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NFL Picks: Expert Best Bets on Joe Mixon for Bengals vs Ravens

NFL Picks: Expert Best Bets on Joe Mixon for Bengals vs Ravens article feature image
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Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Mixon.

  • Chris Raybon enters Wild Card Sunday hitting bets at a 68% clip this NFL season.
  • He has made four picks on Sunday, including one on all three games.
  • Check out Raybon's NFL picks below.

Follow Chris Raybon in the Action App to get all his NFL picks throughout the playoffs.


NFL Wild Card Sunday Odds & Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Bills First Half Team Total
1 p.m. ET
Giants vs. Vikings Spread
4:30 p.m. ET
 Irv Smith Jr. Receiving Yards
4:30 p.m. ET
Joe Mixon Rushing + Receiving Yards
8:15 p.m. ET

Pick
Bills 1H Team Total Over 14 (Play to 14.5)
Best Book
Time
1 p.m. ET

The Bills have started fast at home this season, averaging a league-high 19.7 points per game in the first half. Meanwhile, the Dolphins defense has surrendered 18.6 points per game in the first half on the road, which is the second most.

Buffalo has scored at least 14 points in six of its eight home games, and Miami allowed at least 17 in seven of nine road games.

With Skylar Thompson behind center, it will be difficult for the Dolphins to sustain drives, and the Bills are still feeding off the positive news surrounding Damar Hamlin’s recovery and are a good bet to once again come out strong in front of their home crowd.

Pick: Bills 1H Team Total Over 14 (to 14.5)

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Pick
Giants +3
Best Book
Time
4:30 p.m. ET

Not only are the Vikings six spots lower than the Giants in overall DVOA (27th vs. 21st), but they got outgained 445-353 by New York and were lucky to escape with a 27-24 win in Week 15.

The Giants are one of the most well-coached teams in the league, a big reason they went 6-5-1 straight up as an underdog this season. After resting starters and preparing a full two weeks for the Vikings, a rematch should give the Giants an edge – just look at how the Vikings performed in the second meeting against the Lions and Packers versus the first.

  • MIN 23, GB 7 in Week 1; GB 41, MIN 17 in Week 17
  • MIN 28, DET 24 in Week 3; DET 34, MIN 23 in Week 14

Although both of the second matchups were on the road for the Vikings, we’re talking about a 27.5-point swing on average, which is 10 times more than what you would expect from home-field advantage alone.

The Giants defense is undervalued in this spot. For the first time all season, they will have cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, safety Xavier McKinney and defensive linemen Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux healthy all at once.

The Vikings’ strength is their offense, so even an incremental improvement from the Giants defense compared to the last matchup is enough to prevent Minnesota from pulling off another lucky win.

Per our Action Labs data, Wild Card dogs of seven or less are 29-18-1 (62%) ATS since 2003.


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Pick
 Irv Smith Jr. Under 15.5 Receiving Yards (-110)
Best Book
Time
4:30 p.m. ET

Smith returned from injury to run a route on 34% of dropbacks — compared to 43% for T.J. Hockenson — last week in a game in which the Vikings pulled their starters. But it’s unlikely Smith cuts into Hockenson’s playing time with everything on the line, especially after Hockenson caught 13 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants in Week 16.

On average, Vikings tight ends have combined for a 95% route participation rate this season. Hockenson accounted for 80%, leaving only 15% for everyone else, meaning it would take a drastic increase in heavy personnel or reduction in Hockenson’s snaps for Smith to play a significant role.

Despite the playing time he saw in the regular season finale, Smith still managed only 14 yards on three catches. His aDOT was just 2.7 in that game and is just 5.1 for the season, which could allow Smith to catch 2-3 passes in this matchup and still go under.

I have Smith projected for 1.4 catches and 12 yards. This is playable to under 12.5 yards.

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Pick
 Joe Mixon Under 84.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards (-115)
Best Book
Time
8:15 p.m. ET

Mixon compiled only 68 scrimmage yards on 16 touches against the Ravens last week and is likely to struggle again.

On the ground, the Ravens have allowed just 684 yards on 192 carries (3.56 YPC) and held Mixon to 27 yards last week. And Mixon’s receiving production could take a hit if he has to stay in to pass protect more with the Bengals missing multiple starters along the offensive line.

It’s worth noting Mixon’s usage has been trending down with Samaje Perine playing well, and it’s no guarantee to reverse in the playoffs.

Mixon is averaging a 75% share of non-QB designed carries and a 50% route participation rate on the season, but over the past four games, he’s seen 69% of designed runs and a 44% route participation rate.

Even when I project Mixon using his season averages, he still fails to crack 80 combined rushing and receiving yards. I’d play this to 78.5.


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