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Phil Agius' NFL Divisional Round Betting Tips: Injuries may hinder 41/20 Bengals' hopes

The eight surviving teams are just three wins away from Super Bowl glory as the second round of the NFL playoffs takes place this weekend and Phil Agius is here to bring us his favourite bets for the Divisional Round.


Kansas City Chiefs -8.5 v Jacksonville Jaguars @ 10/11

New York Giants +7.5 v Philadelphia Eagles @ 10/11

Cincinnati Bengals +5.5 v Buffalo Bills @ 10/11

San Francisco 49ers -4 v Dallas Cowboys @ 10/11

The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles had a bye in the wild card round of the playoffs as the top seeds in the AFC and NFC respectively and they join the six winners of last week's games to complete this week's field for the divisional round.

It's now a straight head-to-head elimination with what are effectively the Super Bowl quarter-finals being contested across Saturday and Sunday.

In the AFC we have the conference's big three of the Chiefs, Bills and Bengals joined by outsiders Jacksonville, fresh from an epic comeback win after trailing by 27 points against the Chargers.

The interesting element in the NFC is that three of the four teams hail from the same division, with the NFC East's top three of the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants joined by the formidable 49ers from the NFC West.

Every game has a clear favourite of at least four points, but it would be no surprise if the four-game slate provides some close finishes and maybe even a couple of upsets.

Chiefs should take control against Jags

WhatJacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs
WhereArrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
When21:30, Saturday 21st January
How to watchSky Sports NFL, bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsJAX Jaguars 7/2, KC Chiefs 2/9

The divisional round of the playoffs used to be a graveyard for teams who had won in the wild card weekend, going on the road to face a rested home team who had had a week to tend to their bumps and bruises and extra time to prepare for the game.

It's not such a big factor these days with only one team getting a bye in each conference since the playoffs expanded to 14 teams and, in fact both No.1 seeds (the TItans and Packers) lost at home in the divisional round last season.

This Jacksonville Jaguars-Kansas City Chiefs showdown does have the look of a good old-fashion playoff smackdown, though. Jags quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw four interceptions as his team fell into a huge hole against the Chargers and although confidence should be high after a comeback for the ages, they are up against it facing the prolific Chiefs offence.

Kansas City went 14-3 this season, winning 10 of their last 11 games, and although you can question the quality of the teams they have played in the last few weeks, the Jaguars may not be up to claiming a scalp of this magnitude either.

The Chiefs' recent golden run included a routine 27-17 win over the Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium, the venue for Saturday's game, when Andy Reid's team raced into a 20-0 first-half lead.

The Chiefs won seven games by double-digit margins this season and their greatest flaw often seemed to be getting a little complacent when faced with weak opponents.

The playoff pressure should ensure there is no lack of focus this week and the red machine should roll into the conference championship game with a wide-margin win.

Giants will put up a big fight

WhatNew York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
WhereLincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When01:15, Sunday 22nd January
How to watchSky Sports NFL, bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsNY Giants 14/5, PHI Eagles 5/18

Saturday night's NFL playoff game is the third meeting of the season between divisional rivals the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles.

NFC No.1 seeds Philadelphia won both games in the regular season, a 48-22 hammering in New York in Week 14 and a 22-16 home win in Week 18.

The recent game should not be taken too seriously as a form guide, though, as the Giants rested a host of starters including quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley, while Eagles QB Jalen Hurts was rusty as he returned to action after injury.

The Giants made an unexpectedly strong 6-2 start before a mid-season slump, but they looked as good as they have at any point in the season during last week's impressive road win over the dangerous Vikings.

Jones looks more assured than at any point in his career, no longer perceived as the team's weak link, while Barkley has been showing the kind of zip not seen since his rookie year.

The Giants are facing a much tougher defence this week, though, and also have to contend with the home team's dangerous wide receiver pairing of AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith.

It's hard to see the Giants having enough in the tank to eliminate their divisional rivals on the road, but they are showing plenty of fight and no little talent and are worthy of support getting a handicap start of more than a touchdown.

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NFL: AFC Divisional Playoffs Preview

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Classic encounter on the cards in Buffalo

WhatCincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills
WhereHighmark Stadium, Orchard Park, New York
When20:00, Sunday 22nd January
How to watchSky Sports NFL, bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsCIN Bengals 41/20, BUF Bills 20/49

The Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills meet again at Highmark Stadium just a few weeks after their Week 17 game was cancelled after Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch.

That abandonment has had a knock-on effect for the playoffs and if the Bills advance to face the Chiefs next week, the game will be played in Atlanta instead of either team's stadium - as the cancellation denied the Bills a chance to overhaul the Chiefs to become the AFC top seeds.

That game had started at a tremendous pace with the Bengals leading 7-3 in the first quarter, but we saw enough to expect a tremendous tussle when the teams reconvene this week. It should certainly be close enough to make taking the Bengals with a 5.5-point start appealing, even if the visitors are probably just about right at 41/20 to win.

They are, after all, the defending AFC champions, and QB Joe Burrow is playing with a real swagger as he links up with his top receivers Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. The Bengals have won their last nine games and don't lack confidence.

The worry for Bengals backers is the number of injuries they sustained in a bruising battle with the Ravens last week, particularly on their offensive line, but as long as they can keep Burrow upright, they should have a shot.

The Bills are on an eight-game winning streak themselves, but got into trouble against a Dolphins team playing their third-string quarterback last week, escaping with a 34-31 win, and they could struggle to cover the handicap again on Sunday.

Niners look hard to stop

WhatDallas Cowboys @ San Francisco 49ers
WhereLevi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
When23:30, Sunday 22nd January
How to watchSky Sports NFL, bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsDAL Cowboys 17/10, SF 49ers 1/2

While the Philadelphia Eagles looked the team to beat in the NFC in the first half of the season, in recent weeks the San Francisco 49ers have become the team no one wants to face.

The Californian club have won 11 straight games since losing to the Chiefs in October and they have evolved into a fearsome unit with rookie QB Brock Purdy leading their offence.

Purdy was the final pick in last year's NFL Draft, but was thrust into the spotlight due to injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo and has looked so comfortable it is hard to see how either of them will regain the job next season.

The 49ers are asked to give up the smallest handicap start of all this weekend's four favourites and yet they are one of the hardest teams to oppose in the league in their current shape.

The Dallas Cowboys can blow hot and cold and just failed in their pursuit of the Eagles in the NFC East, although their 12-5 record was not to be sniffed at.

They were arguably the most impressive winners of the wild card round, dominating a tired-looking Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, but they face a much tougher test this week and the 49ers are fancied to produce another power-packed performance to cover the handicap.

Any odds displayed are correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.

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