NFL Wild Card Best Bets and Player Props

Jan 18, 2021 |
NFL Wild Card Best Bets and Player Props
T.J. Watt sat out Pittsburgh's Week 17 loss to Cleveland, but he's ready to go for the rematch in the Wild Card Round.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports
T.J. Watt sat out Pittsburgh's Week 17 loss to Cleveland, but he's ready to go for the rematch in the Wild Card Round.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The 2020-21 NFL playoffs are here and we have an entire Sunday of meaningful football.

We’ve hit the books hard this week, looking into every NFL market in search of value and great numbers—so you don't have to!

Today, we’re heading to the hills with a Baltimore receiver, taking a QB in the nightcap and teasing all three games for the Under.

We break down the best NFL team and player props and bring you our favorite free picks and predictions for Super Wild Card weekend.

Year to date record: 160-126 (56 percent)

NFL Prop Picks for Sunday

Hollywood Hunk

No team runs the ball more than the Ravens, but that hasn’t stopped receiver Marquise Brown from stacking TDs over the last six games.

Since Week 12, the second-year receiver has totaled six touchdowns and has enjoyed the majority of looks with fellow WR Willie Snead IV on the shelf. Sneed missed Wednesday's practice Wednesday and was limited on Thursday after missing Week 17. 

With Snead likely not even close to 100 percent, Brown will be the go-to receiver against the league’s third-worst passing defense in the Tennessee Titans. Only two other teams gave up more TDs to opposing WRs than the Titans.

PREDICTION: Marquise Brown anytime TD (+120)

Saints’ Surge

The New Orleans Saints’ offense got a huge boost with the activation of WR Michael Thomas and RB Alvin Kamara on Saturday. Both are looking like a go for Sunday against the Chicago Bears despite not likely being at 100 percent.

Chicago’s defense has padded its stats against some soft offenses down the stretch but gave up an average of 31.5 points to teams with a winning record since Week 8. That stretch included a 26-23 OT loss to the Saints on November 1, where New Orleans put up nearly 400 yards of offense on the road. 

The Saints averaged 31 points at home this year and a Drew Brees-led offense has topped 28.5 points in eight of 12 games and hasn’t been held to under 24 points all season.

PREDICTION: New Orleans Saints team total Over 28.5 (-120)

Big Day For Big Ben

Next to Tennessee, the Cleveland Browns own the playoffs’ second-worst pass defense at No. 25. The Browns will be without their head coach this Sunday, as well as Denzel Ward—the team’s highest-rated defensive back, per Pro Football Focus.

Pittsburgh has been the league’s worst rushing team this year and will have to exploit a Cleveland secondary that is giving up 288 passing yards per game on the road, the NFL’s third-highest mark.

Big Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t been a sexy passer this year but the veteran QB has thrown for over 260 yards in six of his last eight games, including four games of 300-plus passing yards. If the Steelers are going to roll the Browns they will have to do it through the air and Ben has the weapons to top his passing yard total of 283.5 yards.

PREDICTION: Ben Roethlisberger Over 283.5 passing yards (-112)

 

Teasing Totals

Sunday sports three Top-10 DVOA defenses, all of which are favored. Baltimore (9th), New Orleans (2nd) and Pittsburgh (1st) all have a chance to dominate defensively against opponents who all have big question marks offensively.

The Ravens face the best offense of the day but with a total of 54.5, it presents a great opportunity to tease this game up to 60.5, which is a huge number for a defense that has allowed more than 20 points just once in its last six games.

We have already hit the Bears’ team total Under and really don’t like this offense against the Saints at home. The Bears played a weak schedule down the stretch which may give some false confidence to Mitch Trubisky's offense. If the Bears can’t score 21, we don’t see this game hitting more than 53 points.

Cleveland will be without some huge pieces to its offensive line, with guard Joel Bitonio out plus Wyatt Teller, tackle Jack Conklin and center J.C. Tretter questionable. Add in the fact that their best offensive mind in head coach Kevin Stefanski will miss the game and we are betting on this offense to stall against a Steelers defense that finished the year as the No. 1 overall DVOA defense, per Football Outsiders.

