3 Teams on Upset Alert for Wild Card W/E
Each week we take a look at the NFL odds board and lock on to the top three live underdogs with upset on their minds.
Below we review the matchups in the NFL’s Wild Card round and look to keep cashing our tickets as we move into football’s second season.
New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills
Saturday, January 15th, 8:15 pm ET at Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
The Patriots are very good at beating up bad teams or clubs whose star players are on the sidelines. Case in point, they dominated the hapless New York Jets twice, beat up the Panthers, took advantage of the Browns without Joe Mixon followed by a Baker Mayfield injury during the game, as well as the Falcons and woeful Jaguars. But they have beaten decent teams as well as evidenced by victories over the Titans (sans Derrick Henry, AJ Brown, and Julio Jones), Chargers, and their opponent on Saturday – the Buffalo Bills.
But we should note New England’s huge victory over the Bills occurred during monsoon-like conditions replete with snow squalls and wind whipping over 50 miles per hour. Needless to say, Josh Allen’s prolific passing game was neutralized by Mother Nature while the Patriots countered with a relentless ground-and-pound attack led by Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson who totaled a combined 189 rushing yards.
And although the Bills avenged that loss in Foxboro under much more hospitable conditions a few weeks later, the weather for Buffalo on Saturday night will be no picnic with temperatures expected to be roughly 10 degrees or below with wind gusts at around 15 MPH. This will undoubtedly benefit the Patriots and don’t be surprised if they not only cover the number but win this one outright!
Oh, and don’t forget, the expert handicappers over at BMR have an NFL Wild Card weekend parlay, so don’t miss it!
Upset Alert: Patriots +4 (-110) or +167 on the moneyline at BetOnline
San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, January 16th, 4:30 pm ET at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
The last time we saw the Cowboys they were putting a major-league hurt on the Eagles and ended their season with a 51-26 victory and the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoff rankings. But let’s not forget Dallas was champing at the bit to atone for their 25-22 loss the previous week to the Cardinals and was playing a team that rested many of its starters.
And while the Cowboys were putting the finishing touches on their 12-5 season, the 49ers were busy erasing a 17-point deficit en route to a 27-24 overtime win over the LA Rams. It was also the end of LA’s 45-game winning streak when holding a lead at halftime, the longest in NFL history. The Niners have now won seven of their last nine contests and could be the sneakiest dark horse in the playoffs.
San Francisco will give the Cowboys a game on Sunday and they have the No. 6 ranked pass defense to do it. We expect this to be an upset in the making so make sure to get on the 49ers in your NFL picks while you’re still getting a field goal head start.
Upset Alert: 49ers +3 (-108) or +155 on the moneyline at Heritage
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, January 16th, 8:15 pm ET at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Call it divine intervention or just plain lucky but the Steelers tip-toeing into the playoffs took an extraordinary series of circumstances to get them there. But here they are and getting a boatload of points from the oddsmakers.
This will likely be the last game of Ben Roethlisberger’s professional career and if he has anything left in the tank, he’s leaving it on the field at Arrowhead. In their last game, a 16-13 victory over the Ravens, Big Ben passed for 244 yards with one touchdown and one interception, completing over 68 percent of his passes.
However, it was the defense that shined brightest with two picks of Baltimore quarterback, Tyler Huntley, and a fumble recovery. The Steelers’ defense limited the Ravens’ passing attack to just 132 yards while using the bend-but-don’t-break approach in surrendering 249 rushing yards that led to only one rushing touchdown.
There is little doubt that the Steelers’ defense will face a much greater challenge on Sunday but the Chiefs narrowly got by the Vikings last week and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they are overlooking the Steelers towards a date with a more worthy opponent in the divisional round.
Upset Alert: Steelers +13 (-120) or +550 on the moneyline at BetOnline