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NFL Wild Card Betting Primer

How are those New Year’s resolutions going so far? Have you been able to resist the urge to hit the Burger King drive-thru? Have you been able to cut back on giving in to those perverse late-night desires? Have you been able to finally forgive your mother for the time she bought you a generic brand laxative when you specifically asked for a brand name? Pretty run-of-the-mill stuff, and as sports bettors, I’m sure we all have the same goal in 2018 — TO WIN!

So let’s get to it. I love betting on the NFL playoffs. Instead of the regular-season grind of analyzing 16 games a week, we can really zero in on a few games to make more informed decisions. Below you’ll find some interesting numbers for each game, but there’s two big trends that really stick out to me this week.

  1. Since 2007, home teams in the Saturday wild-card games are 14-5-1 ATS. It certainly makes sense that the road team would be at a bigger than normal disadvantage in these games, not just because they’re traveling on short rest, but also because they likely needed to bust their arses in Week 17 to even qualify for the playoffs. That’s the case for the Titans and Falcons, who will both be playing teams who rested starters last week.
  2. Since 1996, teams favored by 7.5 points or more in the wild-card round are 15-2 SU and 14-3 ATS. This is relevant for Titans vs Chiefs and Bills vs Jaguars this weekend. It’s not exactly the case this year, but Wild Card Weekend often sees lopsided matchups between teams who are serious Super Bowl contenders hosting teams who barely snuck into the playoffs. The above record is all the evidence you should need to not shy away from big favorites in the opening round.

There’s no need to sugar-coat it — these aren’t the sexiest games, especially the AFC ones, but all you need is some skin in the game to get fired up for a Sunday afternoon showdown between Tyrod Taylor and Blake Bortles. BUCKLE UP!

ENJOY THE ACTION THIS WEEKEND, FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER AND, AS ALWAYS, KEEP CHASING THAT PAPER!

Titans vs Chiefs
  • The Chiefs have won their last three home games by an average of 14.6 points.
  • The Titans averaged just 17.5 points per game on the road this season, along with the third-fewest yards per game on the road (270.8).
  • Marcus Mariota on the road this season: five TDs, 11 INTs, 69.1 QB rating.
  • In four career games vs the Titans, Alex Smith has a 1-3 SU record with three TDs and eight INTs.
  • The Titans are 5-1 ATS in their last six games on the road against the Chiefs.
  • The Chiefs are 1-10 SU and ATS in their last 11 games in the playoffs. Since 1991, they’re 0-7 ATS in home playoff games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in six of the Chiefs' last eight games. The average combined score in those games was 42.25.
  • The Chiefs are 10-3 SU in their last 13 games in the late afternoon.
  • The Titans are 8-20 ATS in their last 28 games on the road.
  • The Titans are 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games as an underdog.
  • The Titans are 7-22-1 ATS in their last 30 games against AFC West teams.
  • The Titans are 4-15-1 ATS in their last 20 games after a win.
  • The Titans are 5-15 ATS in their last 20 games on the road against teams with winning records.
Falcons vs Rams
  • The Falcons are 0-5 SU in their last five games as an underdog. They lost those games by an average of seven points.
  • The Falcons are 1-19 SU in their last 20 games as an underdog of 6 or more points.
  • The Falcons are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games at night.
  • The Rams are 3-11 SU and ATS in their last 14 games at night.
  • The Falcons are 0-4 ATS in their last four games as underdog.
  • The Falcons are 10-3 SU and 11-2 ATS in their last 13 games on the West Coast.
  • The favored team is 9-1 ATS in the last 10 games in this matchup.
  • Since 1991, the Falcons are 3-9 SU and ATS as an underdog in the playoffs.
  • Over his last four games, Todd Gurley has 749 all-purpose yards and eight touchdowns.
  • Matt Ryan posted a 78.7 QB rating in December — his worst of any month this season.
  • The total has gone OVER in the Falcons' last seven games against the Rams.
  • The Rams are 5-0 SU in their last five games after a loss.
  • The Rams are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games at home.
  • The total has gone UNDER in the Falcons' last five games. The average combined score in those games was 34.6.
Bills vs Jaguars
  • The Jaguars have won five straight home games by an average of 16.6 points.
  • The Bills are 6-14 SU in their last 20 games on the road.
  • The Jaguars rank first in the NFL in net yards per play over their last three games. Buffalo ranks 28th over the course of the entire season.
  • The Jaguars averaged the third-most yards per game in the NFL at home (337.3).
  • The total has gone OVER in the Bills' last five games against the Jaguars. The average combined score in those games was 55.
  • Blake Bortles has a 98 QB rating at home compared with a 69.4 rating on the road.
  • The visiting team is 5-1 ATS in the last six games in this matchup.
  • The total has gone UNDER in six of the Jaguars' last seven games in the early afternoon.
  • The Bills are 0-8 SU and ATS in their last eight games on the road in January.
Panthers vs Saints
  • Every Saints home playoff game since 1980 has gone OVER. (That’s eight OVERs)
  • The Panthers rank 31st in the NFL in net yards per play over their last three games. New Orleans ranks first over the course of the entire season.
  • In five career home playoff games, Drew Brees has 12 TD passes and 1 INT.
  • The Panthers are 1-3 SU in their last four games against the Saints.
  • The Panthers are 0-5-1 ATS in their last six games against the Saints.
  • The total has gone OVER in six of the Panthers' last seven games against the Saints. The average combined score in those games was 57.1.
  • New Orleans is first in the league with 30.1 points per game at home.
  • The Saints are 5-0 SU in their last five home playoff games.
  • The Saints are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games vs divisional opponents.
  • The Panthers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games on the road.
  • The Panthers are 11-3 SU in their last 14 games in the late afternoon.
  • The total has gone OVER in five of the Panthers' last seven games.
  • The Panthers are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games on the road against the Saints.
  • The Panthers are 1-6 SU in their last seven divisional road games.

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