It’s NFL time. The college football season is officially in the books and I have dropped my futures for the 2023-24 season. That means it is time to focus in on the NFL Wildcard Weekend.
NFL YTD: 134-85-2 +51.41u
Here are some trends before we get into the games:
Seahawks (+10) @ 49ers o/u 42
The 49ers are on fire. They are 10-0 SU and 8-2 ATS since acquiring CMC despite the fact that they had to drop to their preseason QB3, rookie Brock Purdy, during this stretch. Their defense is currently the best in the league, their run game is the best in the league, and Brock Purdy is doing everything that is asked of him in terms of commanding this offense.
The Seahawks got into the playoffs on the backs of the Lions epic upset of the Packers in the final game of the season. Geno Smith finally gets his first playoff start after almost a decade in the league.
The 49ers are huge favorites for a reason and I can’t see them losing this game. They are the perfect MLP piece if you want to pair them with the Vikings/Chargers/Cowboys instead of risking laying the short number. However, I do have concerns about them winning with margin. Shanny has struggled to win with margin as a home favorite his whole career. This is also a different beast now that the postseason is here for Brock Purdy.
I think this will be a lower scoring game, the 49ers defense will perform, but the game could end up being close the whole way. I like the 49ers to win but I am snatching 10 points with the Seahawks.
Pick: 1.5u Seahawks +10
Chargers (-2.5) @ Jaguars o/u 47.5
I am going with the Chargers in this spot. Justin Herbert finally gets a playoff chance and I think he is still a tier above Trevor Lawrence. This was an amazing season for the Jaguars after the season they had last year and if Lawrence keeps progressing like he did late in the year this year, this team will be good for a while.
However, now is the Chargers’ time. They are a more complete team at basically every level and I think Herbert’s abilities will push them over the top to win a close one here.
Pick: 1u Chargers ML -120
Dolphins (+13) @ Bills o/u 43.5
Well at one point in the season there was talking about this being the Dolphins’ division, Tua would win the MVP, and the Dolphins could win the whole thing. Of course, injuries have been a factor, but the Dolphins ended up squeaking in by the skin of their teeth and now sit as the biggest underdogs of the entire weekend.
What is there to be said about the Bills?? They are a wagon. They will be able to score a lot of points against this Dolphins defense. Skylar Thompson will struggle mightily as he had all season when called upon. The only question is will the Bills be motivated to cover this number, because they should be able to with any effort.
Of course they will be motivated. Damar Hamlin is home in Buffalo and I would be shocked if he isn’t at this game, leading the team out of the tunnel. That on its own is worth the 13 points needed for this cover. This Bills team is on a mission and against Skylar Thompson, this should be ugly early and often.
Pick: 2u Buffalo -10, 1u Buffalo -11.5, 1u Buffalo -20.5 (+230) (would bet 2u on any number below 14 if you didn’t get those original #s)
Giants (+3) @ Vikings o/u 48
The Geeeeeee Men have returned to the playoffs in year one under Brian Daboll. This is not an exceptionally talented team but the coaching has been nothing less than unbelievable. I expect Daboll to have the perfect game plan for this matchup agains the Vikings.
The Vikings won this matchup in the regular season by 3, also at home, but really should have lost. This Vikings team has been fraudulent all season and I want to fade them. If we end up catching a hook, I will take the 3.5 with the Giants. At the current number, however, I think the teaser is a safer option.
The Vikings keep finding miraculous ways to win one score games and against a Giants team that doesn’t have that next-level talent, I think the Vikings could scrape out another miracle. I honestly hope that does happen so we can majorly fade them against the 49ers the following weekend. Give me the Giants in a teaser with a team to be named later.
Ravens (+9.5) @ Bengals o/u 40.5
Call me crazy, but I don’t care who plays QB in this game for the Ravens. Tyler Huntley is probably my ideal choice though and he looks likely to be the guy. Anthony Brown asks a couple more questions than Huntley when it comes to making a big mistake just because of his inexperience. But with Lamar, this line would only be +3/+4 and he hasn’t practiced in a month.
I am most comfortable catching over a TD and having the Ravens’ defense and run game at my disposal. I think they will play this game low-scoring and close. The Ravens run the ball really well, defend the run really well, and have elite special teams. Those factors will allow them to hang in this game and cover.
2u: Ravens +7.5 (play anything over a TD for 2u)
Cowboys (-2.5) @ Bucs o/u 45.5
This is my pair for the Giants. Tom Brady is still Tom Brady. It was not an ideal regular season but they made it in and that’s all that matters. Now it is a clean slate and anything can happen. If it comes to down to OT or a GW drive either way, give me Brady 100 times over 100 against Dak.
The Cowboys’ offense has been glitching out lately and I don’t like how they look entering the postseason. I think the Bucs’ experienced defense could give them fits. Micah Parsons and the Cowboys’ defense will have an impact as well, but I think the better coaching is also on the Bucs’ sideline. Leftwich and Brady will come up with their own plan to make sure they score just enough to win.
However, in what is a true coinflip in my mind, I’ll tease the Bucs as this game could come down to a late FG either way. If this line steams to Dallas at all before MNF, however, I will be buying some Bucs at 3 or better.
Pick: 2u DAL/NYG teaser
That’s all for the Wildcard Round! Be back for more in the divisional round and will start getting into more props for those games as well. As always…