NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend Betting Guide and Picks
If you’re interested in a betting guide and picks for NFL Wild Card Weekend, you’ve come to the right place. The regular season is in the books and we’re onto the NFL Playoffs. Even though most of the league is starting the offseason, there’s still plenty of action to enjoy as the league works its way to a Super Bowl champion, especially if you’re a sports bettor. In this guide, we’ll preview what’s to come, lay out the odds, and give out picks against the point spread and on the over/under total.
The first weekend of the NFL Playoffs is Wild Card Weekend, featuring eight teams in action across four games. The Houston Texans host the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots host the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, January 4, 2020. Then, the New Orleans Saints host the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, January 5.
Before we dive into what’s to come, let’s quickly recap the regular season that had me making picks for all non-Thursday games. If you’ve been taking all the bets the last three weeks, then you’re welcome for the rollercoaster ride. I’m sorry for the overall mediocre production. In the second season of this article, I’m still surprised at how well things have gone and the fact that we’ve been able to beat the juice against the spread (ATS) for two seasons in a row. I know that we are still slightly in the red due to my complete inability to pick a total to save my life, but we’ve still got the playoffs to get back into the black. If you remember last season, on this article we did have an 80% cover rate both on both ATS and totals in the playoffs. Let’s see if that was just a fluke or if we can keep the hot hand.
Super Bowl Odds
Baltimore Ravens (+220)
San Francisco 49ers (+400)
Kansas City Chiefs (+450)
New Orleans Saints (+600)
Green Bay Packers (+1000)
New England Patriots (+1200)
Seattle Seahawks (+2500)
Philadelphia Eagles (+3000)
Houston Texans (+3300)
Minnesota Vikings (+3300)
Buffalo Bills (+4500)
Tennessee Titans (+5000)
Odds To Win AFC
Baltimore Ravens (-110)
Kansas City Chiefs (+200)
New England Patriots (+600)
Houston Texans (+2000)
Buffalo Bills (+2500)
Tennessee Titans (+2600)
Odds To Win NFC
San Francisco 49ers (+140)
New Orleans Saints (+240)
Green Bay Packers (+375)
Seattle Seahawks (+1200)
Philadelphia Eagles (+1300)
Minnesota Vikings (+1600)
Futures odds from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, January 3, at 12:30 p.m. and subject to change.
Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans
Saturday, January 4, 2020, at 4:35 p.m. ET
Spread Open: Texans (-3)
Current Spread: Texans (-3)
Over/under Total Open: 42
Current Over/under Total: 44
Public Money on Spread: 51% on Texans
Public Money on Over/under Total: 52% on Over
The Buffalo Bills hve been a bit of a surprise team this season. They have been a great team to bet on all season long, going 9-5-2 ATS, which ranks 4th in the NFL. While they have been an average team at home this season, going 4-4 straight up and 3-5 ATS, the Bills have been an incredible team on the road, with a 6-2 record straight up and 6-0-2 ATS.
Looking at the numbers for the Bills as it pertains to the over/under total, the Bills have been the absolute worst team in the league at covering the over, going 4-12. Looking at the home/road difference, we see that they are equally as bad on the road and at home, going 2-6 on each.
Looking at the DVOA numbers from Football Outsiders, the Bills were 13th overall in DVOA. Buffalo ranked 22nd in offensive DVOA and 6th in defensive DVOA.
Unlike the Bills, the Houston Texans were a below-average team to bet on this season, going 7-8-1 ATS. However, much like the Bills, the Texans were one of the worst teams in the league at covering at home, going just 2-6 ATS and 5-3 straight up. Compare those to records of 5-2-1 ATS and 5-3 straight up on the road.
Looking the Texans numbers on the total, they were slightly below average at covering the over, going 7-9. That included a 4-4 record at home and a 3-5 record on the road.
Checking the DVOA numbers for Houston, they were ranked 19th overall in DVOA. The Texans had the 17th ranked offense and the 26th ranked defense, per DVOA.
For this game, let’s first dissect which of these teams are better. On the offensive end, it is the Texans, but I’m not sure it’s by as much as many people believe. While the Bills have put up 60 less points than the Texans have this season, they have faced better defenses and Buffalo plays in a stadium where the weather is routinely a factor. On the defensive end, it’s not remotely close. The Bills are a much better defense overall, and they matchup up well against the Texans. Defensive back Tre’Davious White should be able to do some work against wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins this weekend, which will greatly slow down the Texans offense. Overall, I think that the Bills are the better team.
