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    NFL Picks Playoffs - Division

    Last Updated: 1/11/2017
    Injuries noted are players who are usually active who did not play in the simulated games.

    Saturday, January 14 at 4:35 PM ET:

    Atlanta Falcons -5 vs Seattle Seahawks (Covers 50.3%), UNDER 51.5 (Covers 53.8%)
    ATS Play Type: Not Playable
    O/U Play Type: Light

    The Vitals:

    Projected Score: Seattle 21.9 - Atlanta 27.0
    SU Pick and Win%: Atlanta wins 62.1%
    Playoffs - Division SU Confidence Rank: #2
    ATS Pick and Win%: Atlanta Falcons -5 covers 50.3%
    Playoffs - Division ATS Confidence Rank: #4
    ATS Wager for $50 player: $0
    O/U Pick and Win%: UNDER (51.5) 53.8%
    Playoffs - Division O/U Confidence Rank: #3
    O/U Wager for $50 Player: $15

    The Teams: SEA ATL
    Straight-Up Record 11-5 11-5
    Against-the-Spread Record 8-9 10-6
    Over/Under Record 9-8 13-3
    Avg. Points For vs. Against 22.4-17.5 33.8-25.4
    Strength of Schedule Rank (of all NFL) #7 #2
    PM Passing Efficiency Rank #6 #1
    PM Rushing Efficiency Rank #6 #2
    PM Pass Defense Efficiency Rank #6 #5
    PM Rush Defense Efficiency Rank #1 #8
    Actual Pass/Run Ratio 59.3%/40.7% #57.7%/42.3%
    Turnover Margin +1 +11

    Injured Players: Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks, Tony McDaniel, DT, Seattle Seahawks, C.J. Prosise, RB, Seattle Seahawks

    Weather Forecast: N/A

    Wagering Information: ATS Bets - 54% Seattle, 46% Atlanta; O/U Bets - 60% Over, 40% Under

    The Breakdown: The opening game of the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs is not playable against the current spread, which not too surprisingly aligns with an almost perfectly split bet ratio between the two teams. The wagering information above represents quantity of bets made, not dollars wagered, so there could be some big money that moves the line. If so, it is worth evaluating the impact of line movement on whether the pick is playable in the Play Analyzer.

    The current lean is not bettable, yet it is slightly in Atlanta's favor (while there is a light play on the UNDER 51.5). Leveraging data and objectivity, if I were to vote for the MVP this season, it would go to Matt Ryan. The Falcons averaged a full yard better per-pass than any other team in the NFL, while ranking second best in the league in interception rate. Atlanta dominated the league by putting up 2.3 more yards-per-pass play than their opponents (a full yard better than the Patriots) and led the league as the only team to outgain the opposition by more than a yard per play (Seattle does rank second in that metric, but the gap between Atlanta and Seattle is greater than the gap between the Seahawks and tenth place) and did so while facing an above average schedule (the second toughest of any remaining team in the NFL Playoffs). Atlanta is good.

    Not only does Atlanta look impressive on the aggregate, the Falcons best Seattle in special teams, penalties and turnovers while also having home field advantage. Seattle did win this matchup earlier this season, 26-24, but that game seems to give more promise to the Falcons heading into this game than otherwise. That game was in Seattle and featured the now injured elite safety Earl Thomas healthy for the Seahawks. Speaking of Thomas (and Richard Sherman), the NFL acknowledged that a pass interference penalty should have been called on Seattle on the Falcons' final play as well. Seattle has been significantly worse (in a relative sense) with penalties on the road than at home. The Falcons also uncharacteristically turned the ball over three times in that game and lost despite outgaining the Seahawks by more than a half a yard per play. Atlanta is healthier and better and, barring more unexpected mistakes and/or missed calls, should win.

