Super Wild Card Weekend was a bit of a dud, relative to expectations. But the good news about a less-than-wild first weekend of the playoffs is it usually sets up some pretty epic games the following week.
And that’s exactly what we’ve got with this year’s divisional round — a bunch of really tight spreads should lead to some really good games. Three of the four games are rematches, which is pretty remarkable considering they’re all non-division games.
Last week’s 4-2 ATS record isn’t repeatable with only four games, but let’s see if we can stay hot through the postseason with our picks.
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook
NFL Divisional Round Picks
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET
TV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)
Latest Odds: Tennessee Titans -4
The great Rick Gehman of The First Cut fame (our CBS golf podcast, check it out) always tweets out his Sunday picks based on 🧠 , ❤️ and 💰. As in, who does he thinks will win, who does he hope will win and who does he WANT to win. This Titans-Bengals matchup is a great example of that for me: I really want the Bengals to win this game, because they’re an incredibly fun team. Joe Burrow is a stone-cold killer and on my current list of favorite NFL players (top two along with Deebo Samuel at the moment). They’ve got tons of weapons with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon. It’s fun to see Bengals fans happy after three decades of losing in the playoffs. So my ❤️ is with the Bengals. But my 🧠 tells me the Titans win this game and probably cover. The line quickly moved from Tennessee -2.5 to Tennessee -3.5, which is a key — and potentially telling — move. The Bengals are down a ton of players on their defensive line, which is the worst possible place for cluster injuries when Derrick Henry is coming back from injury. The Titans defensive line is substantially improved and should be able to pressure Joe Burrow. I think I’m going to leave my 💰 out of this and simply bet on my ❤️ : the Bengals have a bad matchup but they’ve got Joe Cool. I’m just going to keep taking a “don’t bet against Joe Burrow in win or go home games” stance here.
The pick: Bengals 28-27
Props, Best Bets: Over 47
Latest Odds: Green Bay Packers -5.5
It feels like these two teams are constantly squaring off, or maybe it’s simply the rumors of Aaron Rodgers going to the 49ers that cranked up the drama between Matt LaFleur and Kyle Shanahan. The Packers took the regular season matchup here and have a pretty massive advantage with rest coming into this game. The Packers played their guys against Detroit for a half, so they aren’t dealing with two weeks off, but they are extremely healthy, getting David Bakhtiari (who’s listed as questionable) and possibly Jaire Alexander back for this game. Randall Cobb looks like he’ll return as well. So Green Bay is in a great spot. It’s the polar opposite for the 49ers — Nick Bosa (concussion) and Fred Warner (ankle) both left the Cowboys game. They look good to play on Saturday, and so does Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) but Jimmy G’s going on the road for a playoff game with a busted shoulder and a busted hand. If the Packers get out to a big lead, this is a big-time trouble spot for the 49ers. If Garoppolo has more than 30 pass attempts this is probably a Packers blowout. The good news is Green Bay’s run defense is extremely questionable, so the 49ers can get into a game script that favors them. Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel both need to top 100 total yards in this game for San Francisco to win. I think they do, I think Jimmy G surprises some people and I think we’re ripe for an upset in Lambeau.
The pick: 49ers 27, Packers 24
Props, Best Bets: 49ers +6
Rams at Buccaneers
Latest Odds: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3
Another non-division NFC rematch from earlier in the year on this side of the bracket, although the winner of the first game comes in as an underdog, as the Rams travel to Raymond James Stadium just a field-goal dog to Tom Brady. The number has ticked down to Bucs -2.5 in some spots, which should prompt a flood of money on the GOAT. If it keeps moving down, it’s a major eyebrow raiser. I think the Packers and Bucs got the worst possible matchups — the Rams are a really good football team with tons of stars on the defensive side. And they happen to match up with the Bucs’ bad luck: Chris Godwin (ACL) and Antonio Brown (Antonio Brown) are out leaving just Mike Evans as an alpha wideout. Jalen Ramsey won’t shadow him (we don’t think) but he’ll see some physical coverage or double teams as Ramsey tries to key on another weapon. Ryan Jensen and Tristin Wirfs are both banged up. Not ideal with Aaron Donald and Von Miller on the other side of the ball. Betting on Matthew Stafford against Tom Brady feels crazy, but the Rams can protect and attack that Bucs secondary with Odell Beckham starting to show out. I love the Rams outright here.
The Pick: Rams 24, Bucs 17
Bets: Rams ML
Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)
Latest Odds: Kansas City Chiefs -1.5
What an absolute banger of a game. My CBS bosses are running pure right now, catching 49ers/Cowboys and now this Josh Allen/Patrick Mahomes matchup. If you claim to KNOW how this game will go, you’re a liar. Or Biff Tannen. This is a heavyweight title fight on divisional round weekend. Mahomes gets the edge at QB, even if Allen has played better of late. Andy Reid is a fairly big edge over Sean McDermott, but let’s not forget Reid FIRED McD from the Eagles. These teams have met plenty of times previously, but running through Bill Belichick/New England, Reid/K.C./Mahomes and then maybe even Tom Brady is a gauntlet. The Bills could snuff out some curses with a win here. I don’t think anyone can guarantee a winner here, so I’ll take the points and the scrappy underdog with the better roster in a shootout.
The Pick: Bills 35, Chiefs 31
Bets: Over 54