Divisional Round Playoff Top Betting Picks: Back Saturday Home Teams on Alternate Lines

Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs Las Vegas Raiders
Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs signals at the line of scrimmage against the Las Vegas Raiders on January 07, 2023. Chris Unger/Getty Images/AFP.

We were 1-1 on our top NFL picks in the Wild Card Round here at TheRX – winning on Jacksonville beating the LA Chargers in a minor miracle but losing on Tampa Bay’s season-ending vs. Dallas.

Let’s have a sweep in the Divisional Round. Here are two top picks with NFL odds from the best sportsbooks.  

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Kansas City Chiefs 

Saturday, January 21, 2023 – 04:30 PM EST at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium

NBC has the first Divisional Round game of Saturday, and it’s a rematch of Week 10 in Kansas City when the Chiefs were -10 on the NFL odds and won 27-17 despite frankly not playing that well as they turned it over three times and Jacksonville none.

Last Time They Met

However, Patrick Mahomes threw four TD passes and KC didn’t commit a single penalty (that was accepted anyways). The Jaguars punted five times and missed a field goal on their first six possessions. 

The weather wasn’t an issue in that game but will be on Saturday, here is the forecast for the day: “Cloudy early with periods of light rain and snow later in the day. High 37F. Winds light and variable. Chance of precip 70%.”

Here’s the night forecast since the game will really be played in both day and night: “Snow in the evening will transition to snow showers overnight. Low 28F. Winds light and variable. Chance of snow 80%. Snowfall around one inch.” 

I absolutely think that forecast benefits the Chiefs as they are used to playing in the cold while the Jaguars obviously aren’t as much. It was quite cold in Jacksonville last Saturday night and Trevor Lawrence, the definition of a warm-weather quarterback, had four first-half interceptions vs. the Chargers before Jacksonville’s amazing second-half comeback. If Lawrence was rattled in front of his own crowd, imagine in front of those rabid Chiefs fans.  

Jaguars’ Lack of Pass Rush

Jags coach Doug Pederson was a former quarterback and assistant under Chiefs coach Andy Reid when they were both in Philadelphia, but no one is better with an extra week of preparation than Reid.

His teams are a stellar 28-6 straight up coming off a bye week as Kansas City does here and 6-1 in playoff openers. Reid is also 4-0 all-time in the postseason against members of his coaching tree like Pederson. 

One major issue here will be the Jaguars’ lack of a pass rush that didn’t sack Mahomes in the first meeting and had only 35 regular-season sacks. Mahomes is 5-0 in his career in the Wild Card or Divisional Round with 14 TDs to just one pick and a stellar rating of 119.1. 

The Pick

Jacksonville might hang around or score a garbage-time TD to cut a 14-point lead to 7, so that’s why I like Kansas City on the alternate line of 6.5. The Chiefs are 6-2 ATS in their past eight home playoff games.  

NFL Pick: Chiefs Alternate Line of -6.5 (-180) at Caesars Sportsbook

New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles 

Saturday, January 21, 2023 – 08:15 PM EST at Lincoln Financial Field 

FOX has the prime-time game between NFC East rivals – there are three teams left from that division and no other division has more than one among the NFL’s final eight. That an NFC East team wins the Super Bowl is the betting favorite at the top-rated sportsbooks because one is guaranteed a spot in the NFC title game.

Last Time They Met

Philly routed the Giants in New Jersey in Week 14 and then beat visiting New York 22-16 in Week 18 in Jalen Hurts’ return from a two-game injury absence. Hurts didn’t look quite right with his shoulder and barely ran the ball to avoid getting hit in that last meeting.

I’m presuming that was on purpose, but he should be a lot closer to 100% nearly two weeks later. Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson, maybe the best in the business, didn’t play that one and will go here. Most key Giants players sat out so really throw the game out.  

There’s a misconception that it’s very rare for one NFL team to beat another three times in one season – obviously, only teams from the same division can meet three times.  

While that was the case last year when the 49ers were 2-0 in the regular season vs. the Rams but lost in LA in the NFC title game, overall the regular-season sweeper has had a lot of success: since 1970, there have been 23 occasions of teams meeting for the third time after one team won the first two matchups.

The team that won both regular-season games is 14-9 in the playoff rematch, although the Eagles have never beaten a team three times in a season. Philly also has never lost a home Divisional Round/conference semifinal game, going 5-0. 

Giants’ Offense

Giants QB Daniel Jones looked fantastic last week in carving up the Minnesota Vikings, but they were one of the NFL’s worst teams against the pass in the regular season. Philadelphia was No. 1 against the pass and led the NFL with 70 sacks, two shy of the league record. Four players had 10-plus sacks on the Eagles, the most by any team in NFL history

Offensively and led by Hurts, the Eagles were No. 5 in the NFL in rushing yards and set a team record with 32 rushing TDs, by far the most in the league. New York’s defense ranked 27th in yards allowed per game (144.2) and 31st in yards per carry allowed (5.2). In that Week 14 loss to Philly, the Giants were gashed for 253 rushing yards.  

The Pick

Philadelphia is 5-2 ATS in its past seven vs. teams with a winning record. This is another where I’m going to avoid a late backdoor cover and use the alternate line.  

NFL Pick: Eagles Alternate Line of -6.5 (-143) at Caesars Sportsbook