NFL Wild Card Weekend Sharps vs. Squares Report: Big Money Coming in on the Eagles


January 14

The neverending saga of sharp versus square actions spills into the NFL wild card weekend, featuring six intriguing matchups as teams continue their march to Super Bowl LVI. There is minimal consensus on the betting lines, with a few notable rifts between the public and pro bettors on spreads and totals. As per usual, we’re running through a few of those noteworthy discrepancies.

Here’s our rundown of sharp vs. square action for wild card weekend.

New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills

Spread: Bills -4
Action: 59% of bets, 41% of dollars wagered

After years of domination, Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills have usurped the New England Patriots as betting favorites in the AFC East. That’s clearly illustrated in the betting line for Saturday night’s wild card game, as the Bills head into the contest as -3.5 favorites, drawing 59% of the action but only 41% of the dollars wagered.

Buffalo has relied less on Allen over their recent sample, which could continue on Saturday. The temperature will be hovering around eight degrees at kick-off, which should lead to a more run-focused approach for both teams. It’s tough to envision either team running away with the game if that’s the case. Sharp bettors are taking their chances with the all-time winningest playoff coach at +4 or better.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Spread: Steelers +12.5
Action: 48% of bets, 57% of dollars wagered

The Pittsburgh Steelers playoff chances were on life support at various times over the past few weeks. They appeared dead in the water until the Las Vegas Raiders kicked a last-second field goal to secure a spot in the postseason, taking the Steelers with them. Now that they’re in, sharp bettors are rolling with Pittsburgh to cover against the Kansas City Chiefs in their Sunday night wild card matchup.

These teams met just a few short weeks ago, with the Chiefs winning convincingly. That was the only game over the past four weeks that the Steelers allowed more than 14 points, representing their only loss straight up and against the spread over that stretch. Conversely, the Chiefs haven’t covered either of their past two games, failing to be on the right side of the spread in six of their past 10 as double-digit favorites. The spread has come down off opening and could drop further if more money doesn’t start coming in on the Chiefs.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Spread: Eagles +8.5
Action: 39% of bets, 83% of dollars wagered

The betting public typically flocks to Tom Brady and the opening weekend of the playoffs is no exception. The Bucs are drawing 61% of wagers ahead of their NFC clash against the Philadelphia Eagles, with sharp bettors piling money on the visitors.

The Eagles’ defense has kept them competitive all season, giving up the 10th-fewest yards per game and 11th-fewest passing yards. Other than last week’s 51-26 disaster against the Dallas Cowboys, where they rested nearly all of their starters, Philly was on fire to end the season, going 4-2-1 against the spread and winning six of those seven games. Tampa was less successful in ending their season, failing to cover two of their previous four contests against suspect opponents. Sharp money expects this one to stay within one score.

Las Vegas Raiders vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Total: Under 48.5
Action: 36% of bets, 86% of dollars wagered

Thanks to some efficient defensive performances, the Las Vegas Raiders rode their D to glory, ending their season on a four-game winning streak. Pro bettors are expecting more of the same against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, with 86% of the money coming in on the under, despite only 36% of the actual wagers favoring a low-scoring game.

The Bengals offense got a lot of credit this season, but we also can’t look past the defensive accomplishments. Cincinnati limited three of their past four opponents to 21 or fewer points, staying under in two of those contests despite three of the four totals closing at 44 or lower. The Raiders are on a similar trend, staying under in three of four with all three opponents accumulating 262 yards or fewer. It’s easy to see why sharp bettors are riding the under.

All NFL game predictions and picks are courtesy of SportsGrid

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