Divisional Round Sunday Trends and Picks


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Divisional Round Sunday Trends and Picks

Examining trends for each team can help you make better-informed gambling and fantasy decisions. It’s never wise to bet a game based on a single trend and it’s also never wise to back off a wager based on a single trend, either. With that said, trends can point you in the right direction by corroborating stats and information you’ve gathered or they can make you reconsider making a bad wager based on flimsy data. I’ve gone game-by-game and compiled the most relevant trends for each team heading into this week’s contests. I’ve included any bets or leans I have for each game at the end of each writeup. Good luck with your wagers!

Divisional Round Sunday

Cleveland Browns (12-5, 7-10 ATS) at Kansas City Chiefs (14-2, 7-9), 3:05 p.m.

  • Implied Team Totals: Browns 23.5, Chiefs 33.5

  • Spread/Total Movements: 9.5 to 10, 55.5 to 57

  • Weather: 40 degrees, clear, 10 mph

  • Browns Injuries to Watch: RT Jack Conklin (hamstring), TE David Njoku (hamstring) LB B.J. Goodson (shoulder), CB Robert Jackson (hamstring, IR), OG Michael Dunn (calf, IR)

  • Chiefs Injuries to Watch: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle/hip), WR Sammy Watkins (calf), LB Willie Gay (ankle), CB Rashad Fenton (ankle)

Browns Trends

  • Cleveland finally got their point differential back to dead-even with their 11-point victory (48-37) over the Steelers as five-point road underdogs.

  • Cleveland became the first team to score 28 points in the first quarter of a playoff game, and it picked up the franchise’s first playoff victory since the 1994 season under Bill Belichick.

  • The Browns have played games that featured 85 combined points against the Steelers, 89 combined points against the Ravens, and 76 combined points against the Titans since the beginning of December.

  • Jarvis Landry has posted 5+ catches and 50+ receiving yards in six straight games since Cleveland’s ugly weather games in Weeks 8-11. He’s also scored in five of his last six games after posting 5/92/1 receiving against the Steelers last week. The Chiefs are giving up a league-low 11.1 catches per game to WRs.

  • Rashard Higgins has managed just two catches in each of his last two games against the Steelers after posting 4+ catches and 68+ receiving yards in three straight games in Weeks 13-15. He averaged 16.2 YPR this season while the Chiefs are giving up 12.6 YPR to WRs.

  • The Browns activated KhaDarel Hodge off of the COVID-19 list and he should slot back in as the #3 WR, ahead of Donovan Peoples-Jones. Hodge posted 2/25 receiving on 12 routes in Week 17 while DPJ posted 1/11 receiving on six targets.

  • Austin Hooper has posted 13+ FP in four straight games and he’s scored touchdowns in four of his last six games. He’s recorded 4+ catches in each of his last six contests with 11+ targets in two of his last three contests. The Chiefs gave up 5.3/59.6/.6 receiving per game for 14.5 FP to TEs (7th-most) this season.

  • Nick Chubb has posted 100+ scrimmage yards in seven of his last nine games since coming back from his injury after ripping the Steelers for 145/1 scrimmage on 22 touches last week. He’s also scored eight of his last nine games and he’s averaging 5.6 YPC. The Chiefs are giving up 4.5 YPC and 149.1 scrimmage yards per game to RBs.

  • Kareem Hunt will take on his former team for the first time since they released him in November of 2018, and he’s coming in off his best performance in weeks. He posted 9/61/2 scrimmage against the Steelers in the Wild Card Round, which was just the third time he’s reached 60+ scrimmage yards since Chubb returned to the lineup nine games ago.

Chiefs Trends

  • The Browns (7-10 ATS) and the Chiefs (7-9) are the only teams remaining in the playoffs who own losing ATS records.

  • It’s been two months since the Chiefs looked truly dominant as they haven’t won a game by more than one score since they wiped out the Jets 35-9 in Week 8 on the first day of November.

  • They’ve failed to cover in seven of their last eight games heading into the playoffs with their only ATS victory coming by half a point in a 32-29 victory over the Saints in Week 15.

  • Andy Reid’s teams have been excellent coming out of bye weeks despite their failed cover in a 35-31 victory against the Raiders after their Week 10 bye earlier this season. Including the playoffs, Reid’s teams are 24-5 straight up and 20-9 ATS after byes.

