The Law of NFL Playoff Gambling

After a 1-3 performance in a bonkers division round, we need to turn to something a little stronger than rules. As a wise individual once said, “In America we have laws. Laws against killing. Laws against stealing. It’s accepted that, as a member of society, you will live by these laws. In West Canaan, Texas, there’s another society that has its own laws. Football is a way of life.” Here is the one law of NFL playoff gambling: don’t overthink it. I firmly believe in betting your gut unless you have a great reason not to. Will your gut always be right? Of course not. Will it usually be right? Hopefully so. But, if you bet your gut at least you will be able to look yourself in the mirror knowing you felt like you made the best decision at the time. There’s nothing more agonizing, in the sports gambling world at least, then knowing the right call, talking yourself out of it, and then getting kicked in the teeth. 

My official advice: Bet this week’s money on the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl +125

Photo Courtesy of Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Game Picks:

Chiefs -7.5 over Bengals

Rams -3.5 over 49ers

Kansas City is the best team left in the playoffs and they also happen to be playing the best. Their win over Buffalo last week was an instant classic and Pat Mahomes seems dialed in. Cincinnati doesn’t have the pass rush to make him uncomfortable and force him into bad decisions. Los Angeles and San Francisco potentially do, but the Rams just aren’t consistent enough to outduel the Chiefs for four quarters in a Super Bowl and I’ll believe Jimmy G will beat Pat Mahomes in a Super Bowl when I see it. That being said, I don’t love how high this line is so I think the right play is to just take what you would bet this week and take your +125 Chiefs’ Super Bowl odds. 

Kyle Shanahan has owned the Rams in the last few years with wins in each of their last six head-to-head matchups…but it’s time to break out the “Rafiki Principle.” The prior meetings go out the window. San Francisco needed all the help they could get from Green Bay’s special teams to pull off the upset in the division round. The offense should perform better in the much friendlier climate in Sofi Stadium, but it’s really, really difficult to win three consecutive road games in the playoffs. It certainly happens, but betting on it isn’t the right call. Plus, we all have focused on the Bucs come back to tie the Rams, but let’s not forget that they turned the ball over four times in that game and still won. The comeback and then subsequent dramatic ending kind of expunged the fact that Los Angeles was by far the better team in that game from our collective memory. Aaron Donald, Von Miller and the rest of the Rams’ pass rush made life hell for Tom Brady all afternoon and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did the same again this week. The key for Los Angeles will be containing the 49ers’ Swiss-army knife, Deebo Samuel.

Photo Courtesy of George Walker IV/ TODAY Sports

Prop Bets:

Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, or Ja’Marr Chase to have 125+ receiving yards +150

14+ TDs in Conference Championship Games +150

Any QB over 400+ passing yards +400

Cooper Kupp, Ja’Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill 100+ receiving yards each +900

Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Deebo Samuel, Odell Beckham 75+ receiving yards each +1900

Here’s my best advice for prop betting ahead of Super Bowl week: pick your game narrative and stick to it. This may seem obvious to some of you but so many people just pick their props willy-nilly without stopping to think if they mesh with their other props or game bets. For instance, I expect Kansas City to score easily on Cincinnati’s defense and I believe the Bengals will be playing from behind and throwing the ball all game. I also think that Joe Burrow is a capable quarterback against a below average Chiefs defense and can put up big stats. I firmly believe one of, if not both, Pat Mahomes and/or Joe Burrow will go for over 400 yards passing in this game. That also makes it likely that Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Ja’Marr Chase will have big games receiving. If only one of them goes off then you’ve got your +150 in the bag. All three? Hello +900 and +1900. Cooper Kupp, barring injury, feels like you can Sharpie in 100+ receiving yards for his stat column. Deebo Samuel is the 49ers best weapon against this aggressive Rams pass rush, and I’d feel better if I were betting on his all-purpose yards, but at +1900 this is a great low risk, high reward gamble.

Season Record: 53-38

Playoff Record: 6-4

Player Prop Record: 3-4

Cover Photo Courtesy of Hudl

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