NFL Wild Card Odds, Picks: Expert Best Bet for Chargers vs Jaguars
Mike Carlson/Getty Images. Pictured: Travis Etienne.
- Chris Raybon is continuing his season-long heater in the playoffs.
- For Saturday's NFL Wild Card doubleheader, he has made three picks.
- Check out Raybon's picks for Seahawks vs. 49ers and Chargers vs. Jaguars below.
NFL Odds & Picks
Chris Raybon: McCloud bumps down from WR3 to WR4 with Deebo Samuel active.
In Samuel’s first game back last week, McCloud ran just one route. In Samuel’s prior four full games, McCloud ran four, five, three and four routes.
A wide receiver who averages 3-4 routes per game is going to finish with zero targets better than half the time and no receptions even more than that.
I’m projecting McCloud for only 0.2 catches, with a roughly two-in-three chance to finish with zero receptions.
Chris Raybon: With a rookie quarterback, we should expect Kyle Shanahan to come out with an ultra run-heavy attack in San Francisco’s first playoff game.
Here are the 49ers’ run-pass splits from their other two Wild Card games:
2021 vs. DAL: 38 rushes, 25 passes
2019 vs. MIN: 47 rushes, 21 passes
McCaffrey faces a Seahawks defense that ranks 25th in rush DVOA and allowed 150.2 rushing yards per game during the regular season (third most in the league).
The former Panther is averaging 87.8 rushing yards per game over his last five, but that could have been even higher, as he had 45 rushing yards two minutes into the third quarter last week before being pulled. That stretch also includes a 108-yard effort against the Seahawks in Week 15.
I’m projecting over yards for CMC even with Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel getting a healthy share of carries as well.
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Chris Raybon: The Chargers offense has not been the most efficient version of itself with Mike Williams out — and that applies even when Keenan Allen is healthy and active.
Justin Herbert averages +0.18 EPA per dropback with both Allen and Williams on the field, but -0.05 EPA per dropback with just Allen. Herbert’s yards per attempt drop from 7.11 with Williams to 6.24 without him.
On the other side of the ball, the Chargers defense was on a roll before playing vanilla coverages in a meaningless game against the Broncos last week, allowing 17 or fewer points in four straight games. As much hype as there is surrounding Trevor Lawrence, we have to remember he’s playing with a shaky offensive line that is missing left tackle Cam Robinson (knee) and doesn’t have even one starter that has earned an above-average grade from PFF.
The Chargers have been elite against the pass over the second half of the season, ranking fifth in DVOA, and the Chargers’ weakness in run defense could coax the Jaguars into a run-heavy game plan, which will bleed the clock.
Per our Action Labs data, Wild Card outdoor unders are 42-20 (68%) since 2003, covering by an average of 2.43 points per game.