While all sports have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in some form, the 2020 regular season of the NFL was completed within its original timeframe, a remarkable achievement for organisers given the complexities of an ever-evolving situation. With the first batch of playoff fixtures out of the way, the competition is down to the final eight with the quarter-final matches due to be played on January 16 and 17. Having lost just twice during the regular season, Kansas City Chiefs are well fancied to win this year's Super Bowl, but which bets should punters be focusing on this weekend?
Taking a look at the game between Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints, the Saints opening line is favoring them by 3 points to beat the Bucs from Tom Brady per Sports Betting Dime. The two teams reached this stage of the competition in contrasting styles last weekend, with the Saints keeping Chicago Bears to single figures on the way to a 21-9 victory. On the flip side, the Bucs ran out 31-23 victors over Washington Football Team in a game where they repelled a third-quarter surge from their opponents to eventually get the job done. Everything points to this contest being a competitive battle, but backing the Saints by a narrow margin could be the way to go.
Earlier on Sunday, the Chiefs take on a Cleveland Browns side who were involved in a thrilling encounter with Pittsburgh Steelers last time out. The fact that the Browns emerged victorious by a 48-37 scoreline does not tell the whole story with their opponents winning all but the opening quarter. However, establishing a 28-0 lead during that part of the contest gave the Browns some leeway for the rest of the game, and minimal attention should be paid to the dip in performance level. With the Browns having won seven of their last nine matches, we expect another hard-fought match, and punters should be taking an interest in the Chiefs emerging by a narrow scoreline after a back-and-forth tussle.
The other two last-eight matches see Green Bay Packers square off against Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills go head to head with Baltimore Ravens. Having ended the regular season in third spot, the Packers are favourites to overcome a Rams side that upset Seattle Seahawks last weekend, and punters should take the easy option and back the Packers given that they head into their next fixture on a six-game winning streak. Most punters will also show a preference to betting on the Bills to beat the Ravens but the Bills were far from convincing in their triumph over Indianapolis Colts, failing to win any quarter by more than four points and having to fend off a late comeback from their opponents. With that in mind, favouring the Bills by three points feels like the obvious bet.