The 2020 NFL regular season is over and the postseason field is set.
Let the playoff games begin.
Wild Card Weekend will look a bit different this year, as a seventh seed was added in each conference. In turn, there will be three-game playoff slates on both Saturday and Sunday, resulting in Super Wild Card Weekend.
If you’re looking to spice up your viewing experience, here is a betting underdog to side with on each day.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at (+8.5) Washington Football Team
This might sound like a foolish bet. Tom Brady’s Bucs are red hot, riding a four-game win streak into the playoffs. They’ve averaged north of 40 points over their last three games.
But here us out.
First off, Brady’s arsenal of weapons might not be at full strength. While the knee injury Mike Evans sustained in Week 17 doesn’t appear to be overly serious, there’s still reason to believe the star wide receiver won’t be at 100 percent Saturday. Evans led Bucs pass-catchers in targets this season by a margin of 25.
Another reason to like Washington is the time slot of this game, which will be held in primetime. Make of it what you will, but Tampa Bay was 1-3 straight up in night games during the regular season, including a loss to the Chicago Bears. The Bucs’ lone win was a narrow victory over the New York Giants in which they didn’t come close to covering a 13-point spread.
Will Alex Smith and Co. score an upset this weekend? Probably not. But 8.5 points are quite a bit to give to a home team, especially in a postseason situation.
(+6) Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
Much like Washington, Cleveland might come off as a shaky bet. After all, the Browns will be without their head coach and Pro Bowl left guard Sunday.
Our confidence in betting Cleveland has more to do with a lack of faith in Pittsburgh. The Steelers played pretty lousy football down the stretch, going 1-4 straight up after starting the season 11-0. This included an ugly 10-point loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Pittsburgh’s comeback Week 16 win over Indianapolis was impressive, but the Colts haven’t exactly been lighting the world on fire of late, either.
The Steelers were favorites of six-plus points on 11 occasions during the regular season, covering in six of those contests. A few of those ATS losses were against some of the league’s worst teams in 2020, such as the Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys and Bengals.
Not to mention, an early exit wouldn’t be completely out of the ordinary for Pittsburgh. Of the Steelers’ eight trips to the playoffs since Mike Tomlin took over in 2007, they were one-and-done four times. Three of those four losses were at Heinz Field, mind you.
The Browns by no means are a lock to advance to the divisional round, but they certainly wouldn’t be a stunning cover Sunday.