Not as many games to lose our money on in January but not a lot of action to bet on.
That being said, there is still money to be made so let’s get to it!
buffalo @ Houston -2.5 (o/u 43.5)
For me, in order for the Texans to win this one, they need Will Fuller on the field. Since his absence with a hamstring injury, the Texans have limped in to the playoffs. Without him on the field, the opposing defences can take care of Hopkins and then there rest is covered, making sure they can then turn their attentions to Carlos Hyde, who it must be said has had a great bounceback season which has gone under appreciated and under the radar.
Buffalo should have enough in pass defence to care care of business but have been susceptible against the run, despite ranking 10th in terms of yardage given up. Josh Allen has come a hell of a way over the past year and has shown the maturity of a Quarterback that is poised to make some noise in the post season. The Texans are also pretty poor at defending the run, which will suit Josh Allen, Devin Singletary and Frank Gore.
The starters on both teams took week 17 off so there may be an element of rust to shake off in the first quarter or half so expect more points in the latter stages of this game, but I expect the Bills to confirm the promise they have shown this season and leaving Bill O’Brien answering more questions about his coaching credentials in the big games.
The Bills are statistically the stronger team in most areas but the Texans have the elite talent of DeShaun Watson and Nuk Hopkins which can overcome any troubles the Texans encounter.
I don’t expect a high scoring game, but I do expect Buffalo to win and arguably should be favourites. Devin Singletary looked overpriced to find the endzone too.
Bets: 2pt – Buffalo Money Line (5/4 generally), 1pt – Devin Singletary Anytime TD (6/4 Skybet), 1pt – 2nd half most points (11/10 Betfair).
ADAM: I’m not going to go as far into this as Tim has, it’s a very tough start to proceedings. So just a few bits of info from me. The team who’s had the stronger strength of schedule through the season generally win in the first play off game. That’s the Texans who had the 6th hardest strength of schedule compared to the Bills having pretty much the easiest this season.
There’s also a strong trend against QBs making their first start in the post season which also goes against the Bills with Allen making his first January start.
I do think that Singletary will have a good game and Josh Allen will be effective with his legs as well. Allen has 9 TDs this season so happy to take him to score.
Bets: Josh Allen anytime TD – 2.88 (Will Hill), Devin Singletary o69.5 rush yards. (365)
Tennessee @ new england -4.5 (o/u 44.5)
Who’d have thought at the start of the season that New England would only be 4.5 favourites at home in January against the Titans. Shame really, because it would’ve been nice to get a few more.
I don’t need the points though, because I am taking Tennessee to win this one, and feeling pretty confident. The trio of Tannehill, Henry and Brown in the skill positions have been lethal since Tannehill took over center.
The Patriots defence is a shell of the one we saw in the opening 2 months and just got picked apart by Miami and Ryan Fitzpatrick. There are whispers that Brady is done in New England and their offence has been pretty putrid all season. I expect the patriots to do a lot of dump offs to James White and Rex Burkhead in this one as you have a banged up Julian Edelman, a disappointing Mo Sanu and a lot of other scrubs trying to catch the ball.
That being said, playoff New England is a whole different animal compared with the regular season one but i’m not sure that the Titans will go in fearing the Patriots and they’ll have vengeance on their mind after the playoff drubbing from 2 seasons ago.
Despite both teams being top 10 in points scored in the regular season, I expect a low scoring game here but the line is not high enough for me to bite. Both teams are top 6 in terms of turnover differential which aids low scoring games and both teams will either run the ball or complete high percentage throws, meaning the clock will keep ticking.
I’ll keep it simple in this one, take the points and take the money line for the Titans.
Bets: Titans +4.5 (10/11 generally), Titans Money Line (19/10 WIlliam Hill)
ADAM: Form vs History. Which do you take? If you’re taking form there’s only one team winning this one and that’s the Titans, they’ve been far far better over the last month of the season. In fact the Dolphins won more games in the second half of the season than the Patriots did.
But do you really think the Patriots are going to lose two home games in a row, including one in the playoffs? I’m not quite so sure.
The Titans have been beating up on bums, they’ve not played a decent defense in this last month or so however they’ve done it really well with Henry leading the line and Tannehill and AJ Brown forming a great partnership. The Pats defense isn’t as good as we all thought it was but I’d imagine they’ll be double teaming AJ Brown with Gilmore on “someone else” I think Brown is too big and physical for Gilmore to take care of him by himself.