We see that the Bills are a 3-point underdog on the point spread. That would be pretty normal for being the road team, but the Bills being on the road isn’t really that much of a disadvantage for them in this scenario. Their quarterback, Josh Allen, is a guy who likes to throw the ball down the field. Playing at home all season, he hasn’t had the greatest conditions to do that as much, as nearly every game in Buffalo has been a windy and cold game. Now, Allen gets a matchup in a dome down in Texas. This season, Allen’s lone dome game was in Dallas, where we went 19-for-24 for 231 yards and 1 touchdown against the Cowboys. He also added 43 rushing yards. Allen’s style of play fits a dome perfectly and, as we can see by the Bills road record, they are clearly a better team on the road.
This weekend, the Bills (+3) is my favorite bet on the board and it’s not remotely close. I think the Bills win this one outright. My colleague here at SharpSide, Kevin Taylor, also likes the Bills.
Free Picks: Bills (+3) and Under 44
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots
Saturday, January 4, 2020, at 8:15 p.m. ET
Spread Open: Patriots (-5)
Current Spread: Patriots (-5)
Over/under Total Open: 44
Current Over/under Total: 44.5
Public Money on Spread: 50% on Titans
Public Money on Over/under Total: 58% on Over
While the New England Patriots may have been one of the best teams in the league based on their record, they were not a great team to bet on, going 8-7-1 ATS, including a 3-4-1 ATS record at home and a 5-3 ATS record on the road. Historically, New England has been a great team to bet on, especially more recently. Since 2015, they have a 56-32-3 overall record ATS and a dominant 29-14-3 record ATS at home. Additionally, the Patriots have gone 8-3 ATS in playoff games since 2015.
Looking at the numbers for the how the Patriots have performed in regards to the over/under total this season, they have been only slightly below average, going 7-9 on the over, including 4-4 at home and 3-5 on the road. This is surprising considering that they have the top-rated defense and the 11th rated offense, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metrics.
The Tennessee Titans have been an entirely different team since Ryan Tannehill has taken over as QB. They have drastically improved since then, but they still have been an average team at covering the spread, going 8-7-1 ATS, including a 3-4-1 record ATS at home and 5-3 record ATS on the road. Over the last four seasons, the Titans have only made one trip to the playoffs, in which they went 1-1 ATS.
Looking at the Titans numbers against the total this season, they have been one of the most dominate teams at covering the over, going 10-6 overall. That comes from 5-3 both on the road and at home. Looking at Tennessee’s DVOA numbers, they are the 6th ranked offense and the 16th ranked defense.
It’s kind of surprising to see New England not get the majority of the bets in this game. While I have thought that the Patriots were one of the most fraudulent teams in the league this season, I didn’t think that was a common view from the betting public. Everyone seems to think that the Titans are the better play in this game, but based on our history of both the Patriots at home and in the playoffs, I think the Patriotss are the better bet. New England may be a full 5-point favorite, but as you can see above, the Patriots are incredible at covering in the playoffs and have the best home-field advantage in the league.
Tom Brady has the best home-field win rate in league history and it’s not remotely close. They have made the AFC Championship game virtually every single year and to think that they will not win this game at home is not a sharp thing to think, even with Brady’s noodle arm.
Bill Belichick is by far the greatest coach in NFL history with possibly the best defense he’s ever had. He will likely find a way to completely shut down this explosive Titans offense just like he did against the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams last season in the playoffs.
Again, my colleague Kevin Taylor and I are on the same side, and that side is backing the New England Patriots.
Free Picks: Patriots (-5) and Under 44.5
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Sunday, January 5, 2020, at 1:05 p.m. ET
New Orleans, LA
Spread Open: Saints (-8)
Current Spread: Saints (-7.5)
Over/under Total Open: 47
Current Over/under Total: 49.5
Public Money on Spread: 65% on Saints
Public Money on Over/under Total: 83% on Over
After an incredibly disappointing last season, the Minnesota Vikings have rebounded nicely. Even exceeding expectations, the Vikings have only been a slightly above-average team to bet on this season, going 9-7 ATS, including 5-3 ATS at home and 4-4 on the road. They have made two trips to the playoffs since 2015. From those two trips to the postseason, Minnesota is 1-2 ATS with their lone win coming against the New Orleans Saints in tremendously dramatic fashion. The interesting betting trend for the Vikings has been their home/road splits in the last four seasons. Since 2015, the Vikings have gone 28-13-1 ATS at home compared to 22-18 ATS on the road.
