Best Bets for NFL Wild Card Weekend
The NFL’s second season has arrived and after analyzing all the matchups on the board, we are releasing our top NFL picks for the Wild Card round this weekend.
Raiders vs. Bengals
Saturday, January 15, 2022 - 4:35 PM ET at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
The Raiders gained entrance into the postseason courtesy of a wild, 35-32, overtime win against the Chargers. Derek Carr tossed two touchdowns and Josh Jacobs rambled for 132 yards and a trip inside the end zone. But the money man on Sunday night was Vegas kicker, Daniel Carlson, who booted five field goals including the game-winner, a 47-yard kick that split the sticks in overtime.
Because of the victory, the Raiders went from the outside looking in, to the No. 5 seed in the AFC. Las Vegas ended as the sixth-ranked passing offense, averaging 268.6 yards per game, but their rushing attack was largely ineffective this season, averaging 95.1 yards per contest, despite Josh Jacobs’ nine touchdowns and four yards per carry average.
The Bengals will be hosting this wild card round showdown and essentially mailed in their final game of the season by resting Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, and several starters. The result was a 21-16 loss to the Browns but it did nothing to change their No. 4 seed entering the postseason.
Cincinnati has not been dominating at home, registering a 5-4 straight up record (4-5 ATS) at Paul Brown Stadium but it should be noted their last two home performances were impressive. In Week 16 the Bengals notched a 41-21 win over the Ravens and followed that up the next week with a 34-31 victory over the Chiefs.
We expect the Raiders to be a bit gassed after their exhausting win over the Chargers last week and if history is any indicator, this should be a layup for the high-octane Bengals who already defeated the Raiders, 32-13, earlier this season in Las Vegas. I’m not sure what has changed since then which makes this line curiously low on the home favorite.
In the previous matchup, the Cats were 2 ½ point road favorites but this time they are on their home turf with a well-rested, elite quarterback, like Joe Burrow and several other Cincinnati starters who were given a reprieve last week. Laying only five points in this scenario smacks of good value – so bet it!
Speaking of value, make sure to check out the bookie assassins over at BMR who have an NFL Super Wild Card Weekend parlay.
Free NFL Pick: Bengals -5 (-110) at Bovada
Final Score Prediction: Bengals 38 – Raiders 24
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Bucs
Sunday, January 16, 2022 - 4:35 PM ET at 1:00 PM
These teams met back in Week 6 when the Bucs notched a 28-22 victory in the City of Brotherly Love. And while many will look at the results of that game and deduce that the Eagles gave the Bucs a game, that’s not quite what happened. What you should know is Tampa Bay drew out to a commanding 28-7 lead in the third quarter before they allowed Philadelphia to score the last two touchdowns of the contest. The game had long been decided and the Bucs were just trying to get out of Philly healthy.
But we should note that the Bucs had Pro Bowl-caliber receivers in Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, both of whom will be absent for this contest. Nevertheless, Tom Brady is a master of the postseason and still has plenty of weapons at his disposal including Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski, while Leonard Fournette should return after being shelved on the IR over the last several weeks. Fournette is not just a power back that can hammer away at the Eagles’ defensive front but he is also a legitimate pass-catching threat coming out of the backfield for TB12.
The Eagles will have to pass because the only chance they have of running the ball against this stout Bucs’ run-stop unit is Jalen Hurts tucking and running around the edge if no targets are available. That is precisely what happened last time these teams met as Miles Sanders had a total of 56 rushing yards but Hurts had 44 yards on 10 carries. That was the extent of Philadelphia’s rushing attack and it won’t change this time around. But don’t expect Tampa Bay to relax as they did before. Brady likes to drive the knife in deep during the playoffs and he will do just that on Sunday.
Free NFL Pick: Bucs -8 ½ (-110) at Heritage
Final Score Prediction: Bucs 34 – Eagles 18