Welcome to the playoffs! After a season full of spreads, props, overs, and unders, we've finally reached the postseason. With an expanded wild card comes more Sunday games to bet on, so here's how I think every game today will finish according to the spread.
All lines are courtesy MGM Sportsbook. Check your book for the latest odds.
1 PM-Baltimore Ravens vs. Tennessee Titans
I really don't like how people hang Lamar Jackson's 0-2 playoff record over his head like it's the black spot from Pirates of the Caribbean. Lamar Jackson has a whole career ahead of him, and considering that it doesn't seem like he's slowing down anytime soon, I really don't think his playoff resume will be a blemish on his career forever.
While I wholeheartedly believe this, I do think that his playoff woes will continue today against the Titans. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why the Titans will win, because I do think their offense is well-balanced and solid in both the passing and ground game, but I think I just can't bet against Derrick Henry. To finish off the regular season against the Texans, Derrick Henry rushed for a franchise record 250 yards, joining the exclusive 2000 rush yards club in the process. Despite a pretty ugly record of 7-9 against the spread this season, they're a decent 2-2 when an underdog. I'm not normally a locks kind of guy, but taking the Titans at +3 today is too good to pass up.
My Pick: Titans +3 (-105)
4 PM-Chicago Bears vs. New Orleans Saints
What a wild ride the Bears season has been. Going 5-1 in their first six, to then dropping their next six, to finally sneaking into the playoffs by the seat of their pants. I hope Bears fans are just happy to be playing today, because I really don't think they'll play again until this September. The Saints were my preseason sleeper pick for the Super Bowl, and while I don't know if I still feel that way, they're definitely making it to the divisional round. In terms of the spread, Drew Brees returning off of Covid protocol definitely looks good for the Bears, but Brees' weapons will definitely make up for any poor play in his passing game. Alvin Kamara will also be returning fresh after missing Week 17 due to Covid protocols, so look for him to light up Chicago's defense.
My Pick: New Orleans -10.5 (-105)
8:15-Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
This one is really tough. The Browns finished their regular season with a 24-22 stunner over the Steelers to finish second in the AFC North, but I don't think lightning will strike twice for them. As much as I want to see the Browns make a solid run this year, I still think the North runs through Pittsburgh. Big Ben is matching up against a Cleveland defense that's ranked 25th in the NFL in pass efficiency. Big Ben is a pass-first quarterback, and while we've seen his young receiving corps struggle at points throughout the season, I think they've had enough time to work out their kinks in time for the postseason. The biggest reason I think you should bet on Pittsburgh, however, is Cleveland's messy coachy situation. While it may be unsportsmanlike to take advantage of a team without a coach due to a positive Covid test, you're not on the Steelers, so whose gonna fine you? It's an unfortunate situation that forebodes doom for Cleveland, but that's no reason why you shouldn't get a couple quick bucks out of it.
My Pick: Steelers -6.5 (-105)