The 2021 NFL regular season gave punters a goodbye shot as the Jaguars pulled off their second surprise as double-digit underdogs of the season. They beat the Colts 26-11 and knocked Indy out of the playoffs. Only 14 teams remain standing and with the top two seeds free, players will have to choose their bets carefully from a list of three games.
There will be a lot of action in these six games. It always happens when the market thickens and bad to unpredictable teams are eliminated. Now, it’s only the best of the best, so there will be no more double-digit losers, right?
Well not exactly. There is still one on the board. The Chiefs opened as 12.5-point favorites over the Steelers, who slipped into the postseason thanks to the Raiders’ win over the Chargers on “Sunday Night Football.” The Chiefs beat Pittsburgh by 26 points just a couple of weeks ago, so it’s understandable that they are big favorites in this matchup.
That being said, smart bettors will keep an eye on the latest betting lines, trends, odds and injuries to see how much the spread can move throughout the week. there are not many important injuries affect these teams, but there are lingering injuries to Matthew Stafford (back), Jimmy Garoppolo (thumb) and even Joe Burrow (knee) that need to be monitored. They will almost certainly play through them barring major setbacks, but if they are not completely healthy it can affect line movement.
For more expert NFL predictions, check out Sporting News picks directly and against the NFL Super Wild Card Weekend spread.
NFL Wild Card Round Odds
Below are the most recent NFL odds for Wild Card Weekend, including point spreads, money lines, and over-under totals from each game, based on FanDuel bookmaker.
Last update: Wednesday, January 12.
NFL point spreads wild card round
|Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals||IAS-6|
|New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills||BUF-4|
|Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TB -8.5|
|San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys||DAL-3|
|Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs||KC-12.5|
|Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams||LAR-4|
NFL Money Lines Wild Card Round
|Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals||LV +225|
|New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills||NE +176|
|Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||ISP +340|
|San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys||SF +138|
|Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs||HOLE +520|
|Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams||IRA +176|
NFL over-unders wild card round
|Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals||49|
|New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills||43.5|
|Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||49|
|San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys||50.5|
|Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs||46.5|
|Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams||50.5|
The best bets in the NFL for the wild card round
49ers (+3) in Jeans
This is going to be a popular surprise pick, and there’s good reason for it. The 49ers have been playing well lately and as three-point underdogs, they are worth taking a chance on.
Dallas certainly looks good on paper. They are number 1 overall in Football Outsiders DVOA metric, which “breaks down the entire season play by play, comparing success on each play with the league average based on a number of variables including down, distance, location on the field, current score gap, fourth and quality of play. opponent “.
However, despite their high rankings, the Cowboys have not fared well against other DVOA teams in the top 10. They have played four opponents who are in the top 10 this season. They have just a 1-3 record against them, and their only win was in overtime against the Patriots.
|6||patriots||4th||Wednesday, 35-29 (AT)|
Why does this matter? San Francisco ranks sixth in the NFL at DVOA, so they should be able to cause the Cowboys some trouble, just like these other teams did. Even if they don’t win, the 49ers will be able to stay close, just like the Patriots did.
Some may resist this DVOA theory because the 49ers are only 2-5 against teams with DVOA marks in the top 10. That said, the 49ers don’t have to win this game; they just have to cover the spread, which is something they have done well this year.
Surprisingly, the 49ers have only been losers in three games and have posted a 2-1 ATS record. His only non-coverage was a seven-point loss to the Cardinals as six-point underdogs. If you recall, Trey Lance started that game and was stopped inches from crossing the goal line for a touchdown, so saying they couldn’t cover for a matter of inches isn’t an exaggeration. As such, betting on the 49ers as losers in this game seems very attractive.
Professional bettors seem to agree with that opinion at the moment. To start the week, there was an 8 percent pro money advantage on the 49ers, by BetQL. We’ll side with them here too, although the pro money advantage is close enough that it’s something to watch all week long.
Cardinals (+4) at Rams
The Cardinals may not be the same team they were earlier in the season when they seemed likely to be the NFC’s No. 1 seed, but they are a good value pick as underdogs against the Rams. Why? Due to Matthew Stafford’s struggle to win against teams with a winning record.
During his career, Stafford is just 11-71 against teams with a winning record. That includes a 1-9 record against teams with 10 or more wins. Of course, that win was against the Cardinals this year, but historically, Stafford has struggled against top-level competition. And maybe he can lead the Rams to a win in this one, but expecting him to do it for more than one field goal isn’t a big gamble.
It’s also worth noting that Stafford has been struggling with turnovers lately. In his last four games, he has eight interceptions compared to eight touchdowns. He has thrown a pick in each of the four games, and as a result, the Rams have lost or tied the turnovers battle in every game.
The Rams have somehow been able to win despite Stafford’s mistakes. They’ve posted a cumulative turnover margin of minus three, but still posted a 3-1 record.
Those winning ways seem unlikely to continue if Stafford struggles against the Cardinals. Arizona has recorded an interception in nine games this season. When they record an interception, they are 7-2 in a row. That includes a 37-20 win over the Rams in Week 4, during which they posted a plus-two mark in the turnover battle.
If Stafford can avoid interceptions like he did in the Rams’ 30-23 win over the Cardinals in Week 14, then the Rams might have a chance to cover. That said, it’s hard to trust Stafford to do that given his recent performance, which is why the Cardinals (+4) are a safer bet. And for the more daring bettors, it could be a risk worth taking.
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Bills (-4) vs. Patriots
The Bills and Patriots split their season series in 2021, but it’s not really like that feel like they did The Bills kept Mac Jones under control during the two games they played; they just couldn’t win the first, a rare wind game in Buffalo when Jones threw just three passes while Sean McDermott, Josh Allen and the Bills couldn’t act together.
Things changed in the second meeting. Jones was able to pass and needed it, but Buffalo’s strong defense stopped him. He completed 14 of 32 passes for 145 yards and two interceptions. He did not register a touchdown pass.
That feels closer to the Jones we’ll see in the wild card round. Part of that has to do with their struggles in recent games since the Patriots’ end-of-season break, but the biggest factor here is that the Bills have the tightest defense in the NFL. They allow only 272.8 yards per game. No other NFL team allows less than 305.
|Statistics per game||Total||Rank|
|Passing Yards Allowed||163||1st|
The Bills have also done particularly well against rookie quarterbacks this year. They have faced Jones (twice), Zach Wilson, Trevor Lawrence and Davis Mills. In those five games, quarterbacks averaged a completion percentage of 48 while throwing for an average of 90.6 yards (108.5 if Jones’ wind play is taken into account). The four rookies combined to throw just one touchdown and six interceptions.
So to sum it up, relying on a rookie quarterback against a top-tier Bills defense doesn’t seem like a good move. Maybe Bill Belichick will find a way to trash Buffalo’s defense, but it seems more likely that he will try to win with an intense career game plan. That could work, it’s supposed to be just 9 degrees Fahrenheit Saturday night, but if Allen and the Bills get ahead, the Patriots may have trouble passing and catching up.
Rolling with the Bills at -4 seems like a good value, as a result. BetQL agrees with us. Your model has the game rated as a three-star (out of five) bet and believes that the spread should be -5 instead of -4. That’s a full line value point we’ll be happy to get in this divisional battle.