How can we not be happy to have extra NFL Wild Card games! Sure, Washington having a losing record seems silly, but what about the NBA Playoffs, how many losers annually make that field? Let’s start digging for value picks.
We continue our search for finding the top value against the NFL odds. Though we have fewer games to choose from, we also have more time to dig deeper into situational football to uncover the best way to wager on these matchups.
As we have talked all season in this article, the word “value” not only means different things to different people, it is constantly evolving. A case in point is the NFL Playoffs, where the lines from the online betting sites are sharper than when you get an unexpected paper cut for seemingly no reason. The oddsmakers’ numbers are very tight and for conspiracy theorists, those setting the lines only want to split the action and are not trying to “trap” bettors, they just want the juice on the volume.
Here are our top choices for NFL picks for the Super Wild Card weekend.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills
Saturday, January 9, 2021 – 1:05 PM ET at Bills Stadium
Nearly a generation of time has passed since Buffalo last played a home playoff game. The previous home encounter was 1996, which ended the Bills’ run as a team that just couldn’t get over the hump to win the Super Bowl.
There are similarities to the second-best team in football of that era. With the likes of a strong-arm quarterback in Josh Allen (Jim Kelly in the old days). Also similar is a Buffalo defense that is good, just not great, which might be a problem down the line.
Since the “Hail Murray” stunning loss in Arizona, the week after was a bye week for the team from upstate New York. All the Buffalo players heard about was that loss that was publicly everywhere and they say that was a galvanizing moment. Since, the Bills are 6-0 SU and ATS, winning by 19.8 points a contest.
Indianapolis’ second-half meltdown setback to Pittsburgh in Week 16 cost them a chance to win the AFC South and have a playoff home game to avoid Buffalo.
Most top sportsbooks like BetOnline have the Bills at +6.5 and that is where the value is before it climbs to -7. Buffalo is like a charging herd that you don’t want to get in front of.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks
Saturday, January 9, 2021 - 4:40 PM ET at Lumen Field
This is the third battle between these NFC West rivals and the most important of the season, as the winner advances in the playoffs. Both previous affairs never approached betting sites' totals on the games.
In the initial contest, the closing total was 53.5 and the Los Angeles Rams won at home 23-16. When they met six weeks later in Seattle, the total was down to 48 points and that was not nearly low enough with the Seahawks emerging victorious 20-9 and winning the division.
The new total is 42.5, thus, one could surmise the value has been eliminated, yet, by the previous scores, not necessarily and here is why.
Since the first game with L.A., a once porous Seattle defense is allowing only 15 PPG. The Rams have the No. 1 defense in the NFL in yards allowed and scoring, which leads us to a lower scoring affair.
Additionally, on the presumption Jared Goff returns, he will be less than 100 percent after thumb surgery. Like Russell Wilson, he’s not the same quarterback in the second half of the year compared to how they played in September and October.
The clincher: No. 6 seeds are 23-4 UNDER in the postseason.
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, January 10, 2021 - 8:20 PM ET at Heinz Field
The situation in the final Wild Card clash deserves to be followed closely.
Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski, two additional members of the coaching staff (DB and TE coaches) and two players have tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be available for the AFC wild-card game against Pittsburgh on Sunday night. The most important player is Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio, which could have an impact on the Browns No. 3 rushing offense.
That matters a great deal in the encounter because the Steelers' run defense has become problematic in allowing over 143 YPG in their last four contests.
The Pittsburgh offense is hardly a bastion of stability in the last five games, having almost no running game (51.8 YPG in L5) and Ben Roethlisberger only finding any rhythm throwing for a half against the Colts in Week 16.
With the total at 47.5 and the Steelers 20-7 UNDER revenging a close loss by three points or less, a low scoring game should ensue.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.