Swinger’s Picks: Sunday Wild Card Round

Swinger’s Picks: Sunday Wild Card Round
Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens passes against the Tennessee Titans. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP

Swinger ended the regular season in fine fashion by hammering the books with a perfect 3-0 ATS mark, and connecting on 62 percent of his NFL picks over the 17 weeks of the season. Let’s see what he has for the first round of the postseason.

Sweeping Up

Swinger’s 2020 NFL Record: 31-19-2 ATS (+26.89 units)

Wow, what a season! Last week we clicked with the Ravens -12 ½ over the Bengals for 2 units, the Bills -2 ½ over the Dolphins for 3 units, and over 56 in the Tennessee/Houston game for 3 units. That returned us a healthy eight units, and here we are, up nearly 27 units after a full regular-season slate of NFL games.

The truth be told, there were times this year when I would look at the Sunday slate of games and wonder why nothing appealed to me. I would dig into my research, scan the injury reports, read what others were saying about the matchups, and still couldn’t get that good vibration, that juju, mojo, or whatever speaks to you when a game just jumps off the schedule.

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But here’s my mistake. When those weeks happened, how many times did I isolate my three best bets and wager only one unit apiece on each? The answer is – never. I use a 1-to-5-unit system, and my one-unit wagers were as rare as my five-unit bets were. And the reason is that I do the same thing many of you do when you don’t see a side or total that you like – we manufacture opinions because it’s NFL Sunday, and we want in on the action!

Anyway, it’s tough to complain after clicking on 62 percent of my picks, which paid handsome dividends to my loyal readers who follow me through good times, and the bad. A $100 bettor is up $2689 after 17 weeks of blindly tailing me, and that’s not too shabby. But before I sprain my arm patting myself on the back, let’s understand that there is a postseason to contend with, and we’re not done yet. So, buckle up amigos, let’s ride!

Baltimore Ravens vs. Tennessee Titans

Sunday, January 10, 2021 – 1:00 PM ET at Nissan Stadium

Full disclosure: I am not a fan of the Titans and believe them to be a paper tiger that beats up the weak kids, but gets their clock cleaned by the roughnecks. Baltimore enters this game in peak form, absolutely destroyed the Bengals last week, and is on a five-game winning streak. Lamar Jackson appears to be more settled recently, and despite Ryan Tannehill’s career renaissance in the Music City, his offensive line is banged up and it could be missing two key starters this week.

I’m not a big proponent of laying the lumber on the road, and what I said about the Titans beating up weaker opponents could also be said about Baltimore. They have defeated only one quality team during their current winning streak. Nevertheless, I see the NFL odds over at Bovada dealing the Ravens -3 as opposed to 3 ½ everywhere else, so I will back Baltimore on Sunday to avenge their earlier 19-14 setback to the Titans earlier this season, but caution restraint in doing so.

Free NFL Pick: Ravens -3 (-125) at Bovada for 2 units (visit our Bovada Review)

Ravens -3(-125)
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The Saints play the Bears on Wild Card Weekend
Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints throws against the Chicago Bears. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/AFP

Chicago Bears vs. New Orleans Saints

Sunday, January 10, 2021 - 4:40 PM ET at Mercedes-Benz Superdome

The Bears are unexpected guests to the NFL’s postseason party. They kind of remind me of the weird uncle who wears jeans and a T-shirt for weddings. With that in mind, Chicago should sneak in without any fanfare, visit the open bar early and often, grab a few of the fancy hors d'oeuvres, and graciously exit as soon as the entrees are getting served. That’s right, they don’t belong here – harrumph!

Consider that the Saints throttled the Panthers last week without their top receiver (Michael Thomas) or their best running back (Alvin Kamara). They also boast a better defense than the Packers, who had no problem dispatching the Bears last week, in a 35-16 victory.

Has Mitchell Trubisky improved after getting his job back? Yes. Will he melt like butter in a blast furnace against the Saints and be totally unequipped to match Drew Brees and the New Orleans’ offense? Yes, again. Put a halo on my head because I am going big on the Saints in a rare five-unit play at the best betting sites!

Free NFL Pick: Saints -9 ½ (-108) at Heritage Sports for 5 units (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

Saints -9 ½(-108)
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Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers with head coach Mike Tomlin. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Sunday, January 10, 2021 - 8:15 PM ET at Heinz Field

The Steelers will have all of their starters back for this matchup after watching on the sidelines last week. And what’s worse for the Browns is that defensive lineman, Oliver Vernon, has been ruled out with a torn Achilles after amassing nine sacks this season. This will give Big Ben Roethlisberger more time in the pocket, which will prove fatal to the Browns' chances of not only advancing to the next round but covering the number. Oh, and did you know Cleveland’s head coach, Kevin Stefanski, will be sidelined as well due to his positive COVID-19 test?

This will be the third favorite I am playing on Sunday, and that makes me a bit nervous, but Joe Q. Public is not always wrong. I have a feeling the sportsbooks are gonna take a beating on Sunday. Let’s lay it and like it with the Steelers at home to deliver a little payback to their divisional rivals.

Free NFL Pick: Steelers -5 ½ (-108) at Heritage Sports for 3 units

Steelers -5 ½(-108)
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Philip Rivers and the Colts will face the Bills
Philip Rivers #17 of the Indianapolis Colts. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

The Woodman’s Corner (8-9, -1.90 units)

Just to be clear, and answer those who have reached out to me via Twitter (@SwingeratSBR). No, I am not the Woodman. Why would I concoct an alias, hell I already have one, when I could just include a fourth pick to my weekly three best bets?

No, the Woodman is weird, whacky, and indeed, a top-notch capper who struggled through an uncharacteristically dismal season. However, we can see that he caught fire down the stretch and nearly evened his season record after a disappointing start.

Last week the Woodman notched an ATS cover when he grabbed all those juicy points with the Steelers against a desperate Cleveland team trying to eke into the playoffs. It was a game that didn’t matter to Pittsburgh and gave plenty of time to their second-stringers, yet they still hung tough and covered the number in a 24-22 defeat.

This week my boy is backing a sizeable dog in the Indianapolis Colts over the white-hot Buffalo Bills. Woodman’s penchant for pups rears its head again, and I have to say, this looks like the sharp side to me. All of the majors are showing Indianapolis +6 ½, but only Bovada is dealing the Colts +7 as of this Thursday morning writing. So why not grab what could be a pivotal hook and take the touchdown head start?

Woodman’s Pick: Colts +7 (-120) at Bovada

Colts +7(-120)
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