for Dallas and Jared Goff for L.A. — wins this game.
Pick — Dallas (+260)
Los Angeles Chargers (+180) at New England Patriots (-220)
Sunday, 1:05 p.m. — The Patriots are 4-0 against playoff teams this season and undefeated in eight starts at home. However, the Chargers have a league-best 7-1 road record and added another in their wild-card win over Baltimore. Two veteran superstars go at it in this one as three-time MVP Tom Brady squares off against Philip Rivers. The Chargers beat Seattle, Pittsburgh and Kansas City on the road this season. They have a balanced attack that can disrupt the Patriots, who have been to the Super Bowl in three of the last four seasons.
Pick — Los Angeles Chargers (+180)
Philadelphia Eagles (+300) at New Orleans Saints (-380)
Sunday, 4:30 p.m. — No team has repeated as Super Bowl champion since New England in 2004, and the Eagles are a sixth seed. The last sixth seed to win the NFL title was Green Bay in 2010. The Eagles improved to 4-0 this season with Nick Foles under center. Last year’s Super Bowl MVP is once again leading the Eagles after starter Carson Wentz went down with another injury. This will be Philly’s biggest test of the season as they travel to New Orleans where they lost 48-7 in Week 11. The magic ends here against Drew Brees and Co.
Pick — New Orleans (-380)