We head into divisional round Sunday going a mediocre 1-2 last week during wild-card weekend. Let’s be like Taylor Swift and “Shake It Off” and make some money this week!
I’ve done all the work for you here in case you want to make your football Sunday a little more interesting by putting down a little sprinkle.
Here are some of the plays that can hopefully make your divisional round Sunday more enjoyable!
Record to date for the 2021 NFL season: 30-28 (-4.20 units)
Editor’s note: All betting lines are courtesy of Sports Interaction and are current as of the time of publication.
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 3:00 p.m. ET
Wager to watch: WR Odell Beckham Jr. total receiving yards (Over 47.5 -120, Under 47.5 -120)
The Buccaneers have won a franchise-best five straight playoff games and have scored at least 30 points in each of those victories. The Rams, meanwhile, are 2-0 against the Bucs since Tom Brady went to Tampa. We want to zero in on Odell Beckham Jr.’s total receiving yards prop here.
Beckham hauled in four passes for 54 yards and a touchdown on four targets in Los Angeles’ 34-11 wild-card weekend destruction of Arizona last Monday night. He also completed a 40-yard pass! Since joining the Rams, Beckham Jr. has 31 receptions for 359 yards in nine games. The 29-year-old wide receiver has also seen a ton of volume lately. O-B-J has seen at least five targets in six of his last eight games totalling 49 targets. Beckham’s advanced metrics are also solid. He’s averaging 1.65 air yards per snap, and his average depth of target is 12.5 yards which are both above league average.
The Buccaneers, meanwhile, have given up an average of 225.0 passing yards over their past three games and had the 23rd ranked pass defence overall. Tampa had no answer for Los Angeles’ passing attack in their Week 3 matchup. The Rams had 331 yards through the air that day highlighted by DeSean Jackson’s three catches for 120 yards.
Beckham was brought in to replace Jackson as a deep threat and could have a big game in Tampa today. The Bucs have surrendered 563 receiving yards to wide receivers over the past four weeks which ranks 20th in the NFL in that time span.
Pick: All the attention (and rightfully so) will be headed towards shutting down triple-crown winner Cooper Kupp in this matchup for the Bucs. That could mean some extra work for Odell Beckham Jr. today. This total is too low with his big-play ability and the fact that he’s received 49 targets over his past eight games. I think there is too much value here with this matchup, so take Beckham’s receiving total of 47.5 to go OVER at -120.
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs, 6:30 p.m. ET
Wager(s) to watch: 1. WR Cole Beasley total receiving yards (Over 28.5 -110, Under 28.5 -130)
2. QB Patrick Mahomes total rushing yards (Over 25.5 -145, Under 25.5 +100)
Buffalo has lost eight straight playoff games away from home, including Super Bowl losses at the Rose Bowl and the Georgia Dome. The Chiefs have won five straight playoff games at Arrowhead Stadium which is the longest current streak in the NFL. The Bills beat up Kansas City 38-20 at Arrowhead in Week 5, but what we want to focus on is a pair of props here.
Cole Beasley had just one reception for 19 yards on one target in the Bills’ 47-17 trouncing of the Patriots during wild-card weekend last Saturday night in Buffalo. Beasley really hasn’t been a factor in Buffalo’s offence lately. The 32-year-old wide receiver had seven catches for 72 yards over his past three games.
The snap counts are what should be a concern of late for over bettors. Beasley played just 17 of 56 snaps (30.4 per cent) last week against New England and didn’t exceed 52 per cent of Buffalo’s snaps on offence over the final three games of his regular season. His advanced metrics are also lacklustre. Beasley is averaging just 0.92 air yards per snap, and his average depth of target is a measly 5.4 yards which are both well below league average. He also had just one catch for five yards on two targets against Kansas City in week five while playing just 22 of 57 snaps (38.6 per cent) on offence.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, have given up an average of 236.5 passing yards at home this season which ranks 18th overall in the NFL. KC also allowed just 7.41 yards per target to WRs over their eight weeks which ranks 13th in the NFL over that time frame. Kansas City’s defence also improved in the second half of the year after a disastrous first half. The Chiefs’ defence held opponents to just 13 points per game during their eight-game winning streak.
Pick: This is all about Cole Beasley’s usage. He was a non-factor in that Week 5 game in Kansas City and didn’t really contribute to Buffalo’s big win last week. He’s also not getting on the field with Gabriel Davis and Isaiah McKenzie being used more with this new-look Bills offence. I think there is too much value here with the under. Take Beasley’s receiving total of 28.5 to go UNDER at -130.
On to our second player prop, Patrick Mahomes threw for 404 yards and five touchdowns in last Sunday’s huge 42-21 victory over Pittsburgh on wild-card weekend. Mahomes also rushed for 29 yards on three carries. Let’s talk more about his rushing totals, lately shall we?
The 26-year-old quarterback has racked up 108 yards rushing on 14 carries over his past three games. Mahomes ran all over the Bills in that week five matchup by scampering for 61 yards on eight carries. He also had a 23-yard run in that game and has five runs this season that have exceeded 20 yards.
The Bills, meanwhile, have struggled to stop mobile quarterbacks recently. Buffalo has coughed up 6.83 yards per carry to QBs over their past four weeks which ranks 30th in the NFL in that time frame. The Bills have also allowed 82 yards on the ground to quarterbacks over the past four weeks which puts them 24th in the league in that span.
Pick: This game has the potential to be a shootout. Buffalo did a nice job of limiting Patrick Mahomes through the air earlier in the year, and I see a similar game plan from the Bills. That could once again open things up for Mahomes to use his legs. Take Mahomes’ rushing total of 25.5 to go OVER here at -145.