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Divisional Round Games: Free Picks and Analysis

With only four games and eight teams left to make it through to the NFL Conference Championships, the heat is on this weekend in the Divisional Rounds. We’ve made our picks and we’re ready to share with you all the details of what you can expect. Keep reading to get your exclusive free picks.

Kansas City Chiefs vs New England Patriots

  • Time: Saturday, January 16, 2016 4:35 PM ET
  • Place: Gillette Stadium
  • Betting Odds: New England -5; Over/Under 41.5

Chiefs Analysis

The Chiefs pummeled the Houston Texans, shutting them out in the wild card game 30-0. However, the road up ahead is somewhat more complicated in facing a well-rested Patriots team that’s had a week off and will have key players, such as receiver Julius Edelman, back in the fold and ready to play.

The last time these two met, the Chiefs ran over the Patriots 41-14, however at that time they had a healthy Jamaal Charles who will not be playing this time around due to a torn ACL. Despite this, Kansas City still has a strong running back in the likes of Spencer Ware who has proven himself in the absence of Charles.

Quarterback Alex Smith has also improved his passing game, putting up 11 touchdowns with only five interceptions over the last seven games since week 12 of the regular season, including 190 passing yards and one score in the game against Houston.

Couple this with a solid defense, that did hold the Texans scoreless, and they have a really good shot at winning this game.

Patriots Betting Analysis

The Patriots did not have a good finish in the regular season. In fact, they lost four of their last six games; however, somehow they secured a first-round bye which gave them an week off which comes as a lifesaver given how injury-riddled they’ve been. Many of their star players will be taking the field, including Julian Edelman, Sebastian Vollmer, Dont’a Hightower, Chandler Jones, and Tom Brady, who suffered an ankle injury in their last regular season game against Miami.

Given the absence of running back LeGarrette Blount, Brady will likely turn to his passing game and connect with Edelman and Rob Gronkowsky to create scoring opportunities.

Betting Trends:

  • Kansas City is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
  • Kansas City is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of New England's last 6 games
  • New England is 23-2 SU in its last 25 games at home

Free Pick: Take the Patriots at -5. 

Green Bay Packers vs Arizona Cardinals

  • Time: Saturday, January 16, 2016 8:15 PM ET
  • Place: University of Phoenix Stadium
  • Betting Odds: Cardinals -7; Over/Under 50

Packers Analysis

The Packers fought their way to this game, winning over the Redskins in the wild card game 32-18. They now face the Cardinals who happened to have beat them a few weeks back 38-8. 

Aaron Rodgers seems to be back in full swing, completing 14 of 20 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns against Washington to give the Packers the lead before the half after which the team’s backfield took over in the second half. Running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks each scored a touchdown and combined for 116 rushing yards to close out the win. Lacy and Starks will need a similar performance to keep the pressure off Rodgers and allow him to set up his passing game. 

Cardinals Betting Analysis

The Cardinals have two advantages in this game: They’re playing at home and they won the first time around. Not only that, they’ve also had a week’s resting time and should be ready to take on the Packers and anything they can throw at them. Arizona was extremely effective in stopping Rodgers, sacking him an amazing nine times in their last game. 

Though quarterback Carson Palmer lacks playoff experience, he is an extremely talented player who could overcome this limitation and shine. 

Betting Trends:

  • Green Bay is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
  • Green Bay is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road
  • Arizona is 13-3 SU in its last 16 games at home
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Arizona's last 5 games at home

Free Pick: We see Green Bay pulling the upset and defeating the Cardinals. Take them at +7. 

Seattle Seahawks vs Carolina Panthers

  • Time: Sunday, January 17, 2016 1:05 PM ET
  • Place: Bank of America Stadium
  • Betting Odds: Carolina Panthers -2.5; Over/Under 44.

Seahawks Betting Analysis

Seattle will need much more than the miracle they pulled against the Vikings to defeat the Panthers. Russell Wilson cannot rely on pulling another rabbit out of his hat and expect to win against a much stronger Carolina team. 

Panthers Betting Analysis

The Panthers earned their right to a first-round bye, and will be playing in front of their home crowd. They already defeated Seattle earlier in the regular season and shouldn’t have any major difficulties in doing so again this time around. Running back Jonathan Stewart served them well the first time around, racking up 78 yards on 20 rushes with two touchdowns.

Betting Trends:

  • Seattle is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
  • Seattle is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Seattle's last 6 games on the road
  • Carolina is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games at home
  • Carolina is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Carolina's last 5 games at home

Free Pick: Take the Panthers, they’ll cover at -2.5

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Denver Broncos

  • Time: Sunday, January 17, 2016 4:40 PM ET
  • Place: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
  • Betting Odds: Broncos -7; Over/Under is not available.

Steelers Betting Analysis

The Steelers will be praying that Ben Roethlisberger will be healthy enough to take the field on Sunday. After having suffered an injury to his shoulder, Roethlisberger sat out for most of the fourth quarter in their game against the Bengals. A healthy Ben is critical for the Steelers as was evident when he wasn’t playing earlier in the regular season.

Broncos Betting Analysis

Without a quarterback to rely upon, the Broncos are in hot water. Peyton Manning will take the field and though he is one of the league’s elite, this hasn’t been his year. Backup Brock Osweiler simply does not cut it as was evident in their last game. They might have to rely on the ground game, handing the ball over to runners Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson who ran well against the Chargers and put up a combined 212 rushing yards in the season closer, with each of them finding the end zone once as well.

Betting Trends:

  • Pittsburgh is 8-4 SU in its last 12 games on the road
  • The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Pittsburgh's last 10 games on the road
  • Pittsburgh is 1-4-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Denver
  • Denver is 14-3 SU in its last 17 games at home
  • Denver is 4-1-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Pittsburgh
  • Denver is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing Pittsburgh

Free Pick: Big Ben will take the field and the Steelers will win. Take them at +7.