I didn’t have a great NFL season with my spread betting picks, but the playoffs got off to a great start with my two dog picks both not only covering the spreads, but winning the games outright. I was on the Titans and Falcons last week to beat the spread and I personally had a sizeable bet on the Falcons to win outright as well, so it was a profitable weekend. Hopefully we can keep things rolling by picking another couple winners for the Divisional Round this weekend.
I’ll be using SportsInteraction.com for all of the spreads and predictions below. You can see our full Sports Interaction review here. I have plays on 2 of the wild card games which I’ve outlined below.
Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles
- Atlanta -3
- Philadelphia +3
I’m going to continue to ride the Falcons in this postseason. They looked great against the Rams last week with the defense keeping Todd Gurley in check for the most part throughout the game, and forcing a couple fumbles that really turned the tide in the game. Julio Jones looks like a man possessed out there, and I expect him to continue to have success this week, even against a very solid Eagles secondary. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman shared the running back duty for the Falcons, and did well enough to control the flow of the game. They will have a tougher time against a solid Eagles run defense this coming week, compared to the Rams who consistently give up a lot of rushing yards, but I have a lot of confidence in this duo to be able to make a couple big plays that could change the game.
Of course, the biggest reason why the Falcons are favoured in this game is because of the Carson Wentz injury. Nick Foles will be the starter for the Eagles, and although he had a strong week 15 in his first week as starter, that was against a weak Giants team, and he was not able to replicate that success against either the Raiders or Cowboys in the next couple games. Foles has shown in the past to be a decent QB capable of some big plays, but he’s a huge step down from Carson Wentz and the Eagles are definitely in a tough spot because of that injury. I personally don’t think the Eagles have the talent on offense to score many points on this resurgent Falcons D. The Eagles will need big games from Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz, but I think it’s much more likely that the Falcons take these weapons away and make things very difficult on Foles.
The Falcons are a better team than their regular season record indicates and I expect them to continue to show that in this postseason with a win this weekend.
Play: Falcons -3
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Pittsburgh Steelers
- Jacksonville +8
- Pittsburgh -8
I think this could be a very tight game. The Jags have the best defense in the league and are have by far the best secondary in the league, ranking a distant first when it comes to shutting down the oppositions top WR. Considering that Antonio Brown is that guy for the Steelers, if they are able to shut him down that could pose a lot of difficulty for Big Ben and this Steelers offense. Le’Veon Bell will be looked upon to carry the load offensively for the Steelers in this game. He does have the ability to put this offense on his back, but I don’t know if his ability justifies this large of a spread against the best D in the league.
If the Jags are able to put up a few points of their own and perhaps just get into the endzone a couple times, then I think they easily beat this spread. Leonard Fournette had a quiet game against the Bills, but he did what he needed to do to control the flow of the game, and he will be counted on in a big way to bring some offense this week in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are ranked 23rd in the league against pass catching running backs, and I expect Fournette to get at least 5 targets this week. If he can turn one of those into a big play the Jaguars will look good.
This is playoff football and I will take the best defense in the league +8 in the postseason anytime.
Play: Jaguars +8