Freedman’s NFL Wild Card Weekend Trends & Early Bets
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Wilson.
The regular season is over. The playoffs are here. The football gods are merciful.
Let’s take a look at some trends for the early spreads and totals for Wild Card Weekend.
Although I’m not a trends bettor, I find that trends help me identify spots I should consider further when analyzing games. Using our Bet Labs database, I have uncovered some intriguing NFL trends for all six games this weekend.
All lines are from our NFL Odds page.
Early Wild Card Weekend NFL Picks
Click on a pick to skip to that analysis.
|Bills (-6.5) vs. Colts||PointsBet|
|Seahawks-Rams Under 42.5||PointsBet|
|Buccaneers-Washington Under 46.5||FanDuel|
|Ravens-Titans Over 54.5||PointsBet|
|Bears-Saints Over 48.5||PointsBet|
|Steelers (-3.5) vs. Browns||FanDuel|
Buffalo Bills (-6.5) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Kickoff: 1:05 p.m. ET on Saturday | TV: CBS
Is it chalky to bet on a No. 2 seed as a home favorite? Yeah, it is. But this is the right side.
Many of the Bills starters got some rest in Week 17 — and they still beat the playoff-hopeful division rival Dolphins by 30 points.
This year the Bills are a league-best 11-5 ATS (32.9% ROI), and for his career quarterback Josh Allen is 26-12-2 ATS (19.1% ROI).
- Action: Bills -6.5 (-110) at PointsBet
- Limit: -7 (-110)
Seattle Seahawks-Los Angeles Rams Under 42.5
Kickoff: 4:40 p.m. ET on Saturday | TV: FOX
The Seahawks and Rams will play for the third time this year during Wild Card Weekend.
As NFC West rivals, these two teams are very familiar with each other, and familiarity tends to result in lower scores.
The sample is small, but the under is 11-7-1 (17.7% ROI) in postseason games featuring divisional opponents.
With a defense ranked No. 3 in both pass and rush DVOA (per Football Outsiders) and an offense potentially without quarterback Jared Goff (thumb) and slot receiver Cooper Kupp (COVID-19), the Rams all on their own have the ability to drag this total to the under.
And even if Goff and Kupp return, this bet is still viable: The under is 12-4 in Rams games this year.
- Action: Under 42.5 (-110) at PointsBet
- Limit: 41 (-110)
Washington Football Team-Tampa Bay Buccaneers Under 46.5
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. ET on Saturday | TV: NBC
This is one of my favorite bets of the slate.
This game is being played in the cold January weather of Washington, D.C., and the under in outdoor playoff games is an A-graded 81-60-4 (11.2% ROI).
- Action: Under 46.5 (-110) at FanDuel
- Limit: 45 (-110)
Baltimore Ravens-Tennessee Titans Over 54.5
Kickoff: 1:05 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: ABC/ESPN
As noted above, I normally don’t bet the over on outdoor postseason games, but I must make an exception here.
With quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry, the Titans have an explosive offense that can score in a hurry — and they are absolutely awful on defense, where they rank No. 29 with an 11.1% DVOA.
That combination causes a lot of overs.
In Tannehill’s 29 starts with the Titans, the over is 22-6-1 (53% ROI, including postseason).
- Action: Over 54.5 (-110) at PointsBet
- Limit: 56.5 (-110)
Chicago Bears-New Orleans Saints Over 48.5
Kickoff: 4:40 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS/Prime
An indoor playoff game? I can’t help myself. Historically, the over in domed playoff contests is 29-12 (40.3% ROI).
On top of that, the over at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is an A-graded 71-50-2 (15.1% ROI) in quarterback Drew Brees’ starts going all the way back to his first season with the Saints in 2006 (including postseason).
- Action: Over 48.5 (-110) at PointsBet
- Limit: 52.5 (-110)
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) vs. Cleveland Browns
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: NBC
This year, betting against the Browns has been a profitable endeavor: They are only 6-10 ATS.
In fact, in the aftermath of his magical (read: outlier) rookie season, Mayfield has been an exploitable mark. Opponents are 20-11-1 ATS (24.4% ROI) against Mayfield since last year.
As for the Steelers, they are 10-6 ATS (20.9% ROI) and specifically 2-0 ATS vs. the Browns this year.
- Action: Steelers -3.5 (-110) at FanDuel
- Limit: -5.5 (-110)
Matthew Freedman is 964-746-36 (56.4%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.
The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian.