It’s time to bet on the NFL Playoffs. Separating the contenders from the pretenders in the league’s second season is always a fascinating task.
Our best bets (41-37-1) are in the green, and I’m rolling with four plays over the weekend. This space isn’t the place for a million picks or five-team parlays, either. These are the games I love the most.
Let’s go to work with odds courtesy of FOX Bet.
Peep the weather forecast.
It’ll be a wet and windy Saturday in San Francisco, with the highest gusts touching 20 miles per hour around kickoff. That’s obviously far from ideal for explosive pass plays, and I expect Brock Purdy and Geno Smith to work off mostly conservative game plans in the elements.
It’s no secret Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll loves to run the football, and he’ll likely utilize Kenneth Walker III quite a bit. If Seattle can churn butter with success on the ground, it’ll melt that precious clock and keep the versatile Niners offense on the sidelines.
San Francisco’s defense is the star of the show, and that group is getting healthy at the perfect time. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw and defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw were full participants at practice Thursday, which is great news for a unit that ranked No. 1 in DVOA at Football Outsiders.
This one would be low and slow.
The Giants made us a lot of bread this year.
New York (13-4 ATS) was the best NFL team against the spread, and the old adage says that good teams win and great teams cover. Big Blue also flew way over their season win total, which was O/U 6.5 at FOX Bet.
But sometimes you gotta know when to flip.
Minnesota finished with a 13-4 record, and most bettors still think they’re phonies. Are the Vikings good enough to win a Super Bowl? Probably not. But can they dispatch Daniel Jones and an average Giants offense in the raucous Death Star? Absolutely.
Remember, these two teams met in the regular season in late December, and the Vikings closed as a 4.5-point home favorite. So you can now buy even lower on a team that nobody respects to essentially hold serve at home.
Count me in.
I’m drinking the Tom Brady Kool-Aid.
Las Vegas bookmakers opened Dallas as a 3-point road favorite, and most shops are already down to -2.5. Professional money entered the market right away on the Bucs, and I expect that to continue through the weekend.
There’s a very strong possibility that Dallas closes -1 or -1.5 at kickoff Monday, which of course, will lessen the price on Tampa’s moneyline.
Brady has never lost to Dallas (7-0 all-time), and fading Mike McCarthy is one of my favorite pastimes. Brady’s ability to rise above playoff pressure cannot be underestimated, and I expect the Bucs to play fast and throw the ball 45 times. Quick, precision throws are crucial against the Cowboy pass rush.
Don’t let me down, Tom.
Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He’ll probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.
Top stories from FOX Sports:
- Super Wild Card Weekend odds: Bookmakers speak on Cowboys-Bucs, Big Bets, more
- NFL Playoff preview: Biggest strengths, question marks for all 14 teams
- NFL odds: Lines on Derek Carr’s next team, including Colts, Jets, Patriots
- NFL Super Wild Card Weekend odds: Buccaneers cover against cowboys, best bets
- NFL poll: Expert picks for MVP, DPOY, Super Bowl and other awards
- NFL mock draft: Alabama players go 1-2 as top 18 order is set
- Has Packers legend Aaron Rodgers walked off Lambeau Field for the last time?
- Ranking all 14 NFL playoff teams as Super Bowl contenders
- Can Dak Prescott, Cowboys turn the page after deflating loss?
- Why you shouldn’t bet against a Georgia three-peat next year
- Baseball Hall of Fame voting: Pedro Moura unveils his ballot
- LeBron James record tracker: How far is he from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- NFL wild-card weekend odds: Lines for every playoff matchup
Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more