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Saturday Slate: Best Bets for January 21

It’s Round 2 of the NFL playoffs, and that means that we’ve got some big games to bet. The divisional playoffs now offer only one bye, but that hasn’t changed the fact that at least one underdog has covered each year in this round. Given that only one result last week could have been considered an upset (Giants over Vikings, if we’re generous), it’s likely that at least one happens this year too.

We’ve also got soccer on the slate, as the Bundesliga gets back under way. Plus, there’s plenty of college basketball available, so we’ve got lots of options. Here are my best bets for January 20.


There’s a number to keep in mind at the Iron Fortress: two. That’s been the goals you can count on from the home side, as the Iron Ones have proven remarkably consistent this season. In seven matches in East Berlin, Union has put home exactly two on five occasions and topped the number once. Only against Bayern Munich, who has conceded the fewest goals in the league, has Union not scored twice at home.

The Unioners play Hoffenheim today, and the Blues don’t exactly look rock-solid at the back. Hoffenheim has conceded 12 goals in its past five matches, and only Koln didn’t hit them for two in that stretch. Union should do some scoring here.


Schalke appears to be pretty much cooked. The Miners have dropped five of six and have seen under 3.5 goals cash in all of them. That should set up well for Eintracht Frankfurt, as the Eagles average just over two goals a match. If you’re feeling a bit riskier, you could also back Eintracht to win to nil at +145. That does bring in the prospect of losing to one Schalke goal, so it’s a gamble, but Schalke has been blanked in consecutive matches. That said, Eintracht’s most recent clean sheet came on Oct. 1, so I’d rather not lose to one Schalke goal.


Again, there’s room to get riskier if you want. Brighton’s facing a banged-up Leicester squad, and the Foxes aren’t scoring much even when healthy. That makes Brighton to win to nil at +270 a very appealing sprinkle. But if we’re just trying to win money, taking the Seagulls to win makes perfect sense.

They’ve claimed nine of 12 points since the resumption, and Leicester has yet to avoid defeat since coming back. That makes plus money very appealing, even at the King Power Stadium.

CHIEFS -9, -110

I want to believe in the Jaguars here, but I don’t think they can hang at Arrowhead. Jacksonville lost by 10 in the first meeting, but things tend to snowball in the postseason. The Jaguars don’t have a healthy line in place, and Kansas City features an excellent pass rush. The Chiefs should be able to put up points and keep Trevor Lawrence from getting comfortable.

EAGLES -7.5, -110

I don’t believe in the Giants either in this situation. New York got here based off a weak schedule, then had the good fortune to draw Minnesota in round 1. The Vikings were also a product of their schedule, and New York was ready. The Eagles are just talented, and they’ve shown they’re the better team. They smashed the Giants 48-22 in New Jersey earlier this year and they’ve won nine in a row over the Giants in Philadelphia. They should have this one well in hand.

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