What the Pros Know about Betting on Wildcard Games. Especially Today’s

2020-21 NFL Computer Predictions and Rankings NFL Forecasting Sports Betting  wildcard today games especially betting about  By Josh Appelbaum  (VSiN.com)

January 4, 2020 12:04 AM

Welcome to Wild-Card Weekend. After starting out with 32 teams we are now down to 12. The NFL Playoffs and the quest for the Lombardi Trophy are officially upon us.

Betting on the NFL playoffs is much different than betting on the regular season. The teams are much better. The stakes are much higher. But most importantly for bettors, betting against the public increases because there are fewer games to bet on and each one is incredibly heavily bet. The market is flooded with recreational money, more so than any other time of year. As a result, savvy bettors willing to back unpopular teams see an increase in contrarian value due to public bias and shaded or inflated lines.

The betting public is biased toward favorites. Average Joes want to back the “better” team, especially this time of year. This provides more value to bet on underdogs. Since 2003, playoff underdogs have gone 95-76 ATS (55.6%) according to Bet Labs Sports. Regular season dogs are 50.5% ATS. So we see a 5.1% increase in the cover rate for playoff dogs versus regular season dogs.

Dogs that see line movement in their favor (think sharp action pushing a dog from plus 6 to plus 5.5) are even betting, going 36-12 ATS (75%) since 2003.

Experience also matters in the playoffs. Teams who made the playoffs the previous season have gone 99-85 ATS (53.8%) since 2003. If they are facing an inexperienced team who missed the playoffs the previous year they improve to 48-34 ATS (58.5%).

Also, unders have great value in the wild-card round. The public is biased toward overs, which creates more value to take advantage of inflated unders. wild-card unders have gone 40-24 (62.5%) since 2003.

Let’s discuss where the sharp money is flowing for today’s games.

4:35 p.m. ET: Buffalo Bills (10-6, 5th seed) at Houston Texans (10-6, 4th seed)

Public bettors are having a hard time picking this game. Both teams have identical 10-6 records so how can you not take the team getting points? Buffalo is 6-2 on the road this season (including 6-1-1 ATS) and also enjoys a plus 55 point differential. Houston is 5-3 at home but just 2-6 ATS. The Texans are -7 in point differential. However, Average Joes also love backing favorites, home teams and star quarterbacks–especially when they’re laying short spreads. Deshaun Watson and company fit the bill.

Spread bets are split down the middle with a slight lean to the Texans, yet we’ve seen this line fall from Texans -3 to -2.5. In a vacuum, a line shouldn’t move at all aside from a slight juice adjustment if the tickets are even. This half-point drop signals sharp action on the Bills with wiseguys grabbing Buffalo at the key number of plus 3. The Bills went 9-6-1 ATS during the regular season while Houston was 7-8-1 ATS. The Bills have value as a playoff dog (55.6% ATS since 2003) and a playoff dog with a line move in their favor (75% ATS).

The total opened at 41.5– the lowest of any Wild Card Weekend Game. Pro money has pounded the over, driving the line up to 43.5. Both teams have been profitable to the under this season (BUF 12-4, HOU 9-7) and Tony Corrente, the lead ref, has historically favored unders as well (56.5%). However, playoff overs in domes or closed roof stadiums have gone 29-13 (69%) since 2003.

8:15 p.m. ET: Tennessee Titans (9-7, 6th seed) at New England Patriots (12-4, 3rd seed)

This wild-card showdown kicks off in primetime Saturday night and features the love ’em or hate ’em Patriots, meaning it will be incredibly heavily bet. The Titans started the season 2-4 with Marcus Mariota, but then went 7-3 after making the switch to Ryan Tannehill. Tennessee played meaningful games down the stretch, defeating the Texans in Week 17 to secure the final playoff spot. Meanwhile, the Patriots looked very un-Patriot in the second half of the season. New England went 2-3 in their final five games, including a shocking loss to Miami in Week 17 as a 17-point favorite, which forced them to play on wild-card weekend instead of securing a first-round bye. Tom Brady finished with his worst QB rating (88.0) since 2013. Rumors are swirling that this could be Brady’s last game with the Pats.

The Patriots opened as 5.5-point home favorites. Early sharp money pounced on the Titans getting the points, which dropped the line down to 4.5. But then we saw wiseguys buy low on New England at a deflated -4.5, driving the number back up to -5 where it rests now. The Titans have value as a playoff road dog with a line move in their favor. Also, Brady and Belichick are 27-10 straight up (73%) in the playoffs since 2003 but just 19-18 ATS (52.4%). However, the Patriots look vulnerable and the media narrative all week is pounding the idea that the dynasty is coming to an end. This is usually when New England is at it’s best- when they’re underestimated and counted out. This is also a revenge game for the Pats, who lost to the Titans 34-10 in Week 11 last season.

