NFL Wild Card Weekend Betting Previews and Picks

Seventeen weeks of regular season has brought us here: the playoffs. The top four seeds (top two in each conference) will rest this week while the bottom teams duke it out in the Wild Card Weekend.

There are some intriguing matchups with the Cincinnati Bengals finally expected to win a playoff game and not just make an appearance. NFL online betting cappers see them as the biggest favorite on the board after the San Diego Chargers became the most unlikely member of the playoff field thanks to losses by both the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens on the final day of the regular season. The other matchup in the AFC features a Kansas City-Indianapolis showdown in a rematch from Week 16.

In the NFC, we’ll see the New Orleans Saints visit the Philadelphia Eagles in a battle between two quarterbacks that smashed records in the same high school (Westlake High). Nick Foles’ Eagles play host but a lot of early NFL betting tips are tipping the Saints as the team that will advance. Lastly, we’ll see the San Francisco 49ers visit the Frozen Tundra in Green Bay. These are two familiar foes as the 49ers have won three straight in this series.

Here’s the inside scoop on Wild Card Weekend for the NFL season.

AFC Wild Card Game:

San Diego Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals

Game Line: Bengals -7, 47 O/U

Despite winning, both the Chargers and Bengals played poorly this past weekend. San Diego couldn’t overpower Kansas City’s backups and was lucky to get away with a win. They needed Kansas City to miss a 35-yard field goal in the final seconds of regulation to get a second chance in overtime and survive. Cincinnati beat Baltimore by a wide margin but quarterback Andy Dalton threw four interceptions, creating very little confidence for this team heading into the playoffs. If Dalton throws four interceptions in this game, the Bengals will likely lose because San Diego’s offense is better than the Baltimore offense Cincinnati handled this past Sunday. The reality is that Dalton probably won’t throw four picks but the concern is that San Diego can win the turnover battle, unlike the last time these two teams met. Cincinnati’s 17-10 win in San Diego in Week 13 was the result of two San Diego turnovers deep in Bengal territory. If San Diego can be even or plus-one in terms of turnover margin, they will have a very good chance of winning on the road – even if they’re the biggest underdog on the NFL betting odds this weekend.

Free Pick: Take the Chargers and the under. Chargers 24-20.Free Pick: Take the Chargers and the under. Chargers 24-20.

AFC Wild Card Game:

Kansas City Chiefs @ Indianapolis Colts

Game Line: Colts -3, 47 O/U

This game is likely to be very close. Those who bet on the NFL know that the Chiefs were crushed by the Colts, 23-7, a few weeks ago, but Kansas City is rested and intent on gaining revenge. The Chiefs should be able to play the Colts on level terms, primarily because their offense isn’t likely to be dominated the same way it was in Kansas City in Week 16. Alex Smith has grown as a quarterback for the Chiefs this season. He played really well in the second half of the season and the only real exception to that trend was the 16-point loss to the Colts. Expect Smith to make a lot of necessary adjustments in this game and find ways to make a few more plays.

Will it be enough to win, though? That’s the question. The Colts have been a Jekyll and Hyde this season but have been a lot more like their best selves over the past few weeks. The same team that defeated San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver earlier in the season is the team that re-emerged against the Houston Texans, Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars in the final three weeks of the season. They won those three games by a combined score of 78-20 while looking very strong on both the offensive and defensive lines. That’s probably going to be enough to earn a close win over the Chiefs.

Free Pick: Take the Colts and the over. Colts 27-23.Free Pick: Take the Colts and the over. Colts 27-23.

NFC Wild Card Game:

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles

Game Line: Eagles -3, 54 O/U

If you’re betting on the NFL this weekend and wondering why the Saints are road underdogs in this spot, here’s why: the Saints have never won a road playoff game. Even so, Philadelphia did not look very strong against a shorthanded Dallas Cowboys team on Sunday night in Week 17. The Eagles scored just 24 points against a thin Dallas defense that had been giving up 35 points per game in December. The Eagles also needed a number of breaks to beat Dallas by only two points on a night when the Cowboys were without star quarterback Tony Romo. Nick Foles threw just two passes in the fourth quarter of that game, which gives you a good idea of how much head coach Chip Kelly trusts (or does not trust) him to make plays with the game on the line. Foles has to be much, much better in this game in order to beat Drew Brees, but will he be able to rise to the occasion? It’s not likely. New Orleans is actually a decent defensive team. As long as Philadelphia doesn’t run wild and score 35 or more points, New Orleans will probably be able to win.

Free Pick: Take the Saints and the over. Saints 31-30.Free Pick: Take the Saints and the over. Saints 31-30.

NFC Wild Card Game:

San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers

Game Line: 49ers -3, 48 O/U

In the final game of Wild Card Weekend, the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers meet in the playoffs for the second straight season. Last January, San Francisco’s offense overwhelmed Green Bay’s helpless defense. The Niners won’t score a ton of points here considering they’re a warm-weather team venturing into frigid temperatures at Lambeau Field, but they’re still much more physical than the Packers at the line of scrimmage. San Francisco bossed around Green Bay in Week 1 of the season, so unless the Packers can play really well on both lines of scrimmage, they’re likely to get overpowered over the course of this game.

Free Pick: Take the 49ers and the over. 49ers 31-24.Free Pick: Take the 49ers and the over. 49ers 31-24.

Biggest Underdog with the Best Chance to Win is… The San Diego Chargers

There’s no bigger underdog than the Chargers this weekend but San Diego won in Kansas City and Denver this season. The Chargers won’t be intimidated by the Bengals or the cold weather in Ohio.

Most Important Injury of the Week is…

Clay Matthews. The Green Bay linebacker did not play against Chicago in Week 17 and has been ruled out for this weekend. The Packers need him on the field in order to track down 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and keep him in check. The Packers defense has a much taller order without their star linebacker.

7-Point Teaser of the Week: Chargers +14 and Saints +10

We’re going to take a couple of underdogs we like on the NFL football betting line and tease them up to double-digits. We’ll move the Saints up to +10. Considering how Philadelphia played in Dallas last week, it’s tough to envision them winning by 11 or more – if they even win at all.

As for the Chargers, adding them +14 to our NFL betting picks seems to make plenty of sense. They’ll be focused on playing better and gaining revenge on the Bengals after losing to them in Week 13.

Post Navigation