NFL Divisional Round matchups in betting spotlight this weekend

It might be the best weekend of pro football each season. Eight teams - generally regarded as the eight best teams in the league - hook up in four Divisional Round playoff games with berths in the Conference Championship games on the line.

For this weekend the NFL offers up three rematches from earlier this season, and one very interesting inter-coastal matchup between a top seed and a hot team.

After all four favorites covered the pointspreads last weekend, here's a quick look at the upcoming action in pro football betting with spreads current as of Friday morning.

We begin Saturday afternoon in Denver, as Peyton Manning and the Broncos - riding an 11-game winning streak - host the Baltimore Ravens (4:30 pm ET, CBS). Then over in the NFC the San Francisco 49ers host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (8 pm ET, Fox).

As of Friday morning most NFL betting outlets were listing Denver as a 9.5-point favorite over Baltimore, and San Francisco as a 2.5-point favorite over Green Bay.

Sunday's play begins in Atlanta when the top-seeded Falcons host the streaking Seattle Seahawks (1 pm ET, Fox). And to complete the field for the NFL's version of the Final Four the New England Patriots host the Houston Texans (4:30 pm ET, CBS).

Atlanta was favored by three points over Seattle, and New England was favored by 9.5 points over Houston.

As part of their 11-game winning streak to close out the regular season the AFC West champion Broncos won at Baltimore one month ago 34-17. The Ravens ended their regular season by losing four of their last five games, but recovered enough to defeat Indianapolis in a Wild Card game last weekend 24-9.

The 49ers opened this season with a 30-22 victory at Lambeau Field, eventually winning the NFC West. They also managed to survive a change in quarterbacks, going 5-2 with replacement Colin Kaepernick starting.

The Packers, meanwhile, went on the win the NFC North with help from a 9-1 run the latter half of the season. Green Bay then won a Wild Card game last weekend, beating Minnesota 24-10.

Atlanta, by going 13-3, claimed the top seed in the NFC for the second time in the last three seasons. However, the Falcons are 0-3 in the playoffs under head coach Mike Smith.

Seattle started 4-4 this season, but has won eight of its last nine games, including a 24-14 Wild Card decision at Washington last weekend.

Finally, the Patriots, on their way toward winning the AFC East (again) and clinching the two seed in the AFC, torched the Texans in Foxboro a month ago 42-14. Houston, after an 11-1 start, lost three of its last four games before beating Cincinnati in a Wild Card game last weekend 19-13.

On the NFL futures betting market Denver could be found listed as an 11/4 favorite to win Super Bowl XLVII, followed by New England at 7/2, Green Bay and San Francisco at 6/1, Atlanta and Seattle at 7/1 and Baltimore and Houston at 18/1.     


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