Today is the first three games of the Wild Card Weekend. We are set with a good slate with Indianapolis at Buffalo, Los Angeles (Rams) at Seattle, and Tampa Bay at Washington. I hope everyone is as excited as I am to watch some playoff football and to win some money!
We all know that playoff football is different from regular season football but I am going to use the same process with just a little bit of a twist. The regular season process is to look at the game logs and see if there is a trend for the individual player to go over/under the number. After that we look at the odds of the bet (-112 in many cases) and calculate the implied odds (-112 equates to 52.8% for instance). If the game logs show that the bet is much more likely of happening or not then, we dive in further to look at the individual matchup and trends. This will be the same starting process but then I am adding more art to it then I normally do. As we said, NFL playoffs are different from the regular season. Each team is doing whatever they think they need to win this game then worrying about next week after the game. Taking that win now approach into consideration allows us to adjust our plays based on the team, opponent and coaches involved. To summarize Normal process (game logs, look at odds and implied odds) Adjust for game flow projections based on matchups and coaches (that was a lot easier to write) Indianapolis at Buffalo - 1:05 ET We are starting off with an adjustment from the jump. I like Josh Allen Over 29.5 Rushing Yards -112. Allen has gone over this number 4 out of his last 7 games (57.1%) which is enough to get us over the implied odds (52.8%) but not by that much. The first thing to consider is one of those 7 games was last week in a game where he didn’t play all of it to allow him to stay healthy for today’s game. The other thing I am considering is that I believe Allen will run a little more often in the playoff game(s) trying to minimize turnovers while keeping the chains moving. Los Angeles (Rams) at Seattle – 4:40 ET This one isn’t sexy but I like Tyler Higbee OVER 2.5 receptions -139 (58.2%). Higbee has gone over 2.5 receptions in 6 of his last 8 (75%) including both of the Seahawks matchups. Here is the reason why I like Higbee, if Goff plays, I believe that the Rams will try to focus on passing in this game and Higbee should get a lot of looks, if Goff doesn’t play Wolford did connect with Higbee 3 times in week 17 so even with Wolford, Higbee went over. If you are uncomfortable with relying on a backup quarterback to get your pass catcher over I would pivot to Russell Wilson OVER 246.5 passing yards -112 (52.8%). This is a pure gut/game script play. I believe if Goff doesn’t play then Seattle will be more aggressive on offense trying to get out to a lead to take the run game away from the Rams. Tampa Bay at Washington – 8:15 ET I like JD McKissic UNDER 55.5 rushing and receiving yards -112 (52.8%). With Antonio Gibson coming back, McKissic will be primarily a pass catching back/receiver. I will expect 10 or less rushing yards from McKissic in this game (and importantly so will Tampa Bay when they scheme against him as a catcher and not a runner). So, the question is, can McKissic reach 46 yards receiving. Sure, he can, but will he? He has done that in only 5/16 (31.3%) games this year. On top of that, he did that 3 times in the 4 games that Gibson was either out of left early. If you take those 4 games away, he is 2/12 (16.7%). There are many variables in this one but I do like McKissic under the 55.5 total rushing and receiving yards. Well that’s all folks. Check back tomorrow for the Sunday Wild Card games. -Shaun Parrott