Super Wild Card Weekend features some rematches, a few fascinating matchups and even “Monday Night Football” in the postseason. Here are some early betting angles.
Raiders vs. Bengals (-6.5, 49.5)
The Raiders outlasted the Chargers, despite blowing a 15-point fourth-quarter lead in the final game of the regular season. The Bengals rested just about everybody in a loss to the Browns. Cincinnati wound up the No. 4 seed and the Raiders moved all the way to No. 5 with the win. You’ve got an indoor team heading east across three time zones to play in what looks like a chilly Cincinnati on Sunday. Keep a close eye on this line.
Patriots at Bills (-4.5, 43.5)
This is a rematch between AFC East rivals who split during the regular season. New England won outright as a 3-point underdog on a horrendous weather day in Buffalo and the Bills thoroughly whipped New England in the revenge game as a 1-point pup. Now the two teams meet in the playoffs. Early lines at some books showed Buffalo -4, as the shine came off the Patriots late in the season, but a lot of bettors will give Bill Belichick the benefit of the doubt. We’ll see where this line goes, but my guess is that you’ll have sharp groups on both sides and it may not move much.
Eagles at Buccaneers (-8.5, 49)
These two teams played earlier this year in Philadelphia and the Bucs were a touchdown favorite. The game ended 28-22 Tampa Bay, but the Bucs led 28-7 and outgained the Eagles 399-213. At the time, the loss dropped the Eagles to 2-4, so they are a better team now, but still a massive underdog. The Bucs opened -7 at DraftKings and now sit higher than that, and the upgraded line is probably closer to where it should be.
49ers at Cowboys (-3, 50.5)
This is probably the most interesting game to me with two contrasting styles. The Cowboys are very balanced, but lean toward the passing game, while the 49ers rely heavy on the run. San Francisco gained a lot of respect for coming back against the Rams, but I wonder if this line is a tad cheap. Jimmy Garoppolo is still banged up and the Cowboys have a ton of weapons on offense, which is something the 49ers haven’t seen a lot. Dallas is susceptible through the air, but maybe not as much on the ground.
Steelers at Chiefs (-12.5, 46.5)
The Steelers do not have the profile of a playoff team, with a negative yards per play differential and a very ugly point differential, so we get a huge line here. These two teams played recently and Kansas City was a double-digit favorite in the midst of a COVID outbreak and won 36-10. It’s really hard to see this game going differently, though some early money has hit Pittsburgh.
Cardinals at Rams (-4, 50.5)
Another week of disappointment for the Cardinals, who stepped up against the Cowboys, but then struggled mightily against a Seahawks team playing out the string. The Rams lost, but at least lost to a quality opponent. We have two data points in the 4/5 matchup in the NFC and the Cardinals won as a 4-point ’dog in LA and the Rams won as a 3-point ’dog in Arizona. This line looks a tad rich, but speaks to how the Cardinals have looked down the stretch and it is hard to trust them.