NFL Wild Card Weekend has arrived and now with a total of six games with the extended knockouts, you can all guarantee there will be some disturbance.
In fact, historically weak teams performed well at Wild Card Weekend. In fact, the weaker teams have covered the spread by 55% (108-89-4) in the wild card round, since 2003.
They have performed exceptionally well in recent years, and have even gone 10-12 straight in the past five seasons.
So that begs the question, how will the underdogs deal with the sadness this time? There are three things that I would bet on doing it.
Let’s dive into them, with them all Odds listed via WynnBET.
Raiders +195 vs Bengals
Despite their Week 11 results against the Bengals, I think the Raid is underrated in this position. The Raiders’ defense, believe it or not, is a much stronger unit than the Bengals’ this NFL season. Going into the post-season, the Raiders ranked 9th in opponent yards per play, while the Bengals ranked 21st.
The Raiders are also sixth in opponent yards per pass attempt, allowing opponents to achieve 6.3 yards per pass. That will prove to be key in slowing Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati explosive attack. Meanwhile, the Bengals’ defense is 21st in yards per pass attempt, allowing an average of 6.7.
These two offenses are comparable, ranking seventh and tenth in terms of attack yardsticks per play. I think what makes the difference in this game is the defense, and the Raiders hold a significant advantage.
Eagles +300 vs. Buccaneers
The Eagles have been quietly one of the better teams in the second half of the NFL season, and I’ll bring them back to this spot against the Buccaneers.
Philadelphia holds the ball over 51.16% of the time, which is the highest score in the NFL. They also averaged 4.9 yards per take, which is the fourth-highest in the league. They can find success on the ground against a Tampa Bay defense that ranks 15th in yards per take. Bucs’ have also allowed 4.9 yards per carry over the past three weeks.
Meanwhile, the Eagles’ defense played well against the Buccaneers’ attack. We all know that the Bucs are a first pass foul, but the Eagles rank 10th in the NFL in opponent yards per pass. More notably, they are second in the league in opponent yards per finish.
49ers +130 vs. Cowboys
You might not believe it, but the San Francisco 49ers had a top-flight run in the NFL this season in yards per game, averaging 6.1. The Cowboys are right behind them, coming in third on that statistic with an average of 6.0. The big difference between these two teams is defensive ability.
The 49ers’ defense is sixth in terms of yards per game, averaging 5.1, while the Cowboys’ defense is 20th, averaging 5.5. The most important aspect of this game is how effective the San Francisco attack will be against the Dallas defense.
The 49ers hit the ball over 47.71% of the time, which is the fourth-highest percentage in the league. They now face a Dallas defense that ranks 23rd in yards per take, averaging 4.5.
The Cowboys roster may be flashier and sexier, but the knockouts are capable of playing raw, ugly football and the 49ers hold a significant advantage in that genre.
I think San Francisco will relieve the discomfort here.
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