Playoffs are Here! NFL Wild Card Round Betting Tip Sheet for Sunday

David Schwab

Monday, January 1, 2018 1:09 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 1:09 PM UTC

The 2017 NFL regular season came to a close on the final day of the year to set the stage for this year’s quest to win Super Bowl LII. The first four games of this weekend’s Wild Card Round is the first step in that journey for eight of the 12 playoff teams.

CBS (1:05 p.m.) Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (-7, 40)

The Bills make their first trip to the postseason since 1999 on the strength of an SU 9-7 record while going 8-6-2 ATS. They finished the regular season on a 4-2 run both SU and ATS with the total staying UNDER in four of the six games. Buffalo is 3-4-1 ATS on the road and 3-5-1 ATS when closing as an underdog on the NFL odds boards.

Jacksonville completed its worst to first run in the AFC South at 10-6 SU (9-7 ATS). It went 5-3 ATS at home with the total going OVER in five of those eight games. The Jaguars are 6-2 ATS in their last eight conference games and the total stayed UNDER in seven of those contests. It has also gone OVER in 10 of their last 14 games at home.

The underdog in this AFC tilt has covered in five of the last seven meetings and the total has gone OVER in the last five games.

Despite the recent trends favoring the OVER in this matchup, each of these teams have struggled with consistency on offense over their past few games. Buffalo could be without its top offensive weapon if running back LeSean McCoy cannot go on a bad ankle and you never know what you are going to get with Blake Bortles under center for the Jaguars. He has thrown for 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season with the final five picks coming in his last two games.

While lean is towards Buffalo with the extra half point on the touchdown spread, my top NFL pick for this game is the UNDER on the 40-point total line.

Free NFL Pick: UNDER 40
Best Lines are Currently at Bookmaker (-119)

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FOX (4:40 p.m.) Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-5.5, 48.5)

Carolina finished the season 11-5 SU and it failed to cover in three of its last five games as part of a 9-6-1 record ATS. The Panthers were 5-3 ATS on the road this season and they covered in five of seven games as underdogs. The total stayed UNDER in three of their last five road games. They are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games against an NFC South team.

New Orleans dropped its season finale against Tampa Bay to also go 11-5 SU. The Saints have now failed to cover for their backers' NFL picks in five of their last seven games and the total has gone OVER in three of their last five games. They come into this game at 7-4 ATS in their last 11 games as favorites and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games at home.

The Saints won the season series 2-0 both SU and ATS with the total going OVER in both games. They are now a perfect 6-0 ATS in the last six games in this NFC South matchup.

Anytime you have two divisional rivals meeting for the third time in the same season things should stay very interesting through all four quarters. The first two games were decided by a combined 31 points with New Orleans walking away with relatively easy wins, but I think Carolina will be able to keep this game much more competitive this time around. The Panthers’ chances hinge on Cam Newton playing a mistake-free game given his current form, while the Saints can rely on Drew Brees’s past success at home with the help of both Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara taking the pressure off the passing game.

As long as the spread in this game at SBR Odds stays below seven points, the value in this NFL pick is still with New Orleans ATS.

Free NFL Pick: Saints -6.5
Best Lines are Currently at Bookmaker (-105)

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