It is not surprising to see all four home teams favored again in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. What might be a little surprising though is that the two-time defending AFC champion New England Patriots (11-5) are the shortest of the four favorites, sitting as consensus four-point chalk on the NFL odds for Sunday’s early matchup versus the Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The second-seeded Patriots have enjoyed more postseason success than any other team over the past two decades, but this year they finished with less than 12 wins for the first time since 2009, when they lost to the Baltimore Ravens 33-14 in the Wild Card round. The sixth-seeded Chargers just beat the Ravens 23-17 last Sunday as three-point road underdogs, and many believe they can pull off a similar upset here. Something will have to give because you can make an argument for each team.
Los Angeles is riding a seven-game road winning streak both straight up and against the spread, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. However, New England has won 15 games in a row as a home favorite to go along with a 12-3 mark ATS.
On Saturday in the other AFC game, the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) will try to end their postseason futility when they host the Indianapolis Colts (11-6) as 5.5-point home favorites. The Colts are 13-3 SU and 12-4 ATS in the past 16 meetings with the Chiefs, including a 45-44 playoff victory as 1.5-point home underdogs five years ago.
Kansas City has gone a dismal 1-11 SU and ATS in its last 12 postseason appearances, but MVP favorite Patrick Mahomes was not under center in any of them.
In the NFC, the top-seeded New Orleans Saints (13-3) and second-seeded Los Angeles Rams (13-3) appear to be on a collision course for a rematch in next Sunday’s conference championship game. The Rams and Saints are the biggest favorites of the weekend at online betting sites, each listed at a touchdown or more hosting the NFC East’s Dallas Cowboys (11-6) and Philadelphia Eagles (10-7) on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Los Angeles is 1-4 SU and ATS in the past five home meetings with Dallas, although all of those took place when the team was located in St. Louis. But the Cowboys have dropped seven playoff games in a row on the road, covering the spread just twice. Meanwhile, the Rams are 19-4 SU in their last 23 games as favorites (12-9-2 ATS).
The defending Super Bowl champion Eagles have gone 1-4 SU and ATS in the past five meetings, including a 48-7 blowout loss at New Orleans as seven-point road underdogs in Week 11. The Saints have won eight straight home games versus teams with winning records (6-2 ATS), and they are also 14-2 SU in their last 16 games at the Superdome overall.