Best Bets: Wild Card Weekend


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Best Bets: Wild Card Weekend

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Welcome to Fantasy Points Best Bets. This will be the main hub for our staff’s favorite NFL bets throughout the season. Our staff will give their favorite spread, total, and player prop bets every week during the season through the Super Bowl. Be sure to check back regularly before kickoff to see what wagers our crew has lined up for the week ahead.

Tom Brolley

Game Picks

Best Bets ATS Record: 48-44-3 (-1.11 units); WC: 4-1 (+2.83 units)

Overall ATS Record: 141-116-5 (54.9%); WC: 5-1 (83.3%)

Totals Record: 5-6 (-1.2 units)

Baltimore Ravens (-3, DraftKings) at Tennessee Titans

I wrote in my Wild Card Betting Guide that I was waiting to see if any Ravens -3s would show up before betting them and they’ve started to arrive as of Tuesday afternoon. I’m paying a little extra juice at -118 because I still think this line settles in at -3.5 by this weekend. The Ravens are storming into the playoffs with five consecutive outright victories and six straight ATS covers since dropping consecutive games outright to the Patriots and the Titans in Weeks 10-11. The Ravens have won four of their last five games by 14+ points and they have the league’s best point differential (+165) despite six teams owning better records than them. Lamar Jackson has also returned to his running ways with 80+ rushing yards in four of his last five games after reaching that mark just twice in his first 10 games.

The Titans offense is certainly formidable with Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, and Ryan Tannehill but their defense has been downright putrid this season. The Titans come into the playoffs having dropped consecutive games against the spread as they’ve given up 78 combined points to the Texans and the Packers. OC Greg Roman shouldn’t panic if the Ravens fall behind this year like he did in the Divisional Round last season because the Titans defense will certainly let them back into the game if they stick with their game plan. I’m not opposed to betting the Ravens at -3.5 this week, but I much prefer taking them laying a field goal if I could. Risk one unit at -110 to win .91 units (Jan. 5).

Buffalo Bills (-7 FanDuel) vs. Indianapolis Colts

I grabbed the Bills laying 6.5 points on Sunday night and the 6.5s were all gone by the time I went to write this post for the site on Monday morning. I’ve had the Bills power rated as the second-best team in the league and they’re quickly closing in on the Chiefs as we head into the Wild Card Round. The Bills earned another bump up this week after dropping 56 points on the Dolphins with their key players like Josh Allen getting pulled at halftime. The oddsmakers have been completely off on the Bills for the last two months as they’ve covered eight straight games heading into the playoffs. They have seven outright victories in that span, which all came by double digits, and their only loss came on the Hail Murray play against Arizona in Week 10.

The Colts and their 39-year-old quarterback will head outdoors for the sixth time this season. They head into the Wild Card Round with a 2-3 ATS and straight-up record this season, and the early forecast for Orchard Park has temperatures sitting below freezing on Saturday. The Colts have won four of their last five games heading into the postseason, but they’ve dropped three straight games against the spread. You’ll want to grab this line early in the week with the Bills laying a flat-seven since this spread could close in the 8-10 point range. Risk one unit at -110 to win .91 units (Jan. 4).

Los Angeles Rams (+5, Caesars) at Seattle Seahawks

I don’t think it’s urgent to get down on the Rams early in the week since they’ll have their quarterback situation hanging over their heads all week. I still think it’s more of a possibility this line moves south of four points later this week given the strong market support the Rams have seen for most of the season. I also don’t really see much of a point-spread difference between John Wolford or Jared Goff playing with a throwing thumb injury this week. The Seahawks just beat the Rams 20-9 in this matchup two weeks ago with Goff playing poorly through his thumb injury. Seattle was 1.5-point home favorites in that contest so we’re getting an additional 3.5 points of value with the Rams this week because of their quarterback situation. The Seahawks could be scrambling on defense this week with S Jamal Adams (shoulder) and DT Jarran Reed (abdomen) picking up injuries last week while the Rams could get LT Andrew Whitworth back. The Seahawks have been terrible as big favorites since their smoking hot four-game start to the season. They’re 1-6 ATS in their last seven games as 3.5-point favorites or more with their lone victory coming against a Jets team that no-showed in Week 14. Sean McVay will definitely have his squad ready to play and I like the Rams getting four or more points this week. Risk one unit at -110 to win .91 units (Jan. 4).

