Super Wild Card Weekend featured a couple of close games and four blowouts. Favorites went 5-1 SU/ATS, which takes us into what we expect to be an extremely competitive Divisional Round, which the spreads indicate. The underdogs are getting a lot of hype in these games, but I actually like all the favorites in these spots (I guess that’s contrarian). Let’s dive into some plays on DraftKings Sportsbook!
For updates, always follow along on Twitter — @julianedlow. I’ll usually come back with some additional plays as the week goes on in this article, including some player props over the weekend.
I bet the Bucs early in the week, like most of the games I played, but this is by far my least confident game of the Divisional Round. I’m in at -2.5 (-120) for 1.5-units, and could potentially play some Rams by Sunday. The red flags that worry me here are the injured offensive line for Tampa going up against a Rams’ pass rush that’s loaded, along with Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. getting past the Tampa secondary, which notably struggled as the season went on.
However, despite all those negatives I led with, I still think Tom Brady and the Bucs ultimately get this one done at home. Brady carved this defense on the road earlier in the season for a season-high 432 yards, despite the loss. Of course, he had more weapons in that game, but Rob Gronkowski was injured in-game.
I expect Gronk to play a much larger role in this one, as the time will finally come for Brady to need to makeup for all the missing pass-catchers. Mike Evans had the most receiving yards of any player in Wild Card Weekend, and also had eight grabs for 106 yards in the regular season matchup against the Rams.
In the end, I think the Bucs are able to do enough on defense to force a couple of mistakes from Matthew Stafford on the road. Brady, as usual, will take advantage, even operating with less. The Bucs have been much better at home this season, going 8-1 and 7-2 ATS.
A 2.5-point favorite is the shortest number we’ve ever seen for a Patrick Mahomes team playing at home. That interests me. We’ve seen this number dip as low as 1.5, and I’ve scooped up a 2-unit play on KC ML.
The Bills are getting a ton of love for their Saturday night domination of the Patriots, but that was all about New England in my mind. Buffalo played the perfect game — seven touchdowns on seven drives with zero field goal attempts, zero punts, zero turnovers and zero sacks allowed. It was a pathetic effort from Bill Belichick’s defense. I expect a different result on the road against a much improved Kansas City defense.
The Bills were able to avenge last season’s AFC Championship loss (they were also a trendy pick in that one) with a 38-20 win at Arrowhead in Week 5. While impressive, that was in the midst of Kansas City’s struggles, and should be very hard to repeat.
The Chiefs were still 8-2 at home this season, and are now winners of 10 of their last 11 games overall. KC is also 5-0 ATS in their last five at home, so they haven’t just been scraping by.
The Chiefs have found something, and I think the weapons in the passing game are going to make a huge difference. The Tre’Davious White injury at cornerback hasn’t hurt Buffalo much yet because it hasn’t been in a matchup where it needed him. That should clearly change on Sunday night.
Too much Bills hype after a win that was more about just how bad the opposition was. I’ll take this short number on Mahomes at home as a gift.
Joe Burrow and the Bengals are scorching hot right now, coming into this game with a ton of hype. The attention is deserved. Burrow is an elite QB, and the Bengals have had a tremendous season. I just think they might finally be in over their heads.
The Titans have won seven of their last eight games at home, and that’s playing with extremely limited offensive weapons towards the end. Mike Vrabel is the Coach of the Year in my mind, and has been elite in his career when he has extra time to prepare — a perfect 8-0 with eight or more days between games.
Tennessee has been doing more with less seemingly all season, but now it doesn’t have to. A.J. Brown and Julio Jones will be making plays and drawing attention on the outside. Most importantly, Derrick Henry returns to face a Cincy defense that can be gashed on the ground.
I think Vrabel will have this defense ready against Burrow, and the trio of offensive threats, highlighted by Henry, will prove the difference in the game. As Anita Marks pointed out on the Unreasonable Odds podcast, the Titans are averaging an absurd 7.0 yards per play with Jones, Brown and Henry all on the field.
Personally, I got in here at TEN -3 (-120) for a 1.5-unit play. I don’t hate buying the hook if it reaches an affordable price, but I’m fine laying up to 3.5 in this one. As Henry props begin to open, those will also be of interest to me. The Titans are shaping up to be one of the most overlooked No. 1 seeds in some time in the NFL.
My initial lean on this one was that it may be too many points for a Niners team that really dominated last week. It was the only underdog/road team to win, and we’ve seen them win in this roll against Green Bay in the postseason before. But in the end, the injuries might just be too much to overcome here — which sounds weird to say after how healthy the Niners were entering the postseason.
Jimmy Garoppolo was already battling a thumb injury, and now will have to battle through a shoulder injury. Nick Bosa and Fred Warner, arguably the two most important pieces on the Niners’ defense also got banged up on Sunday. While I expect them to play, I just think it’s a very tough spot to now go to Green Bay on Saturday night. That puts San Fran on the short week, and playing in likely negative temperatures with the wind chill — none of which is going to feel good for those injured Niners.
The Packers have their issues, but finding ways to win and cover at Lambeau Field hasn’t been one of them — 8-0 straight up and 7-1 ATS. Green Bay might have some problems running it and stopping the run on the other end. They’ll really need to contain Deebo Samuel, and not allow any big plays on special teams. However, the Niners can be gashed through the air, which I believe Aaron Rodgers will be able to expose at home. While the Niners survived last week, Jimmy G did make a crucial mistake. I’m not sure they’ll be so lucky to survive another this time around.
Davonte Adams should have another monster game, as he did back in the Week 3 matchup — a 12-132-1 line on 18 targets. I’ll be interested in backing multiple Adams overs by Saturday, but for now Adams anytime TD scorer jumps out at -135. He scored last time in this matchup, and outside of only playing part of the game in Week 18, Adams hauled in six touchdowns in his last four full games.
I grabbed the Pack -5.5 (-115) earlier in the week for a 1.5-unit play, but might be adding to this one in some fashion. I’m cool with the number up to 6.5. Green Bay off the bye, at home and getting healthy all over the field. Niners have been playing for their lives on the road for a couple weeks, now a short week while banged up in tough conditions.
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