PREDICTION: Three team six-point teaser (BAL/TEN Under 60.5, CHI/NO Under 53.5, CLE/PIT Under 53.5) +180

NFL Prop Picks for Saturday

QB Rushing Cheat Sheet

QB rushing totals are one of our favorite player prop bets out there. It’s a great way to correlate-stack other wagers and is one of the more exciting prop bets that can be won in a single play. Tell us a more exciting play than QB escaping pressure and busting one down the sideline against man coverage. We’ll wait.

We give more value to quarterbacks who will likely be playing from behind. QBs don’t lose yards for taking sacks, but they do take negative yards when they kneel during victory formation. Losing QBs are always better to bet on.

Here is our attempt at handicapping the Super Wild Card QB rushing market (some QB situations are a little murky and will be omitted).

Josh Allen (BUF - 29.5 yards): This is a pretty sharp line for Allen, who has topped 30 yards rushing four times in his last seven. Opposing QBs are averaging just 14 yards rushing against the Colts this year, while Allen has failed to average more than 30 yards rushing in any month in 2020-21. He has become a much better passer and is relying more on his arm. UNDER

Philip Rivers (IND - OTB): Rivers is 39 years old and hasn’t rushed for positive yards in 13 straight games. His line is almost impossible to find for a reason. PASS

Russell Wilson (SEA - 22.5 yards): The Rams are a middle-of-the-pack team against QB rushing, but Wilson has topped his rushing total in both games against Los Angeles this year. Wilson has averaged 31 yards rushing over 15 playoff games. We love this play. OVER

Tom Brady (TB): Much like Rivers, Brady’s rushing prop is non-existent. If it weren’t for victory-formation kneeling, Tom Terrific would likely finish with zero and not negative yards. PASS

Lamar Jackson (BAL - 68.5 yards): With the highest total on the board, Jackson gets to freestyle against the worst defense in the playoffs. Last year in the AFC divisional game, Jackson ran 20 times for 143 yards. He has also eclipsed 68 yards in four of his last five games. OVER

Ryan Tannehill (TEN - 16.5 yards): Tannehill has run for 114 yards over his last three games and topped 16 yards in all three of those matches. Over his five losses this year, the Titans’ QB averaged 18 yards on the ground. The Ravens have allowed 14 rushing yards per game to opposing QBs this season. OVER

Mitch Trubisky (CHI - 12.5 yards): These are the QB rushing totals we live for. 13 Yards is the perfect amount to win on a single rush and with Chicago likely playing from behind for the majority of the game, Trubisky will have lots of chances to be creative. The Chicago QB averaged nearly 20 yards on the ground in the regular season. BIG OVER

Drew Brees (NO): Brees joins Rivers and Brady in a club of senior signal-callers who aren’t known for their running. He has rushed for positive yards four times this year and negative yards four times as well. PASS

Baker Mayfield (CLE - 13.5 yards): Mayfield has not run for more than 11 yards in any road game this year and averaged just 4.5 rushing yards when on the road. The Cleveland QB has topped this number just four times all year. UNDER

Ben Roethlisberger (PIT): Hey, guess what? Another 37-plus QB who is smart enough not to run. Nothing to see here. PASS

Conditional Pick

John Wolford (LAR): If L.A.'s Jared Goff (questionable) sits, we have no problem riding the Over on Wolford's total on any number below 36. Wolford ran for 56 yards in his first start last week and used his legs to make up for the lack of arm talent. Wolford runs a 4.71 40 and could cash some tickets if he does draw the start.

NFL Prop Picks for Friday

Catch-Happy Back

Getting eight points, the Washington Football Team is expected to be playing from behind against Tom Brady and Bucs on Saturday night. QB Alex Smith is questionable for the playoff game and wasn't even close to 100 percent last week. Backup Taylor Heinicke would start if Smith sits. 

The Buccaneers may have dominated opposing running backs on the ground this year, but Tampa gave it up to RBs in the air. At 101 receptions this year, the No. 1 DVOA rush defense allowed the most receptions to opposing backs.

Washington loves to pass to their backs and is averaging 8.7 RB receptions per game over the last three weeks. J.D. McKissic has seen at least eight targets in four of his last five games and caught at least five passes in nine of his last 13 games. 

