In this week's newsletter...
Sports betting fans are in for high-stakes, win-or-go-home football with the NFL kicking off its postseason. This year’s matchups in the NFL playoffs are expected to provide all kinds of drama and fanfare with colorful storylines drumming more hype to already pressure-packed games.
However, of the six Wild Card games that will be taking place over a span of three days, three games are likely to attract more eyeballs than the others given the popularity of the teams involved and the plotlines that make these showdowns captivating for casual sports fans as well as betting enthusiasts.
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers Matchup Prediction
The Seahawks secured a playoff berth on the last day of the regular season by virtue of a miracle. Will they pull off another one against the best defensive team in the NFL throughout the regular season?
The 49ers (-9.5) are heading into the Wildcard Game as the hands-down favorites with almost a double-digit point handicap across all major sportsbooks. And why not? San Francisco’s defense has been a machine, allowing their opponents to chalk up an average of 16.3 points per game.
Add in the two lopsided losses dealt to them by their rivals in the regular season, and this game truly feels like Seattle is going up against the world. The public also isn’t warm to the possibility of a stunner. In fact, most of them really believe the Seahawks can’t put up much of a fight with only 36 percent voting to cover the spread.
Prediction: Seahawks 15, 49ers 32
Spread: +9.5 (-110) / -9.5 (-110)
Total: o/u 42.5 (-110)
Moneyline: +375 / -500
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals Matchup Prediction
The Bengals’ path to the Super Bowl last season started with an impressive win in the Wild Card phase. The question now can they come through with another inspiring run this season?
Part of this question will be answered this Sunday as the Bengals defend their home field against the Ravens, who may not be playing with quarterback Lamar Jackson after all. Despite hopes of a possible comeback in the postseason, the former MVP might have just ruled himself out of the elimination game after posting a tweet that indicates the status of his injured knee.
"There is still inflammation surrounding my knee and my knee remains unstable," Jackson wrote. "I wish I could be out there with my guys more than anything, but I can't give a 100% of myself to my guys and fans. I'm still hopeful we have a chance."
The Bengals, meanwhile, have been blazing hot entering the postseason. They capped an 8-game winning run with a 27-16 win over the Ravens. Boasting a 6-1 record at Paycor Stadium this season, Cincinnati marches into the Wild Card playoff game looking like a team in form for a deep playoff run. According to Covers.com, 74 percent of their sports betting customers voted for the Bengals to cover the 8.5 points spread.
Prediction: Ravens 14, Bengals 30
Spread: +8.5 (-110) / -8.5 (-110)
Total: o/u 40.5 (-110)
Moneyline: +310 / -400
Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers Matchup Prediction
Despite the fact that he had the G.O.A.T title already secured, Tom Brady rose up from his short-lived retirement and ruined his marriage in the process for one last shot at the Vince Lombardy Trophy. Will all of these sacrifices be meaningful in the end? Or the Cowboys are just destined for something bigger this season after years of playoff misery?
The Cowboys finished the season on a sour note after losing to the Commanders 26-6, but they remain a potent team both on offense and defense.
There's no doubt that the pressure is piling up for the Cowboys. And then there is always the possibility of a classic Brady performance. Let's make this clear, this is a winnable game for Dallas unless Dak Prescott chokes up again with turnovers.
By just looking at the stats and wins disparity, this is starting to end up as a coming-out party for the Cowboys. On the other hand, everything is possible for the Buccaneers as long as they have Brady making the plays from the pocket. Tampa Bay after all embarrassed the Cowboys on opening day, 19-3.
Dallas is the favorite at -2.5 but so far 53% of the sports betting fans at Covers.com supports the Bucs to cover the spread and win outright.
Prediction: Cowboys 25, Buccaneers 23.
Spread: -2.5 (-115) / +2.5 (-105)
Total: o/u 45.5 (-110)
Moneyline: -145 / +120
This is an exciting weekend to put some money on the NFL playoff games!
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