Previews and betting information for Sunday and Monday NFL Wild Card games
We continue the NFL playoffs betting preview with Part 2 including the two later games on Sunday and Monday's wild card game. In NFL playoff preview part 1 of odds, stats and ATS info to know, we provided stats, ATS and Opinions and Leans on the two Saturday games (Seahawks vs 49ers and Chargers vs Jaguars) and opening game Sunday between the Bills and Dolphins. I've added more in the three games below and upgraded an Opinion to a Pick in the Monday Night Football Wild Card game.
Additional playoff betting guide, odds to win and bonus information you can bet on in my NFL playoff coverage for Forbes.
Sunday, Jan. 15
New York Giants at Minnesota (-3), Total 48 at BetOnline
The week 16 meeting between these two teams was a 27-24 last second FG win by the Vikings. The Giants out-gained the Vikings 445 yards (6.7) to 353 (5.0), but two turnovers by the G-men and a -2 turnover differential proved costly in defeat. For the record, my weekly NFL stats log and box score review includes turnovers, and teams exactly +2 in turnover margin in a game were 46-9 SU and 49-6 ATS. Teams +3 or greater in turnovers were 36-1 SU and 35-2 ATS this season, so you see the significant impact of too many turnovers or giving your opponent the edge along with more plays, time of possession and momentum. The Vikings (13-4) carried momentum all season long, pulling out close games seemingly weekly and going a NFL record 11-0 SU in one-score games. The Giants (9-7-1) lost five of their final eight games losing all five to winning teams. The Giants (-520) and Vikings (-816) are the worst two teams of the playoff field in net yards vs. playoff opponents this season, and a combined 1-12 in the stats vs those stronger teams (outgained in 12-of-13 games).
New York's DVOA Defense ranks No. 29 including No. 31 against the rush. Minnesota is No. 26 DVOA defense. The Giants DVOA Offense is No. 10 with strength in rushing, and the Vikings DOVA Offense is No. 20 with strength in passing. Both teams gave up slightly more points than they scored. The Giants are a popular underdog this week, but for what it's worth, QBs making 1st NFL Playoff start like Daniel Jones of the Giants are 18-36 SU & 17-36-1 ATS according to Action Network research. And while we picked underdog winners throughout the season and a 61% clip the last two seasons picking only NFL underdogs, we lean towards the favorite and the Vikings to win and advance.
ATS notes: Playbook Sports notes that Wild Card round underdogs of 3 or fewer points, seeking same-season revenge, are 12-4-1 ATS. The Giants, under head coach Brian Daboll, are 9-2 ATS as an underdog this season.
2023 NFL Strength of Schedule (SOS): Vikings (No. 18 .497 opponent win %), Giants (No. 4, .549 opponent win %).
Baltimore at Cincinnati (-8.5), Total 40.5 (line down a half point)
The Bengals (12-4) have won 8-straight games including 27-16 over the Ravens (10-7) in Week 18 when Baltimore started third string QB Anthony Brown. Lamar Jackson remains out with injury, and QB Tyler Huntley will be back under center for this playoff division duel. The points look attractive, but Huntley does not as he just doesn't fit or pass well or pass the eye test. The Ravens have a solid edge in coaching and staff prep with John Harbaugh, but they don't make the plays and the Bengals will make more meaningful ones, IMO.
The Bengals DVOA Offense ranks No. 4 while the Ravens rank No. 12 (#2 rushing), but No. 19 in weighted DVOA Offense which factors more recent games and form, which would include the games with Huntley at quarterback. This game boils down to simplicity for me. It's Pro Bowl QB Joe Cool Burrow and last year's AFC champions at home playing great football and on an 8-game winning streak vs. a backup clueless QB Tyler Huntley, who also applies to the 18-36 SU & 17-36-1 ATS first time playoff QB starter angle.
ATS notes: The Ravens are 13-2 ATS away in same-season division revenge affairs, according to Playbook Sports. Of course, that doesn't factor in the change of quarterback and do you recall how completely clueless Lamar Jackson was in his starting playoff debut years ago against the Chargers? Huntley and the Ravens don't get my money or support.
2023 NFL Strength of Schedule (SOS): Bengals (No. 17, .510 opponent win %), Ravens (No. 21, .484 opponent win %).
Monday, Jan. 16
Dallas (-2.5) at Tampa Bay, Total 45.5
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9) miraculously pulled out wins down the stretch to win the awful NFC South while looking completely lost in most the games. Now the Bucs and 45-year-old QB Brady tackle the stronger Dallas Cowboys (12-5), who have no excuses to not perform against the weakest NFC playoff entrant. Tampa Bay's DVOA Offense ranks No. 15 and Dallas No. 16. But the Bucs have the league's worst rushing attack averaging just 77 yards per game on a league-low 21.7 rushing attempts per game. The Cowboys average 31.8 rushing attempts per game and 135 rushing yards per game - both top 10 in the league. My proprietary data base documenting weekly NFL stats notes that teams that run the ball at least 30 times in a game (when their opponent does not) win 79% SU and 77% ATS this season. Teams that run the ball less than 23 times in a game win just 16-17% SU and ATS this season. The Bucs defense is not as strong this season and just average against the run with both defenses allowing 4.4 to 4.5 yards per rush.
Dallas ranks No. 2 overall in DVOA Defense to Tampa Bay's No. 13, but the Bucs weighted DVOA is No. 25 (more recent). The Buccaneers scored just 313 points this season and allowed 358 while facing weaker quarterbacks. The Cowboys scored 467 and allowed 342. In two December games against winning teams, the Bucs lost at San Francisco 35-7 and were run over at the point of attack, and lost at home to Cincinnati 34-23. Those were the only two winning teams the Buccaneers played in the second half of the season, and Brady threw 2 interceptions in both contests. If sometimes dingbat QB Dak Prescott plays to his higher ability, the Cowboys and their superior defense win. Prescott missed five games this season and still led the NFL in interceptions (15) and had an INT in seven straight games to close the regular season. The Bucs will need a solid turnover differential to win against a Cowboys team that has also played a superior and stronger schedule of opponents. I rarely lay road favorites, and our top performing underdog picks usually guide us to profits, payouts and pay dirt. But there are always exceptions, and we don't bet blindly or roll with a specific set of rules when betting. So I'm upgrading this play opinion to a Pick. Seriously Dallas and coach McCarthy, if you and you're staff can't out-prepare, out-perform and out-play a sub-par Buccaneers team and suspect coaching staff, then shame on you (and us).
ATS notes: Playbook Sports adds that Tom Brady is 7-0 SU in his career against the Cowboys, but losing teams are 2-4 SU and 3-3 ATS in the postseason (3-0 ATS at home). Also this 14-1 ATS angle against the Cowboys points to difficulty for Dallas: Any away team in the NFL Wild Card round of the playoffs is 1-14 ATS if they are coming off a loss of 14 or more points. I don't care about that however, and ride with the Cowboys against the under-achieving Buccaneers who are 2-12-1 ATS in their last 15 games. That includes the ridiculous and miraculous win and cover in Week 17 against the Carolina Panthers, 30-24 after trailing 21-10 in the fourth quarter as a -3.5 point favorite.
2023 NFL Strength of Schedule (SOS): Buccaneers (No. 22, .483 opponent win %), Cowboys (Tied for No. 3, .549 opponent win %)
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper with unparalleled success in NFL pointspread prognosis. Fairway is recognized as one of the sports industry's insightful analysts, and he chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Follow FairwayJay here at OSGA.com and on Twitter @FairwayJay for more betting insights.