NFL Best Bets – Wildcard Playoffs
The NFL regular season wrapped-up last Sunday with the home teams and favorites cleaning-up. Just five road teams and six underdogs covered against the spread and the total went ‘over’ in nine of the 16 games. While our best bets came up short with losses on Cincinnati and the NY Jets, we did have the right call on Arizona.
The NFL playoffs offer a whole new season of opportunity to uncover value in the lines starting with this weekend’s Wildcard Round. The following are our two best bets to ‘bang the book’ with lines provided by BetOnline.
Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints
Point spread: New Orleans -11
Total line: 59
Detroit comes into this matchup with an offense that is built for the fast track of a dome with a passing game that was ranked fourth in the NFL in yards per game and an average of 29.6 points a game. The only problem is it has a defense that is ranked in the bottom third of the league in almost every major category including points allowed. The Lions gave-up an average of 24.2 points a game this season.
New Orleans is easily the hottest team in the NFL heading into the postseason with eight-straight wins both straight-up and against the spread. Drew Brees rewrote the record books this season with 5,476 yards passing for 46 touchdowns. Add in the fact that he is completing an amazing 71.2 percent of his throws and it is easy to see why the Saints led the league in total yards and were second in scoring with 34.2 points a game.
The Lions are 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games and 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games on the road. The Saints are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 home games and they went a perfect 8-0 both SU and ATS at home this season. New Orleans cruised to a 31-17 victory over Detroit in Week 13 as a nine-point home favorite and should have little trouble doing the same this time around.
The Free NFL Pick: New Orleans 37 Detroit 20
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos
Point spread: Pittsburgh -9
Total line: 34.5
Pittsburgh’s 13-9 win over Cleveland as a seven-point road favorite in last Sunday’s season finale was its eighth SU victory in its last 10 games. While the Steelers’ defense continues to play at a high level, their offense has some major concerns. Ben Roethlisberger continues to be hampered by a high ankle sprain and running back Rashard Mendenhall was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Look for a heavy dose of Isaac Redman running the ball this week.
Denver stumbles into this game fresh off three straight losses in which it was outscored 88-40. Tim Tebow looks as bad as ever throwing the ball and the normally stout Broncos defense is struggling to keep opposing teams out of the end zone. The smoke and mirrors that led to six straight victories earlier in the season have been painfully exposed in this recent string of games.
The Steelers are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 postseason games and 6-1 ATS in their last seven playoff games as favorites. The Broncos are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games as underdogs at home and 1-4 ATS in their last five games in the playoffs. Head-to-head, the road team 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings. Even with home field advantage and a gimpy Roethlisberger behind center for Pittsburgh, the upstart Broncos will not be able to stay ahead of a playoff-seasoned team like the Steelers.
The Pick: Pittsburgh 31 Denver 17
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