After a dud of a first one between the Colts and Texans (by no fault of the Colts), we were treated to quite a nice slate of Wild Card games. Needless to say, it was a very interesting weekend for bettors, as well.
The Seahawks covered the spread on Saturday night by no real good deed of their own but more so by a miraculous formula of a game-ending injury to their kicker and a meaningless late touchdown. Painful for bettors who took the Cowboys -2.5. Phenomenal for those who took the Seahawks +2.5.
It seemed as if most of the experts were on the Ravens by the time the 1:05 ET game kicked off on Sunday. Even though the Chargers were in control for most of the game, at multiple times, it almost looked like the experts would be right. A late touchdown from Lamar Jackson got the Ravens within a score. It ended up being just enough to get the hopes up of those pulling for the Ravens, but nothing more.
Finally, we had the Cody Parkey debac…. Err… Bears and Eagles thriller. Seriously, poor Cody Parkey. If you don’t feel at least a bit bad for the guy after seeing that his kick was actually tipped, you must not have an empathetic bone in your body. No, that kick would not have changed the outcome of the spread. But between the overall play, the officials, and the kick, the game was one heck of a spectacle to watch.
Here’s to hoping the Divisional Round is just as good!
These are your best bets.
COLTS (+5.5) @ Chiefs: Saturday – 3:35 ET (NBC)
The Colts are 10-1 since Week 7, and somehow this fact has flown under the radar. This is such an intriguing matchup for a number of different reasons. We’ll get some official answers as to how much the Chiefs really miss Kareem Hunt, whether the Colts defense is truly legit, if Andrew Luck is officially back as one of the best quarterbacks in the league, whether Andy Reid can avoid another lapse, and if Patrick Mahomes can be as ridiculous in the postseason as he was during the regular season. That’s a lot of questions. Oddly enough, I think both teams are up to the task of answering them. The game’s a toss-up, but the Colts are getting 5.5 points. Give me the team with the better defense and points all day.
Cowboys @ RAMS (-7): Saturday – 7:15 ET (FOX)
Clearly, the Cowboys have become a different team since Amari Cooper joined their ranks. At home, he’s been an absolute monster. On the road, however, he’s been a completely different player. In four games away from Jerry World, Cooper has only averaged 4.5 catches for 43 yards.
You’re not going to convince me that with a healthy Todd Gurley and two weeks to prepare, Sean McVay isn’t going to have the Rams cooking.
It’s hard to believe that with Aaron Donald, presumably the Defensive Player of the Year, the Rams defense has been underwhelming. As healthy as they’ve been all year, though, this seems like it could be a coming out party.
The Rams will score, and unless Cooper can change those home/road splits, I’m just not convinced the Cowboys will be able to keep up. Fire up the Rams here.
Chargers @ PATRIOTS (-4): Sunday – 12:05 ET (CBS)
You mean we’re questioning Tom Brady at home, in the postseason, with all his weapons as healthy as possible? How has that worked out in the past? History repeats itself, and I’m on the side of history in this one. Until Tom Brady proves us wrong, ride him out. -4 is not a big spread for the Pats to cover at home. Just to make you feel better, Philip Rivers is 0-7 against Tom Brady in his career. This includes an 0-2 record against him in the postseason. Yeah, you read that right. Oh, and did I mention that Melvin Gordon is a shell of himself because of two injured knees? Good luck, Los Angeles.
EAGLES (+8) @ Saints: Sunday – 3:40 ET (FOX)
Speaking of history repeating itself and riding out streaks, can I interest anyone in some Nick Foles? If you like magicians, you’ll like this guy! I said it last week, and I’ll say it again. The Eagles are 5-1 in games that Nick Foles starts. At home, on the road, in the regular season, or in the Super Bowl, it doesn’t matter. The magic is real folks.
For those of you who want to look at Week 11 as an indicator for this one, don’t. The Eagles are in a vastly different spot now than they were then. In fact, if anything, I’m convinced the rest of the Eagles players besides Foles will use that game as a motivator. Plus, as we just saw last week with Baltimore and Los Angeles, it’s hard to beat a good team twice in the NFL. Even if the Saints do come out firing, expect the Eagles to be able to keep it within the +8 spread.
Alex Altmix is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Alex, check out his archive.