The Patriots have been terrible. Brady looks past it, the offense as a whole hasn’t been working, the run game stinks, the pass game stinks. They’ve got this far almost entirely on the back of D/ST. They need Edelman back healthy I’m not sure he will be, Michel needs to figure himself out, I’d imagine this will be a lot of Burkhead and James White from the backfield.
Form says the Titans win outright. I’ve seen this story too many times though. The Pats have been garbage and honestly I don’t think they’re going far in the playoffs this year, but I can’t back against them.
Oh, it’s Tannehills first playoff game. Though he does have a good record against the Pats from when he was at the Dolphins.
Bets; Jonnu Smith anytime – 7/2 (Uni/888), James White o50.5 rush and rec. yards – 5/6
Minnesota @ new orleans -7.5 (o/u 49.5)
These two teams have served up some memories over the past decade, most recently the Minnesota miracle from 2 years ago. You have to assume that there is more than enough for Sean Payton to use for motivation in this one. Talking of serving up, this one is the tastiest dish of the weekend and the Saints will be hoping that they’ll be dishing out some sweet revenge. It won’t be served cold though as this one is in the dome.
I fully expect the Saints to win but favourites of 6 points or more on wildcard weekend are 2-9 against the spread over the last few years so be aware of that when placing your bets.
I expect this game to be the highest scoring game of the weekend so take the over 49.5 points as this one has overtime potential. I never like taking a -7.5 because you need to win by more than a touchdown (see previous stat on wildcard favourites!) so will be leaving the spread alone. Minnesota rested all their stars last week including Dalvin Cook so they should be at full strength.
But I don’t think Kirk Cousins has enough about him to get the prime time/ big game monkey off his back in an environment that is one of the most nosiest in the league. Drew Brees has been lights out as of late, as has Michael Thomas.
Bets: Over 49.5pts (10/11 generally)
ADAM: Kirk Cousins? In prime time?!? That will ring alarm bells to most people looking at this game, and his prime-time record does stink, but… BUT…. This is still a 1pm kick off in the states so ole Kirky Boy won’t have to change his routine at all and I think it’s the change of routine which affects him rather than just blaming the big lights etc…
They Vikings are getting back to health after resting everyone last week, Thielen, Diggs, Cook, Mattison should all be available and good to go in this one. Cook is the key man of the four, the game runs through him when he’s fit and he’s one of the best in the league.
Unfortunately I’m not sure it matters for the Vikings, I think the Saints probably win this one comfortably, they’ve been great over the last month of the season, and despite not being able to rest players last week the other side of that coin is that they’re still in fighting form. They’ve scored 40 points a week for the last month.
It really shouldn’t be that tough to stop the Saints. They’ve got Michael Thomas and that’s about it in the passing game, yet he still gets free for double-digit catches each week and the Vikings secondary has been poor this season so he’ll probably do the same in this one. In fairness to the other players on the squad Jared Cook has stepped up with TDs and Trequan Smith has shown sparks of form.
Alvin Kamara has 2 TDs in back to back games now and while he’s not running like he was in previous seasons he looks to have finally found a little bit of form at the right time.
Taysom Hill is a boss.
Bets; Jared Cook anytime – 7/4 (Skybet) Michael Thomas o8.5 receptions – 5/6 (365)
Seattle @ philadelphia +1.5 (o/u 45)
It wouldn’t surprise if they put up prices on “player to take the field” with all these injuries for both sides. That’s the key to this game, health. Whichever team comes in to the game healthiest and is able to stay healthiest during it, should come out on top.
Philadelphia can count themselves fortunate that the NFC East was an extremely poor division this year, Seattle are without one of their stars at running back in Chris Carson and the fact that with how the seeding works- you have an 11 win team travelling to a 9 win team.
But that’s the way the cookie crumbles. The spread line indicates how close this one will be. I like the over here because i can see both teams scoring into the mid 20s. Seattle are rightly favourites in my opinion and there isn’t really any point taking handicap lines when they are 1pt or 1.5, so just take your pick as there is nothing worse than getting a pick right and then being done by that 0.5. Seattle could easily win by 1. Seattle took care of business in the regular season by a scoreline of 17-9, but this was when the Eagles were struggling to cope with their losses on the team. Now that they have readjusted and gotten use to getting the most out of what they have, i expect them to put up more of a fight in this one.
