5 min read

The Wednesday Watchman: NFL Wild Card Weekend Betting, DFS, Fantasy Information to Know

Another season is finally over. Pardon my absence last week; no articles from me after the Damar Hamlin situation. Thank goodness he has pulled through. Keep praying for him and Peyton Hillis, who is still in critical condition after saving his kids from drowning.

Now, onto the playoffs. During each week of the regular season, I focused on a single statistic of interest and how it applied to a subset of games. For the playoffs, finding something applicable to at least three of the games was a challenge.

Stats to Know

However, we persevered and found ourselves a banger. Since 2016, wild-card games featuring divisional opponents have averaged 14.5 more points per game than non-divisional wild-card games (54.8 vs 40.3). The over on the total hits 66.6% to 27.3% of the time.

Seahawks vs. 49ers

Dolphins vs. Bills

Ravens vs. Bengals

Betting Stats to Know

The 49ers (-10) host the Seahawks after the Lions upset Green Bay. What an odd scenario. The Seahawks' win eliminated the Lions, and the Lions’ win rewarded the Seahawks with a playoff berth. I would surmise the 49ers will win the game. In their previous two matchups, Seattle only scored a combined 20 points and lost both games. Now, meeting a third time, there must be some “over” magic that our focus stat is accounting for. The total is a lowly 42.5, and I am jumping on the over and leaning Seattle ATS. They only need to keep it within 10 points, which they did only one month ago.

The Bills (-9) face the Dolphins in cold upstate New York. It is hard to guess whether Buffalo will be energized from the positive prognosis for Hamlin, or exhausted from the emotional rollercoaster of the last couple of weeks. I hope (as a Bills fan) that it is the former, and they come ready to smash. Tua Tagovailoa’s uncertain status isn’t helping our process here, but the total is a moderate 45.5. Miami coach Mike McDaniel is innovative enough to game plan for whoever will be quarterbacking the team on Sunday, and he has the talent to put plenty of points up. I am on the over and expect a closer game, so I lean toward Miami ATS.

With another total in the mid-to-low 40s, Cincinnati (-7) will go for their second straight win against Baltimore. Hopefully, Lamar Jackson will be back, but PCL injuries can take a while to heal. The Bengals have healthy playmakers and swagger. Especially because they feel slighted by the way the end of the season panned out. They will be motivated to put the question of AFC North supremacy to rest. At 42.5, I will bet the over and also take the Bengals ATS.

Fantasy Stats to Know

Seattle is poor against TEs and George Kittle has been hot lately. However, the best way to attack the Seahawks is on the ground. Since Week 10, they rank 29th in EPA. The players to target here are Christian McCaffery and Elijah Mitchell. Another avenue to attack could be using Brandon Aiyuk. Seattle is a middling defense against WR lined up out wide, where Aiyuk spends over 80% of his routes.

If you are considering using some Seahawks, I would be wary about using stellar rookie RB Kenneth Walker III. Since Week 10, San Francisco ranks first in EPA against the run. Your best bet is focusing on the passing attack since the 49ers are about average covering WRs and TEs. Dial in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett for the Seahawks.

Since Week 10, the Bills are the worst team in the league at covering slot WRs. Buffalo’s playoff kryptonite has been Tyreek Hill in the past, so the speedy slot WR is a great play. I am not sure I would trust any other Dolphin to produce a spike week, especially given the uncertainty about Tagovailoa’s health.


For Buffalo, the most glaring weakness of Miami to attack is their TE defense. Dawson Knox is a great under-the-radar play. The usual suspects should all be decent enough, though. Plan on Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs to be locked in. Perhaps we could even see "playoff" Gabe Davis (don't hold your breath).

I think Cincinnati will try to put the whooping on rival Baltimore. Expect the scoring from anywhere and everywhere. Joe Burrow is the catalyst, Ja'Marr Chase is the superstar and Tee Higgins is the steady performer. They could even all go off together. Since Week 10, Baltimore ranks well against slot WRs (fourth) like Boyd and against RBs like Joe Mixon in the run game (second).

The Ravens will either have their backup QB, or an injured Jackson playing, so I don’t think the passing game will be trustworthy. However, since playing keep-up is a likely scenario for Baltimore, they could choose to attack the Bengals' only glaring weakness, slot routes. Since Week 14, the Ravens have targeted TEs Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely on a combined 30/44 slot passes (68.18%). They are the only plays I would be comfortable with here.

(Data courtesy of SIS and TruMedia Networks)

WATCH: Betting NFC Playoffs