The end of the road for wildcard round upsetters: Betting Green Bay Packers -6.5
As three-point underdogs, the Los Angeles Rams outduelled the Seahawks at Seattle's Lumen Field last week to earn the right to face the Packers in divisional round NFL playoff action. LA jumped out to a lead in the first quarter, and never really looked back. As far as we can tell, these circumstances likely set the stage for the Packers cover Saturday. Accordingly, we are backing the home cover.
As support for the notion that the Rams advancing to the conference championships is improbable, consider that teams off underdogs wildcard round wins generally do not last past the divisional round facing less familiar opposition.
Since 2004, wildcard teams are 44-19 straight up (70%) facing non-division opposition in the second round of post-season proceedings, losing by an average of six points per game.
While a 70% win rate sounds impressive, the other side of such situations tends to sport such long odds that fading teams off upset wildcard wins in non-division play has actually resulted in a 1% loss over the long-term, despite winning a good majority of games.
In contrast, fading underdogs against-the-spread in the divisional round after underdog wins in the opening round of the NFL playoffs has proven consistently profitable, good for a 21% return on investment since 2004.
Also supporting the expectation for the Packers cover Saturday, we observe evidence of a momentum factor in the post-season.
Teams harboring 5-8 game straight up win streaks going into non-division playoff action have likewise proven solid bets over the long-term, good for a staggering 34% historical return on investment.
The Packers, of the NFC North, undressed the Bears in Chicago two weeks ago, and won each of their five preceding contests before looking to host the NFC West's Rams this weekend.