The total has ticked up slightly from 43.5 to 44.5. Weather could play a big role here. The forecast calls for mid-30s, rain, 10 MPH winds and possibly some snow. John Hussey, the head official, historically favors home teams (55.4% ATS) and unders (56%). The Pats went 9-7 to the under this season but Tennessee went 10-6 to the over. Wild Card Weekend unders are 40-24 (62%) since 2003.


PODCAST:Wildcard Round Picks

These folks agree with ff-winners.com AI on all 4 wildcard  ATS game picks.


AFC Wildcard Round Forecast

2020-21 NFL Computer Predictions and Rankings NFL Forecasting Team News  wildcard round forecast

Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans: If you love great offensive football, you probably should not watch this game. The Oakland Raiders already lost starting QB Derek Carr for the postseason, and may be without backup QB Matt McGloin as he injured his shoulder in week 17. That means rookie 3rd string QB Conner Cook will start if McGloin cannot play, and that is just not a story with a great ending. The Texans, however, have QB issues of their own as QB Brock Osweiler was benched earlier this year for his poor performance, and backup Tom Savage did not impress so Osweiler is now the starter again. Brock Osweiler is a big QB with a strong arm but he struggles under pressure and is mistake prone. The only thing we like about this move is that he has the arm to stretch the ball downfield to star WR DeAndre Hopkins. The Raiders defense has improved throughout the year but they were helped out a lot by a very explosive offense that could score points with Carr under center. The Raiders offense will struggle and the Texans defense will create turnovers to allow their offense to have short fields and that will be the reason that the Texans win a low scoring, defensive battle at home.

Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers: The Dolphins defeated the Steelers 30-15 in Miami earlier this year, but Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was injured. This game has a very different feel to it, as all of the Steelers offensive weapons are healthy. Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell and star WR Antonio Brown will all be ready to play. The Dolphins will most likely start backup QB Matt Moore as Ryan Tannehill has not practiced this week. That is a huge advantage to the Steelers despite their defense being susceptible throughout most of the year. The Dolphins must run the football with Jay Ajayi and do their best to keep the Steelers offense off the field. We think the Dolphins can score and keep it close early, but their downfall will be Matt Moore’s inability to hit big plays when they matter most and the Steelers offense exposing the Dolphins defense that ranks 29th in total defense. The Steelers and their explosive offense will eventually run away with the game as the Dolphins will struggle to keep up offensively and their defense will not be able to stop Roethlisberger and company and the Steelers will get the win at home.    Enjoy!

[Analysis by NFL expert Preston Rowe]

Look for Wild Times in The NFC Wildcard Playoffs!

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With the regular season coming to an end a few of the top tier teams can lock in on bringing home the Lombardi Trophy. The NFC teams are going to clash to power their way to Super Bowl LI. Filled with power houses such as Detroit, Green Bay, Seattle, and New York playing in Wild Card matchups the outcomes are unpredictable.

Detroit was snubbed having no players on their roster elected to the Pro Bowl this year, but that didn’t slow them from finishing with a 9-6 record. An offense led by MVP candidate Matthew Stafford it doesn’t seem as if any other offensive weapons are needed. Aside from a QB there is really no great on the Lion’s offense just a lot of good that contributes to filling their schedule with wins. A sub par defense seems to be one of their only weaknesses led by cornerback Darius Slay. If Detroit’s defense can play as a team they will make a case to be true title contenders.

Division rival to Detroit, Green Bay is pretty straightforward. Plain and simple, when Aaron Rodgers is your QB you are gonna win football games. Especially when he is being protected by three of the best pass blocking linemen. Overcoming numerous injuries on their roster to win six straight to finish the season. Receiver turned running back Ty Montgomery has shown flashes that he can play at an explosive level in the NFL. The only thing holding them back is a beat up defense. With arguably the weakest secondary in the NFL it will something Green Bay’s offensive firepower will have to make up for. Green Bay’s front seven unlike its secondary is always bringing the heat. Despite the age of many key players their run stop and pass rush continues to improve.

A team that seemed to be the kryptonite to the Green Bay Packers is the Seattle Seahawks. On the other hand having arguably the best secondary in the NFL with the notorious Richard Sherman. Their defense also known as the “Legion of Boom” causes every opponent’s offense to throw a fit. Questions in the running back spot may hold the offense back, but Quarterback Russell Wilson’s mentality fuels that offense. To progress through the playoffs Seattle will nee complete play by their receivers after suffering a huge loss in Tyler Lockett. Seattle comes with a winning mentality considering their past which will play as a key advantage this time around.

One of the most talked about players around the league seems to be Odell Beckham Jr. His sure hands and quickness can make any quarterback shine. Although recently New York’s defense has been carrying the team. With a loaded young secondary and some bruisers in the front seven New York has been the reason teams are losing sleep at night. An aging and inconsistent Eli Manning has seemed to be the only question mark on the team. If Eli can get hot and use his numerous weapons to his advantage it will make New York a tough team to beat.