NFL Wild Card Betting Trends: How Quarterbacks Perform in Playoff Debuts


Brett Carlsen/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills

Dec 30, 2019, 09:10 AM EST
  • Josh Allen, Ryan Tannehill and Carson Wentz will make their NFL playoff debuts on Wild Card Weekend.
  • Using Bet Labs, we analyze how first-time starters perform in the postseason for bettors.

On Saturday, Josh Allen will make his NFL playoff debut when the Buffalo Bills (+3) take on the Houston Texans (4:35 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC). Allen is not the only first-time play-caller taking snaps this postseason.

Ryan Tannehill will get his first taste of postseason action when the Tennessee Titans (+5) travel to Foxborough on Saturday (8:15 p.m. ET, CBS) to face the Patriots.

Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles are 1.5-point underdogs at home against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday (4:40 p.m. ET, NBC) and Jimmy Garoppolo will make his debut in the divisional round.

Odds as of Monday at 9 a.m. ET and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.

How should bettors approach these quarterbacks in their first playoff appearances?

To find out, we looked at every first-time playoff starter since 2002 when the league expanded to 32 teams and adopted the current postseason format.

In that time, 56 quarterbacks have made their postseason debuts. Twelve of them faced each other and have been excluded from our sample.

That leaves 44 first-time starters in games against an experienced playoff quarterback, which is the same scenario in which Allen and Tannehill find themselves.

So how have these quarterbacks historically performed for bettors?