The NFL regular season is in the book, with only 12 teams left alive fighting for the Lombardi Trophy. Eight of these teams will be facing off this weekend, creating some terrific matchups to watch between our Saturday and Sunday.
With only four games available to bet on, the pickings are slim, especially since we are used to having four times that amount to place our bets on. Still, there is a bit of value available during this first round of action. With that in mind, these are three of my favorite NFL bets for this Wild Card Weekend.
Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans (Under 43.5)
The Houston Texans return captain J.J. Watt to the field this week, which will be a boost to their defense, helping to stop Josh Allen and the Bills. Still, the Texans offense has not been too hot this season and their games have hit the under in six of the last nine games. The Bills’ games have been low-scoring all season long, but this is especially true when they are on the road. The under has hit in 12 of their last 15 road games and in five of their last six overall. I expect the trend to continue, as the Bills look to control the clock and play safe football because they want no part of a shootout against Deshaun Watson.
Seattle Seahawks (-1.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
This matchup is a rematch from about six weeks ago when Seattle pulled off an eight-point win in Philly. However, these teams look very different, and that is because of injuries, which is the theme of this game. Since the last meeting, the Eagles are down top wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, offensive guard Brandon Brooks, and top cornerback Ronald Darby. The team could also continue to be without Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz on offense.
For this run-first Seattle team, they lost all three of their top running backs and wide receiver Josh Gordon. Still, Seattle is the healthier of the two teams. The quarterback play still favors Russell Wilson and the Seahawks over Carson Wentz.
Finally, Seattle has the playmakers on defense to create a couple of game-changing big plays, whereas the Eagles can play decent defense, but it’s not going to win them the game. For this reason, I think the Seattle defense is able to do just enough to cover the spread in another close game between these teams.
Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles (Under 46)
While both teams have glaring weaknesses on defense, neither offense is particularly great. Seattle’s strength has been running the ball, but after losing its top three running backs, that is no longer a strength. Also, stopping the run is the strength of this Eagles defense, giving up only 3.68 yards per carry to running backs over the past five weeks, which features one game against Ezekiel Elliott and two against Saquon Barkley. For the Eagles, they do not really have an offensive strength, due to the pile of injuries. Pass catchers continue to be out, and now Brandon Brooks, one of the best offensive guards in football, is also out. This especially hurts the Eagles in the running game, but it could also lead to some leaks between the tackles in the pass rush. The first game between these two teams also had a total of only 26 points. So, while these defenses are nowhere near great, the offenses have gotten worse down the stretch, which could make every point matter in this game.
Week 17 Results: 1-4
Season to Date: 41-40-4