Betting News & Analysis

NFL Divisional Round Betting: Darius Butler's favorite bets of the week

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Tampa Bay won 38-31.

Even though Super Wild-Card Weekend wasn't the most exciting playoff slate, as four out of the six games finished with double-digit point differentials, it was a profitable one, as I went 2-0 with my betting plays


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My betting picks went 29-27 through the regular season, and after my flawless record last week, my full-season record now stands at 31-27. Here are my betting picks for the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.

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Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5) vs. Tennessee Titans

Joe Burrow is a phenomenal young QB and has played his way into the argument of being a top-five quarterback. In fact, he was the NFL's highest-graded passer (91.2) during the regular season, and he followed that with a solid 74.3 passing grade in the wild-card round.

He has everything you want in a franchise quarterback, so it’s easy to see why I am giving the Bengals the quarterback edge in this divisional-round matchup.

Quarterback comparison
Quarterback J. Burrow R. Tannehill
PFF Grade 91.7 83.6
Passer Rating Clean 113.7 99.2
Passer Rating Under Pressure 92.4 66.5
Big-Time Throw % 6.4% 3.5%
Turnover-Worthy Play % 2.4% 3.5%
Power Rating 6.5 5.5
Power Rating Rank 5th 11th

When the Bengals have the ball, they need to keep Burrow clean when he drops backs to throw the ball downfield to one of his special wide receivers. On the other hand, the Titans‘ recipe for success is to feed a fresh Derrick Henry as much as possible because he gets better with every carry. Cincinnati can struggle to defend the run, so this will be an area of the game to keep a very close eye on.

The Titans have been disrespected as the AFC's No. 1 seed. They beat good teams throughout the regular season — of the eight remaining playoff teams, the Titans have played and beaten four.

I believe the Titans find a way to win a close game, so give me Cincinnati +3.5.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) over Los Angeles Rams 

It all starts with Tom Brady. I will keep this one short and sweet. I know this is a team game, but there is not a universe in which I pick Matthew Stafford to beat Brady in a playoff game.

There has been a lot of talk about Brady's lack of weapons, but I think he will have more than enough to move the Buccaneers‘ offense up and down the field to score some points, especially after that nice warmup game last weekend. Brady completed 29-of-37 passes for 326 passing yards, three touchdowns and a season-high 85.7% adjusted completion percentage en route to an excellent 89.9 overall grade against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

This week will be the first time the Buccaneers' entire starting defense takes the field together since Week 1. If it can limit Cam Akers and the Rams‘ rushing attack, the Buccaneers could win this game comfortably.

Dog Of The Day: San Francisco 49ers (+5.5) vs. Green Bay Packers 

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The soon-to-be back-to-back MVP Aaron Rodgers will face a tough 49ers defense that ranks top 10 in both run-defense (66.0, sixth) and pass-rush (80.9, fourth) grade. If the 49ers defense has a weakness, it would be at cornerback, as San Francisco doesn't have a cornerback who graded better than 68.0. However, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has done a great job putting his players in a position to succeed.

The 49ers will be riding in on a high after being the only road team to win last week. They have been red hot against the spread over the last six weeks (5-1). Jimmy Garoppolo will need to have a perfect game for the 49ers to win outright. I don’t think that happens, but I have faith they will, at least, keep this one very close.


Darius Butler is a former NFL free safety. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He has also played for the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts.

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