  • Patrick Mahomes threw for multiple TDs in 13-of-15 games this season while averaging 316.0 passing yards per game. Mahomes has accounted for 16 TDs (13 passing, 3 rushing) while averaging 299.0 passing yards and 36.5 rushing yards per game in his last four postseason games. The Browns have given up multiple TDs to seven of the last eight QBs they’ve faced with Colt McCoy being the lone exception.

  • Travis Kelce has posted 7+ catches in eight straight games and he’s scored 22+ FP in seven of those contests. He’s also scored in six games in that span. Eric Ebron posted 7/62/1 receiving in this matchup last week as the Browns gave up the fourth-most FPG to TEs (15.4) in the regular season.

  • Tyreek Hill posted 582/8 receiving in four games in Weeks 8-12 before cooling off a bit down the stretch with 255/2 receiving in his final four games in Weeks 13-16. Hill was laboring through a hamstring issue in that span so he got some much-needed rest the last three weeks. The Browns secondary has been ripped down the stretch and the Steelers had three WRs post 22+ FP against them last week, but Cleveland did get CBs Denzel Ward and Kevin Johnson off the COVID-19 list this week.

  • Sammy Watkins hasn’t scored more than 10 FP in each of his five games since returning to the lineup. He missed practice early in the week with a calf injury, which he initially suffered in Week 16. Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman would see bigger roles if he can’t play. Hardman hasn’t topped 50+ receiving yards in each of his last eight games. Throwing out Week 17, Robinson hasn’t reached 50+ receiving yards in seven straight games.

  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire is trending toward playing after getting some limited practice time in after suffering his injuries on Dec. 20 against the Saints. CEH was trending upward before his injury with 30/111 rushing and 6/63 receiving in Weeks 14-15 before his injury. Le’Veon Bell mustered just 8/39 scrimmage on a 30% snap share with CEH out in Week 16 as Darrel Williams actually led the way with 14/73 scrimmage on a 70% snap share. The Browns gave up just 114.4 scrimmage yards per game to RBs in the regular season while James Conner posted 16/67/1 scrimmage last week.

Brolley’s Bets

Kansas City Chiefs -9.5 (Best Bet)

Over 55.5 points (Best Bet)

Nick Chubb (Cle) over 12.5 receiving yards (Best Bet)

Donovan Peoples-Jones (Cle) under 1.5 receptions (Best Bet)

Austin Hooper (Cle) over 3.5 receptions (Best Bet)

Harrison Bryant (Cle) over 10.5 receiving yards (Best Bet)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-5, 9-8 ATS) at New Orleans Saints (13-4, 10-7), 6:40 p.m.

  • Implied Team Totals: Buccaneers 24.5, Saints 27.5
  • Spread/Total Movements: 3.5 to 3, 51 to 52
  • Weather: Dome
  • Buccaneers Injuries to Watch: RB Ronald Jones (quad), RG Alex Cappa (ankle, IR), LB Kevin Minter (COVID-19), WR Mike Evans (knee), WR Chris Godwin (hip/quad)
  • Saints Injuries to Watch: RB Latavius Murray (quad), QB Taysom Hill (knee) WR Tre’Quan Smith (ankle), DE Trey Hendrickson (neck), TE Jared Cook (back), CB Patrick Robinson (hamstring)

Buccaneers Trends

  • The Buccaneers survived a scare from a frisky Washington squad led by Taylor Heinicke last week, but they failed to cover as 10-point road favorites in their 31-23 victory.
  • Tom Brady has thrown for 340+ yards and averaged 8.7 YPA or more in four straight games. He’s also thrown for multiple TDs in eight straight games since he threw for 209 scoreless yards against the Saints in Week 9 while averaging 5.5 YPA. Brady took a season-high three sacks in each of his first two contests against the Saints this season, and he needed 74 attempts to post 448/2 passing (6.1 YPA) with five INTs.
  • Brady’s weaponry is better this time around with Antonio Brown fully integrated into the lineup after he made his 2020 debut against the Saints in Week 9. AB has scored in four straight games with five TDs overall in that span, but he’s reached 8+ targets just once in his last six games. The Saints have allowed just six TDs to WRs in their last nine games dating back to their Week 9 shutdown of the Buccaneers.
  • The latest chapter between Mike Evans and Marshon Lattimore will be written in the Divisional Round. Lattimore has recently owned the rivalry as Evans has posted just 5/66/1 receiving on 10 targets this season. Evans also failed to catch any of his three targets in his one matchup against Lattimore in 2019. Evans is coming in hot with 22/410/2 receiving in his last three full games.
  • Chris Godwin’s four drops last week matched his career total of four from his first 58 games. His four drops last week were also the most in a playoff game since Brian Westbrook dropped four passes against the Saints in the Divisional Round in the 2007 playoffs. Godwin has still scored in four straight games with five TDs overall in that span, and he’s posted 79+ yards in three straight games. Godwin has had mild success against slot CB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and the Saints with 9/120 receiving on 13 targets in two games.
  • Rob Gronkowski's small role in the offense since Brown arrived continued last week as he failed to catch his only target. He’s failed to top two catches in seven of his nine games with Brown on the field. Gronk has just 3/11 receiving on nine targets in two games against the Saints this season.
  • Ronald Jones is uncertain for this weekend after a pre-existing quad injury swelled up last week, which forced him to miss the Wild Card Round. Leonard Fournette handled the load with 19/93/1 rushing and 4/39 receiving with RoJo out of the lineup. Jones had 20/75 rushing and 5/25 receiving in two games against the Saints this season. The Bucs gave up the fewest FPG to RBs this season (17.9), and they just limited a scorching hot David Montgomery to 12/31 rushing without a catch on one target.

