NFL Wild-Card Round: Opening Lines And Early Betting Value

nfl wild card

Matthew Jordan

Monday, January 2, 2017 3:24 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 3:24 PM UTC

There are six teams in this season's NFL playoffs that didn't make it last year. And we definitely will have a new Super Bowl matchup, as for the first time since 2003 neither returning Super Bowl participant made the playoffs. Here's a look at the wild-card round.

Oakland Raiders At Houston Texans (-2.5)

Saturday kickoff at 4:35 p.m. ET. I don't want to say this is the worst quarterback matchup in NFL playoff history but it might be with Oakland presumably starting former  undrafted free agent Matt McGloin and Houston going with either free-agent bust Brock Osweiler or Tom Savage. McGloin started Sunday's loss to Denver in place of Derek Carr, who broke his leg in Week 16. And McGloin was just 6-for-11 for 21 yards before leaving with an injured left shoulder late in the first half. McGloin didn't return and rookie fourth-round pick Connor Cook was 14-for-21 for 150 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He also lost a fumble. McGloin says he plans on playing this week. Not sure that's a good thing. As for Houston? I don't have an answer for you yet. Savage started Week 17 for Osweiler, left with a possible concussion, returned and then left again after another evaluation and didn't return. Neither he nor Osweiler was very good in the loss to Tennessee and Coach Bill O'Brien hasn't said yet who would start vs. Oakland. Running back Lamar Miller will play, though, after missing the past two games with an ankle injury. The first one to 10 points might win this game. Oakland beat Houston 27-20 in Mexico City on Monday in Week 11. Carr threw for three TDs that night.

NFL Early Pick: Texans -2.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Detroit Lions At Seattle Seahawks (-7.5)

Kickoff Saturday at 8:15 p.m. ET. The Lions had a shot to win their first division title and host their first playoff game since 1993 on Sunday night if they had beaten visiting Green Bay, but Detroit lost its third straight game, 31-24. So now it's a trip to Seattle, which  might be the toughest place to play in the NFL. Oh, and since 2005 the Seahawks are 9-0 at home in the postseason in front of those rabid fans. Detroit has never won a road playoff game in the Super Bowl Era. So, yeah, that loss Sunday night was big. That said, the Seahawks have been very beatable at  times this season. They nearly lost in San Francisco on Sunday, although I'm not sure how much the team actually cared about that game. Seattle has been beaten by the Rams and Saints, both teams Detroit beat. The Seahawks' defense has sprung a major leak since losing Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas to a season-ending injury. That's all fine and good, but the Lions generally don't play that well out in the elements and Matthew Stafford's injured right middle finger is a problem.

NFL Early Pick: Seahawks -7.5Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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Miami Dolphins At Pittsburgh Steelers (-10)

Kickoff Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Both these clubs looked pretty bad on Sunday. But the Steelers also rested most of their starters yet still won a seventh straight game, 27-24 over Cleveland in overtime. Frankly there was nothing to take from that game on the Steelers' side. This will be their fourth time ever meeting Miami in the playoffs and first since the AFC Championship Game following the 1984 season. The Dolphins were totally outclassed on their home field by New England on Sunday, 35-14, to lose for the just the second time in the past 11 games. But I'm not sure how much the Dolphins cared about that one. It was the third straight start at quarterback for Matt Moore, and he's almost surely going to get the call here with Ryan Tannehill still nursing his knee injury. The Dolphins started their season turnaround with an impressive 30-15 home win over Pittsburgh in Week 6. Ben Roethlisberger hurt his knee in that game and really struggled. Jay Ajayi rushed for 204 yards and two scores on 25 carries for the Dolphins.

NFL Early Pick: Dolphins +10Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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 NY Giants At Green Bay Packers (-3.5)

Kickoff Sunday at 4:40 p.m. ET. The Giants have the Packers right where they want them: at Lambeau Field with New York as a wild-card team. In 2007, the Giants were a wild-card team and went to Green Bay for the NFC title game and upset the Packers 23-20 in overtime on the way to winning the Super Bowl. Four years later, the Giants were a wild-card team and went to Lambeau and beat favored Green Bay 37-20 in the divisional round on the way to winning the Super Bowl. But no one is playing better than the Packers or Aaron Rodgers right now as they enter on a six-game winning streak and Rodgers has been the league's best QB in that stretch without an interception. He torched the Lions for 300 yards and four TDs in Sunday night's NFC North-clinching victory. New York  had no reason to care Sunday as it was locked into its playoff seeding yet it played at Washington like it mattered and upset the Redskins 19-10 to knock Washington out of playoff contention. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had the clinching interception of Kirk Cousins late in the fourth quarter with the Redskins almost in field-goal range. The Giants added a garbage TD on the final play when the Redskins were trying a lateral miracle. The Giants visited Green Bay in Week 5 and lost 23-16. New York had just 221 yards of offense.

NFL Early Pick: Packers -3.5Best Line Offered: BetDSI

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