Last Updated: 2018-01-13
One of the most exciting weekends of the New Year kicks off on Saturday with the first two games of the NFL’s Divisional Playoffs, as the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots host matchups in much different situations. The Eagles are home underdogs against the sixth-seeded Atlanta Falcons in the NFC while the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots are the biggest favorites of the weekend playing the fifth-seeded Tennessee Titans in the AFC. Quarterback play is a huge factor in each of the four games, starting with Philadelphia’s Nick Foles versus Atlanta’s Matt Ryan.
In fact, the only comparable mismatch on paper appears to be on Sunday when Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints visits Case Keenum and the Minnesota Vikings. Foles is the sole reason the Eagles are listed as dogs while the betting public certainly likes Keenum’s chances a lot more despite his counterpart being a future Hall of Famer in Brees. Ironically, Brees and Foles went to the same high school in Austin, Texas. But the odds of them squaring off in the NFC Championship Game look slim at best considering their respective teams are each dogs heading into this weekend’s wagering action.
No matter how you handicap these games, home-field advantage has to be taken into consideration to some degree and may be underestimated in the Philadelphia-Atlanta matchup. Playing at Lincoln Financial Field in 30-degree weather will be a lot different for the Falcons than visiting Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum a week ago when the temperature was more than double that number. The Eagles would probably be 6-point favorites too if NFL MVP candidate Carson Wentz was under center instead of Foles. Then again, what would the Vikings be if Sam Bradford was starting rather than Keenum? Bradford will reportedly be active Sunday and might even see the field if Keenum struggles.
In the AFC, almost everyone will be shocked if we do not end up seeing a New England-Pittsburgh rematch next week with a trip to Minneapolis on the line for Super Bowl 52. A two-team parlay on the Patriots and Steelers both winning does not pay much but might be the safest bet of the weekend. An AFC South team not named the Indianapolis Colts has not played in the AFC Championship Game since 2002, the first year of the division’s existence. Do not count on that drought ending here.
BangTheBook.com has you covered this weekend no matter who you are betting — or fading — in the NFL playoff games or any other sports. From matchups to free picks to betting trends, we have it all. And if you are looking for the best online sportsbooks, we have sportsbook reviews plus the latest news on bonuses.
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