With the NFL’s 52nd Super Bowl set to go down in frigid Minnesota on February 4th, and the Divisional Playoffs on tap this weekend, now is the perfect time for a nice, warm bowl of wagering soup, chock full of obscure props, fancy futures, and savory odds.
This Saturday and Sunday (January 13-14), the NFL’s final eight will be whittled down to a quartet in what tends to be the most compelling weekend of football all season. Unfortunately, this year’s Divisional Round games are likely to feature a couple blowouts, if the spreads are to be believed. The Patriots are favored over the Titans by two touchdowns, while the Steelers are laying seven-plus against the Jaguars. Then there’s the Falcons vs. Eagles, which sees Atlanta favored by three on the road because Matt Ryan and company are facing a Philly team led by Nick Foles, instead of erstwhile MVP-favorite Carson Wentz. Sigh.
One game that should be thrilling, though, is the Saints vs Vikings matchup on Sunday afternoon. The Saints’ high-octane offense, which averaged 391.2 yards per game (second only to the New England Patriots), will be squaring off with Minnesota’s top-ranked defense, which surrendered just a shade over 275 YPG during the regular season.
We’ll have our usual crop of previews for all four games in short order. Today, though, we’re getting more exotic with our playcalling and running a flea-flicker of creative props, like the odds Antonio Brown has more receptions than Blake Bortles has completions, and the over/under on how guys named “Smith” will score a TD.
But we’ll start slow by taking you to some more familiar territory.
Divisional Round Odds & Props
NB: All props below pertain to the 2018 Divisional Playoffs unless otherwise specified.
Odds to win Super Bowl 52 (as of Jan. 11)
- Patriots: 2/1
- Vikings: 9/2
- Steelers: 6/1
- Saints: 7/1
- Falcons: 11/1
- Eagles: 16/1
- Jaguars: 18/1
- Titans: 49/1
Over/Under team sacks
- Falcons: 2.5
- Jaguars: 2.5
- Titans: 2.5
- Steelers: 2.5
- Eagles: 2.0
- Patriots: 2.0
- Saints: 2.0
- Vikings: 2.0
The Falcons were only mid-pack in sacks (39), but the Eagles gave up 36 with the more mobile Carson Wentz under center for most of the season. Nick Foles may be ripe for the picking when he drops back to pass this weekend. That 2.5 number for Atlanta would be higher if it wasn’t so likely that Philly leans heavily on its running game. The Jags and Steelers both get after the QB with gusto but somewhat cancel each other out by protecting their own QBs darn well.
Over/Under Nick Foles sacks + interceptions + intentional grounding penalties: 3.5
Add an interception O/U of 1.0 to the sack total, above.
Odds the backup QBs attempt at least one pass
- Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings: 29/1
- Nate Sudfeld, Eagles: 50/1
- Matt Cassel, Tennessee: 75/1
- Landry Jones, Steelers: 75/1
- Chad Henne, Jaguars: 80/1
- Brian Hoyer, Pats: 100/1
- Chase Daniel, Saints: 150/1
- Matt Schaub, Falcons: 150/1
The Vikings’ backup tops the chart, not because Minnesota starter Case Keenum is likely to be worse than Nick Foles, but because Bridgewater actually has playoff experience. The chances that Doug Pederson willingly turns his offense over to Nate Sudfeld, a second-year pro with 23 career pass attempts, are slim to none.
For most of the names on the list, the odds are based on the probability that the starter has to leave due to injury, hence Mariota’s and Roethlisberger’s backups sitting near the top.
Hoyer is a little shorter than Daniel and Schaub only because the Pats are more likely to be up big. But even if they are, don’t expect Belichick to let his backup throw the ball if/when he enters the game.
Over/Under largest blown lead: 13.5
Will we see a repeat of KC’s epic 18-point collapse last weekend? Andy Reid isn’t coaching any of the remaining teams, so probably not.
