NFL underdogs got off to a cracking start in the Wildcard playoff round last week. All 4 underdogs covered the closing number, with 3 of them winning outright. But can they keep this up? The Palmerbet Sports Team takes a deeper look.
Every Dog Has It’s Day
The pressure of the playoff crucible had a noticeable effect on the favourites last week. Whilst the Seahawks covering 2.5 was somewhat lucky, the Colts, Chargers, and Eagles all deservedly covered.
We saw the veteran NFL Quarterbacks make plays on the road, whilst some of the younger home Quarterbacks struggled. Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson particularly struggled and were outduelled by their veteran counterparts.
The veteran savvy of both Nick Foles and Russell Wilson proved crucial, registering late touchdown drives to cover the spread.
All four of last weekends NFL Wildcard underdogs covered the spread.
If you parlay Colts +5, Cowboys +7.5, Chargers +4 & Eagles +8 then you get a huge + 1234 pic.twitter.com/kEvxKCfRwP
— Oddschecker US (@OddscheckerUS) January 8, 2019
In recent seasons, we’ve also seen several underdogs pull off upsets in the nfl divisional round. Last season, we saw these very same Philadelphia Eagles emerge victorious as a home underdog against Atlanta.
Jacksonville also won outright as a 7.5-point road underdog against Pittsburgh. As a 4-point underdog in Minnesota, the Saints were a Stefon Diggs miracle away from also covering.
There were a few outright underdog wins in the 2016/17 Divisional round as well. Pittsburgh registered a road victory as a 2-point underdog in Kanas City, whilst an epic Aaron Rodgers throw to Jared Cook helped Green Bay knock off the #1 seed Cowboys.
NFL Playoff Betting Note:
Underdogs have covered the spread in the last 10 playoff games, dating back to last season.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, it's the longest such streak for underdogs in the Super Bowl era. pic.twitter.com/UZFek2jR21
— TheGamblersReport (@gamblersreport) January 7, 2019
In the Playoff divisional round in recent seasons, underdogs are either failing to cover the spread or winning outright. This was very much the theme last week too, with 3 outright underdog victories.
What does this mean from a betting perspective? If you like an NFL underdog, you’d be well served betting the moneyline in addition to your spread bet.
Let’s take a look at which teams have a real chance of causing an upset this week.
Underdogs against the spread in the @NFL Playoffs since 2017:
Dogs are 14-1 ATS, covering by 8.4 points per game.
— John Ewing (@johnewing) January 7, 2019
After starting the season 1-5, the Colts enter the divisional playoff round having won 10 of their last 11 games. From Week 7 onwards, many Vegas handicappers have ranked them as the best team in the NFL.
Travelling to Kansas City this week, they come up against a team that has somewhat faded of late. The Chiefs have lost 2 of their last 3 games and are without a real signature home win this season.
They doubted us.
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) January 9, 2019
Early money has come in on Indianapolis this week, leaving them as a 5-point underdog here. Using my earlier theory, I believe the moneyline at $3 is more appealing if you like the Colts.
Just like the Colts, the Cowboys enter the divisional playoffs in fine form. Starting 3-5 themselves, they’ve won 8 of their last 9 games to get to this point.
Their opponent, the Los Angeles Rams, has somewhat faded of late. Losing 2 of their last 4 games, they’ll be disappointed to have missed out on the #1 seed.
.@dallascowboys defense plays with an intensity that can only be described in one word: VIOLENCE. This defense will travel well. I would pay “StubHub” prices to go watch this action ❤️🏈. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/PT8OfEgxFU
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) January 8, 2019
With star talent like Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper, Dallas certainly has the potential to cause an upset here. They look very strong value at the current +7.5 handicap and Cowboys backers should also consider the $3.70 on offer.
Los Angeles Chargers
Despite being the #5 seed in the AFC, the Chargers were undoubtedly one of the NFL’s premier teams this season. After starting the season 1-2, they won a very impressive 12 of 14 games to reach this point.
Their depth and versatility were highlighted last week, winning in Baltimore as a 3-point underdog. With an impressive 7-1 road record on the season, a hostile New England environment shouldn’t phase them either.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 6, 2019
They currently find themselves as the shortest priced underdogs this week, getting 4 points against the Pats. Chargers backers should again look to consider a tasty moneyline currently set at $2.70.
The defending NFL Super Bowl champions find themselves as the biggest underdogs of the week, currently getting 8 points at New Orleans. Nick Foles has again led Eagles fans on a magical ride, winning 4 straight to get to this point.
He has precedent winning as an underdog in the playoffs, having now done so on 4 straight occasions. Things won’t be easy this week for Philadelphia as they take on the #1 seeded Saints.
So Nick Foles took over a 6-7 team that hadn't beaten a team over .500, and beat 13-3, 11-5, and 12-4 teams. It sounds made up.
— Ben Livingston (@bliv94) January 7, 2019
They’ll be looking to rectify a 48-7 beatdown they suffered in New Orleans earlier this season. If you’re looking to back the Eagles +8 in this one, the $4 moneyline also looks very lucrative.
All four of the underdogs this week have the talent to claim outright victories this week. To me, the ones that are most likely to do so are the Chargers and Cowboys.
Both of these sides are up against teams in the Rams and Patriots that did somewhat fade to finish the season. Whilst the Colts and Eagles both have an outside shot, it won’t be easy against their respective #1 seeds.