Last weekend in the NFL, the Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns from the AFC, as well as the Chicago Bears and Washington Football Team from the NFC confirmed their places in the post-season playoffs.
While those teams celebrated making into the playoffs, the likes of the Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins will be the most disappointed after losing out last weekend, only now able to view the action from the comfort of their armchairs.
The action begins this weekend with the six Wildcard games, three from each conference, and the three winners of each of the games in each conference will then go forward to join the AFC’s Kansas City Chiefs and the NFC’s Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round. All this action is a treat for betting fans who now have some fantastic post season betting action to enjoy.
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Let’s now preview each of the six big clashes on Wildcard Weekend in the NFL, starting with the three games taking place on Saturday.
NFL Wildcard Weekend (9th & 10th January 2021)
Saturday 9th January 2020
Indianapolis Colts (11-5) @ Buffalo Bills (13-3) (6.05pm)
Last week, the Colts fans were cheering on the Bills as their heavy defeat of Miami opened up the door for the Colts to claim a playoff spot. Indianapolis will now seek to repay the favour by knocking the Bills out of the playoffs on the Bills home turf.
The Colts are a solid side, good in all areas of the game, but they face one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses. Led by the talented Josh Allen ay quarterback and boasting Stefan Diggs at wide receiver, the Bills have racked up just shy of 48 points on average over their last couple of games and even the Colts can’t match that firepower.
A combination of a very good Colts defense and the guile of veteran quarterback Philip Rivers and receiver Ty Hilton will keep the Colts competitive for a good proportion of this game, but I still feel that in the end it will be Buffalo that rampage on into the Divisional Round next week.
Top Tips – Take Buffalo to win (10/32) or the Over 51 Total Points bet (10/11)
Los Angeles Rams (10-6) @ Seattle Seahawks (12-4) (9.40pm)
Two NFC West rivals will clash for the third time this season, after registering one win each in the regular season. The Seahawks topped that division ahead of the Rams and they will start as the favourites with Russell Wilson primed to lead his team on another playoff run.
Pete Carroll’s team are always a very tough team to beat at this stage of the season and while the Rams have some potent weapons on offense and Aaron Donald on defense, it is still going to be a huge ask for them to get something on the road in Seattle.
I can’t see a huge number of points being scored in this game and it may well come down to a field goal or touchdown late on that separates the sides, but I think the experience of Russell Wilson and that Seahawks defense will be the catalyst to them landing a win here.
Top Tips – Take Under 42.5 points here (10/11) and the Seahawks to win at 1/2.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) @ Washington Football Team (7-9) (1.15am Sun)
The Washington Redskins qualified for the playoffs not so much because they were the best team in the NFC East, they were just the least worst. There is no doubt that they are going to struggle against the powerful Tom Brady led offense of the Bucs here, even with homefield advantage.
The Washington defense, led by Rookie Chase Young, will become a potential Superbowl winning unit in a couple of years, but their offense is unlikely to be able to keep up with the scoring potential of the Buccaneers, even if their defence can muster a few early stops in the game.
Bucs coach Bruce Arians has said that it is ‘Superbowl or bust’ for his team this season and I expect them to be still in with a chance of landing that dream next week in the Divisional games as they should land a comfortable win here.
Top Tips – Buccaneers (-8.5) to win at 10/11 and Over 45.0 points (10/11)
Sunday 10th January 2020
Baltimore Ravens (11-5) @ Tennessee Titans (11-5) (6.05pm)
The Ravens have lost their last two games against the Titans, both at home, one in last seasons playoffs (when they were top seeds) and an overtime loss this season when Derrick. Henry rushed a touchdown home in the extra time allocated to decide the winner.
Baltimore’s form has improved a lot in recent weeks and in Lamar Jackson they have a quarterback who can cause a very poor Titans defense plenty of problems. The question though is whether the Ravens defense can stop a Titans offense which is one of the best, multi-faceted and highest scoring in the league.
With Derrick Henry becoming just the eighth player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season last weekend, he will likely be the workhorse for the Titans and if the Ravens stop him. They win. However, they haven’t been able to the last two games and at home, I am backing the Titans to clinch another big win over the Ravens.
Top Tips – This could go down to the wire, but take the Titans (+3.0) at evens and Over 55 Pts (10/11)
Chicago Bears (8-8) @ New Orleans Saints (12-4) (9.40pm)
The Saints could afford to rest a number of starters last week having already clinched a playoff berth and they did just that, but the Bears had to try and beat Green Bay to earn a playoff spot. They failed to do that but because the Cardinals lost to the Rams, Chicago earned that last playoff spot.
It may be a short-lived interest in the playoff for the Bears though. The Saints explosive offense looks likely to put up more than enough points to outscore the Bears offense. Even the quality Bears defense may struggle to stop Brees and co racking up enough points to confirm the win.
The only way the Bears can win this is to stop Brees and that would require a massive effort from the Bears defense. It is possible, but not likely, especially indoors in New Orleans and for that reason alone, I think the New Orleans Saints will record a very comfortable win here.
Top Tips – Saints even at -10 are a good Spread bet at (20/21) and take Under 47 points at 10/11.
Cleveland Browns (11-5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) (1.15am Mon)
The second of the divisional rivalry games in the Wildcard Weekend is the final one of the series as Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns for the second week in a row, having played last weekend in the final round of Regular Season games.
In that game, which Cleveland narrowly win, the Steelers played their second string team and so, it will be Ben Roethlisberger and co that take to the field at Heinz Field on Sunday night to try and lead the Steelers into the Divisional Round next week.
With all the illness affecting the Browns this week, I think any chance of an upset has probably gone and I am backing the Steelers to take advantage of that and claim the win they need to move into the next round.
Top Tips – Take the Steelers to win (-6.0) at 10/11 and Over 47.5 points (10/11)
*All odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport as of 10am on Wednesday 6th January