Divisional Round NFL Best Bets: Shootout of the Week in Detroit


The story of the NFL’s wild-card round was one-sided games with the home teams running away with wins outside of Dallas’ shocking upset loss to the Packers, who led 27-0 at one point.

But we did not have a single lead change in the final 22 quarters of action. Let’s hope for some more spirited scoring and better, competitive games in this Divisional Round despite the No. 1 seeds both being favored by big margins.

We made our best bets for the Divisional Round below, and you can always find these bets at top-rated sportsbooks.

Picks Summary

  • Texans-Ravens Both to Score 15+ Points (-115)
  • Packers 1st Half Over 9.5 Points (-120)
  • Buccaneers-Lions Both to Score 20+ Points (+100)

*All odds from Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)

Let’s Try That Again, Detroit

The Detroit Lions wouldn’t mind a repeat of last week since their 24-23 win over the Rams produced the franchise’s 1st playoff win since the 1991 season, ending the longest drought in the NFL.

But it was not a perfect game if we are being honest. The Lions ripped off 3 touchdowns to start the game offensively, but that offense was held to a single field goal after halftime. Coach Dan Campbell cannot be satisfied with that despite the monumental win. If the Rams get a flag for that jersey tug of Puka Nacua on 3rd-and-long on their last drive, we could be talking about a much different matchup right now.

The Lions will have to be better, and the Buccaneers come in feeling good after scoring 32 points against the lowly Eagles, who completed their season collapse from a 10-1 record. This is not the divisional matchup anyone expected to see, but it could be a good one as some of the best passing games this season have involved these teams.

The Lions are a 6.5-point home favorite with a total of 48.5 points. We are looking at a game prop for both teams to reach 20 points.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Detroit Lions

Sunday, January 21, 2024 – 03:00 PM ET at Ford Field

Why the Buccaneers Should Score 20 Points

This is the tough call as the Bucs scored just 6 points in the 20-6 loss to Detroit at home in Week 6. Neither team reached 50 yards rushing with their backfield that day, though that is not surprising for Tampa, which finished 32nd in rushing for the 2nd season in a row.

But you can say things have improved down the stretch with Rachaad White, who just missed a 1,000-yard rushing season (990 yards) and had 72 yards against the Eagles in that 32-9 win on Monday night.

Baker Mayfield has also gotten more comfortable in this offense and was able to avenge his bad Week 3 game at home against the Eagles by becoming the first quarterback in franchise history to pass for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in a playoff game. Yes, even Tom Brady didn’t do that with the Buccaneers. Just as importantly, Mayfield looked healthy in the game as he came in with concerns about his ribs and ankle.

Detroit’s Weak Defense

Now you aren’t going to get that much horrible tackling from the Lions like the Bucs did from the Eagles, but the Detroit defense has fallen off from earlier this season too. The Baltimore rout (38-6) was a turning point as the Lions have rarely performed well on defense since that week.

Even last week, Matthew Stafford passed for 367 yards and the Rams nearly outgained the Lions by 100 yards in a game without any turnovers. It was a game that came down to the Rams settling for too many field goals.

Mayfield has a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but Trey Palmer has also been stepping up recently as has tight end Cade Otton. The skill players for Detroit are still better, but Mayfield comes in with enough to put up at least 20 points.

In fact, Detroit has allowed at least 20 points in all but 4 games this year. We’ve already seen Tampa in some high-scoring games indoors this year, including 39-37 in Houston, 29-25 in Atlanta, and 27-20 in Indianapolis.

The Lions Better Score 20 Points

Putting expectations on the Detroit Lions in the playoffs still feels weird, but this team has earned it. The offense has been a top 5-caliber unit since 2022, and they usually reach 20 points with ease at home behind Jared Goff.