PREDICTION: J.D. McKissic Over 4.5 receptions (-102)

The Ride’s Over for the Bears

The Bears had a good run to end the year, but it will likely be over after Sunday’s game against the Saints. Chicago won and covered three of the last four games and averaged 31 points per game since Week 13. A deeper look at the schedule shows the Bears beat a cupcake schedule that included three of the worst DVOA defenses.

Mitch Trubisky managed just 16 points against the Packers’ league-average defense in Week 17, and now has to deal with a New Orleans defense that finished No. 2 overall. 

Chicago played four Top-10 DVOA defenses this year and averaged just 16 points and 256 yards of total offense per game. It’s been a fun ride, but the Bears will struggle to put up points against the Saints, and we may see the Trubisky of old this weekend.

PREDICTION: Chicago Bears team total Under 19.5 (-117)

 

One More Allen Dig

Buffalo QB Josh Allen silenced all his critics this year with a monster season. His team won the division and finished the year with double-digit wins. The offense is scoring and throwing often, as Allen is averaging nearly 40 passes per game over the last three weeks.

At home this year, the Buffalo signal-caller has played to a 103 QB rating, compared to 110 on the road. His six interceptions at home are tied for the eight-most in the league as Allen has thrown a pick at Bills Stadium in three straight games. 

Facing a Colts team that is Top-10 in DVOA pass defense and is averaging one interception per game this year, Allen is prime for a pick. The weather in Buffalo isn’t looking quarterback-friendly and at -130, we’re taking our chances.

PREDICTION: Josh Allen Over 0.5 interceptions (-130)

Don’t Doubt Dobbins

Tennessee’s Derrick Henry may be the best running back, but his weekend opponent, J.K. Dobbins, is no slouch. The Ravens’ rookie running back has been Baltimore’s No.1 runner since the team’s Week 7 bye and has been even hotter over the last six weeks.

Dobbins has hit paydirt in every game since Week 12 and has averaged 6.42 yards per carry over that stretch. His opponents, the Titans, have surrendered 20 TDs to opposing running backs this year and sport the league’s fourth-worst defense.

Dobbins will have a lot of chances to find the endzone as the league’s most rush-first team has put the running game into overdrive of late, averaging 44 rushing attempts per game since Week 14. We also love the price in a game that Baltimore could dominate a terrible Tennessee defense.

PREDICTION: J.K. Dobbins anytime TD (-110)

NFL Prop Picks for Thursday

Titans’ Trash Defense

The Tennessee Titans sport the worst defense of all the 14 playoff teams. Football Outsiders has them as the 4th-worst overall DVOA defense and 3rd-worst against the pass. This weekend, Mike Vrabel’s defense has to face a Baltimore Ravens offense that has been steamrolling teams for two months and put up 530 total yards against Tennessee in the AFC Divisional game last year.

QB Lamar Jackson has finished the season strong after an MVP follow-up that had many doubting the former Heisman winner. A big game could be waiting for the run-first QB as the Titans couldn’t stop a MAC-inspired offense in 2020-21.

The Tennessee secondary has been giving up big plays through the air all year and has allowed long receptions of 42, 32, 44, 27, 75, and 50 yards across the last six games.  

The Ravens have been pounding the ball on the ground, but that hasn’t stopped Jackson from taking his shots downfield. The reigning MVP has thrown a pass longer than 40 yards in three of his last four. He also threw for 386 yards in that divisional-round loss with a long pass of 38 yards.

With the Titans sure to keep pace offensively, it should keep Jackson and the Baltimore offense from abandoning the pass. We like a big play through the air from the Baltimore QB.

PREDICTION: Lamar Jackson longest completion Over 33.5 yards (-120)

Straight Teasing

The Buffalo Bills are back in the playoffs and get to host the Indianapolis Colts this Saturday afternoon. Most books have the Bills as a near-TD favorite. There are many reasons to back the Bills here, but at -6.5 or -7, it's just too much against a well-coached team with a veteran QB in the Colts. 