    Boxscore: Seattle Seahawks, 22 @ Atlanta Falcons, 27

    Breakdown: Game Breakdown

    SEA @ ATL HOU @ NE PIT @ KC GB @ DAL

    Saturday, January 14 at 8:15 PM ET:

    Houston Texans +16 @ New England Patriots (Covers 56.8%), UNDER 44.5 (Covers 56.9%)
    ATS Play Type: Half-Bet
    O/U Play Type: Half-Bet

    The Vitals:

    Projected Score: Houston 13.4 - New England 27.3
    SU Pick and Win%: New England wins 85.9%
    Playoffs - Division SU Confidence Rank: #1
    ATS Pick and Win%: Houston Texans +16 covers 56.8%
    Playoffs - Division ATS Confidence Rank: #1
    ATS Wager for $50 player: $46
    O/U Pick and Win%: UNDER (44.5) 56.9%
    Playoffs - Division O/U Confidence Rank: #1
    O/U Wager for $50 Player: $47

    The Teams: HOU NE
    Straight-Up Record 10-7 14-2
    Against-the-Spread Record 8-8 11-3
    Over/Under Record 8-9 7-9
    Avg. Points For vs. Against 18.0-20.1 27.6-15.6
    Strength of Schedule Rank (of all NFL) #4 #8
    PM Passing Efficiency Rank #8 #2
    PM Rushing Efficiency Rank #7 #8
    PM Pass Defense Efficiency Rank #1 #3
    PM Rush Defense Efficiency Rank #6 #3
    Actual Pass/Run Ratio 56.1%/43.9% #54.4%/45.6%
    Turnover Margin -4 +12

    Injured Players: Quintin Demps, S, Houston Texans, Tom Savage, QB, Houston Texans, John Simon, LB, Houston Texans, J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans, Cyrus Jones, CB, New England Patriots

    Weather Forecast: Dry. 25 degrees. Light wind.

    Wagering Information: ATS Bets - 28% Houston, 72% New England; O/U Bets - 48% Over, 52% Under

    The Breakdown: The mathematical conversation around this is very different than the narrative. The narrative is that New England is going to destroy the Texans. The Patriots may do that - this game is far more likely to be a blowout than any other this week - but "may with relatively high likelihood" and "should be expected to" are not the same thing. The likely winner of this game is clear. There is no disputing that the Patriots should favored and heavily so. But 16 points? I'll take that in almost every scenario - especially this one.

    Some items to consider:

    • Tom Brady and the Patriots have covered just three of their last 12 times as more than two touchdown favorites
    • The 2007 New England Patriots, the last team to be 14+ point favorites in the Playoffs, lost their six games against-the-spread (and nine of their last 11)
    • Despite the perceived dominance (based on this line), the 2007 Patriots were much better offensively AND defensively than the 2016 version
    • This is the third highest spread in NFL playoff history (dating back to 1978) and just the fifth of more than two touchdowns
    • In the history of the NFL, favorites of more than two touchdown are just 45% ATS and 16+ point favorites are just 41% ATS
    • The current spread and total projects to 30-14 win by New England; even with the worst graded starting quarterback in the league, Houston scored 13+ points in 14 of 17 games (in our projections, the Texans score 13 and still cover)
    • Though the narrative is around a quarterback contraversy, this is largely the same Houston lineup that went 10-7 (Brock Osweiler was 9-6 as a starting QB) against a tougher schedule than New England played
    • Houston has a top five pass defense, top five secondary and top five pass rush (even without JJ Watt for most of the season)
    • Houston only lost three games all season by more than one touchdown
    • As dominant as they were, New England only won five (of 14 wins) games by more than 16 points
    • New England clear wins the quarterback comparison, but the Texans have a better overall and pass defense as well as a better running game
    Houston made the playoffs. It may be the best quarterback in the league versus the worst starting QB on the year, yet the Texans are not the worst overall team in the NFL or anywhere near that.