Goff also has played well against Tampa’s defense, coached by Todd Bowles, who is known for sending a lot of blitzes. Goff took command in Week 6 in Tampa despite the Lions not having their best running backs in David Montgomery (injured early) and Jahmyr Gibbs (inactive). The Lions had a season-low 40 rushing yards and Goff stepped up with his only 350-yard passing game this year in the 20-6 win.

Amon-Ra St. Brown had 12 catches and it feels like he can get over 100 yards against any defense if he wants to. Tight end Sam LaPorta also returned from his injury last week and was able to catch a touchdown against the Rams.

The Lions have too many weapons for Tampa to handle and should have no issue reaching 20 points again.

The Pick

There is some understandable concern with a pick like this given the Buccaneers scored a season-low 6 points against Detroit in Week 6. But rematches turn out drastically different in the playoffs all the time, and that game felt like an outlier for both teams with the lack of rushing from both and the way Tampa didn’t finish any drives in the end zone.

They will be indoors this week, the Lions should play well early and implore the Buccaneers to catch up with a strong effort. It has a chance to be the best shootout and close finish of the weekend.

We’ll take both teams to score 20 points for your NFL picks and enjoy the show.

NFL Pick: Both Teams to Score 20+ Points (+100) at Bet365

Can C.J. Stroud Go Toe-to-Toe with Lamar Jackson?

C.J. Stroud is likely going to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year after his stellar season that has already seen him become the youngest quarterback to win a playoff game. Lamar Jackson is likely going to win his 2nd MVP award for this season’s effort to get the No. 1 seed back to Baltimore.

But coming into this playoff game, Stroud already has just as many playoff wins (1) and touchdown passes in the postseason (3) after a single playoff game than Jackson has in his career. This is why the pressure is on Jackson, who is 1-3 in the playoffs and has never led the Ravens to more than 20 points in any of those games.

However, we are not that interested in 20 points this week. In fact, we are looking at a game prop where both teams score at least 15 points. The Ravens are a 9.5-point favorite with a total of 43.5 points, so the sportsbooks are looking at a 27-17 type of outcome in this one.

But if you believe in these quarterbacks that much right now, getting to 15 points should be a great value. Let’s look at the reasons for both teams to get there.

Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens

Saturday, January 20, 2024 – 04:30 PM ET at M&T Bank Stadium

Why the Texans Should Improve From 25-9

These teams met in Week 1 and the Ravens won 25-9, which wasn’t surprising. Expectations were still very low for Houston and it was only the debut game for Stroud and coach DeMeco Ryans as rookies.

We only learned throughout the season how special Stroud could be in this offense coached by Bobby Slowik with these unheralded receivers like Nico Collins, Tank Dell, Noah Brown, and tight end Dalton Schultz.

Unfortunately, Stroud has lost half of those players to season-ending injuries, but he did just throw a 76-yard touchdown to backup tight end Brevin Jordan. This offense is almost like a poor man’s version of San Francisco, where Ryans and Slowik came from, in the way they can scheme receivers open. Stroud is fearless in throwing off platform to get his receivers the ball, and he has only been intercepted 5 times all year for the offense with a league-low 14 giveaways.

Those lack of turnovers should help Houston possess the ball. Stroud is much better now than he was in Week 1. The Ravens could be a little rusty to start the game after taking off Week 18 for many of the starters and having the bye week. It is a good chance for the Texans to surprise them with big plays early.

Why the Ravens Should Score 15

The Ravens better score at least 15 points or Baltimore will go nuts. The Ravens have scored at least 19 points in every game this season except for the pair of 17-10 losses to the Steelers. You can disregard those and chalk it up to the rivalry and resting starters in Week 18. Houston is not good enough defensively to hold this team to 10 points.

The Texans allow a lot of big plays through the air, but the Ravens did not have those in Week 1 as Lamar Jackson threw his shortest passes (4.6 yards) of the season that day. The running game was also contained decently for Baltimore’s high standards.

