Saturday, May 21

NFL Picks Against the Spread for the Divisional Round – SBD Formula is 54-39-3

Josh Allen scrambles out of the pocket

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) carries the ball during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the New England Patriots in Orchard Park, N.Y., Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/ Jeffrey T. Barnes)
  • The 2021 NFL playoffs continue with the Divisional Round starting on Saturday, January 22nd
  • The SBD Formula went 3-3 with its best bets against the spread during Wild Card Weekend
  • Read below for analysis on the Divisional Round slate, plus against the spread picks for every game based on the SBD Formula

After an underwhelming start to the NFL playoffs, the SBD Formula is looking to rebound in a big way in the Divisional Round. The SBD Formula was just 3-3 with its best bets against the spread on Wild Card Weekend, which equated to a rare losing week in our wallets.

This weekend’s Divisional Round slate brings four more games to sweat, and we’re banking on a higher quality of football, as well as a positive ROI by trusting the SBD Formula’s projections.

Divisional Round Against the Spread Picks

Matchup Spread SBD Formula Pick
Cincinnati Bengals vs Tennessee Titans TEN (-3.5) CIN (+3.5)
San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay Packers GB (-5.5) SF (+5.5)
LA Rams vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers TB (-3) TB (-3)
Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs KC (-2) BUF (+2)

Odds as of Jan. 20th at DraftKings and FanDuel.

The SBD Formula is rolling with just one favorite, Tom Brady and the defending champs, while backing a trio of underdogs. We’ll focus on a pair of ‘dogs in this column, starting with the San Francisco 49ers taking on the Green Bay Packers.



49ers vs Packers Pick Against the Spread

San Francisco is currently a 5.5-point underdog, a number that the SBD Formula completely disagrees with. The SBD Formula is predicting not only a 49ers cover, but an upset win as well.

With how well Aaron Rodgers and Co. played down the stretch, I’m hesitant to roll with San Fran on the moneyline, but the recipe definitely exists for them to keep this game close.

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The Niners want nothing more than to run the football. That will be amplified this week thanks to not only their matchup, but also the health of Jimmy Garoppolo. San Fran’s starting QB is dealing with both thumb and shoulder injuries, but let’s face it, the 49ers aren’t going to keep this game close by relying on his arm.

They’re going to try to bleed the clock dry and limit Rodgers’ possessions, by running early and often. They boast the fifth highest graded run offense per DVOA, while Green Bay grades out as the fifth worst run defense.

The way this game goes sideways is if the Packers jump out to a two-score lead. If that happens, the pressure will be on Garoppolo and that’s the last thing San Fran wants. Jimmy G was horrendous in the second half last week versus Dallas, and has been plagued by turnovers all season. He’s thrown at least one interception in three straight starts, and owns three multi-pick games in his last five outings.

Another reason to pause before rolling with the Niners is the status of their top two defenders. Both pass rusher Nick Bosa and stud linebacker Fred Warner left the Wild Card game against the Cowboys due to injury, and if they’re out or limited versus Green Bay, Rodgers will carve this defense up.

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Ultimately, 5.5-points seems like a hair too much. San Fran has a ton of explosive playmakers and presents one of the worst matchups for Green Bay’s defense.

Pick: San Francisco 49ers +5.5, 1 unit



Bills vs Chiefs Pick Against the Spread

Our next target is the Bills as a 2-point underdog versus the Chiefs. According to the SBD Formula, this line is way off. It’s predicting not only a Buffalo upset victory, but also the most convincing win on the slate (+9 ATS margin of victory).

This will be the fourth meeting over the past two seasons between these two teams, and if last week is any indication, the KC defense could be in a for a long night.

Josh Allen and the Bills are fresh off a perfect game against the Patriots. Literally. They scored a touchdown on each of their first seven possessions, before kneeling down on their eighth to end the night.

These two teams met earlier this season, and Buffalo dominated en route to a 38-20 win. Allen was nearly as good in that game as he was last week, averaging 12.1 yards per attempt, and 21 yards per completion.

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The Chiefs disguised themselves as a good defense over the second half of the season, but that was against lousy competition. In three games against the three remaining AFC playoff teams this season, KC was 0-3 straight up and against the spread, and were outscored 99-54.

No one is expecting the Bills offense to completely neutralize Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. KC showed its offensive ceiling last week versus Pittsburgh scoring five touchdowns in just over 11 minutes of game time.

However, if there’s a defense that can slow them down it’s Buffalo. The Bills ranked first in pass defense per DVOA in the regular season, and led the NFL in QB pressures per drop back. The loss of All-Pro Tre’Davious White hurts, but even in his absence the Buffalo secondary finished as the third highest graded coverage unit.

Pick: Buffalo Bills +2, 1 unit


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