Who to Bet on Entering Divionsal Weekend: Early Leans

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We look at the opening lines and decide who to bet on before the lines change!

Kansas City Chiefs -8.5 (-110) vs Jacksonville Jags

I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around how Brandon Staley’s still the head coach of the Chargers, but I guess they’re Chargering into next season… Don’t get me wrong, I was on the Jags last week, so I couldn’t be happier with how things worked out, but damn. I don’t see history repeating itself twice, though, so I’m grabbing this line now while it’s still under 10 points, which is the amount the Chiefs beat the Jags by at Arrowhead back in week 10.

Patrick Mahomes is the best football player on the planet, and although Trevor Lawerence has apparently never lost a football game on a Saturday in his life, all good things must come to an end, especially when your defense ranked 24th in the red zone. Arrowhead is going to be rocking, especially considering this could be the only home playoff game their fans will see this postseason. Teams that are riding the wave of emotion that Jacksonville is at the moment after their thrilling come from behind victory last weekend don’t typically fare well the following week, so I’ll be surprised if Kansas City doesn’t win this game by double-digits.

Cincinnati Bengals +5 (-105) @ Buffalo Bills

The Bengals failed to cover against the Ravens in the Wild Card Round, which is a rarity for them this season. I grabbed Baltimore with the points in my Early Leans preview last week, because even without Lamar Jackson under center, it was still a divisional game, and the Ravens somewhat managed to hold their own when those two teams faced off the previous week, despite head coach John Harbaugh electing to rest his best players and start Anthony Brown at quarterback. Cincinnati has only lost by more than a field goal 3 times over the past two seasons, with 2 of those losses coming against another divisional rival, Cleveland. You know who hasn’t missed a game in either of those seasons? Joe Freakin Burrow!

Josh Allen is still Josh Allen, a perennial MVP candidate, but if you watched him closely all season you realized he wasn’t as efficient without former offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who now has Giants quarterback Daniel Jones playing at an elite level. I feel like Josh Allen is the type of guy who responds favorably to a coach getting in his face after making a mistake, and really misses Daboll in that regard. The Bills defense also hasn’t been the same since losing Von Miller, who they clearly viewed as the missing piece last season with the contract they dished out to him this past off-season. I still think Buffalo wins this game, because they’re motivated by a potential rematch with the Chiefs after what happened in the Divisional Round last year (aside from the 2014 Rose Bowl between FSU / Auburn, it’s the best football game I’ve ever watched), but I think it’s going to be a close game that comes down to the wire.

New York Giants +7.5 @ Philadelphia Eagles

This pick is strictly based on Brian Daboll, who is my pick for COY. What he has done in his first season as the Giants head coach has been mind blowing, and it started back during week 1 when he showed that he has balls of steel by going for 2 points and the win, instead of settling for overtime. Just the fact that the Giants managed to cover against the Eagles in week 18 while resting their starters is a testament to the culture he has instilled in that locker room. Daniel Jones is playing at a level I never thought he was capable of, and looks like a legitimate franchise quarterback. It’s not easy for an NFL team to beat an opponent 3 times in a season, and while I would be shocked if the Giants win this game, I trust Daboll to figure out a way to keep it within a touchdown.