NFL Playoffs 2014 Picks Against the Spread: Divisional Round

Jonathan Ferrey

Here are my suggestions when trying to beat Vegas.

Before the Divisional Round of the 2014 NFL playoffs kicks off, I thought we'd have some fun by looking at the spreads for this week's round of playoff games. You can find all of today's NFL betting lines and more at the SB Nation odds page. Click here for a complete schedule of this weekend's games. These are my suggestions when trying to beat Vegas.

Saturday, January 11

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-8): Many said the Saints can't win on the road in the playoffs, but that changed last week when they beat the Eagles. However, it was still a close win. The Saints just aren't the juggernaut that they are in the Super Dome. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are very strong in Seattle, having lost only one home game all year. The last time these two teams met, earlier this season, the Seahawks won 34-7. I like the Seahawks to win this game, but the spread is tricky. The Saints lost five games in 2013 but only two of those were by more than 8 points (Seahawks by 27 and Rams by 11). I'll go with the favorites here because I trust the 'hawks to come out strong. Pick: Seahawks -8

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (-7.5): I really don't like this bet because it's very hard to trust the Colts. It took a historical comeback, while playing at home, to overcome a 28 point deficit. At the same time, the Colts have played strong to their competition this year with wins over teams like the Broncos and the 49ers. This Patriots team isn't the most fearsome unit due to a number of injuries. It's hard to bet against Touchdown Tom Brady at New England in the playoffs, so I have to take the Pats as winners here. Pick: Patriots -7.5

Sunday, January 12

San Francisco 49ers (-3) at Carolina Panthers: The 49ers are the only road team favorite in the divisional round of the playoffs. They're a hot team that's coming off a tough win in the bitter cold of Green Bay. On the other side, Cam Newton is making his playoff debut. These two teams squared off earlier in the season at Candlestick in a close game that the Panthers won. Carolina is 6-0-1 against the spread in their last seven home games. Give me the Panthers. Pick: Panthers +3

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (-9): Let's first get the obligatory "Eagles home opener Super Bowl curse" comment out of the way. With that said, it's hard not to like this Chargers team. They played tough on the road in Kansas City and Denver in the regular season, earning hard-fought wins despite being underdogs. Can they pull off the upset yet again? Maybe not, but I think they find a way to cover. Pick: Chargers +9

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