Green Bay Packers

Team Degenerate: NFL Wild Card Betting Preview

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

The regular season came to a close last week as our eight-week winning streak finally came to a close. Team Degenerate wen 1-2 with a loss of two units, but it was still a fantastic regular season with a record of 58-48-3 (55 percent) and a gain of 26 units.

It is time now to go through each of the six wild card games with a preview for each. Two trends that have been very successful in wild card games – fading quarterbacks making their first career playoff starts and fading the team with the worse strength of schedule.

Las Vegas Raiders (+5.5) at Cincinnati Bengals

This line opened up at Vegas +6.5 and my first inclination was to grab the Raiders since I have many reasons I want to fade the Bengals.

There have been a few times that Cincinnati has to handled success well this season and they’re a team that has never been in this spot. Following huge division blowouts of Baltimore and Pittsburgh this year, the Bengals lost to the Jets and got blown out by the Chargers in the subsequent games. Despite Zac Taylor getting Coach of the Year consideration, I think he’s a below average head coach at best and the Cincy talent has overcome him.

Joe Burrow is making his first career playoff start and we don’t know exactly how healthy he is since he got injured at the end of the Chiefs game. The Bengals offensive line will struggle mightily against the very good Raiders pass rush with Maxx Cosby and Yannick Ngakoue leading the way.

These two team played a game with a deceiving finals score on Nov. 21. The Raiders averaged 5.9 yards per play to 4.1 for the Bengals and it was a one-score game in the fourth quarter before Cincinnati pulled away for a 32-13 win.

With all that being said, the Raiders are in an awful spot and I cannot back them. Coming off an emotional and grueling overtime win over the Chargers last week and a four-game winning stream to get into the playoffs, how much does Las Vegas have left?

The Raiders now have to travel across the country on short rest and play in a cold-weather game with the temperature in the upper 20’s. Derek Carr has miserable numbers in cold weather games. I do think this sets up for a strong under 49 play. I expect both coaches to be conservative, the Raiders have a huge matchup edge with their pass rush against the Cincy offensive line and the weather should keep scoring down.

Pick: Under 49 four units

New England Patriots (+4.5) at Buffalo Bills

This is one of two games I don’t have a great feel for this weekend and there are reasons I would want to play both sides.

Mac Jones could be a huge problem in this game for New England not only because he is making his first career playoff start, but he is an Alabama quarterback from the south who has no experience playing in this level of cold weather. Buffalo is also a team that is underrated right now due to some bad luck in one-score games this year.

On the other side of the coin, I do not want to go against Bill Belichick in a matchup being played for a third time. This line I also believe is a little inflated and should be closer to three points. That would land me on New England, but I just cannot make a bet on Jones in this spot.

Pick: Pass

Philadelphia Eagles (+8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Eagles could not have drawn a worse matchup on either side of the ball. Their defense allows the highest completion percentage of any team in the league, which will play right into Tom Brady’s hands. Philadelphia is also just 25th in pass defense DVOA.

Offensively, the Eagles have gotten to this point by committing to the run more than any team in the NFL with enormous amounts of success. Against Tampa Bay, that is just not going to work against its elite run defense. Then you also factor in the Eagles have the 29th ranked Sagarin SOS and a quarterback making his first playoff start, which are both things we want to fade.

This would have been a bigger bet if not for a monsoon that could slow down Tampa’s aerial attack, which is the only way for Philly to keep this one close.

Pick: Tampa Bay -8 two units

San Francisco 49ers (+3) at Dallas Cowboys

Another game where I see merits to picking both sides. San Francisco has the ability to make a huge run in the NFC and is still underrated despite last Sunday’s huge win over the Rams.

Their run game is still elite and their pass game is underrated with Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk making life pretty easy for Jimmy G. Dallas is a defense known for its speed, which could be a problem against the Shanahan zone scheme with its designed cutbacks. The defense is very strong in the front seven.

The Cowboys also have a throughly unimpressive strength of schedule, which ranks just 25th in Sagarin and the only legit team they’ve played in the last six weeks of the year was Arizona. However, the Dallas offense should be able to make noise with its passing weapons against a San Francisco secondary that is very vulnerable. The 49ers ranked dead last in DVOA against deep passes this year. San Francisco has also become a little bit of too trendy of an upset pick, and that could motivate Dallas.

Pick: Pass

Pittsburgh Steelers (+12.5) at Kansas City Chiefs

Double-digit favorites cover at a much higher rate in the playoffs than in the regular season and it makes sense. The favorite will always be motivated in the postseason, which is definitely not the case during the regular season.

You probably don’t need me to tell you why Pittsburgh is an awful matchup for the Chiefs. I’m going to isolate the first half in this game and take the Chiefs -7. During Pittsburgh’s last six games, the Steelers have only scored more than three points in the first half just one time. That is simply hard to fathom.

Pick: Chiefs -7 first half three units

Arizona Cardinals (+4) at Los Angeles Rams

Both of these teams were ones I was looking to fade in the postseason, but I will be on Arizona in this one. The Rams have already lost safety Jordan Fuller for the postseason and Taylor App still has not practiced because of a concussion.

If Los Angeles is without both starting safeties, Arizona should be able to take advantage even without DeAndre Hopkins. Arizona is 5th in pass defense DVOA and could make life difficult against a struggling Matthew Stafford. The Rams also don’t have much of a home field advantage at all.

Pick: Arizona +4 one unit

 

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x