NFL 2018-19 Playoffs: Wildcard Round Preview & Betting Tips

January 1st 2019, 12:28pm, By: andyrosos

We finished off the NFL regular season with a bang on the weekend, going a perfect 3-0 in our betting tips. We’ll be looking to carry that momentum into the playoffs, which get underway this week with four massive Wildcard weekend games! 

We take a look at all four games over the weekend and give our betting tips below! 

NFL Playoffs Wildcard Weekend Betting Tips

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (Sunday 8.35am AEDT)

The Colts forced their way into the playoffs in the final week of the regular season with a fantastic away win against the Titans. Andrew Luck racked up three touchdowns and 285 passing yards in the 16-point win which helped the Colts secure the 6th and final seed in the AFC. They’ll square off against their division rivals in the Houston Texans in the wildcard round and come into the match on a four-game winning streak. 

The Texans needed to beat the Jaguars away from home in Week 17 to ensure they secured the AFC South division and a home field advantage in the wildcard round. They were dominant on defence, holding the Jaguars to just three points and capturing a 17-point win. Critics wrote the Texans off after losing their first three games of the season, however, they went on to win 11 of their next 13 games to claim the division title, however, they did lose to the Colts at home back in Week 14. 

The two teams boast four wins apiece from their last eight games and in their two matchups this year, the away team won on both occasions. The Colts are arguably coming into the game in better form, having won their last four games in a row including a win over the Texans while Houston have dropped games to Philly and Indy in the last four games. We love siding with the better quarterback in the playoffs and Andrew Luck has been back to his best over the past month. The Colts start as slight underdogs here but we like them away from home. 

Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday 12.15pm AEDT)

One of two fantastic NFC matchups this weekend will be the Seattle Seahawks travelling to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. The Seahawks captured a narrow 3-point win at home over the Arizona Cardinals to round out the regular season. The win secured the number five seed and a much easier matchup in the wildcard round against the Cowboys as opposed to travelling to Chicago. Running back Chris Carson was dominant in the Week 17 win, rushing for 122 yards and a touchdown. The Seahawks have won six of their last seven games and look like one of the darkhorses in the NFC. 

The Cowboys needed to win in Week 17 to secure the NFC East division and while it took nearly everything they had to get past the New York Giants, they were able to come away with a 1-point win on the road. Starting quarterback Dak Prescott will carry some valuable form into the playoffs as he racked up 387 yards and four touchdown passes on the Giants, but it was the Dallas defence, which has been their lynchpin all season, that looked a little shaky. 

The Cowboys have won seven of their last eight games but a Week 15 shutout loss to the Colts really leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Since then they have only been able to scrape past the Buccaneers and Giants by a combined total of eight points, both of whom won just five games this season. Always tough taking a road team in a playoff game but we have to side with the Seahawks here.

nfl playoffs

Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens (Monday 5.05am AEDT)

Baltimore and Los Angeles faced off just two weeks in Week 16 of the regular season and the Ravens were able to capture a fantastic away win, keeping the Chargers to just 10 points at home, their lowest score for the year. They'll face off again in the wildcard round, this time in Batimore as the Ravens secured the AFC North division with a 10-6 record. The Ravens have won their last three games in a row and have proven to be one of the best defences in the league in the back half of the season

On the other hand, Los Angeles have combined what has been a dynamic offence for almost a decade now, with arguably the best defence they have ever had in the Philip Rivers era. That defence held the Broncos to just nine points in Week 17 as the Chargers defeated Denver 23-9 to finish the season with a 12-4 record. If it wasn’t uncharacteristic loss to the Broncos at home back in Week 11, the Chargers would have finished with the best record in the AFC and the No.1 seed. Instead, they fall to the 5th seed after Kansas City just pipped them for the division title. 

Apart from the loss to Denver, the Chargers have lost just three other games this season to the Rams, Chiefs and Ravens, all division winners. Defence usually stands up in the playoffs, however, and Baltimore possess a truly scary one. They allow just 17,9 points per game, the second fewest in the league and they are in the top five in both fewest passing and rushing yards per game. With the home field advantage this weekend, we think the Ravens get the job done. 

Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears (Monday 8.40am AEDT)

Can Nick Foles do the unthinkable and lead the Philadelphia Eagles on another miraculous playoffs run? Since Carson Wentz went down in Week 14 with injury, Foles has stepped back into the Eagles starting lineup and led them to three wins in a row to scrape into the sixth seed in the NFC. They have beating some tough opponents over that stretch including wins against the Rams and Texans and are starting to resemble the team that won the Super Bowl just last season. 

The Bears were locked into the third seed in the NFC regardless of what happened in Week 17, but still managed a dominant away win over the Vikings. They kept Minnesota to just 10 points as their defence proved once again why it is regarded as one of the best in the league. Chicago lead the league in fewest points allowed per game, fewest rushing yards allowed per game, interceptions and total takeaways. 

As much as we’d like to see another Nick Foles Cinderella story here, the Chcago defence has just been to dominant, especially over the past few weeks to not side with them here. They have allowed just 10.5 points per game over their last four games including a 16-5 win over the Los Angeles Rams at home in Week 14. We think the Eagles will struggle to put up points here and the Bears should claim a home win. 

 

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