Stuckey: How I’m Betting Seahawks-Eagles Over/Under on NFL Wild Card Weekend
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Wilson
- Stuckey reveals his NFL Wild Card Weekend betting card, featuring picks for Sunday's NFC matchups.
- Find his over/under pick for the 4:40 p.m. ET game between the Seahawks and Eagles.
Stuckey highlights his three favorite bets for NFL Wild Card Weekend.
Let’s run through how he’s betting Saturday’s Bills-Texans spread, then how he’s playing Sunday’s pair of NFC matchups.
Odds as of Saturday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Texans -2.5 vs. Bills
There’s slight value on the Texans since I make this spread higher than a field goal.
The coaching mismatch does scare me, especially since I assume Sean McDermott and his staff have been preparing for the Texans for the past two weeks as they clearly had no interest in their meaningless Week 17 matchup against the Jets.
The Bills were much better than I thought earlier on, but they still defeated only one playoff team all season, and that was the Titans back when Marcus Mariota was under center. They were also gifted four missed Titan field goals from Cairo Santos (who was then waived) in a 14-7 victory.
The Bills definitely benefited from the easiest schedule among all AFC teams (SOS .461) as well as favorable weather conditions in a number of games that may be contributing to some inflated defensive statistics.
So, while both teams finished with a 10-6 record, it was a much more difficult path for the Texans. They finished with a 3-3 record against playoff teams — and they rested starters for their Week 17 loss to Tennessee — while the Bills went 1-4 with their lone win coming against a completely different Tennessee team.
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J.J. Watt’s return is the wild card here. The Texans defense has fallen off a cliff without him, and while I don’t expect he’ll be at full strength, he’ll draw attention and could still easily make a game-changing play or two.
While the coaching edge favors the Bills, the Texans have the better quarterback (with playoff experience), home-field advantage and are coming off the hardest strength of schedule among all AFC playoff teams (.520). I expect them to move the ball on the ground and for Deshaun Watson to make just enough plays through the air and with his legs to pull out a close victory.
And don’t sleep on their punting advantage! (You can read more on that in our full game preview.)
Saints -1.5/Eagles+7.5 Teaser
My favorite bet of the weekend is a classic “Wong” teaser, which I’ve detailed throughout the season in my weekly teaser piece and on our podcast.
Three of the four games this weekend actually have a side that fits the ideal teaser criteria in the NFL, but I chose to roll with an all-NFC teaser on Sunday by taking the Saints down from -7.5 to -1.5 and the Eagles up from +1.5 to +7.5, crossing the two all-important key numbers of 3 and 7 in both circumstances. (I also wouldn’t argue if you replaced either one of those teaser options with the Bills.)
This Seahawks team has been mostly smoke and mirrors all season long, winning countless one-possession games and benefiting from turnover luck while facing a number of backup quarterbacks along the way. The defense has holes at every level and doesn’t generate much pressure, which is key against a beat up Eagles offensive line.
Seattle’s backfield has also been decimated by injuries. Don’t expect the Seahawks to get anything on the ground against a stout Eagles run defense. Philly’s defensive front should also be able to blow up the pocket up the middle against a vulnerable interior of Seattle’s offensive line.
I’m sure Russell Wilson will have a chance at some late-game magic to pull this out, but I think the Eagles can keep this within one possession, which all but one of the 11 teams that lost to the Seahawks have done this season.
Meanwhile, I make the Vikings-Saints line around 7 but feel comfortable teasing this down to under a field goal. Drew Brees and his offense are playing at such a high level right now, and the Vikings’ weak cornerbacks simply won’t be able to stick with Michael Thomas and Co. It helps that Alvin Kamara appeared fully healthy and back up to speed over the final few weeks.
New Orleans also has two elite tackles who can neutralize the Minnesota edge rushers, Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter. And it doesn’t hurt that Brees gets rid of the ball as fast as any quarterback in the NFL.
Sean Payton should also call a much more aggressive game than Mike Zimmer, which I like in the postseason. Plus, the Saints have the edge on special teams. And we haven’t even mentioned the health concerns of two of the Vikings’ most critical offensive players (Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen).
Oh, and you better believe the Saints will get any pass interference call that’s remotely close on Sunday.
Seahawks-Eagles Over 45
I played Eagles first-half +0.5 in addition to the over based on how I think this game plays out.
The Seahawks have shown over and over again that it will try to establish the run in the first half, even if it isn’t working. I don’t expect that to change, and I don’t expect them to have any success on the ground. The offense should look ugly early for Pete Carroll’s bunch on the road in a hostile environment.
Meanwhile, Carson Wentz is playing at such a high level that I expect him to put up some points early, regardless of who starts at wide receiver. Plus, two of the weak areas on the Seattle defense are covering tight ends and backs, which I think the Philly offense can exploit even if Zach Ertz can’t go.
I also believe Doug Pederson will call this game very aggressively, so expect some fourth-down attempts and maybe a trick play or two early on.
So, with a Philly lead, what will Seattle have to do? Let Wilson cook, which is when their offense performs at its peak. He’ll create and buy time for his receivers to get down field against an atrocious Philly secondary that’s very vulnerable against the deep ball. In the teams’ first meeting this season, Russ uncharacteristically missed a number of wide-open deep balls. I don’t expect that to happen again.
I don’t put too much merit in the 17-9 final from that regular-season matchup. Both teams had 350 yards of offense, but the Eagles turned it over five times while the Seahawks missed a number of deep shots for touchdowns.
After rewatching that game, I have no qualms with backing the over here, even in some potentially windy conditions. This could get off to a slow start, so it’s not a huge investment as I’ll also be looking to add to the position with a live over and/or second-half over.
Stuckey is 319-268-9 (54.3%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.