The Bills are a little banged up at their skilled positions, the weather is looking cold and could be windy, and we aren’t sure we trust the Bills run defense against a Colts team that has been dominating on the ground of late. The seven-point line gives us a great opportunity to tease the away team up to +12.

Pairing our first-six-point tease with the Pittsburgh Steelers on the moneyline (from -6) gives us another great game to take advantage of some unfortunate circumstances for the Cleveland Browns. 

The Browns’ head coach Kevin Stefanski tested positive for COVID and will miss the playoff game entirely. This line moved from PIT -3.5 to -6 due to the COVID news and could potentially hit -6.5. 

Cleveland is also dealing with serious injuries to its offensive line. QB Baker Mayfield is a much better QB in a clean pocket and the injuries to his O-line are not welcoming news to him and the running game.

PREDICTION: Six-point two-team teaser: (Indianapolis +12, Pittsburgh ML) +100

Lockett and Loaded

Tyler Lockett got peppered last week in San Francisco, catching a game-high 12 balls. The slot receiver starter the year off slow, being out shadowed by teammate DK Metcalf, but finished the year with 1,000 yards averaged 65.4 yards per game on 6.25 catches.

Facing arguably the league’s best defense in the Los Angeles Rams, the slot receiver position is one of the only favorable matchups for opposing offenses. The Rams have two Top-10 corners on the outside in Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams. CB Troy Williams mans the slot and is allowing a 67 percent catch rate.

In the two games versus the Rams this year. Lockett has eight catches for 110 yards but had catches of 39 and 24 yards. He has also topped his longest reception prop in two straight games and comes into this tough matchup with great chemistry with QB Russell Wilson.

We are avoiding the Over on his receptions (5.5) and yards (63.5) and instead, looking at a prop he has had more success with versus this difficult secondary. 

PREDICTION: Tyler Lockett longest reception Over 20.5 yards (-115)

Return of the ROI 

It wouldn’t be a Thursday without telling the world about the Ravens and their first-half success. On the year, Baltimore finished the regular season going 13-3 ATS in the first half including five straight covers to end the year. This team gets a lead early and knows how to play with it.

As stated above, Baltimore will not have much trouble moving the chains against Tennessee’s No. 29 overall defense. Their ability to run the ball and eat the clock could also go a long way in keeping Derrick Henry off the field instead of wearing down the Ravens defense.

The Titans have been outscored 57-14 in the first half over their last two games versus teams with a winning record. The Ravens had a soft schedule to finish the year, but Tennessee played just two teams with .500 records over its final five games.

We've hit this first-half play in four straight weeks and will be looking to make it five on Sunday. 

PREDICTION: Baltimore first half -2.5 (-110)

NFL Wild Card Round Prop Betting Card

  • Marquise Brown anytime TD (+120)
  • New Orleans Saints team total Over 28.5 (-120)
  • Ben Roethlisberger Over 283.5 passing yards (-112)
  • Three team six-point teaser (BAL/TEN Under 60.5, CHI/NO Under 53.5, CLE/PIT Under 53.5) +180

     - - 

  • Josh Allen Under 29.5 rushing yards (-112)
  • Russell Wilson Over 22.5 rushing yards (-112)
  • Lamar Jackson Over 68.5 rushing yards (-112)
  • Ryan Tannehill Over 16.5 rushing yards (-110)
  • Mitch Trubisky Over 12.5 rushing yards (-115)
  • Baker Mayfield Under 13.5 rushing yards (-115)

     - - 

  • J.D. McKissic Over 4.5 receptions (-102)
  • Chicago Bears team total Under 19.5 (-117)
  • Josh Allen Over 0.5 interceptions (-130)
  • J.K. Dobbins anytime TD (-110)

     - - 

  • Lamar Jackson longest completion Over 33.5 yards (-120)
  • Six-point two-team teaser: (Indianapolis +12, Pittsburgh ML) +100
  • Tyler Lockett longest reception Over 20.5 yards (-115)
  • Baltimore first half -2.5 (-110)

Where Can I Find NFL Player Props?

You can bet on NFL team and player props at nearly every online and casino sportsbooks. Head over to our best-suggested sportsbooks for the top spots to bet on NFL player and team props in your area.  

 

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