The postseason is finally here and we are mixing things up with our NFL best bets. We are looking across the six games and picking the best favorite and underdog from the two conferences for you.
Both of the four seeds are the only two home underdogs across the weekend while New Orleans is the biggest favorite, currently 10 points. The three seeds both host divisional rivals that they split the season series with and will be wanting to win not only to advance, but so as not to lose to their rival twice in the one season.
Find our NFL best bets, with our favorite and underdog from each conference, and an in depth explanation below.
The Buffalo Bills are the hottest team in football right now. Entering the postseason they have won six straight, nine of their last ten and in their last three games they have averaged 47.33 points per game.
On Sunday, Buffalo hosted the Dolphins who were, at the time, the best scoring defense in the league allowing just 18.8 per game through their first 15 games and needed to win to qualify for the postseason. The Bills put up a massive 56 points on them in a 30 point win and Josh Allen didn’t play a single snap in the second half.
The Indianapolis Colts pose quite a tough challenge for the Bills however. Philip Rivers has 10 more games of playoff experience than Allen and the Colts have a defense that is raring to go led by Darius Leonard. Having the equal-seventh most solo tackles and ninth most total tackles has put Leonard on the forefront of the mind of offensive lines while DeForest Buckner is tied for 11th in sacks with 9.5 on the season.
Josh Allen has been named AFC Offensive Player of the Month.
Allen joins Thurman Thomas (1991) and Bruce Smith (1996) as the only players in team history to earn two player of the month awards in one season. pic.twitter.com/5M6eCMiBvI
— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) January 7, 2021
Indy allowed the eighth fewest total yards per game during the regular season but dropped to 20th in terms of passing yards allowed. While their defense has been spoken of as a top 10 defense in the league, they only allow 0.8 points per game less than the Bills and Buffalo actually has one more takeaway for the year.
The Bills lead the league in fourth quarter takeaways, showing that they are at their best in the clutch moments and Allen is still yet to throw a red zone interception in his career.
We haven’t even mentioned Stefon Diggs yet. After his trade from the Vikings, Diggs connected with Allen straight away, unlocking both of their potentials. The new Bills receiver led the league in receptions and receiving yards and didn’t have a single fumble for the entire year.
While a 6.5 spread is massive for a quarterback who has just one game of postseason experience, of Buffalo’s 13 wins, 10 were by at least seven points including over division winners Seattle and Pittsburgh. The Bills will have almost 7,000 fans in their stadium and will be ready to go on Saturday.
AFC Favorite Best Bet: Buffalo Bills -6.5 (-105)
Games between divisional rivals are always tight. Playoff games between divisional rivals are even tighter. There is certainly no love lost between the Rams and the Seahawks, shown by multiple scuffles and fights, most famously in 2018 when Aaron Donald ended up being fined multiple times for an altercation with the Seahawks.
Seattle gets the home game after winning the NFC West, finishing with a 12-4 record, compared to LA’s 10-6. Despite that though, we feel this should be closer to a pick ‘em.
Jared Goff missed last week with a thumb injury and the Rams still managed to defeat the Cardinals, 18-7, who needed to win to get into the postseason. He has been throwing at practice this week and while he is currently listed as questionable, it is more than likely that he will play.
Everyone is talking about how great Seattle’s defense has been in the second half of the season, and while it is great, the Rams’ defense has been the best all season long. During the regular season, LA allowed the fewest total yards, fewest passing yards, third fewest rushing yards and fewest points per game in the league.
“I think this year has been different from this defensive standpoint just because it’s been consistently dominate.”
Rams defense happy to finish No. 1 at end of regular season, but still sees more work to be done
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 7, 2021
That is an astonishing feat led by Donald on the defensive line while Jalen Ramsay can go to any receiver and take them out of the game.
In their two games this year, both sides won one, but Ramsay held D.K. Metcalf to just 12 total targets, 8 total receptions and just 87 total receiving yards. Metcalf averaged 81.4 yards per game during the season, so to be held to just over that in two games is an incredible feat.
Since Sean McVay took over as head coach, LA holds the season series 5-3 and we think that giving the team with the best defense three points in a playoff game is an absolute treat and makes them one of our NFL best bets as an underdog.
NFC Underdog Best Bet: Los Angeles Rams +3 (+100)
Lamar Jackson has won 81% of the games that he has started, winning the 2019 NFL MVP and is playing in the playoffs for the third straight year. Yet he is 0-2 in the postseason and is 0-2 in his two starts against the Titans. Both of those starts were at home and now he has to travel to Tennessee in an attempt to win his first playoff game.
With that being said, Baltimore is playing some electric football over their five game winning streak heading into the postseason and their offense could be too much for Tennessee’s defense to handle.
Over their five game winning streak the Ravens have eclipsed 200 rushing yards on four occasions and scored an average of 37.2 points. The Titans have given up 40 and 38 points in the last two weeks and Baltimore is much better than the Houston side that Tennessee played last Sunday.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) January 4, 2021
While the Ravens have an incredible running game with multiple different players who could go off on any night, they don’t have a player that is of Derrick Henry’s calibre. Henry just became just the eighth player in NFL history to rush for 2000 yards in a season. There is no shock that in the Titans’ five losses, Henry had five of his seven worst rushing games of the season and in Tennessee’s week 11 win over the Ravens he had 133 yards and a touchdown.
While Baltimore is in incredible form at the moment and we have picked them to win the game, Derrick Henry is the best running back in the game and you could argue that Ryan Tannehill has the best arm in the game yet the Titans are getting three points at home.
Underdog Best Bet: Tennessee Titans +3.0 (+100)
We understand that you might have some doubts for backing the favorites with the biggest spread to cover of the weekend, but Chicago shouldn’t be a postseason side and New Orleans is unlucky to not be the #1 seed.
Yes, 10 points is a massive spread for the playoffs. Yes, in the Wild Card Round last year the biggest margin of victory was just eight points, including two overtime games. But we are that confident in New Orleans after their last three weeks since Drew Brees returned.
Final – #Saints 33, Panthers 7
New Orleans continues their golden era with a 12-4 regular season mark and the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. Drew Brees finishes 22-32-0 passing for 201 yards passing and three touchdowns. #Saints rush for 156 yards on 30 carries. pic.twitter.com/mfn4MxyLEW
— Jacques Doucet (@JacquesDoucet) January 4, 2021
A three point loss to the best team in football, Kansas City, followed by a 19 point victory over the Minnesota Vikings where Alvin Kamara had six rushing touchdowns then a 26 point victory over Carolina in week 17 where the Saints had none of their running backs and were still missing Michael Thomas.
New Orleans scored 24 points or more in every game that Brees played this year for a 9-3 record, while Chicago has played seven games against teams that have qualified for the postseason averaging 17.43 points for a record of 1-6 record with an average losing margin of 11.17.
Mitchell Trubisky played well for the Bears since getting the starter roll back throwing over 200 yards in every game as well as 10 touchdowns. The issue is that Chicago only went 3-3 over that time and he still threw five interceptions. He didn’t face a defense as good as New Orleans’ over that stretch and could be in for a tough day on Sunday.
The Saints were a top five defense in total yards, passing yards, rushing yards and points per game allowed across the season and managed to keep their opponents under 10 points in a quarter of their games.
We are riding the Saints to cover the double digit spread.
Favorite Best Bet: New Orleans Saints -10 (-105)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of PointsBet.
Photo by: Brandon Long