Postseason Spreads Season 2, Volume 1: Wild Card Weekend
Cut those breaks, because it's Wild Card Weekend! With six games spread out over the next three days, there's the perfect amount of football to build your weekend around, and six great opportunities to cash in on some spreads. Here are how Will Tondo and I think each game will go against the spread, as well as who will win straight up.
Basel's Picks-The AFC
Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals-Saturday at 4:30
I know it's the first game of the weekend, but considering the hot streak that these two teams are on, this might be the best game of the Wild Card round. The Bengals enter the playoffs with very recent, high scoring wins against both the Ravens and the Chiefs, and despite a close loss to the Browns in Week 18, look to be in great shape. The Joe Burrow, Jamarr Chase connection on the field is better than it's ever been. On the Vegas side of things, they came away with a close win over the Chargers to put themselves in the playoffs, but it only came after the Raiders defense blew a pretty significant lead in the fourth quarter. Against another fast paced, young offense, I just don't think Vegas will be able to get lucky a second time.
Bengals ML and Bengals -6
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills-Saturday at 8:15
Already one of the best QB matchups in this new era of football, and we're getting to see it for a third time this year. The Bills offense is one of the best in the league, there's no doubt about that, but I really think Buffalo's defense is going to be the factor that gives them the win tonight. In yards allowed and points allowed per game, Buffalo's defense leads in both categories. The Pats have been a pretty turnover heavy team lately as well, so I think Buffalo is going to give Mac Jones a lot of trouble in his first career playoff start.
Bills ML and Bills -5
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs-Sunday at 8:15
After sneaking their way into the playoffs off of the Raiders' win, the Steelers find themselves against the 2 seed Chiefs, who honestly, haven't been too great of a team against the spread this season. It's tough to be a good team ATS when the spreads are tilted so far in your favor, but I do think they'll be able to get the win without covering. Big Ben, in what will probably be his final game in the NFL, simply can't throw like he used to, and the Steelers defense probably won't be able to handle a pretty solid Kansas City ground game.
Chiefs ML and Steelers +12.5
Tondo's Picks-The NFC
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers-1:00 on Sunday
Defending Super Bowl champs vs. NFC underdogs. The Eagles definitely deserve to be here, winning 6 of their last 8 under rookie head coach Nick Sirianni. However, young quarterback Jalen Hurts will be forced to throw the ball against the Bucs defense. Any given day, I'll take the Bucs' spread, but you never know, especially after their last matchup this season(the Bucs won 28-22). With the injuries sustained by Tampa Bay, I don't think they can cover the full touchdown, but I expect them to win. Why? TB12 is 34-11 in the playoffs. I'll go Eagles +8.5, Bucs Money Line.
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys-4:30 on Sunday
An old-school rivalry coming at you in 2022. The Cowboys won 5 of their last 6, coming in as a solid choice to run the table in the NFC. However, the 49ers got hot at the right time. Jimmy G ain't too bad, Deebo Samuel is an offensive weapon, and Nick Bosa is one of the brightest defensive players in the league. This game could go either way. Dallas is 5-1 ATS in their last 6, while San Fran is 7-0 ATS in their last 7 January games. I think the Cowboys pinch this one out, but it'll be a close one. Give me 49ers +3, Cowboys Money Line.
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams-8:15 on Monday
I love a good divisional rivalry in the playoffs. This season, the road team won, splitting the series and confusing bettors. At one point, both teams were Super Bowl favorites as well. But both teams come in with different stories. The Rams won five straight before losing to the 49ers in OT in week 18, while the Cardinals lost four of their last five. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, I think their ships have sailed. I have the Rams heading to the NFC Championship against the Packers. They are too rounded of a team with defensive super stars and Cooper Kupp. Double down, Rams -4 and Money Line.