    Boxscore: Houston Texans, 13 @ New England Patriots, 27

    Breakdown: Game Breakdown

    SEA @ ATL HOU @ NE PIT @ KC GB @ DAL

    Sunday, January 15 at 1:05 PM ET:

    Kansas City Chiefs -1.5 vs Pittsburgh Steelers (Covers 53.3%), OVER 44 (Covers 55.2%)
    ATS Play Type: Light
    O/U Play Type: Half-Bet

    The Vitals:

    Projected Score: Pittsburgh 22.1 - Kansas City 24.9
    SU Pick and Win%: Kansas City wins 57.0%
    Playoffs - Division SU Confidence Rank: #4
    ATS Pick and Win%: Kansas City Chiefs -1.5 covers 53.3%
    Playoffs - Division ATS Confidence Rank: #2
    ATS Wager for $50 player: $10
    O/U Pick and Win%: OVER (44) 55.2%
    Playoffs - Division O/U Confidence Rank: #2
    O/U Wager for $50 Player: $30

    The Teams: PIT KC
    Straight-Up Record 12-5 12-4
    Against-the-Spread Record 10-7 9-7
    Over/Under Record 5-10 6-10
    Avg. Points For vs. Against 25.2-19.9 24.3-19.4
    Strength of Schedule Rank (of all NFL) #3 #1
    PM Passing Efficiency Rank #5 #7
    PM Rushing Efficiency Rank #3 #5
    PM Pass Defense Efficiency Rank #4 #2
    PM Rush Defense Efficiency Rank #5 #7
    Actual Pass/Run Ratio 58.9%/41.1% #58.4%/41.6%
    Turnover Margin +6 +16

    Injured Players: Anthony Chickillo, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers, Justin Gilbert, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers, Robert Golden, S, Pittsburgh Steelers, Ladarius Green, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

    Weather Forecast: Light snow. 29 degrees. Light wind.

    Wagering Information: ATS Bets - 50% Pittsburgh, 50% Kansas City; O/U Bets - 46% Over, 54% Under

    The Breakdown: This game is evenly bet and essentially a pick'em game. The edge in the Predictalator goes to the home team. Pittsburgh played an above average schedule, scored 25 points a game, allowed 20 points a game, threw the ball 59% of the time and has won 12 games straight-up with a 10-7 ATS record and 5-10-2 record on the under in its games. Kansas City played one of the toughest schedules in the NFL, scored 24 points a game, allowed 19 points a game, threw the ball 58% of the time and has won 12 games straight-up with a 9-7 ATS record and the under going 6-10 in its games. Aside from home field advantage where is the edge? In a pick'em-like line between even teams, home field advantage alone gives that team value.

    I really just regurgitated stats that are printed above that analysis. Digging deeper, there is more reason to like the Chiefs. Kansas City has the best special teams of any team that made the playoffs (third best overall). Pittsburgh has the worst special teams of any playoff team (third worst overall). Kansas City is also slightly better with penalties and notably better with turnovers. The Chiefs overall have far fewer weaknesses, only grading as below average in the NFL in run blocking and run defense (and both by only slight margins - as an aside, the Chiefs have a top ten pass offense overall, yet they have the second worst pass offense of any team still left in the postseason). In addition to the special teams and penalty issues, Pittsburgh also struggles with run defense. When splitting hairs between to otherwise evenly matched (though dissimilar) teams, each of those differences carries even more weight.

    Boxscore: Pittsburgh Steelers, 22 @ Kansas City Chiefs, 25

    Breakdown: Game Breakdown

    SEA @ ATL HOU @ NE PIT @ KC GB @ DAL

    Sunday, January 15 at 4:40 PM ET:

    Green Bay Packers +4.5 @ Dallas Cowboys (Covers 50.4%), UNDER 52 (Covers 50.9%)
    ATS Play Type: Not Playable
    O/U Play Type: Not Playable

    The Vitals:

