Each week we take a look at some of the underlying mismatches in the NFL in order to find hidden betting value. Here are two mismatches you may not have considered when capping Sunday’s NFL Divisional Round matches.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons (-1.5, 45.5)
Seahawks' replacement leg vs. Falcons’ bend-but-don’t-break defence
Seattle’s postseason hopes could be riding on the dusty leg of Ryan Longwell, who was added to the roster to replace injured kicker Steven Hauschka this week. Longwell hasn’t played since last season, when he went 22 of 28 on FG attempts and lost his job with the Vikings.
The Falcons defence doesn’t give up much inside the 20-yard line. They rank third in red-zone touchdowns allowed (1.2 per game) and sit 10th in red-zone scoring chances (2.6 per game). In the final game of the season, Atlanta forced Tampa Bay to settle for three FGs.
Houston Texans at New England Patriots (-9.5, 47.5)
Texans’ low battery vs. Patriots' high-powered offence
Houston’s offence has hit the wall, scoring an average of just under two touchdowns per game in the last three contests. The Texans mustered only 14 points in a blowout loss to the Pats in Week 14, and one of those TDs came after a late interception in New England territory.
Houston has had a tough time punching it in, scoring a TD in just 25 percent of its red-zone trips in that three-game stretch. The Texans were 1 for 4 inside the 20-yard line in last weekend’s win over Cincinnati. New England, on the other hand, is tops in the league in red-zone TD percentage (70%) and averages 4.2 touchdowns per game, another NFL best.