Two of the four Divisional Round matches take place today, Saturday – chat, and tips, with Betfred’s FredZone

Image – courtesy NFL Twitter

Two matches today in the States, and two tomorrow. Another massive potential step towards winning a Super Bowl.

The eight that are left sees multiple-winning Super Bowl royalty alongside franchises that have never, ever lifted the Lombardi.

Any easy ‘gimmees’ ? No way. It’s white-hot and then some. Time for the hitherto-resting No 1 seeds to enter the fray, too – Green Bay and Tennessee. No-one wins Super Bowl 56 over the next 36 hours or so, but the dream will be over for some.

We’ll be back tomorrow with a look at Sunday’s two clashes, but for the moment, here’s what we can expect today;

Tonight 9.30pm UK

Cincinnati Bengals @ Tennessee Titans

Neither has ever won the big one, and both are among the outsiders to do so this term. One will of course proceed to the Conference Final, so there’s a very real opportunity here for both.

The Titans dominated the AFC South (12-and-5), while Cincinnati secured a more keenly-contested North, 10-and-7. Tennessee come here off a week’s rest, while the Bengals stopped the Raiders in their tracks last week.

Young QB Joe Burrow threw for 244 yds, 2 TDs, and crucially, no interceptions. He’ll need to be on similar form here, but the former Heisman Trophy winner is a serious talent.

Tennessee are coached by former Super Bowl-winning New England Patriot Mike Vrabel. A linebacker in the early years of Belichick/Brady domination, he can be relied upon for schemes that ensure Burrow has to fight for every yard.

Arguably Joe’s greatest weapon is receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who is nothing short of a revelation. Lightning fast, physical, deadly. Astonishingly, he’s in his rookie season. If the Bengals’ number one can get anywhere near the ball in open field, the Titans are in deep trouble.

In terms of the Tennessee offense, star running back Derrick Henry is poised to make a sensational return after missing a huge chunk of the season through injury, and their own QB Ryan Tannehill is enjoying a fine season himself.

Tennessee, doubtless partly given their home advantage, are 1/2 money line favourites with Betfred. It’s then Titans -3.5 on the spread, and the total is pitched around 47.5.

For me, it’s on a knife edge. While I could readily believe either outcome, I do think that the attacking quality on show, plus the enormous incentive, will keep the scoreboard ticking over.

It’s a beauty with which to kick-off this weekend festival of football.

Total points Over 47.5 @ 20/21

 

Tonight 01.15am UK (very early hours Sun)

San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers

In contrast, these two storied franchises have won nine Super Bowls between them. Green Bay enter Divisional Weekend as our 7/2 outright favourites for SB56, with SF as very lively outsiders at 11/1.

Should the ‘Niners prevail at Lambeau that price will look very inviting indeed – but they’ll have to negotiate the Aaron Rodgers/Davante Adams threat in order to do so. Few have managed that so far this term.

For SF, it seems their defensive end wrecking ball Nick Sosa will play, after concussion concerns during their thrilling win at Dallas last week. Dual threat Deebo Samuel is an offensive star, alongside tight end George Kittle. Warriors of the highest order.

SF QB Jimmy Garoppolo can polarise opinion, and of course much will depend on how accomplished his game is tonight. Opposing him under centre is Aaron Rodgers, above, who was famously overlooked by the ‘Niners in the 2005 draft.

He’s enjoyed a fantastic career in Wisconsin, is a first ballot Hall of Fame shoo-in, and could yet add another ring to his CV. His form this term has been exquisite.

This is as good a matchup as one could wish for frankly, and the current view is GB -5.5, total points circa 47.5, with GB 2/5 on the money line. All of course subject to fluctuations between now and game time.

2/5 is a bit scary, and this could be one of those matches decided by a field goal, or a crucial turnover. It’s slated to be decidedly on the nippy side this evening, too – that could certainly be a factor in favour of home side GB.

If pressed I think the Packers will just have enough to prevail, but I’m seeking sanctuary in the total, and hoping again that the occasion and talent on show inspires the playmakers on view, of which there are many.

Total points Over 47.5 @ 10/11

We’ll be back on Sunday to preview the remaining two fixtures. Have a wonderful weekend.

Alan Firkins

Super Bowl betting

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