The NFL playoffs are here.
Super Wild Card Weekend gets underway with three games Saturday and three more Sunday. Full disclosure: Seeing only six games on the betting screen makes me sad, because it means the end of the season is getting closer and closer.
Super Bowl LV will be here before we know it.
It’s important to remember that NFL playoff betting lines are the tightest in the world. The bad teams are all eliminated and the majority of remaining games will have lines around the key betting numbers (3, 4 and 7). And with fewer games, sharp money tends to stay on the sidelines, leaving the public bettors to duke it out.
At this point, it’s better to cross games off than circle them.
Let’s go to work.
Buccaneers (-8) at Football Team
Under 45 points (-110)
The total opened at 46.5 for this matchup and it has slowly ticked down. It’s no secret that Washington wants no part of a shootout because it is extremely limited on offense. Quarterback Alex Smith is listed as questionable for Saturday night’s showdown and Taylor Heinicke has taken the majority of reps with the first team this week at practice. Wide receiver Terry McLaurin also is questionable for the Football Team, potentially removing another weapon from the already underwhelming fold.
A bet on the Under is really a bet on Washington’s defensive line. It has four monsters in the trenches that come from all different angles. That unit has the potential to be one of the best in the entire league in the coming years. Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Montez Sweat and Chase Young certainly are capable of muddying Tom Brady’s pocket and getting to his feet. Getting pressure at the point of attack is crucial to slowing the Buccaneers’ attack.
My projected final score is in the ballpark of 27-13 or 24-17. Washington is 11-5 to the Under this season because its style of play leads to more rock fights than shootouts. Ron Rivera’s squad goes out of its way to muck things up. Brady and the Bucs should have enough firepower to eventually salt this one away, but I don’t see a path to many points.
Ravens (-3) at Titans
Over 54.5 points (-110)
Five years ago, this point total likely would’ve been around 47. But this isn’t your older brother’s Tennessee Titans. They’re winning with offense (30.7 PPG) and they were the No. 1 Over team in the NFL (12-3-1). Derrick Henry is still the star of the show, but A.J. Brown’s emergence and Ryan Tannehill’s resilience have changed the narrative in Nashville.
Baltimore’s offense can cook, too. The Ravens (29.3 PPG) have found their rhythm over the last five weeks and it’s been behind a rejuvenated running attack led by a much more confident Lamar Jackson at quarterback. His decision-making has improved and it’s been a while since the reigning MVP has really forced the issue. He’s letting the game come to him again.
Neither team is all that strong defensively and there should be plenty of quick scores on Sunday afternoon. The possibilities are endless for play-action looks and deep shots down the field. There are just too many playmakers on offense for me to look at anything but the Over. And high point totals are posted where they are for a reason. Here’s to a shootout.
RECORD: (10-2-1, +7.9)