Saints Trends

  • The Saints beat the Buccaneers 34-23 in the season opener as four-point home favorites before they ripped Tampa Bay 38-3 as three-point road underdogs on Sunday Night Football in Week 9.
  • The Saints have covered in eight of their last 10 games after getting their two best offensive players back last week.
  • The Saints have held five opponents to single-digit point production during their 10-game hot streak, including against the Bears last week in their 21-9 victory as 11-point home favorites.
  • Drew Brees has thrown for multiple scores in three of his first four games since returning from his rib injury but he’s also averaged fewer than 7.0 YPA in each of those games. Oddly, his lone scoreless game came when he averaged 12.0 YPA and he threw for 311 yards against the Vikings in Week 16 but Kamara scored six times on the ground. Brees has nine touchdown passes with no interceptions on 97 total attempts (9.3% TD rate) in three meetings against Todd Bowles and the Buccaneers in 2019-20.
  • Michael Thomas looked sharp in his return to the lineup after a three-week layoff for his ongoing ankle injury, posting 5/73/1 receiving on seven targets against the Bears. He scored his first touchdown in eight games this season after scoring 10 touchdowns last regular season. He posted just 8/68 receiving on 11 targets in two games against the Buccaneers this season. Terry McLaurin recorded 6/75 receiving in this matchup last week.
  • Emmanuel Sanders shot an airball with Thomas and Deonte Harris back in the fold last week. Sanders posted just 2/3 receiving on three targets and 31 routes (79.4% of dropbacks) last week while Harris caught all seven of his targets for 83 yards on 14 routes (35.9%). Sanders scored two touchdowns in two games against the Buccaneers this season on his way to 7/53/2 overall. Tre’Quan Smith is on the injured reserve but he returned to practice this week off his ankle injury.
  • Jared Cook has posted 40+ receiving yards in three straight games after doing it just three times in his first 13 games this season. He’s seen 4+ targets in six straight games with 3+ catches in five of those contests. Cook posted 7/110 receiving on 10 targets against the Buccaneers this season. Logan Thomas posted 5/74 receiving in this matchup last week and the Bucs gave up 5.4/52.0/.6 receiving per game to TEs in the regular season.
  • Alvin Kamara saw a season-high 23 carries for 99/1 rushing last week despite missing practice all week as he was on the COVID-19 list. Kamara has had his two highest rushing outputs in his last two games (55/254/6 total) but he has just 17 receiving yards in each of his last two games. That could flip this week against the league’s toughest run defense. Kamara posted 21/56/2 rushing and 10/60 receiving in two games against the Buccaneers this season. The Bucs gave up a league-low 60.0 rushing yards per game to RBs while allowing a league-high 6.3 catches per game to RBs this season. Keep an eye on Latavius Murray’s status this weekend as Kamara could have a massive role if Murray can’t play through his quad injury.

Brolley’s Bets

New Orleans Saints -3 (Best Bet)

Jared Cook (NO) over 31.5 receiving yards (Best Bet)

Emmanuel Sanders (NO) under 44.5 receiving yards (Best Bet)

Chris Godwin (TB) over 63.5 receiving yards (Best Bet)

Rob Gronkowski (TB) under 2.5 receptions (Best Bet)

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at 61.5% clip in 2019 and he was a perfect 8-0 on his Best Bets for season win totals in 2020.