LAS VEGAS – The NFC West, NFC North and AFC West Divisions are not deserving of respect.

And oddsmakers didn’t give them any when setting lines for this weekend’s opening-round NFL playoff action.

All four wildcard teams are favored. That’s four road favorites.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Mike Seba, a senior oddsmaker for Las Vegas Sports Consultants.

The AFC East was a step up compared to the AFC West, but the Miami Dolphins also are an underdog to wildcard Baltimore.

No knock against the Dolphins. They are well-coached, had the NFL’s fewest turnovers and are 9-1 since losing to Baltimore. But the Ravens aren’t your ordinary wild-card entry. They are good enough to be a No. 2 seed with the league’s No. 2-ranked defense and a bruising ground attack.

Asked if the Dolphins could have been a home favorite, Seba said, “Not the way the Ravens have been playing with their defense and veteran leadership.

“I give them (the Dolphins) all the credit in the world for what they accomplished after going 1-15. But I think they’re overmatched here.

“The Dolphins were the beneficiaries of an easy schedule because they went 1-15 last year. Just compare their schedule to the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

LVSC’s opening line recommendation was Ravens -2.5. By Monday afternoon, Baltimore had settled in at -3 with extra juice. So it appears the Ravens could be headed to becoming 3 ½-point favorites.

The LVSC linesmakers were split on the Atlanta-Arizona line. They ended up sending out Falcons -1.5 to their many Nevada hotel clients. Seba’s line on the game was pick. The line on Monday afternoon was between Falcons -1 and -2.5.

The Cardinals had looked terrible since clinching their first division title since 1975. But they may have gotten their confidence and swagger back after beating Seattle, 34-21 at home on Sunday.

Kurt Warner is in the MVP talk mix after throwing for 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns. He holds a strong edge on good-looking rookie Matt Ryan.

“Ryan has played well, but he’s a rookie on the road in the playoffs,” Seba said.

The pass-crazy Cardinals may have caught a break drawing the Falcons instead of Carolina, a more physical team.

“I could see the line coming down to pick,” Seba said.

Seba could also see the Indianapolis-San Diego line coming down to pick, too. A few places opened the Chargers a one-point favorite. There was much activity Sunday night with the Colts up to 2 ½-point favorites at one point, before settling in at their current number of 1.5 or one-point favorites.

LVSC’s opening-line recommendation was Colts -2.5. Seba had the Chargers at -1.5. He sees the line closing at pick.

“It’s hard to go against the Chargers at home,” he said. “Closer to post you have your amateurs starting to bet, and they are more secure taking home teams.”

The Chargers look like they are peaking with four consecutive victories. However, the Colts have won nine in a row and became the only team in NFL history to win at least 12 games in five straight seasons.

Seba’s biggest disagreement was on the Philadelphia-Minnesota line. The Eagles were up to -3.

Apparently a lot of people were impressed with the Eagles destroying Dallas, 44-6, and not impressed with the Vikings nipping the New York Giants junior varsity on a last-second long field goal.

Seba thought the Eagles should be minus one at best, certainly not a field goal favorite.

“The Cowboys were in such disarray that they could have been beaten by anybody,” he said. “I could make the Eagles a slight favorite (versus Minnesota), but not that high.”

Those betting early disagree. The Vikings will have a fired-up Metrodome crowd behind them and Adrian Peterson on the ground. The Eagles have a huge quarterback edge, better coaching and playoff experience.

So, could the line climb to 3.5?

“I don’t see it going to 3.5,” Seba said. “But I didn’t think it could be three.”  

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Posted by WizrduvOdz
5 years ago

Wow, I like all the road teams to......go figure......If Indy can get past SD, I think they go to the Big Show....against Carolina.....just MHO
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Posted by jthalheimer
5 years ago

san diego can only beat bad teams , denver, kc,oak etc the colts are on a roll, take all the road favs tis week!!!!!
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Posted by indrep
5 years ago

Putz - Your close - Atlanta is going to do Arizona. Arizona has to many flaws that will be exposed. Good call on Philly, Balt, and SD.
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Posted by putz56
5 years ago

This is simple.First round Philly, S.D, Zona, Balt and then in the end you have Balt winning it all.BOL
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Posted by Godfather16
5 years ago

yeah the strength of schedule is a lot of luck, and timing too, as the teams you play agianst could have injuries or just be playing shitty the week that you play them. However, Miami did play a lot of weak teams, while Balt played many tough games. Balt should be more prepared for a tough game here. San Diego is a team that could easily have had 11 or 12 wins, with a few breaks. So their 8-8 record doesn't look that bad. The only game that they lost by more than a TD was to Buffalo, ironically.
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Posted by Yavapai
5 years ago

whatever is quoted in the story I'll play against.
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Posted by vegasWA
5 years ago

Only 2 out of 16 games in your season is based on your performance from the previous year. And at that it is not based on your final record but your final place in your division. Miami only had 2 different opponents than the Patriots did. All 4 AFC East teams had 4 of the 5 easiest schedules this year. Dolphins will get blown out by the Ravens D. Take the -3 while it exists.
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Posted by yosef
5 years ago

Give me the Cardinals but that game isn't worth a full unit play. I think eventually the books will move off the heavily juiced -3 to -3.5 Baltimore. And in the end I think the Ravens win that one by two scores so it won't really matter. Don't pay -125 juice though, my god. If you like Indy, I'd go ahead and take -1. I don't think the public will back the Chargers, early or late, and this guy's line of Indy -2.5 could become a reality. Manning vs. 31st ranked pass defense. Gut feeling tells me the Eagles win but don't cover. 19-17. 20-19. I like the under at 42.
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Top Response

Posted by indrep
5 years ago

"Putz - Your close - Atlanta is going to do Arizona. Arizona has to many flaws that will be exposed. Good call on Philly, Balt, and SD."