NFL Wildcard Bets

What a weird season… Enough said.

Thankfully, we’ve finally arrived at the point of the year in which the best teams in the league do what they do… win. Stop neglecting your superstitions, I know we won’t, and always remember to bet smarter, not harder.

Q’s Best Bets (After Week 18: 25-38 Overall, -10.273 Units Total)

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers/Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills/Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: 3 Team Parlay: 49ers Moneyline, Bengals -2.5, Bills -6.5 (+117) (2 units)

Love this parlay so much I’m throwing 2 units on it. All three teams have home field advantage this weekend, their highest combined seed is 3 (which let’s be real… the Bengals are more like a 2.5 seed given how the regular season ended) and the Bengals/Bills are playing against backup QBs.

Burrow and the boys were the hottest team in the league going into that fateful Bills matchup in Week 17 that left Damar Hamlin in the hospital. While they definitely seemed to lose some of their luster in Week 18 (understandably so), I fully expect them to return to electric form at home against one of their hated rivals. Burrow is the guy and his surrounding cast of WRs is practically unfair not to mention his connection with Hayden Hurst and the Mixon/Perine combo coming out of the backfield. The Ravens are starting Huntley again (shout out Lamar for punting on the entire season) and they haven’t scored more than 17 points in a game in the last 5 weeks (only averaging 13 points per game during that span). Bengals by a landslide. Score Prediction: Bengals 27 – Ravens 13.

The Bills are a team of destiny and they’ll be playing a Skylar Thompson lead Dolphins squad who haven’t looked confident since Tua’s last concussion (almost a month ago). I’ll be astonished if Buffalo doesn’t win this game by 2+ scores but I’m siding with a TD just to be safe. Expect the Bills to put up points at will and for Skylar Thompson to continue to struggle despite his stacked WR group. Score Prediction: Bills 31 – Dolphins 10.

I’m only taking the 49ers Moneyline here purely out of caution for Brock Purdy’s first postseason start. That said, there’s absolutely zero reason that San Fran shouldn’t blowout a Seattle team who has faltered down the stretch of the regular season and who are lucky to even find themselves playing in a wildcard game. The 49ers have arguably the best defense in the league, Purdy has endless offensive weapons at his disposal (Kittle, Deebo, CMC, Aiyuk, etc) and Seattle has been grasping at straws for over a month now (and look very one dimensional as of late). Given the poor weather report I actually expect this one to be lower scoring than expected but I still see the 49ers winning this opening round by multiple scores. Score Prediction: 49ers 24 – Seahawks 13.

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers – Saturday, 1/14 (4:30 PM EST)
Pick: Christian McCaffrey Anytime TD Scorer (-140) (1 unit) & Christian McCaffrey Total Rushing Yards Over 71.5 (-114) (1 unit)

The last time CMC faced this defense he put up 108 rushing yards and 1 TD on 26 carries. As previously mentioned, the weather report for San Fran on Saturday is looking dreary so there’s a great chance the 49ers lean on the run game heavily throughout the game… especially if they get up big early. McCaffrey has 13 total TDs on the year, he hasn’t been held scoreless since Week 12 and you know Shanahan will rely on his experience given rookie QB Brock Purdy’s first career postseason start. Expect CMC to eat on Saturday. Prop Prediction: 1.5 Total TDs, 78.2 Rushing Yards.

***LIVE BET ADDITION – 2H LA Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars***
Pick: Jaguars 2H -1.5 (-115) (1 unit)

This first half has been absolutely atrocious for T Law and the Jags but it’s hard to think he’ll throw 4 more picks in the second half… at home… This game has been hard to watch thus far but Doug Pederson is not one to lay down and there’s no way he’s sitting starters at any point in this game (I can’t say the same for the Chargers at this point). LA should take their foot off the gas, the Jags scored a huge momentum TD before half and Trevor is too good not to respond to this adversity in the second half. Not calling a comeback for the ages by any means, but definitely expecting some significant fight from Sunshine in the last two quarters without a doubt.

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills – Sunday, 1/15 (1:00 PM EST)
Pick: Bills 1st Half Total Points Over 14 (-135) (1 unit)

The Bills almost always start hot, especially playing at home and freshly rejuvenated coming off of Damar Hamlin’s recovery. They’re averaging over 19 points per game in the first half this year and the Dolphins are allowing over 18 points per game over the first two quarters. Feels like this number should be closer to 16.5 given the fact that Skylar Thompson is once again starting under center for the Dolphins and will undoubtedly surrender quite a few three-and-outs throughout the game (most likely in the first half). Expect Buffalo to come out firing and don’t be surprised to see a TD on their opening drive at home to kickoff their postseason run. 1st Half Score Prediction: Bills 17 – Dolphins 6.

Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals – Sunday, 1/15 (8:15 PM EST)
Pick: Isaiah Likely Total Receptions Over 1.5 (+105) (1 unit)

Deciding to tail the public on this prop. Isaiah Likely is averaging 2.25 receptions per game this season, 3.5 receptions per game over his last four games (almost entirely with Huntley under center) and he reeled in 8 catches in Week 18… against the Bengals. I fully expect the Ravens to play from behind for a large portion of this game and for Cincy to focus on containing Mark Andrews at all costs. This should open things up for the rookie TE and I’m expecting around 4-5 targets throughout the game (he’s averaging 5.75 targets per game over his last four games), making just 2 receptions very attainable for the Coastal Carolina product. Prop Prediction: 2.8 Receptions.

NY Giants @ Minnesota Vikings – Sunday, 1/15 (4:30 PM EST)
Pick: TJ Hockenson Total Receptions Over 4.5 (-115) (1 unit)

TJ Hockenson averages over 5 receptions per game, the Giants are the second worst defense against TEs in the NFL and Hockenson caught 13 passes against the Giants in their last meeting (Week 16). I suspect this game to be closer than people think and if it becomes a typical Vikings shootout then there’s a great chance that Hockenson could see double digit targets. Cousins tends to lean on Hockenson in big games so don’t be surprised to see a lot of production out of the 4th year TE at home in their biggest game of the year up to this point. Prop Prediction: 6.5 Receptions.

Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Monday, 1/16 (8:15 PM EST)
Pick: Buccaneers Moneyline (+128) (0.5 units) & Dak Prescott Anytime TD Scorer (+700) (0.5 units)

And just like that… Tom Brady and the Bucs are somehow hosting a playoff game and seem to be heading in the right direction at the perfect time. Starting center Ryan Jensen was just announced active for the first time all season (knee injury during training camp), Brady threw for well over 400 yards in Week 17 and the Cowboys are coming off arguably their worst game of the year. Not to mention… Prescott is one of the biggest choke artists in post season history… Brady should see some success against this secondary, he gets the ball out quick enough to negate the Dallas pass rush and the Cowboys will be in big trouble if the Bucs can get the run established early. I suspect Tampa to force Dak to have to beat them by taking away the run and I’ll take Brady over Dak in a head to head high stakes matchup any day of the week. That said, Dak has scored on his feet in three out of his four career post season starts and at +700 odds this prop just seems too juicy not to throw half a unit. Fully expect Brady and the Bucs to advance onto the Divisional Round and optimistic that Dak panic scrambles his way into the end zone at some point on Monday. Score Prediction: Bucs 23 – Cowboys 20.

DPJ’s Best Bets (After Week 18: 35-40-1 Overall, -6.6175 Units Total)

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers/Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills/Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: 3 Team 10 Point Teaser: 49ers EVEN, Bengals EVEN, Bills -3 (-120) (1 unit)

I’ll start by saying it’s a shame we don’t get to see the Dolphins and Ravens at full strength with their starting QBs under center.  Tua had an incredible start to the season, and Lamar is simply one of the most dynamic players in the league. Shame. With that in mind I have absolutely no problem betting against these teams that are sure to lose. Tyler Huntley and Skylar Thompson are not going to win a playoff game on the road against Joe Burrow and Josh Allen. Not happening. I’ll write a few sentences about each as this bet is fairly simple, the *best teams in the league* basically just need to win. 

The 49ers have not missed a beat since Jimmy G went down, if anything they might even look better. Brock Purdy seems to have swagger and confidence to take this team on a deep playoff run as  a rookie. The Seahawks have historically given Kyle Shanahan issues but this Seattle team is constructed differently than years passed. Seattle has one of the worst defenses in the league, particularly against the run. That became quite apparent week 15 where the Niners ran for 170 yards and controlled the game from start to finish. Pete Carroll is frisky in the playoffs, but I don’t see a world where the Niners lose this one. Score Prediction: 49ers 24 – Seahawks 13.

We’ve been robbed of another Tua vs. Josh Allen game which is a sad reality given how fun both those games were in the regular season. The Dolphins are starting rookie Skylar Thompson who seems to have the opposite energy of Brock Purdy. I can’t imagine a situation where a QB named Skylar makes a playoff run, let alone winning one playoff game against a dominant team like the Bills. Miami’s only chance is slowing this game down on the ground and hoping they can get a defensive TD or two. That’s not gonna happen, the Bills offense is too damn good. Score Prediction: Bills 30 – Dolphins 12.

