Though I lost plenty of money on ridiculous teaser bets throughout the regular season, these last four months proved I’m doing something right when it comes to researching my weekly picks and predictions.
Not only did I win a very competitive pick ‘em league (by going 13-3 against the spread in week 17), but I also put up my best season yet in terms of ATS record: 143-106-7. Professionals try to be right 55% of the time. I just put up a 57.4% season.
I’m not bragging just for bragging sake (though I am a little). I’m also writing this to remind myself not to change up the process and not to get sucked into the extra loud narratives that will be played up in the media over the next four weeks. As they say in Philly…trust the process.
Without further ado, here are my Wildcard picks with a bonus Prop Bet included.
Oakland at Houston (-4) | over/under 37
The Pick: Oakland
The Score: Houston 21, Oakland 20
The Bets: Oakland (+4) / Oakland (+14) in a 3-way tease
I feel like I sniffed out some good value here. There are only two things I had to remind myself before making this pick.
- The Raiders went 12-4 with the 5th hardest schedule in the league while the Texans went 9-7 with the NFL’s 12th easiest schedule. Derek Carr alone doesn’t account for the difference between these two teams.
- No matter who is playing QB for Oakland, it’s not like we’re talking about a matchup of a Ben Roethlisberger-type against Oakland’s 3rd stringer. The guy only needs to be “almost as good as Osweiler” for Oakland to have a chance. “Almost as good as Osweiler” is the same as saying “every living adult male on planet earth.”
Bonus Note: If you had to bet your life on 1 player taking over this game, wouldn’t it be Khalil Mack? I’m not saying he will, but it’s much more likely than expecting any Texans defender or a guy like DeAndre Hopkins to steal the show (we’ve had a whole season to learn that there is no Osweiler-to-Hopkins connection even though they should be a perfect fit for each other).
I know for sure the Raiders are covering. I just don’t know if they can win outright.
Detroit at Seattle (-8) | over/under 43.5
The Pick: Seattle
The Score: Seattle 23, Detroit 14
The Bets: Under (53.5) in a 3-way tease
It feels like I’m being generous projecting the Lions to score 14 points, which makes me uber confident in the under since the Seahawks don’t really have the firepower to drop 30 on anyone these days.
As I’m writing this on Thursday, I don’t see how I possibly bet either team with the spread. Sure, it’s the Lions on the road in the playoffs. Considering they couldn’t keep a home game against Green Bay competitive last week when a lot was at stake, you could easily argue the Seahawks should win this by double digits. But at the same time, when was the last game that Seattle really impressed you?
Miami at Pittsburgh (-10) | over/under 46
The Pick: Miami
The Score: Pittsburgh 30, Miami 23
The Bets: Pittsburgh (pick) in a 3-way tease / Over (46) / Over (36) in a 3-way tease
The over in this game feels like one of the easiest bets of the weekend. There’s no way these teams aren’t both scoring into the 20’s. I will remind you that Matt Moore is not much of a downgrade from Ryan Tannehill.
It feels way too easy to throw the Steelers in a tease, but that’s the reality of things. Though the Dolphins beat the Steelers in Miami earlier this year, I’m gonna go out on a limb and call that game a fluke (Roethlisberger got injured in that game). They couldn’t beat another decent team all year.
Meanwhile, the Steelers’ only home loss with a healthy Roethlisberger was a 35-30 close call against the Cowboys. No shame in that at all.
They’ll go ahead and handle such a mediocre team, even if the Dolphins secure the backdoor cover.
NY Giants at Green Bay (-4.5) | over/under 44.5
The Pick: NY Giants
The Score: Green Bay 23, NY Giants 19
The Bets: NY Giants (+14.5) in a 3-way tease
My least confident pick. My research had both the spread and the total landing right near the numbers that have been set. I would say I’m going to avoid betting this game and just try to enjoy what might be the only good matchup of Wildcard Weekend, but I know my betting-partner-in-crime from the Teasy Money podcast won’t stand for that. He’s an overconfident Giants fan so he’ll gladly tease New York up to +14.5 with me.
As for my prop bets, I actually don’t like too much.
Who will record the most passing yards during Wildcard Weekend?
- Ben Roethlisberger (+200 odds) – He’s the odds on favorite for a reason. He’s going up against a shitty pass D that Tom Brady just torched on the road. And that game is easily expected to be the highest-scoring game of the weekend. I think this is such an obvious bet.
- Russell Wilson (+500) – I think I’m putting a bet on Roethlisberger and Wilson, knowing I have to lose 1 of those bets. Since the Lions rank dead last in pass D according to FootballOutsiders’ DVOA metric, and the fact that Seattle just doesn’t have many other offensive weapons right now, I could see Wilson throwing a lot in this game.
And finally, if you don’t mind getting -300 odds on something, I’d say the prop bet of “Under 1.5 Wildcard teams will win this weekend” is pretty much a lock. I could see the Raiders or the Giants winning, but not both.
Enjoy Wildcard Weekend.