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NFL Sports Betting For Each NFL Wildcard Weekend Game

NFL Sports Betting For Each NFL Wildcard Weekend Game
Davis Mattek January 2, 2020 10:01AM EST

Best NFL Sports Betting Bets For Each NFL Wildcard Weekend Game

SportsGrid focuses on data-driven takes that analysts and users should be using to make educated decisions in both the gambling and daily fantasy sports worlds. This week, analyst Ricky Sanders will use the SportsGrid NFL Sports Betting Model to determine the best bets from every first-round game of the playoffs.

Buffalo Bills @ Houston Texans

Team SG Model Win% Moneyline Vegas Line Over/Under
BUF 36.0% +126 +2.5 (-105) 43o (-110)
HOU 64.3% -146 -2.5 (-110) 43u (-110)

Best Bet: HOU -146 Moneyline

NFL Sports Betting Analysis:

The SportsGrid model lists the Texans moneyline and spread bets as five-star plays which is interesting because the team is only listed as 64.3-percent favorites. Over the entirety of the season, the Bills averaged a larger margin of victory (+3.4) than the Texans (-0.4) but the Texans happen to be the home team in this tilt. To be fair, the loss against the Titans in Week 17 tilted the margin of victory statistic for the Texans, as they rested most of their starters and ended up losing 35-14. Since the model only projects the favored Texans as slight favorites, giving the 2.5 points is a bit nerve-racking, especially with the reward only being slightly greater (-110) than the moneyline (-146). Therefore, it makes sense for a bettor to simply bet the Texans to win and not mess around with giving points. Down the stretch, the Bills passing game stalled a bit, averaging just 182.5 yards per game in December (with some tough matchups and Allen injuries/benching mixed in). In fact, Allen’s 73.9 QB rating for the month was his lowest since September (69.6), and the Texans have been susceptible to the pass (26th in passing DVOA). The game should undoubtedly remain close but the Bills not being able to light up the Texans’ secondary is the difference so just playing the Texans to win is the sharp move.

Tennesse Titans @ New England Patriots

Team SG Model Win% Moneyline Vegas Line Over/Under
TEN 26.9% +196 +5 (-110) 44o (-110)
NE 73.0% -236 -5 (-110) 44u (-110)

Best Bet: 44.0 Point Under

NFL Sports Betting Analysis:

The average over/under of a Patriots game this season has been 40.4-points and yet the over/under of this playoff game has been set at 44.0-points. Not only has the Patriots defense been their most dominant of the last decade (from a points allowed perspective) but their scoring offense dropped off in points per game for the second straight season. Tom Brady’s (NE) 88.0 passer rating constituted his lowest mark since the 2006 season and the Titans allowed more than 20.5 DraftKings (DK) fantasy points to an opposing QB just once in their final six games. On the other side of the game, Derrick Henry (TEN) and A.J. Brown (TEN) are the clear focuses of the Titans offense and yet the Patriots allowed the sixth-fewest rushing yards per game this year and held outside receivers to below 11.5 DK fantasy points per game as well (per Pro Football Focus). Essentially, they are uniquely well-equipped to keep the Titans’ top threats in check, leading to a grind-it-out environment that is conducive to betting the under.

Minnesota Vikings @New Orleans Saints

Team SG Model Win% Moneyline Vegas Line Over/Under
MIN 20.3% +321 +7.5 (-108) 49.5o (-110)
NO 79.0% -399 -7.5 (-110) 49.5u (-109)

Best Bet: NO -7.5 Vegas Line and 49.5 Point Under Parlay

NFL Sports Betting Analysis:

Look, bettors are looking to multiply their investment, sort of like tournament players in daily fantasy football, so why not take a shot on a parlay in a game where the model rates two separate bets as five star (the most confident)? With the home Saints being given a 79.0-percent chance to win the game, this is a spot where laying the points is a reasonable decision, but there is an opportunity to make more than just -110 with the under popping as well. Typically, bettors will think of playing in the Superdome as a clear “over” spot but both teams rank in the top 11 of DVOA defense. In eight home games this year, the Saints are averaging 28.4 points per game, which should put the average bettor on an over that seems easily attainable from that stat alone. However, the Vikings have allowed just 21.8 points per game on the road this year and 18.9 points per game overall. If going by seasonal averages, the line is almost exactly on the money, but our model believes the defenses hold strong here (and basically across the board). Adding the under to a parlay is a risk but one that pays $266.06 on a $100 bet as opposed to $90.91 for the single Vegas line bet.

Seattle Seahawks @Philadelphia Eagles

Team SG Model Win% Moneyline Vegas Line Over/Under
SEA 52.0% -127 -1.5 (-110) 45.5o (-108)
PHI 48.2% +108 +1.5 (-108) 45.5u (-111)

Best Bet: PHI +1.5 Vegas Line

NFL Sports Betting Analysis:

With nearly a 50/50 chance to win the game, the Eagles are a no-brainer for 1.5-points at home against a Seahawks defense that ranked below average in overall DVOA. Russell Wilson’s (SEA) 6.0-percent TD rate this season was his lowest since 2016 and the team ended the year losing three of four (including back-to-back divisional losses to end the season). Most concerningly, Wilson failed to top 20.2 DK fantasy points in each of his final seven games of the year, so something is not right with this Seahawks passing game. It should be noted even against the Cardinals’ passing defense, which allowed the second-most passing yards per game this season, Wilson only managed 11 DK fantasy points (and just 169 yards) against them in Week 16. Of course, the Eagles are extremely banged up, with Zach Ertz (PHI) and Miles Sanders (PHI) banged up early in the week, but their injuries did not stop them from winning four straight games to end the season (against all non-playoff teams). This game is a true toss-up, and in most of those cases, it makes sense to take the points. If your book allows you to buy a half-point to get to +2.0, that offers even slightly more wiggle room.

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