AFC Divisional Round NFL Picks Against the Spread and Over/Unders

by | Jan 20, 2022

Eight teams remain in the NFL playoffs, with a big weekend ahead to figure out how everything plays out. The Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans face-off on Saturday, with Buffalo and Kansas City battling it out on Sunday.

At this stage, all eight teams believe that they have what it takes to win the Super Bowl. Of course, it will be easier said than done, as it requires three straight wins against quality opponents. These are the picks against the spread for these two games, as well as the over/under prediction for gambling purposes.

Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans -3.5

Despite playing most of the season at less than full strength, Tennessee Titans finished as one of the best teams in the regular season. They benefited quite a bit from getting a bye week, which got them closer to full strength. They’ll need everyone to come through in this one, as they face off against a pretty healthy Cincinnati Bengals team looking to make history.

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Perhaps the biggest question for Tennessee going into this one will be how much work Derrick Henry gets at running back. The standout playmaker on the ground was viewed as a legitimate MVP candidate before he went down in the middle of the season. He’s worked hard to get back to play at all, but Tennessee likely won’t rely on him completely like they did before he was injured.

Ryan Tannehill will benefit quite a bit from having Henry back in the lineup. The quarterback might not have the pedigree of some of the others in the playoffs right now, but having a superb running game will make life easier for him. That’s not the only break Tannehill gets in this one, as the defensive line depth for Cincinnati took a hit in the first week of the playoffs.

Larry Ogunjobi is officially out for this week, meaning Cincinnati will be without one of their starting DTs. There’s a chance that Mike Daniels also has to sit out this game, while Trey Hendrickson is in concussion protocol. Cincinnati still has some talent to put pressure on Tennessee’s offense, but potentially missing three players will test them greatly. If they have to shift around their defense at all, that opens up more receiving opportunities for AJ Brown and Julio Jones.

Cincinnati gets a lot of press for their top-level offense, but they struggled in the second half against the Las Vegas Raiders last week. Tennessee’s defense will make it very challenging for the Bengals to get things rolling in this one. Joe Burrow looks to have the poise of a veteran quarterback already, but a playoff game on the road is a completely different environment. Traditionally speaking, young quarterbacks have a lot of challenges on the road in the playoffs.

All of these factors add up to Tennessee looking like the safer pick in this one, even with the spread climbing up to four points on some sites. They don’t need Henry to be a dominant force, but having him back will provide some sort of boost for the team. It should be an exciting game that’s somewhat close, but Tennessee is just a better overall squad right now. Thanks to them having a bye week, they should be a little fresher and ready to go to battle from the start.

Pick: Tennessee Titans -3.5

Over/Under 47

Cincinnati’s defensive line means that Tennessee should be able to score some points. If the Bengals fall behind, Burrow will feel forced to make a lot of passes and keep the game close. This all seems to line up perfectly for the over in this one.

Both teams have a lot of aggression with their offense, so they won’t passively run the football and try to control field position. They both should come out swinging, and Cincinnati’s too tough of an offense to be completely shut down by Tennessee. It won’t exactly be a true shootout, but over is the better pick with this one.

Pick: Over 47

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs -1.5

Many look at this game as the most intriguing battle of the weekend. Buffalo and Kansas City might be the two best teams in the AFC right now, but only one of them will get to advance to the conference championship game. They dominated in the wildcard round last week, so the offenses will be ready to go in this one. Will this be a shootout between a couple of talented quarterbacks, or will the defenses come through in the end?

For Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes, this has been their time to shine the last few years. Mahomes has been very good in the playoffs throughout his career other than last year’s Super Bowl, and he’s off to a nice start by throwing five touchdown passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers this year. Buffalo needs to contain him in some way to have a chance. However, it’s easier said than done, with a healthy set of weapons to choose from. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill have dominated, but there’s also Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman, and Byron Pringle. Limiting all those guys in one game might be pretty tough, even if Buffalo is pretty solid against the pass.

Keeping Buffalo competitive will be Josh Allen. He looked like he was an MVP caliber player last week. Now, he travels to Arrowhead Stadium to play in front of a road crowd. While he can have some success, the safe pick is to go with Kansas City right now. They have a lot more playoff experience, and they are coming in much more rested.

Expect this game to stay close, but Kansas City takes it in the end. It’s a little surprising that they are only -1.5 point favorites. They did show some inconsistency at the beginning of the year. However, they turn things around to the point that people are very excited to see where they are going.

Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -1.5

Over/Under 54.5

With two dominating quarterbacks last week, this seems like an easy pick for the over, right? Well, it seems like the sportsbooks have reacted appropriately and have placed the over/under a bit too high. The two teams combined for 58 points earlier this year, but their defenses are a lot better. They know each other well enough that they should be able to get a few more stops, which will keep it barely under.

Completing passes won’t be hard for Mahomes, but getting anything deep down the field for big plays could be difficult. It might be a lot of dink passes to create any type of offense. It’s a winning strategy, but it’s going to kill the clock quite a bit. Kansas City will then try to keep their defense engaged, as it’s much improved since even the middle of the season.

Early betting has been on the over, but it’s jumped up to the point that it’s a little crazy. Don’t be surprised at all to see the over/under go up even more. That only makes it an even safer bet with the under. A lot can happen in this game, but it just seems like a more natural pick to go with the under.

Pick: Under 54.5


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