After a successful regular season of recommending Bovada special NFL props each week, we continue with them here at SBR into the playoffs with a look at the four wild-card games to kick the postseason off this Saturday and Sunday.
Who Will Have the Most Passing Yards on Wild-Card Weekend?
Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger threw for a career-high 4,952 yards this season to tie the Saints' Drew Brees for the NFL lead, but Big Ben isn't the favorite to have the most yards in the opening four games of the playoffs. Roethlisberger is +200 on NFL odds, with the Colts' Andrew Luck a +175 betting favorite. Luck led the NFL in passing yards much of the season but slowed down a bit at the end. He didn't top 187 yards in the final three games but also was pulled early from the final two because Indianapolis had nothing to play for. Luck and his counterpart Sunday, Cincinnati's Andy Dalton (+1200), don't have to worry about weather conditions this week like Roethlisberger will on Saturday night in Pittsburgh. Of course the Colts play in a dome. Weather also won't be a factor when Detroit visits Dallas on Sunday because AT&T Stadium has a retractable roof. The Lions' Matthew Stafford is the +400 third favorite at sportsbooks and the Cowboys' Tony Romo the +700 fourth favorite.
Luck faced the Bengals on Nov. 19 in Indianapolis and threw for 344 yards in the 27-0 win. Dalton had just 126 yards in Cincinnati's worst offensive game of the season. He didn't have No. 1 receiver A.J. Green for that game and might not Sunday as Green is going through the NFL's concussion protocol after suffering a head injury in Week 17. That would be a huge loss for Dalton. Meanwhile, the weather in Pittsburgh on Saturday night calls for a low of 39 and 100 percent chance of rain. That could hamper Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco (+1000). Roethlisberger threw for 340 yards in a home win over Baltimore on Nov. 2 but 217 in a Week 2 loss at the Ravens. Flacco threw for 166 in that Week 2 win and 303 in the November loss.
The Lions and Cowboys didn't play this season and neither did the Panthers or Cardinals. I'm not even going to mention the QB odds on that latter game for Cam Newton and Ryan Lindley because it would be a miracle if one of those guys won this category.
NFL Free Pick: Stafford. The Lions are a weak running team and Dallas is very susceptible against the pass, ranking 26th in allowing 251.9 yards per game. It's also a homecoming for Stafford as he's from the Dallas area so if he's not too excited he could have a big game. When considering your NFL picks keep in mind that he will need to for Detroit to pull the upset.
Who Will Have the Most Receiving Yards on Wild-Card Weekend?
Let me note first there is no rushing yards prop yet on Bovada's NFL odds because of the uncertain status of Steelers star running back Le'Veon Bell. His teammate, Antonio Brown, is the +250 favorite at sportsbooks on this prop. Makes sense considering Brown led the NFL with 129 catches and 1,698 yards. If Bell can't go, the Steelers are likely to pass more than usual. Brown had 90 yards receiving in the early-season matchup with Baltimore and then a season-high 144 in November. I would expect the Ravens to make anyone but Brown beat them in the passing game. The Lions' Calvin Johnson and Cowboys' Dez Bryant are +400 second-favorites on NFL odds. Can't argue much against either of those guys but hate to put all the eggs in the Lions' basket with Stafford and Megatron. The Bengals' Green, if he does play, is +700.
NFL Free Pick: The Colts' T.Y. Hilton at +600. Hilton had nine catches for 107 yards in the first meeting with Cincinnati. Also, in last year's wild-card game win over Kansas City, Hilton blew up with 13 catches for 224 yards. Good karma.
How Many Wild-Card Teams Will Win this Weekend?
The 'over/under' is 1.5 with 'under' a -175 favorite. All four wild-card teams as always are on the road and, to no surprise, are underdogs on NFL odds. The Cardinals and Lions are the biggest betting dogs at +6.5. That Detroit line has shrunk a bit with the news that Ndamukong Suh will play. The chances of wild-card Baltimore winning in Pittsburgh increases if Bell doesn't play and ditto Cincinnati in Indy if Green does. Last year three wild-card teams won on the opening weekend. The year before just one did: Seattle at Washington in the game RGIII tore up his knee.
NFL Free Pick: 'Under.'