The divisional round of the NFL playoffs is finally here. Now is the point where we separate the men from the boys. This weekend fans will be treated to four fantastic playoff matchups, all of which have no shortage of interesting storylines and drama. On the AFC side of things, both the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots are favored by anywhere from nine to 10 points (depending on the sportsbook). Over in the NFC, the games are a bit closer as both home teams are 2.5-point favorites, which mean two things for fans: the possibility of an exciting game, and, most importantly, the chance to bet basic strategy teaser games. Let’s take a look at the two basic strategy teaser games on the docket and try and see if they are worth a bet.
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Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
Original spread: Packers +2.5
Six-point teaser: Packers +8.5
Green Bay will be entering its Divisional Round matchup against the San Francisco 49ers with enough confidence and momentum to move a mountain. The Packers have gone 9-2, and completely turned around their season, since starting off the year with a mediocre 2-3 record. The Packers answered a huge question surrounding their defense last weekend against the Minnesota Vikings by shutting down Adrian Peterson and rendering him largely ineffective throughout the game.
Green Bay will definitely be looking to avenge their Week 1, 30-22, loss to the 49ers that was not nearly as competitive as the score might suggest. San Francisco, on the other hand, did not end the year in prime form. During the final few weeks of the season they played a horrible second half against the New England Patriots and then gave up 42 points against the Seattle Seahawks the very next week. Add in the bye week, Colin Kaepernick’s lack of playoff experience, and San Francisco is suddenly facing some serious questions about whether or not they will be ready for this game.
Green Bay has lost only one game by more than eight points all season, and that was to the New York Giants—a team that just seems to have Green Bays number. Expect a competitive and contentious game that stays close the whole way. Teasing the Packers up to an 8.5-point underdog, should be enough points to cover the spread.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
Original spread: Seahawks +2.5
Six-point teaser: Seahawks +8.5
Seattle is another team that has been white-hot entering the playoffs. They have won six straight games and eight of their last nine. It seems like almost every year a lower-seeded team rides a wave of momentum straight into the Super Bowl. Last year the New York Giants did it as the No. 4 seed, and the year before that the Green Bay Packers did it as the No. 6 seed. It would not be surprising at all to see Seattle march through the NFC and make the Super Bowl from the No. 5 seed.
The Atlanta Falcons have battled the “nobody believes in us” critics all year. Most experts, and even fans, will not give the Falcons the benefit of the doubt until they prove themselves in the playoffs. Matt Ryan and head coach Mike Smith have three straight one-and-done playoffs runs over the last five years and even entered as the top seed with a 13-3 record two seasons ago—only to get eliminated by the Green Bay Packers.
The Falcons will be entering this game with the added pressure of past playoff failures, which could very well crumble them if the game stays close. Seattle has been great all year, and there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to stay within 8.5 points.
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