Usually, there is just four games on in the opening week of NFL Playoffs. This season, we will be treated to six massive games in the wildcard weekend with three on Saturday and three on Sunday. We have a brief preview and betting picks this weekend below.
NFL Wildcard Weekend Betting Picks
Indianapolis at Buffalo
Bills Stadium, Saturday 1.05pm (ET)
The Bills have been arguably the hottest team in the NFL over the past few months and many are now touting them as the great hope to challenge the Chiefs for the AFC title. Their offense has been absolutely unstoppable putting up 48, 38 and 56 points across their last three games and finishing the season on a six game winning streak to wrap up the AFC East. They square off against the Colts, who snuck into the playoffs on the back of the Bills win over the Dolphins in Week 17. The Colts maintained an 11-5 record throughout the year and looked awesome at times and woeful at times. The Bills start as 6.5 point favorites here and while that’s a tough line to pick either way, one thing this game should have is plenty of points. The over has hit in six of the last nine Bills games and while Colts/Bills games this season have a combined 19-11-2 record in favor of the over.
Baltimore at Tennessee
Nissan Stadium, Sunday 1.05pm (ET)
The Ravens will start as favourites on the road at Tennessee on Sunday afternoon and while many think that the Titans deserve to be favourites, we actually like the road side here. Baltimore lost to Tennessee in a shock upset in the playoffs last season and will be hunting revenge this time around. They have a solid defense that has allowed just 18.9 points per game this season, the second fewest in the league behind only the Rams. More importantly, they allow just 108.8 rushing yards per game, which will go a long way to stopping the dynamic Derrick Henry, who ran over the top of them in the playoffs last season. There is no doubt they will have learnt a lot from last year’s loss, and how effective can Henry be after a season high 34 carries for 250 yards in Week 17. Back the Ravens here.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh
Heinz Field, Sunday 8.15pm (ET)
The Steelers finished the season with an 12-4 record but lost four of their last five games of the year. They failed to cover in four of their last six and also suffered a Week 17 loss to their wildcard round opponents in the Browns. Granted, the Steelers were without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and some other key starters for the clash, but still took the game right to the wire, losing by just two points when a win would have sent their divisional rivals home for the season. The Steelers will start as six point favourites at home and it’s hard not to like them at that line given the performance they put up on the weekend without some of their key players. Their 11-0 start to the season allowed them to cruise throughout the final month of play and they will have been building towards this game.
Los Angeles at Seattle
Lumen Field, Saturday 4.40pm (ET)
The Seahawks have had an up and down season that resulted in a 12-4 record and the NFC West division title. At times, however, they have looked like one of the shakiest defenses in the league. They managed to turn that around late in the season, winning their last four games of the year and covering the spread in two of them. The Rams could be without their starting quarterback Jared Goff this week, but we actually don’t think that diminishes their chances of winning a great deal. If the Rams are to win this weekend, it will be via a defensive effort. They have allowed just 18.5 points per game this season, the fewest of any team in the competition as well as allowing the fewest passing yards per game. They should keep this one close, so take them at the line, but look to see if this line blows out a few more points on a possible announcement of Goff’s exclusion.
Tampa Bay at Washington
FedEx Field, Saturday 8.15pm (ET)
Although they had just a 7-9 record on the season, Washington were able to claim the NFC East division after the Cowboys suffered a defeat at the hands of the Giants in Week 17. They’ll get a home playoff game but it will be a tough test against the 11-5 Buccaneers who won their last four games of the season and covered in four of their last five. Make no mistake, the Buccs should win this game but can they cover the 8 point line? Washington plays pretty good defense and their last five losses of the season came at an average of just over 3 points. Back them to cover the large spread at home.
Chicago at New Orleans
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Sunday 4.40pm (ET)
Despite missing their starting quarterback for a portion of the season, the Saints finished the year with a 12-4 record and won their fourth straight FC South crown. They will host the Bears at the Superdome on Sunday night and will start as massive 10.5 point favourites. It’s a large line, one that’s pretty hard to take either way, but one thing this game should have like the Colts-Bills game is points. When the two sides met back in Week 7, there was 49 points scored and in Saints games this season, the over has hit in 10 of 16 games. The Saints are one of the highest scoring teams in the competition at 30.1 points per game, back them to put up numbers here.
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