Minty Bets goes over her best bets for the Saturday games of the NFL Divisional Round. Find out where and why she's putting her money for Bengals/Titans and 49ers/Packers.
MINTY BETS: Welcome to "Yahoo Sportsbook Daily." It's Thursday, January 20th, 2022, and I'm your betting guide Minty Bets here to hand out some of my best bets for the Saturday NFL playoff slate.
First game on the board, we've got the Tennessee Titans hosting the Cincinnati Bengals. The Titans are 3 and 1/2 point favorites, and the total is 46 and 1/2. This is quite the matchup. I automatically like the Bengals plus the points. The Titans are on a rest advantage, and it's rumored that they're getting Derrick Henry back, but Tennessee is a confusing team. Henry was fully absent since week nine. And since his absence, they beat good teams like the Rams and Niners, but they also lost to below average teams like the Texans and Steelers.
I personally think that the Titans are overrated. Maybe it's my bias towards the Bengals getting to me, so let's look at some numbers. The Titans and Bengals are right next to each other in passing defense, bottom eight. They're both top five in rushing yards per game allowed. Tennessee is allowing the fourth fewest scores in the red zone, while Cincy is in the middle of the pack in red zone scoring percentage.
Offensively, the Bengals are somewhat of a pass-heavy team, averaging almost 260 passing yards per game and passing a little over 58% of the time, while the Titans are averaging only 201 yards a game through the air and possess a 51.37 pass play percentage. Quite a difference. As for the run game, the Titans run the ball a lot, averaging the fifth most rushing yards per game, and the Bengals averaging the 10th fewest rushing yards per game on the ground.
All right, so it's no secret that Cincy has had quite a soft schedule this season, which is maybe how they made it this far. The Titans are getting back their best weapon in Derrick Henry, but we have to think about how quickly he can get back to playing like he used to. Is he quick to recover? Will he be limited? I want to lay the points with a well-rested team at home, however I cannot do minus 3 and 1/2. It's past that key number of 3, therefore I can't pass up the plus points with Cincy. So my lean is Bengals plus 3 and 1/2 or better.
Now onto the night game as the 49ers take on the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are minus 5 and 1/2, and the total is 47 and 1/2. This one is tough. San Francisco looked elite the last half of the regular season and looked great against the Cowboys. Only concerning thing about the 49ers is Bosa and Warner. They were sidelined against Dallas mid-game, and who knows if they'll be full strength even if they are in this game. I think they should be good to go though.
Now I'm torn on the side, so I'm going to look at the total. San Francisco's ground game is their strength right now because with Jimmy G's hurt thumb, they can't afford any mistakes against this Packers defense. That Green Bay defense against the pass, 10th best, right behind the Niners. That Green Bay defense against the run, they're allowing a 4.7 yards per carry, which is the third worst in the league.
Currently, 79% of the tickets are on the Packers to cover, and I don't blame them for not wanting to go against Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau. But I can't help but replay Super Bowl LIV between the Chiefs and the 49ers. San Francisco came in with a narrative that, obviously, they had the better defense, and defense wins championships. But Kansas City proved that maybe a better offense can win championships too. Green Bay does have a leaky defense, but their offense is healthier and their quarterback is much more reliable.
I believe the Packers offense will roll, and the Niners won't be too far behind so long as they can get ahead early. I love the value with the 49ers catching points, especially if it moves up to plus 6 or plus 7 with injury news. But I cannot confidently bet that. I don't believe points will be hard to come by in this game, and the total is set perfectly at 47 and 1/2. I like the over. This matchup is 3 and 1 to the over their last four meetings. I'd even bet the over set as high as 49.
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Pam and Frank will be back tomorrow to host the next episode on "Yahoo Sportsbook Daily." Until then, good bye and good luck.