The New England Patriots are odds-on favorites to win Super Bowl LI at a price of +180 (bet $100 to win $180) at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Meanwhile, the Houston Texans are longshots to win the big game on their home field at +5000.
The Patriots routed the Texans 27-0 back in Week 3 with third-string rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett under center and now have Tom Brady back. So it’s no wonder that New England is 16-point chalk in Saturday’s AFC playoff game.
The question is, can Houston cover that big number and make it competitive this time around after not coming close as a one-point road underdog in the first meeting?
If the Texans can play defense like they did against the Oakland Raiders in last Saturday’s 27-14 win in the Wild Card round, then it could happen. But having Brady on the field opposed to Brissett or Oakland rookie Connor Cook—who started that last game – is obviously a big difference.
The Patriots have won the past five meetings with Houston and covered six of the last seven, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.
The other Saturday Divisional Round game earlier in the NFC should be much closer, especially if series history is a factor. The Seattle Seahawks (11-5-1) are 4.5-point road underdogs versus the Atlanta Falcons (11-5), but they have gone 4-1 ATS in the previous five road meetings.
The problem is, Seattle has lost eight in a row in the postseason as a road underdog, a streak the team will be trying to end at Atlanta.
The Falcons have struggled mightily in the playoffs recently overall, dropping five of their last six and going 0-6 ATS during that stretch. In fact, Atlanta’s lone postseason victory since 2005 came against the Seahawks four years ago. The Falcons won that matchup 30-28 but failed to cover as 2.5-point home favorites and then lost 28-24 to the San Francisco 49ers the following week in the NFC Championship Game.
Seattle edged Atlanta 26-24 in an earlier meeting between the teams in Week 6, rallying from a 24-17 deficit in the fourth quarter but fell short of covering as a 6.5-point home favorite.