    Projected Score: Green Bay 23.5 - Dallas 27.8
    SU Pick and Win%: Dallas wins 60.2%
    Playoffs - Division SU Confidence Rank: #3
    ATS Pick and Win%: Green Bay Packers +4.5 covers 50.4%
    Playoffs - Division ATS Confidence Rank: #3
    ATS Wager for $50 player: $0
    O/U Pick and Win%: UNDER (52) 50.9%
    Playoffs - Division O/U Confidence Rank: #4
    O/U Wager for $50 Player: $0

    The Teams: GB DAL
    Straight-Up Record 11-6 13-3
    Against-the-Spread Record 8-9 10-6
    Over/Under Record 11-6 6-10
    Avg. Points For vs. Against 27.6-23.6 26.3-19.1
    Strength of Schedule Rank (of all NFL) #5 #6
    PM Passing Efficiency Rank #4 #3
    PM Rushing Efficiency Rank #4 #1
    PM Pass Defense Efficiency Rank #8 #7
    PM Rush Defense Efficiency Rank #4 #2
    Actual Pass/Run Ratio 63.7%/36.3% #50.6%/49.4%
    Turnover Margin +10 +5

    Injured Players: Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers, Quinten Rollins, CB, Green Bay Packers, James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers, Tyrone Crawford, DT, Dallas Cowboys, Randy Gregory, DE, Dallas Cowboys, Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Dallas Cowboys, Cedric Thornton, DT, Dallas Cowboys

    Weather Forecast: N/A

    Wagering Information: ATS Bets - 66% Green Bay, 34% Dallas; O/U Bets - 93% Over, 7% Under

    The Breakdown: Unfortunately (though it's as important to know what games not to play as it is what games to play), the Divisional Round of this year's NFL Playoffs starts and ends with a "no pick" against-the-spread. In this case, there is not value in the total either. As noted earlier, follow along with the Play Analyzer. Additionally, we are currently assuming that Tyron Smith (OL, Dallas Cowboys) plays, while four defensive linemen (noted above) do not for the Cowboys. If that changes in a way that impacts the projection, we will update as well (Smith was limited in practice today).

    By the numbers, the Cowboys were a better team and a dominant offense over the course of the entire season (which included a 14 point win in Green Bay), yet no team has been better over the last seven weeks than the Packers (all wins) and no quarterback has been better for that stretch than Aaron Rodgers. In fact, over that seven week stretch, Rodgers has been the league's best quarterback, while Dak Prescott has graded as its 14th. That is not as large of a gap as last week's #1 vs. #31 when Rodgers' Packers hosted Eli Manning and the Giants, but it's tangible enough to note and almost single-handedly keeps this game competitive.

    Boxscore: Green Bay Packers, 24 @ Dallas Cowboys, 28

    Breakdown: Game Breakdown

    SEA @ ATL HOU @ NE PIT @ KC GB @ DAL

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    01/16/2017 Highlight: Using our ResultsFinder tool, the Predictalator went 0-2 ATS in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, but still remains 48-22 (68.6%) ATS all-time in the postseason. This upcoming week brings on a chance for redemption as the Predictalator has produced a career 9-2-1 (79.2%) ATS mark in Conference Championship games. The Predictalator also features a 100-79 (55.9%) mark on all playable NFL totals this season, including a stellar 35-19 (64.8%) mark on "normal" or better totals.

    With March Madness slowing approaching, it's great to see the Predictalator having success on its top plays in college hoops. In the month of January, our simulations have produced 50 betting opportunites with a 60%+ confidence level, and those games have gone a whopping 32-18 (64.0%) ATS & O/U. An average $50 bettor would have earned $1,041 using our recommended wager sizes on those plays.

    NHL also continues to pay dividends for subscribers. January's results have seen the Predictalator post a 22-15 (59.5%) ML record, 27-20 (57.4%) totals record, and a 27-8 (77.1%) PL record. All of this adds up to a $518 profit for an average $50 bettor in the month of January alone. NHL "normal" or better plays are 27-18 (60.0%) for the season as a whole.

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