Another incredibly disappointing matchup, what should have been Burrow vs. Jackson is instead most likely Burrow vs. Huntley. There’s even a chance Huntley sits and we see Anthony Brown under center for Baltimore, yuck. The Ravens offense has been horrific with Larmar, they finished the season 28th in passing yards per game and they’ve looked worse week after week. The defense however has been humming thanks to the Roquan Smith trade but that will simply not be enough. You can’t beat the Bengals with good defense, you’re also going to need some points. The Bengals should be fired up after getting the short end of the stick with the playoff seeding/game cancellation situation. This should be another easy one. Score Prediction: Bengals 23 – Ravens 13.

***I’m riding all three dogs with my next three picks. I’m expecting all of these games to come down to the wire, and holding 2.5 or 3 points could end up being a lifesaver. I think at least two of these cover, but hopefully all three.***

Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Monday, 1/16 (8:15 PM EST)
Pick: Buccaneers +2.5 (-110) (1 unit)

This one is pretty darn simple. Do you want to hang your hat on Tom Brady, the greatest QB to ever live, or Dak Prescott, a guy who is incredibly inconsistent and a proven loser on the big stage? Now, I know the Bucs have looked awful all year and I pretty much gave up on them in the regular season weeks ago. But the playoffs are a different beast, and there is no world where I want to be holding a Dak Prescott card in my hand GIVING points to Brady at home in January. That is absolute madness. The Cowboys secondary has been very vulnerable down the stretch and the Bucs should air it out the whole game. If Brady can minimize his turnovers and manage this game as he’s done his whole career, Tampa can easily win this game. Again, I like having the 2.5 points in case of some late game shenanigans but sprinkling the money line might not be a bad idea either. Score Prediction: Bucs 27 – Cowboys 24.

NY Giants @ Minnesota Vikings – Sunday, 1/15 (4:30 PM EST)
Pick: Giants +3 (-110) (1 unit)

These two met in Week 16 and it was an awesome game and I’d expect a similar back and forth on Sunday in the rematch. It took a 61 yard last-second FG from Greg Joseph to knock off the Giants who fought hard to tie it up with 2 mins remaining. NYG ran the ball well all day, as they did for most of the season, but Jefferson and Hockensen torched them for 25 catches, 242 yards and 3 TDs combined. The G Men get some reinforcements back for this game, as Xavier McKinney missed the first contest and Adoree has a chance to return on Sunday as well. On the D-Line, Leonard Williams has been banged up down the stretch but it’s looking like he could play too. Similar to the Bucs pick, this is another game where I’ll want the three points down to the wire, especially when picking against the cardiac-Vikings. Minnesota has won 5 games by 3 points or less this year and they’ve struggled mightily against the other playoff teams. It feels very correct to be picking against the team that won 13 games with a negative point differential, who have Kirk Cousins under center. Score Prediction: Giants 26 – Vikings 25 (yes that is a weird score, but these are weird teams).

LA Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars – Saturday, 1/14 (8:15 PM EST)
Pick: Jaguars +2.5 (-105) (1 unit); ***LIVE BET ADD: Jaguars 2H -1.5 (-115) (0.5 units)***

This might be my favorite game of the whole weekend. We have two gunslinging young QBs who are hungry to prove themselves on the big stage, playing under the bright lights of Sunday night football in DUVAAAAAL. I’ve been tempted all week to take the Chargers but in the end I can’t get over the Mike Williams injury. Something just looks broken with the Chargers offense when he’s not out there, which is ridiculous given all the talent on that side of the ball. There are rumors that Mike could play but even if he suits up I don’t think he’ll be 100% and there’s a good chance he’ll end up back in the locker room banged up. Brandon Staley should be in jail for letting his injury prone WR see the field in a meaningless week 18 game. I love the way the Jags defense is playing and even though Trevor looked shaky in week 18 against the Titans I think he’s ready for this moment. The Chargers are also very vulnerable on the ground so I’d expect a big game from Etienne. I wouldn’t mind buying the hook here and getting Jags at +3 but I’m gonna ride the +2.5 as I think that this will once again be a close game. Score Prediction: Jags 23 – Chargers 21.

Disclaimer: SidehustlebetsMJQ.com is not an online gambling operator or a gambling site of any kind. Our insights about sports/sports betting are purely for entertainment purposes only.

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