January 2, 2014

NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Wild Card Weekend

Here at Bang the Book, we have all of the top matchups of the 2014 NFL playoffs covered! Today, we’re taking a look at the best matchups for Wild Card Weekend!

Kansas City Chiefs (11-5 SU, 9-7 ATS) @ Indianapolis Colts (11-5 SU, 10-6 ATS)
Spread: Indianapolis -2.5, Total: 46.5

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN – Saturday, January 4th, 4:35 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

It ended up making not a darn bit of difference, but don’t tell the Colts that their win over the Chiefs in Week 16 wasn’t incredibly meaningful. Kansas City had one of the best teams in the AFC all season long, but two losses to the Broncos and two to the Chargers, along with this loss to Indy at home have us all questioning whether this is a team which is that good, or whether it is a team which is that fortunate due to its weak last place schedule. Regardless, Head Coach Andy Reid should be commended for turning this 2-14 team around into an 11-win outfit, even if only one of those 11 came against a team which made the postseason. The Colts have gone through a transition of their own, going from the QB Peyton Manning era to the QB Andrew Luck era. In just three seasons, this team went from being a crying joke to a Wild Card team to a division winner, and now, Luck is set to play his very first home playoff game. It should be a great one on Saturday to kick off the postseason, and it is the third consecutive year in which the AFC South champ has kicked off the playoffs with the 4:00 ET hour game on the first day of the postseason.

New Orleans Saints (11-5 SU, 8-7-1 ATS) @ Philadelphia Eagles (10-6 SU, 8-7-1 ATS)
Spread: Philadelphia -2.5, Total: 55

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA – Saturday, January 4th, 8:10 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The Eagles and the Saints both needed to win on the final day of the season to lock up their playoff bids, but one of these teams is certainly more prepared for the duel than the other. Philly has already played back to back primetime games on NBC on Sunday Night Football, beating the snot out of both the Bears and the Cowboys just to win the NFC East. Now, the City of Brotherly Love has playoff football once again, and they are already ready to erect a statue of Head Coach Chip Kelly outside of Lincoln Financial Field (and how quickly that would come down if the Eagles were to lose this game by 30!). QB Nick Foles had a great season, throwing for 27 TDs against just two picks, and though we know that he won’t win the MVP award, he should be up for consideration for it. New Orleans sort of looks like a wreck at the moment. The left tackle position has been a revolving door over the course of the last several weeks, and the team just can’t play on the road. The Saints only won two outdoor games all year long, and they came in September against a bad Tampa Bay team and in October against the Bears when the weather was virtually perfect. Still, when you’ve got QB Drew Brees on your side, you’ve at least got a fighting chance, and you often have a great chance. This is the only one of the four matchups in the opening weekend of the playoffs that isn’t a rematch of a regular season duel.

San Diego Chargers (9-7 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) @ Cincinnati Bengals (11-5 SU, 10-5-1 ATS)
Spread: Cincinnati -7, Total: 46.5

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH – Sunday, January 5th, 1:05 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The Bengals have now made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons, but this is the first time which they have been favored in any of these games. In fact, the last time Cincinnati won a playoff game was in 1991, which was also the last time it was favored in a playoff game outside of a home loss to the Jets a half decade ago. Now, Head Coach Marvin Lewis has to prove that he can win one of these duels at some point, and this is a game we think he has to win to avoid being on the hot seat to start next season. Head Coach Mike McCoy has done a great job getting the Chargers above .500, and his two wins over the Chiefs and one win over the Broncos clearly proved that they can play in spite of the fact that they needed all of the luck in the world to get into the playoffs. QB Philip Rivers has resurrected his career, and though he has proven to win some big time games this time of year, and general consensus of San Diego history is losing games like these. The outliers are the wins against teams like the Colts on the road. These two teams have met in consecutive seasons out at Qualcomm Stadium, and both games were won and covered by the Bengals. In fact, Cincinnati was the last team to beat these Bolts back on December 1st.

San Francisco 49ers (12-4 SU, 10-5-1 ATS) @ Green Bay Packers (8-7-1 SU, 7-8 ATS)
Spread: San Francisco -2.5, Total: 49.5

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI – Sunday, January 5th, 4:40 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The Packers and the 49ers are facing off once again, and this is going to be the fourth time these clubs have collided since the start of the 2012 season. So far, it’s been all San Fran, which has gone 3-0 SU and ATS in three completely different games. The 49ers snared a victory with QB Alex Smith under center in Week 1 last season, won thanks to the ground game and the legs of QB Colin Kaepernick in the playoffs last season, and won by Kaepernick posting his only career 300-yard game (and his only career 400-yard game) in the first week of this season. The one common thread? Green Bay hasn’t had any answers for anything which the Niners have thrown its way. We know this is a much different game though, as it is a playoff game at Lambeau Field, and we all know how good the Packers have historically been here in January. QB Aaron Rodgers is back, and when he has been in the fold, this has been a relatively unstoppable offense. The defense is still suspect, and some stops are clearly going to have to be made to win this game, but as Rodgers proved last week, he can still shoot it out with the best of them, and he might be doing so again this week to keep his team alive in the postseason as well.

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Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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