But despite that, the Ravens still scored 25 points and only gained confidence as the season wore on as that was just Game 1 in new coordinator Todd Monken’s offense. The Ravens could even get tight end Mark Andrews back from injury this week, giving Lamar his favorite weapon back after things were already getting so good with Isaiah Likely filling that role.

The Pick

A rookie quarterback on the road against the No. 1 defense. A team with a shaky playoff past that hasn’t really gone all out for a game since Week 17. What could possibly go wrong here?

But Stroud might just be built differently, and while he won’t get his defense to score a couple of interception touchdowns this week, he should be able to get to at least 15 points.

As for the Ravens, look for a message to be sent that they are for real about this Super Bowl run, and they should look good against a Houston defense that is by far the worst left in this AFC playoff field.

NFL Pick: Both Teams to Score 15+ Points (-115) at Bet365

Does Green Bay Have Another Upset Prepared?

The Packers and 49ers have met in the playoffs often since the 1990s. Brett Favre and Green Bay used to get the best of Steve Young and the 49ers in the 90s, then Aaron Rodgers was 0-4 in the playoffs against the 49ers in the last decade. Coach Matt LaFleur of the Packers is 0-2 in the playoffs against San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan.

But things have changed again, and now we’ll see how Jordan Love fares in his 1st game against the 49ers. This is Brock Purdy’s 1st game with Green Bay, a defense that already shocked Dak Prescott into a bad game after he had the best year of his career.

The Packers are a 9.5-point road underdog this week, giving them an even tougher task than last week. But can they build from that and even repeat that performance to give them an edge here? We are looking at Green Bay’s 1st half scoring total (over/under 9.5 points).

Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers

Saturday, January 20, 2024 – 08:15 PM ET at Levi’s Stadium

Green Bay’s Jarring Improvement

In the early months of this season, Green Bay was horrible at scoring points early in games. Jordan Love seemed to be the opposite of Aaron Rodgers in that he was trying to rely on 17-point comebacks in the 4th quarter against the Saints (Week 3) instead of getting anything done early in games. That is a big reason why the Packers started 3-6.

But look at this split and improvement:

  • Over the first 8 games of the season, the Packers scored 36 points in the 1st half (No. 32).
  • Over the last 9 games of the season, the Packers scored 133 points in the 1st half (No. 6).

Add their 27 points in the 1st half in Dallas in the playoffs, and the Packers have been as good as anyone at lighting up the scoreboard early.

The Packers having the youngest team in the league with a proven coach was the right combination to produce a historic level of improvement down the stretch that has paid off with their appearance in this game. This does not look like a fluke for Green Bay.

Packers Need Fast Start

One of the best things LaFleur did in Dallas was choose to receive after winning the coin toss. This put the pressure on Dallas after Love led a touchdown drive that consumed half the quarter. Green Bay eventually led 27-0, 48-16, and won convincingly.

The way to attack front-running teams like the 49ers and Cowboys is to punch them in the face early and make them play from behind, a position they are not used to being in. The Packers know all about this as they were a front-running team for years under Rodgers. The 49ers were the team that would push them around in big games and always beat them.

Now the Packers are the scrappy underdog who can flip the script and pull off another upset in the playoffs. They should try the same thing this week and take the ball right away and try to score and make Brock Purdy play from behind, something he has rarely done in his career.

The Pick

A touchdown and a field goal is all it takes to hit this over for the 1st half. The Packers have scored over 9.5 points by halftime in 9 of their last 10 games. The only time they didn’t was Week 18 against Chicago, and that’s because they missed a field goal and blew the clock at the end of the half.

The offense is hot with 3 straight games of 400 yards after having no such games in Weeks 1-16. Love looks like the real deal, LaFleur has the team clicking on all cylinders, and the 49ers could come out rusty after all this time off.

We’ll take Love and the Packers to hit the 1st half over.

NFL Pick: Packers 1st Half Over 9.5 Points (-120) at Bet365

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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