Odds Antonio Brown has more receptions than Bortles has completions: 8/7
Think those odds are too short? Brown won this battle in the Week 5 meeting, 10-8, and Jacksonville is undoubtedly going to employ a run-heavy (run-only?) game-plan, just like they did in Week 5, when Bortles had 14 pass attempts.
Odds Blake Bortles throws more interceptions than Ben Roethlisberger throws TD passes: 9/5
It’s hard for anyone, even Blake Bortles, to throw more than one INT when you don’t even throw 20 passes.
Odds Blake Bortles has more rushing yards than passing yards: 25/1
Temper your expectations for a repeat Wild Card performance from Bortles; his 88 rushing yards last week were a career high, and it was the first time ever that he had more rushing yards than passing yards in a game. As much as everyone expects Bortles’ passing numbers to be low on Sunday — and they will be — he only averaged 20 rushing yards per game this season, and the Steelers will be on the lookout for QB runs after what we saw last week.
Odds Mohamed Sanu + Dontari Poe throw more TD passes than Nick Foles: 49/1
Sanu has a legit arm, and Poe is more versatile than you think. But don’t expect shenanigans from Steve Sarkisian this weekend, not against this Philly defense, not with “28-3” still haunting the franchise.
Odds Bill Belichick (Patriots) and Nick Saban (Alabama) return in 2018: 1/19
Football isn’t just in their blood, their blood is actually comprised of tiny football-shaped erythrocytes. Not coaching might literally cause them to keel over and die; so might losing, which is why they won’t be leaving New England or Alabama anytime soon.
Odds the various Colemans score a TD
- Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons: 5/3
- Brandon Coleman, WR, Saints: 6/1
- Derrick Coleman, FB, Falcons: 99/1
- None of the above: 9/8
Odds the various Smiths score a TD
- JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers: 5/4
- Torrey Smith, WR, Eagles: 11/1
- Jonnu Smith, TE, Titans: 15/1
- Harrison Smith, S, Vikings: 40/1
- Telvin Smith, S, Jaguars: 50/1
- Tye Smith, CB, Titans: 150/1
- None of the above: 8/3
Odds none of the Steelers’ “Killer Bs” score a TD: 5/1
Clarification: this includes Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant and, just for kicks, Chris Boswell (pun intended). It does not include TD passes, only rushing and receiving TDs.
Over/Under total number of TDs by the Steelers’ “Killer Bs”: 1.5
Same parameters apply as above. So if Ben throws a TD pass to Brown, that’s only one.
Odds an announcer says the following words during the Divisional Playoffs
- Garoppolo: 1/9
- Music City Miracle: 1/4
- Tua Tagovailoa: 1/2
- Nick Saban: 1/2
- 28-3 (referring the SB 51 score): 2/3
- Trump: 1/1
- Peyton Manning: 3/2
- Oprah: 3/1
- Remember the Titans: 4/1
- Bill Parcells: 5/1
- “BountyGate” or “SpyGate” or “DeflateGate”: 5/1
Over/Under number of times Tony Romo correctly predicts a play pre-snap in the Titans/Patriots game: 3.5
Not that Romo needs the help, but Tennessee’s play-calling is going to be pretty predictable. All he needs to do to hit the over is say, “this is a run” at least four times.
Odds Jim Nantz begins the broadcast with “Hello Friends”: 5/1
It’s really more of a Masters phrase.
Over/Under number of Olympic promos during NBC’s Falcons/Eagles broadcast: 2.5
These are the least exciting and least talked-about Olympics in recent memory, and NBC knows it.
Over/Under minutes until announcers mention Patriots’ unrest in Titans/Patriots broadcast: 1:30
This storyline is more compelling than the lopsided matchup, and the announcers know it.
Over/Under minutes until NBC shows a sign at Lincoln Financial Field reading “28-3” in Falcons/Eagles broadcast: 15:30
Philadelphia football fans aren’t what you’d call welcoming … or hospitable … or nice.