The wild-card round of the postseason comes with a three-game Sunday slate. That sounds like a fine day to place some bets. Below you’ll find a summary for each of those three contests, along with a link to my in-depth betting previews for each matchup.
- This line opened as Bills -11
- This line has moved to Bills -13
- This total opened at 44 points
- This total has moved to 43.5 points
If the Dolphins had Tua Tagovailoa for this contest, this would be a very compelling matchup that Miami could win. With Skylar Thompson at quarterback, Miami is running into a Bills-shaped buzzsaw with a very narrow path to success. In the four games that Thompson has seen significant playing time this season, Miami’s offense has been non-functional. Given Thompson’s uneven play, the Dolphins will need Tyreek Hill and/or Jaylen Waddle to create a scoring drive or two off of one play. On top of that, the Dolphins’ defense will need to hold Josh Allen’s offense below expectations in order to keep this game close. That’s a lot to ask out of a Dolphins team that has dropped five of its past six games.
I’d argue that no team is more hungry for a title than Josh Allen’s Bills. Buffalo has become a perennial title contender with a roster that has a plethora of recent playoff experience. That doesn’t even mention that the Bills are playing for their teammate Damar Hamlin. Whether it’s prestige, motivation, or pure talent, Buffalo has the edge across the board against the Dolphins.
Score Prediction: Bills 31, Dolphins 13
- This line opened as Vikings -3
- This line has moved to Vikings -3.5
- This total opened at 47.5 points
- This total has moved to 47.5 points
The Giants are going to be a popular underdog this weekend. We already saw in Week 16 that New York could give Minnesota all it could handle during the Vikings’ 27-24 victory. The Giants’ defensive front is inconsistent, but talented enough to derail a game much like they did in prime time against the Commanders a few weeks ago. If New York’s defensive front can create consistent disruption against the Vikings’ injury-reduced offensive line, that will help the Giants’ defense manage Justin Jefferson and Minnesota’s high-end skill group. If I’m betting on the Giants, I’m building that bet on their defense.
Daniel Jones breached 300 yards passing for the second time this season a few weeks ago in Minnesota. The Vikings’ secondary is the one true weakness on their team, but the Giants’ collection of pass-catchers just so happens to be their weakness. Even though we saw New York have considerable success in the air against Minnesota a few weeks ago, I’m treating that particular aspect of this contest as a weakness vs. weakness matchup. The Vikings’ defensive front has their own individual advantages against the Giants’ below-average offensive line, which could end up being the difference in this contest.
Score Prediction: Vikings 27, Giants 20
- This line opened as Bengals -6.5
- This line has moved to Bengals -8.5
- This total opened at 43.5 points
- This total has moved to 42.5 points
With Lamar Jackson missing this contest, it’s primarily on the Ravens defense to give Joe Burrow’s Bengals a game. Cincinnati will be without its starting right guard and right tackle. We can reasonably expect the Ravens to bring pressure against the Bengals’ injury-reduced right side. If Baltimore can achieve consistent disruption while its secondary holds up against Cincinnati’s top-of-the-food-chain skill group, the Ravens can keep the Bengals below their team total.
If Tyler Huntley is able to start for Baltimore, the Ravens are capable of orchestrating a few scoring drives while limiting turnovers. Pair that with another strong defensive effort against Cincinnati, and that’s Baltimore’s clearest path to a cover in this contest. If Baltimore has to give Anthony Brown his second start in a row against Cincinnati, a rout by the Bengals is very much in play.
Score Prediction (with Tyler Huntley): Bengals 24, Ravens 16
Score Prediction (with Anthony Brown): Bengals 31, Ravens 10