Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills
Saturday, January 09, 2021 – 01:05 PM EST at Bills Stadium
With the firepower contained within both camps, the two opposing quarterbacks that are proven gunslingers this season, it’s no wonder that sportsbooks have gone to press with one of the higher totals of the wild card weekend. Bookies opened with a 52-point total at most sports betting sites, but curiously, the line has come down to 51 points with several outlets already.
The Buffalo Bills are ranked second overall in the league in total offense, behind the Kansas City Chiefs. They’re second in the league in points scored as well, this time behind the Green Bay Packers. The passing offense is third overall while the running offense ranks in the middle of the pack. All told, the Bills are an offensive-minded outfit this season, inspired by the stellar play of Josh Allen, who has been a dual threat this season passing for 37 touchdowns and rushing for 8 scores. In the last three games of the season, the Bills have pummeled the opposition to the tune of an average of 40-plus points per game. The cherry on top: a 56-26 decision against the Miami Dolphins in week 17.
Indeed, if the Bills pick up from where they left off in the season, they could quite easily crack the total on offer singlehandedly. On the other hand, if they just stick to the average over the last three games of 47.7 points, one can rely on the Colts to make up the difference on the scoreboard. As well, if the Bills stick to their season average of 31.3 points, the Colts can equally be relied on to make up the difference as Indianapolis ranks ninth overall with 28.2 points per game on average.
The Colts have been one of the fast starters of the season, putting up an average of 16.4 points per game in the first half. In the last three games, the Colts have put up an average of 18.3 points per game. Where the Colts have fallen slightly short of the mark is in the second half, where scoring has been an issue at times (merely 11.6 points per game on average), as well they’ve struggled at times to close games convincingly. Their most recent debacle against the Steelers springs to mind: they allowed Pittsburgh to erase a 17-point lead to eventually take the 28-24 win.
By the numbers, a lot points to this game being a high-scoring affair that cracks projected totals across NFL odds board. The Bills are clearly playing their best football right now, but so too the Colts have shown occasions of high level of play in 2020. Doing it in the postseason is another matter entirely, but barring a complete meltdown by Josh Allen (a la 2019) or by Philip Rivers (a la his career), based on the evidence before us, there’s a strong case for the OVER bet nevertheless.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Football Team
Saturday, January 09, 2021 - 08:15 PM EST at FedEx Field
The Washington Football team arrive into the postseason against the NFL odds, but don’t expect Ron Rivera and Co. to apologise for the way things panned out in their favor – including Doug Pederson’s bizarre decision to bench Jalen Hurts when the Eagles were playing well with the rookie under centre, giving Washington a run for its money. Washington is through to the wildcard round as the NFC East champion, and they fully intend to maximize the opportunity when they welcome the highly-fancied Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It’s not going to be smooth sailing for Washington though. Alex Smith is still not fully at 100%, which was evident in Washington’s 20-14 win over Philadelphia in week 17. Rivera has alluded to the idea of rotating quarterbacks – presumably, taking a page from Brian Flores, who rotated Tua Tagovailoa and Ryan Fitzpatrick on several occasions during the season, albeit for different reasons. Talking to media on Tuesday, Rivera suggested WFT could rotate their quarterbacks Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Even if Rivera goes with the two-quarterback route, how much offense does the pair pack in reality? Washington’s success this season has been down to a stable offense down the stretch – spearheaded by Smith, who’s a safe hand rather than a hot hand. Taylor Heinicke is a total unknown, not least untried and untested in the postseason. Washington’s success as NFL betting fans are well aware is down to a formidable defense, which contains top defensive rookie of the year candidate Chase Young.
Washington is the eighth lowest scoring team in the league with 20.9 points per game, and the third overall in total offense. Granted the stats encompass quarterback play from four different quarterbacks over the season: Dwayne Haskins Jr. Kyle Allen, Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke. But they still underscore the fact that this is not an offensive-minded team.
Tampa Bay, by contrast, oozes offense from every single pour of its star-studded cast, which includes Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin….and so on. Tom Brady, at 40-something years of age, is third overall in the league with 4,633 yards and second overall with 40 TDs to 12 interceptions. Only Aaron Rodgers has more TDs (48). In recent weeks, the Buccaneers offense has shown plenty of positive signs, rounding out into form just in time for the playoffs. Tampa Bay is seventh overall in total offense and third overall in points scored per game at 30.8.
All told, this is a right tossup for NFL picks because it depends which side of the ball dictates play. Will it be Washington’s defense that sets the tone for a slugfest, or will it be Tampa Bay’s offense that blows Washington off of the field? Dilemma, dilemma. By and large, it seems the consensus bet is the UNDER for this Saturday night showdown according to SBR consensus betting reports, a consequence that has pushed the NFL line down from an opening 46.5 points to 44.5 with several top sportsbooks.
Given Washington’s defense, it’s understandable why the UNDER is the popular NFL pick. However, now that the total is down, it’s comfortably below the average scoring range of both teams (Bucs average 30.8 and WFT average 20.9) it’s quite possible this game could crack the OVER for your NFL picks.
The Rest of the Wild Card Round
Rapid-Fire OVER & UNDER NFL Picks
Baltimore Ravens vs. Tennessee Titans
Sunday, January 10, 2021 - 01:05 PM EST at Nissan Stadium
Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks
Saturday, January 09, 2021 - 04:40 PM EST at Lumen Field
Chicago Bears vs. New Orleans Saints
Sunday, January 10, 2021 - 04:40 PM EST at Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, January 10, 2021 - 08:15 PM EST at Heinz Field