Russell Wilson will need to go aerial in this one as the Philadelphia defence’s strength is stuffing the run. Despite how good Dallas made them look in week 16, the Eagles back end is not great which plays into the hands of DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and even David Moore.
With Zach Ertz unlikely to play, that makes Dallas Goedert a great selection to have a big game.
You’ll be hard pressed to find any player props on him, probably due to the fact that Ertz has not been declared fit or out. You are hoping that they declare him fit as this would bring the Goedert total receptions line down by 1 or 2. I do not envisage them even looking in ERtz’s direction if he makes it on to the field so pay close attention on Sunday and see if the bookmakers put something out for Goedert. If you can can get 2.5 receptions as the line, smash the over., even fancy over 3.5 if it’s the underdog of the 2 pricewise. I’d leave the yardage line alone but anything in the late 30s would be tempting to go over on. Seattle are poor over the middle of the field on defence so that opens up Goedert (and Greg Ward) for scoring opportunities so I fancy Goedert to get in the endzone also.
Talking of Tight Ends, Seattle TE Jacob Hollister has been a focal point of this attack for a long while now, to the extent that you could argue his is the first read for Russell Wilson. In their last drive vs the 49ers, they trusted him on the 4th and goal with the target which he was unable to break the plain with but shows you how integral he is in this offence. One of the best bets this weekend is to see him Hollister nab over 3.5 targets, something which he has done in 4 of the last 5 games. Yes it’s a shorter price than the 4.5 line floating around, but if you can get a comfortable line and a less of a sweat, i’m all for it.
If I am pushed on moneyline, I’d take the Seahawks, let’s not forget this is actually Carson Wentz’s first playoff game as an Eagle. Whilst Wentz has stepped up over the past month, dragging his team through to the post season, it will be interesting to see if he is able to carry that on. Russell Wilson has been there and done that all before and has a Super Bowl to his name, and that’s what gives me the edge in picking Seattle over Philadelphia.
BETS: 1pt – Dallas Goedert anytime TD (13/8 Betfred), 2pts – Jacob Hollister over 3.5 receptions (8/13 Skybet), 1pt – Over 45pts (10/11 generally)
Battle of the beaten up.
The Seahawks are down to Travis Homer and Marshawn Lynch at RB, it worked fairly well last week in honesty, Homer looked decent and showed he could catch from the backfield, Lynch looked overweight (unsurprisingly given they got him off the couch) but found his way over everyone into the endzone.
The passing game hasn’t been great in recent weeks but Russell Wilson is probably the best QB playing this weekend and can always make something from nothing with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf his main targets. Metcalf led rookies in Redzone targets with 17 of them this season although only scored 7 times. They’ve got a few outsiders, David Moore, Malik Turner et al who can add in on occasion as well.
The Eagles are even more beaten up, and it’s a credit to Carson Wentz how well he’s managed to play this season with a load of practise squad players and guys who aren’t even on the roster any more. He became the first QB in history to throw for over 4,000 yards without a wide receiver going over 500. It’s a bit of cheeky stat because even when he did have WRs it was still his tight ends who do more work.
He’s without his main tight end as well though with Zach Ertz not man enough to play through a lacerated kidney like some kind of inept child. Pffft, you’ve got another one Zach, get over it mate! That means it will be Dallas Goedert as the main man again in all likelihood and Joshua Perkins adding in as well.
The aforementioned WRs will probably be led by Greg Jennings who’s a converted QB but has shown he’s reliable when targeted. They signed Deontay Burnett from the practise squad this week, I doubt he’ll do much but is a downfield threat, so you never know! JJ Arcega-Whiteside was someone they had high hopes for who’s done very little this year although did make a few catches in the final game of the season last week.
Miles Sanders has looked really good in the run game but is nursing a low ankle sprain, he has said he’ll be good to go, but he’ll probably be limited in some fashion so it could be shared work with Boston Scott who scored thrice last week and even Jordan Howard who’s more of a bruising back that the Seahawks don’t do well against.
Another tough one to call to finish off the weekend, everything seems to think the Seahawks are winning this one, I’m just not sure either way. I think the unders are a decent look but the Eagles just seem to find a way so I’m avoiding the spread.
Only note. Carson Wentz is making his first start in the post season.
Bets: DK Metcalf anytime TD – 2.88 (Betfair)