Looking at the Vikings against the total this season, the have been slightly above average at hitting the over, going 9-7. That includes 4-4 at home and 5-3 on the road.
Per the DVOA numbers from Football Outsiders, the Vikings have been an above-average team both on the offensive and defensive end, ranking 10th in offensive DVOA and 7th in defensive DVOA.
The Saints have been a fantastic team all season long. But while the Saints are known for being great at home, this hasn’t been the case for betting purposes. They’re 9-7 ATS overall, including 4-4 ATS at home and 5-3 ATS on the road. Looking back to 2015, the Saints have been the best team in the league ATS on the road, going 27-12-1 compared to just a .500 record at home. Additionally, in the four playoff games the Saints have played since 2015, they have gone 1-3 ATS.
On the total, New Orleans has only been a slightly above-average team at hitting the over this season, where they’re 9-7. From that, 4-4 was at home and 5-3 was on the road.
Football Outsiders’ DVOA has the Saints as one of the top teams both on offense and defense, ranking 4th in offensive DVOA and 11th in defensive DVOA.
This line is an interesting matchup. The Saints have been dominant this season and they are playing this game at home where we know they are good, but as we can see from the numbers above, they really haven’t been great at covering at home for years. The Vikings, on the other hand, have also been a really good this season and I believe them to be fairly underrated.
Looking at DVOA, there isn’t a huge disparity between the Saints and the Vikings. Both teams have good defenses and both teams have good offenses. To me, while I think that the Saints will likely win this game, I don’t think the spread should be nearly this high. This game will likely be close, so a 7.5-point spread with two closely matched teams seems off. The Saints have been involved in close games in the playoffs in the past and the Vikings play in a dome already, so they will be used to these conditions.
For a third game of Wild Card Weekend, I’m on the same side as fellow SharpSide contributor Kevin Taylor. Check out his reasoning here.
Free Picks: Vikings (+7.5) and Under 49.5
Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, January 5, 2020, at 4:40 p.m. ET
Lincoln Financial Field
Spread Open: Seahawks (-1)
Current Spread: Seahawks (-1.5)
Over/under Total Open: 43
Current Over/under Total: 45.5
Public Money on Spread: 85% on Seahawks
Public Money on Over/under Total: 62% on Under
Although the Seattle Seahawks do have one of the best records in the league, they have been involved in so many close games that they have only covered the point spread at a slightly below-average record of 7-8-1, including a 2-6 ATS record at home and a 5-2-1 ATS record on the road. The Seahawks have made the playoffs six out of the last seven seasons and have been entirely average for betting purposes during that time, going 7-6 ATS.
Looking at the Seahawks numbers on the total, they have been an average team at covering the over with a record of 8-7-1, including 4-3-1 at home and 4-4 on the road.
Per DVOA numbers, the Seahawks have been a well above-average offensive team, ranking 5th, and a below-average team on the defensive end, ranking 18th.
The Philadelphia Eagles came into this season with high expectations, but constant injures throughout the season led them to barely win the NFC East. They have been an entirely average team to bet on this season, going 7-9 ATS, including 3-5 ATS at home and 4-4 ATS on the road. The interesting number here is that the Eagles have been the best team to bet on in the playoffs, going 5-0 ATS since 2015, although all those wins were with Nick Foles under center.
Looking at the Eagles numbers on the total, they sit right at the .500 mark, going 8-8 on the over this season. They have gone 2-6 at home and 6-2 on the road when it comes to hitting the over.
The Eagles rank 14th in offensive DVOA and 12th in defensive DVOA, per Football Outsiders.
As I have stated in my articles many times before, I am a Seahawks fan, so I may be a little biased. I think that the Seahawks are the far superior team in this matchup. The Eagles have been destroyed by injuries all season long and will come into this game with near the entirety of their offense playing injured or being out.
The Seahawks may have one of the worst defenses in the playoffs, but I’m not entirely sure that the Eagles will be able to do much of anything against them. Additionally, the Seahawks have been fantastic on the road this season, going 7-1 straight up against some tough opponents.
I think that the Seahawks blow out the Eagles and cover easily.
This is a game where I’m on the opposite side of my colleague Kevin Taylor. If you’d like his take, check it out here.
Free Picks: Seahawks (-1.5) and Over 45.5