The Panthers are favored by 2.5 points.

Betting Parlay Picks for the Divisional Rounds

Written by on January 14, 2016

Interested in a parlay for the NFL divisional round? Here’s what I would do — bet on the Broncos (-3), the Chiefs (+5) and the Cardinals (-7).

Why Bet the Broncos?

They are facing a Steelers team with a quarterback who can’t throw the ball more than 10 or 15 yards down the field — and might not be able to throw it that far. Ben Roethlisberger sprained a joint in his shoulder and tore two ligaments when Vontez Burfict sacked him in the wild card round game. Landry Jones, who was ineffective in two drives against the Bengals last week, might play in Roethlisberger’s stead.

Why Bet the Cardinals?

Yes, Aaron Rodgers is one of the storied playmakers in the NFL, especially in the playoffs. However, the Cardinals took that playmaker and routed him 38-8 in Week 16. I don’t think that the Cardinals will have that easy a time in the divisional round, but they will win convincingly over the Packers. Green Bay just has too many holes in their offensive line, and the loss of Jordy Nelson still means that Rodgers is missing that playmaker down the field. Carson Palmer is having the best season of his career in terms of passing yards, and he’s ready for the playoff validation that he lost in 2005 when his ACL tore in Cincinnati and in 2014 when he didn’t even get to the playoffs because of another ACL tear.
Green Bay might not be in good enough shape to offset Arizona.
The Packers might not be in good enough shape to offset the Cardinals.

Why Bet the Chiefs?

Again, you’re talking about a program with a detailed playoff resume, in the New England Patriots, facing an upstart. The Chiefs have rolled off 11 straight wins and are strangling opposing offenses to the point where they can’t even score 10 points per game. Alex Smith has added a running dimension to his game, to the point where you can’t just point to him and call him a game manager anymore. He sliced and diced a solid Houston Texans defense in the wild card game, and he has shown poise under pressure all year long, particularly in this big streak.

What about the Seattle-Panthers game?

The Panthers are favored by 2.5 points, but those teams are so close together, not just in terms of overall talent but in the ways their talent shows itself, that it’s hard to pick a definitive winner there. I do think that Seattle will win, what with their playoff experience and the relative immaturity of the Panthers, but I’m not sure enough of that to put that into a parlay. Watch it online here.