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The Pick Six: Wild Card Weekend Edition

The Pick Six: Wild Card NFL Betting January 3, 2019

One of my favorite weekends of the betting season is the opening games of the NFL playoffs as there are upsets, backdoor covers and narratives either fulfilled or torched depending on the outcome. Welcome to The Pick Six: Wild Card Weekend edition.

After an up-and-down NFL betting season for my column that saw me go 51-51 through all 17 weeks, I’m back to square one and ready to drop stacks on these four games. With there only being four games, I may double down on certain ones if I feel strongly enough to take a total and a spread in a given game, but I will not be parlaying.

So, without further ado, here are my six favorite NFL picks for Wild Card Weekend:

The Pick: Seahawks Moneyline vs Cowboys

There are enough prime-time stats to support a Seahawks moneyline bet as I wrote in my betting preview and I think those winning trends continue. The Seahawks lead the NFL in rushing yards per game and Russell Wilson typically plays at a high level when the lights are the brightest. This game, I think, comes down to which team scores first as the Cowboys have shown that when they get a lead, they don’t give it up. During their last eight games, the Cowboys won seven of them by striking first and I can’t see them coming back if they get down by more than 14 points. The only reason the Cowboys are favored is that they’re at home because we saw this matchup in Seattle for Week 3 and Dallas got pounded 24-13.

The Pick: Colts Moneyline vs Texans

Andrew Luck has made me a believer and after cashing in on the Colts for the last two weeks, I’m riding them again to another potential payout. Outside of the shutout by the Jags, the Colts are the hottest team in the NFL and already beat this team in Week 14 on the Texans’ home field. Indy has won nine of its last 10 games and was 3-1 SU on the road during that stretch. The Texans may have a fearsome pass rush in J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney but the Ponies’ O-line has been excellent by allowing Luck to be upright and the least sacked starting quarterback in the NFL. I think this game is close but the Colts hold on and advance.

The Pick: Ravens -3 vs Chargers

A great running game and a strong defense. Basically, the two key ingredients to winning a Super Bowl and the Ravens fit that mold. Baltimore is 6-1 SU in seven games since Lamar Jackson took over at quarterback and already beat the Chargers by 12 points as a 4-point underdog. The Chargers are obviously a much better team on the road as evidenced by their 7-1 SU and ATS record this season but I’m willing to overlook that because of how strong the Ravens defense has been. Baltimore was second in the league in points allowed per game and ranked in the top five in both passing and rushing yards allowed. I think the Chargers will put up a better showing than they did in Week 16 but will ultimately fall short.

The Pick: Bears -3 First-Half Spread

My man Smokin’ Joe Osborne wrote the betting preview for this matchup and he’s identified a recent trend that has been immensely profitable for bettors and that’s backing the Bears with the first-half spread. He mentions how the Bears have the best first-half point differential this season at +8 and are 11-5 ATS overall this season in first-half spreads with it hitting in eight of the last nine weeks. Joe has a knack for digging up these profitable props and I have no problem tailing him with this one as I think the Bears come out strong in the first half and clip the wings of the Eagles. 

The Pick: OVER 43 Seahawks vs Cowboys

Although oddsmakers may think these teams will slow it down and rush the ball most of the game, I still think this game goes above the total. The OVER has hit in seven of the Seahawks’ last eight games with an average combined score of 53.8 points per game, while high-scoring games have been easy to come by at Jerry World with the OVER hitting in five of the Cowboys’ last seven games at home. I think this game starts slowly and then scoring takes off in the third and fourth quarters with the final combined score in the range of 45 to 48 points.

The Pick: OVER 41.5 Eagles vs Bears

While I expect the Bears to win against the Eagles, you can’t count out Philly and its offense with Nick Foles under center. The Eagles are averaging 28.6 points per game with Foles as their QB while the Bears averaged over 26 points per game overall this season. With the lowest total of the weekend, I think the chances for special teams touchdowns or pick-sixes are very high, which means that when capping this total, you can’t just bank on the offenses to get it done. It may come down to the wire to get this OVER but I think this game finishes in the high 40s.

Gilles’ NFL regular-season betting record: 51-51