FOX Sports Betting Analyst
It’s been tough sledding for this column over the last two weeks, thanks to an uneventful 1-7 slide at the betting window.
Our best bets are 41-41-1, and I’m rolling with four plays over the weekend. This space isn’t the place for a million picks or five-team parlays, either. These are the games I love the most.
Let’s go to work with odds courtesy of FOX Bet.
NFL Divisional Round: Can Jalen Hurts and the Eagles cover against the rolling New York Giants?
Betting analyst Sammy P discusses the NFL Divisional Round matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (8:15 p.m. ET Saturday, FOX and FOX Sports app)
It’s meeting No. 3 for these two NFC East rivals.
Philadelphia won by 26 points in early December and eked out a six-point victory in the season finale with Jalen Hurts clearly nursing a bad throwing shoulder. Hurts only rushed nine times for 13 yards in the Week 18 matchup and his ability to run at full strength this weekend is truly unknown.
If the Eagles can’t utilize Hurts’ full potential, with designed runs and broken plays, the offense will take a step back. And sure, he’s not listed on the injury report, but he can’t be anywhere near 100 percent.
Meanwhile, the Giants keep making you money.
New York is a league-best 14-4 against the spread, and they’re an insane 11-2 as underdogs. Trends don’t pay the rent until they do. It also helps that the Giants’ defense is as healthy as it has been all season long and head coach Brian Daboll continues to prove he’ll take big risks at pivotal moments.
That’s good enough for me.
PICK: Giants (+7.5 at FOX Bet) to lose by fewer than 7.5 points (or win outright)
Joe Burrow doesn’t feel like an ‘underdog’ in Bengals-Bills playoff matchup
Nick Wright explains he is not surprised the Cincinnati Bengals are 5.5-point underdogs ahead of the Bills-Bengals AFC Divisional Round matchup because the Buffalo Bills are Las Vegas’ and the public’s favorite team.
Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills (3 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS)
Can Joe Burrow rise above a battered Bengals offensive line?
Left tackle Jonah Williams (dislocated kneecap) and right guard Alex Cappa (ankle) are both listed as “week-to-week,” and both players are likely out for Sunday’s meeting against the Bills. And right tackle La’el Collins remains out with a torn ACL and MCL.
So Cincinnati is down three starting linemen.
Respected bettors were quick to lay the Bills from -4 to -5.5, and some shops in Las Vegas touched -6 before the eventual resistance from Bengal bettors entered the market at +6. That’s a heavy adjustment from Buffalo being a 1.5-point favorite in Cincinnati just a couple weeks ago.
I am enticed by the bloated number and will take the points with Burrow and his extremely talented offense. Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon are difference makers, and let’s not act like Burrow didn’t perform with a mangled line last postseason. Cincinnati beat Tennessee despite Burrow taking nine sacks.
This kid is different on the big stage.
PICK: Bengals (+5.5 at FOX Bet) to lose by fewer than 5.5 points (or win outright)
Herd Hierarchy: Cowboys, Eagles lead the way in Colin’s Top Divisional Round teams
Colin Cowherd reveals his final Herd Hierarchy of the season, ranking all eight teams heading into the Divisional Round, with the NFC East and Kansas City Chiefs leading the way. Do you agree with Colin’s list?
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys (6:30 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX and FOX Sports app)
Pay close attention to where this total opened.
Despite Dallas dropping five touchdowns on Tampa Bay and San Francisco scoring 41 points against Seattle, Las Vegas oddsmakers opened the total at 46.5 — an eyelash below one of the most key NFL totals (47).
That is built in respect for two of the league’s stronger defenses, especially in the trenches. Odds are good that it’ll be much more difficult for Dallas to move the ball on San Francisco and vice versa. There’s also the information that after opening at 46.5, sharp money has dropped the total a full point.
It’s very easy for me to respect that move.
Here’s hoping that this is finally the point in Brock Purdy’s young career where he can’t convert drives into touchdowns. And I don’t think Dallas will run the ball with much success against that San Francisco front.
I’m also betting on Brandon Aiyuk to have a big game.
PICK: Under 45.5 points scored by both teams combined at FOX Bet
PICK: B. Aiyuk Over 54.5 receiving yards (-120 at FOX Bet)
Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He’ll probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.
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