If you thought regular-season NFL odds were tight, wait until you tangle with the NFL playoff odds. With fewer games on the board, bookies put all their might into making the numbers and adjusting off action on these postseason showdowns.
The first round of point spreads and totals are on the board for the Wild Card games and just like we did every Sunday night during the season, we’re planning out our NFL betting strategy when it comes to getting the best of the playoff numbers.
These are our NFL betting tips for the Wild Card odds to bet now and which ones you should bet later.
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills (-6.5): Bet Now
The Bills opened just under touchdown favorites at home to the Colts in the Wild Card Round, and money on Buffalo has boosted the juice to -6.5 (-115) at some books. With the way the Bills are playing – and the 56 points they dropped on Miami in Week 17 – you know this spread is going to hit seven—and soon.
Buffalo’s resume for 2020-21 is impressive, with its three losses all explainable blemishes. The Bills whiffed in a weird COVID-complicated Tuesday night matchup with Tennessee in Week 5, lost to the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs on a short week, and fell victim to a 43-yard Hail Mary in a 32-30 loss at Arizona. That’s it.
The Colts are a worthy advisory, having won four of their last five games to finish with 11 victories. But this is an indoor team coming to Orchard Park in January. On top of the limited amount of Bills Mafia being admitted for this game, the weather in Buffalo this weekend is calling for temperatures around freezing. Indianapolis has played in five outdoor games this year, boasting a 2-3 SU and ATS mark.
If you’re betting the Bills, make sure you get them under the touchdown now.
Cleveland Browns (+4) at Pittsburgh Steelers: Bet Later
The last time the Browns went to the tournament, Kanye West’s ego was nonexistent and Tobey Maguire was the only big-screen Spider-Man we knew. Ah, 2002. Simpler times.
Thanks to the expanded 2021 playoff, Cleveland clashes with a familiar foe in the Wild Card Round. The Browns opened +4 versus the Steelers at most books, but this spread is starting to tick up with a +4.5 out there at -115. This is a dead number and bookies will allow early money to dictate the move, which means if action comes on Pittsburgh – and it will – the adjustment will be fast and furious to +5 or higher.
Cleveland just squeaked past the Steelers’ skeleton crew in Week 17, winning 24-22 as a 10.5-point home favorite. And when you add on a Week 16 loss to the lowly Jets, the Browns aren’t playing their best football heading into the postseason. However, if you’re clamoring to bet Cleveland, hold your horses. This spread is going to go up, barring any injuries/COVID crap. Wait to bet the Browns.
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints (Over 47.5): Bet Now
In a battle between the Bears and Saints – two of the better stop units in recent years – you might be surprised that the Over is the hot ticket this Wild Card Weekend. This total opened 47.5 and the vig is starting to tick up on the Over, with some books already dealing 48 points.
Chicago’s offense showed up for the home stretch of the schedule, scoring 30 or more points in each of the four games between Week 13 and Week 16. And, even though the Bears botched the Week 17 finale with only 16 points against Green Bay, they still out-yarded the Packers in the box score.
The Saints hung 33 points on the board against Carolina with no Michael Thomas and a half a running back in the finale game. New Orleans’ defense started to budge in the home stretch of the regular season, but the offense has produced 114 total points in the past three games.
The Saints and Bears battled to a 26-23 overtime win for NOLA back in Week 8 but didn’t need the extra frame to top the modest 41-point total. This time around, books have raised the bar, so if you’re on the Over again, get it now at 47.5 before the number keeps growing.
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (Under 42.5): Bet Later
These divisional foes meet for a third time this season and after examining their last two matchups, you can see why this total is hanging pretty low. Well, that and the uncertainty around Jared Goff’s surgically repaired thumb.
Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay is possibly slow playing Seattle on the availability of Goff after talking to reporters Sunday night, and this total is being made with John Wolford as Los Angeles’ starting quarterback. However, from reports last week and recent comments from Goff, it sounds like there’s a good shot of him taking snaps in the Wild Card Round.
Even with Goff under center, the Rams and Seahawks went below the number in both matchups in 2020 with only 69 combined points produced in those outings. Los Angeles can ill afford to get into a shootout with the Seahawks and have helped Under backers cash in 11 of the Rams’ last 13 games. Seattle’s stop unit took half the schedule to find its footing but has given up an average of only 16 points per game in the eight games since Week 10 (a run of seven straight Unders until a Week 17 Over).
At its current setting, this number is a tough pill to swallow for those leaning Under, so if you are banking on low-scoring football in Seattle (where it could be rainy and cold Saturday), wait until the veil is lifted on Goff and see if this total gets a shot in the arm—and some extra points.
Where Can I Get the Best Odds on the NFL?
You can bet on NFL odds at every online and casino sportsbooks, including NFL moneylines, spreads, Over/Under totals and a ton of NFL prop odds. Head over to our best-suggested sportsbooks for the top spots to bet on NFL odds in your area.