We’re quickly winding down to the end of another NFL season but like a bad case of venereal disease, I just won’t go away and I’ve got a FEVER (for football). Here are my picks for the wild-card round. If they don’t hit, I’ll go see a doctor about that burning sensation.
The Pick: 6-Point Chalk Teaser (+260)
The Stat: Teams favored by 7.5 or more in the wild-card round are 14-3 ATS since 1996.
I know not every favorite is laying more than 7 points this weekend but the point I’m trying to make is that faves cover at an insane rate in the wild-card round. Just last season they went 4-0, winning by an average of 19 points, and with four lopsided matchups on the docket this weekend, I’m expecting something similar.
I’ll probably be betting all the favorites by themselves as well but this teaser is one of my favorite plays of the entire 2017 NFL season and if you’ve followed this column, you know I’ve been CRUSHING my teasers. For those who haven’t been following this column, I offer my condolences to your bankroll.
The Pick: Titans-Chiefs UNDER 44.5 (-115)
The Stat: The total has gone UNDER in 6 of the Chiefs’ last 8 games.
I’m basing this bet mainly on the eye and gut test but I needed something to lean on other than “the Titans offense sucks.”
By my account, Tennessee was the luckiest team of the 2017 season and Marcus Mariota has been godawful on the road. I have them pegged for no more than 10 points on Saturday and I’d be shocked if Alex Smith led the Chiefs to more than 30.
The Pick: Under 0.5 Wild-Card teams to win this weekend (+170)
The Stat: Every wild-card team is at least a 5.5-point underdog.
Need I say more? I’ll eat whatever hat Cam Newton wears to his post-game press conference if I’m wrong but I’m pretty confident Vegas has these lines right.
Another school of thought is that Vegas has been getting burnt by favorites all season and they’re compensating by setting all these lines so high but what do we care? We’re teasing them and this is basically a moneyline parlay. We just need them all to win.
Also, if you can get better odds just doing the moneyline parlay? Do that, it’s the same bet, I’m just trying to mix it up.
The Pick: Panthers-Saints OVER 48 (-115)
The Stat: All 8 of the Saints’ playoff games since 1980 have gone OVER.
This kind of feels like free money. Not only do I love the trend, but I was anticipating a line well over 50 for this one so I’ll gladly take OVER 48.
New Orleans comes into this matchup with the second-most efficient offense in pro football and both of the Saints’ matchups with the Panthers this season went OVER.
The Pick: OVER 0.5 onside kicks to be attempted this weekend (-250)
The Stat: For this to cash, we just need one onside kick to be attempted.
There is a 100 percent chance of someone attempting an onside kick this weekend. Teams are going to get down big and will need to compile back-to-back scores at the end of contests in order to come back.
If you have some spare cash lying around in your sportsbook account, I recommend hammering this line at Bovada.
The Pick: Rams to win the NFC Championship (+400)
The Stat/Hot Take: The Rams are the best team in the NFC.
I’ve just got a great feeling about this team. It feels like a winner. Not only is this a feel-good story given the Rams’ massive turnaround from the Jeff Fisher era but this is just a scary good team that can flat out score the football.
This is by no means a lock but if you close your eyes, you’ll see what I see. A Pats-Rams Super Bowl rematch for the ages. Super Bowl XXXVI is where Tom Brady’s legacy started, wouldn’t it be fitting if it too ended against this franchise?
This column is powered by stats and trends provided by the NFL Betting Primer.
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