NFL Playoffs Wild Card Betting Preview
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 1/7/2011
The New Orleans Saints might be massive 11-point favorites for Saturday’s wild card game in Seattle versus the Seahawks, but bettors aren’t doubting the visitors’ ability to cover the big spread. At Bodog, we’ve booked the majority of the early action on the Saints and expect to be cheering for the Seahawks come game time.
It’s really quite remarkable that an NFL team is about to host a playoff game as a double-digit underdog, but that’s what happens when you win your division with a 7-9 record and get matched up with the defending Super Bowl champions. The fact there’s been so much publicity about the Seahawks qualifying for the postseason with a losing record has more than likely affected the line. The way some people are talking about Seattle they might as well be talking about the Carolina Panthers.
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Not that the Seahawks are a good team. They’re clearly not based on the regular season. But they did finish 5-3 at raucous Qwest Field, one of the toughest places to play in the league. New Orleans also comes into the game with significant injury concerns at running back, so there’s reason to believe this could be a close affair. Just not enough reason for most bettors.
Another home underdog that we expect to be pulling for is Kansas City, which hosts Baltimore (-3) on Sunday. Bettors still appear to be wary of the Chiefs, despite the surprise team’s 10-6 record. Kansas City may have ended its schedule with a thud, falling 31-10 at home to the Raiders, but Todd Haley’s squad has shown resilience all season.
The Ravens, of course, have shown plenty themselves this year, finishing with a 12-4 record. They also boast one of the league’s best run defenses, which they’ll need to be stout against the Chiefs’ top-ranked ground game led by Jamaal Charles.
As for the weekend’s other two games, the majority of the early action has been on the Colts (-3) at home versus the Jets while the money’s come in on both sides for the NFC wild card match-up between the Green Bay Packers and Eagles (-3) in Philadelphia.
Finally, a quick note on a special prop we’ve created at Bodog: How many wild card teams (New Orleans, Baltimore, NY Jets, Green Bay) will win their games this weekend? The favorite is two at (+125), which makes sense since there are two wild card teams that are favored to win. But if you think all four can pull it off, and that’s certainly not out of the question, then you can get odds of +800.
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