New Orleans Saints (-9.5, FanDuel) vs. Chicago Bears

I grabbed the Saints laying 8.5 points on Sunday night and this line is on the fast train to 10+ points in the near future so I’d take the Saints laying fewer than double-digit points while you still can. The Bears muscled around some inferior opponents in Weeks 14-16 by out-scoring the Jaguars, the Vikings, and the Texans 110-54, but the Packers put Mitch Trubisky and company back in their place with a convincing 35-16 victory in the season finale. The Bears did hang tight with the Saints in an overtime loss at Soldier Field in Week 8 but that was with Nick Foles at quarterback. That game also came before the Saints flipped a switch the following week in their 38-3 victory over the Buccaneers. The Saints have covered in seven of their last nine games since they last played the Bears, and they’re expected to get their two best offensive players, Alvin Kamara (COVID-19) and Michael Thomas (ankle), back for Sunday’s showdown. The Bears lost significant pieces to injuries in Week 17 with LB Roquan Smith (elbow) and WR Darnell Mooney (ankle) each leaving early. Trubisky and the Bears could be overwhelmed for the second straight week with another step up in competition so lay single-digit points while you can. Risk one unit at -110 to win .91 units (Jan. 4).

Cleveland Browns (+4.5, DraftKings) at Pittsburgh Steelers

**This wager was placed before the Browns experienced a COVID-19 outbreak on Tuesday morning. I would avoid betting on the Browns side now with the potential for their outbreak to grow before Sunday**

I think the Steelers should be about field-goal favorites in the nightcap to the Wild Card Round, but they’ve opened as slightly bigger favorites so I’m taking what I see as some value on the Browns. Cleveland is backing into their first playoff appearance since 2002, which is why this line has opened a little higher than I expected. They barely squeaked by Mason Rudolph and the Steelers in Week 17 and they lost to the Jets in Week 16 without their entire WR corps. The Steelers aren’t exactly surging into the playoffs with just two strong quarters of offensive football with Ben Roethlisberger in Weeks 12-16. Pittsburgh and Cleveland have played twice this season but I really can’t take much from either game. The Steelers ran the Browns off the field in a 38-7 victory back in Week 6 when Nick Chubb was injured and when the Steelers were humming both offensively and defensively. Pittsburgh then rested key players last week while the Browns were clearly looking to limit Chubb’s work as he saw a five-week low 44% snap share. DE Olivier Vernon could be a long shot to play this week after suffering an ankle injury in the season finale, but the Steelers will be without top CB Joe Haden as he has to sit out 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19. The Steelers don’t have the kind of offense to consistently win by this kind of margin so I’m grabbing the points with Chubb and company to keep this contest close. Risk one unit at -118 to win .85 units (Jan. 4).

Player Props

Record: 159-121 (+27.62 units); WC: 9-4 (+4.19 units)

All one-unit wagers unless otherwise noted.

  • Josh Allen (Buf) over 297.5 passing yards (-112, FanDuel) (W)

  • Stefon Diggs (Buf) over 90.5 receiving yards (-112, DraftKings) (W)

  • Russell Wilson (Sea) under 254.5 passing yards (-112, DraftKings) (W)

  • Russell Wilson (Sea) under 23.5 completions (+102, DraftKings) (W)

  • J.D. McKissic (Was) over 4.5 receptions (+115, BetMGM) (L)

  • Logan Thomas (Was) over 38.5 receiving yards (-112, DraftKings) (W)

  • Marquise Brown (Bal) over 46.5 receiving yards (-112, DraftKings) (W)

  • J.K. Dobbins (Bal) over 61.5 rushing yards (-112, DraftKings) (L)

  • Jared Cook (NO) over 29.5 receiving yards (-110, BetMGM) (W)

  • Allen Robinson (Chi) over 5.5 receptions (-125, BetMGM) (W)

  • Drew Brees (NO) over .5 interception (+210, DraftKings) (L)

  • Ben Roethlisberger (Pit) under 289.5 passing yards (-112, DraftKings) (L)

  • Nick Chubb (Cle) over 65.5 rushing yards (-112, DraftKings) (W)