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NFL Wildcard Playoff Preview: Matches and Betting MarketsPublished January 7, 2016 by Sol FH
Wildcard Weekend gets underway on Saturday Night at 21:35 GMT with games also on Sunday beginning at 18:05 GMT.
There are no sporting events as heavily bet upon as is the NFL Playoffs. Hundreds of millions are bet during the playoffs each year and it is expected that this year, sportsbooks like bet365 Sports, Winner Sports, Real Deal Bet Sports, 888 Sports and William Hill will all break records due to high levels of traffic from punters worldwide.
The question stands however, which teams are likely to win their first round playoff berth? AFC teams have been plagued with injuries, while the NFC have six prospects that could easily move on to the Super Bowl with the Carolina Panthers leading the pack. This weekend's Wild Card games should be incredible and with the Seahawks and the Redskins showing vast improvement, there could be some upsets for punters to take advantage of.
Wild Card Weekend
With four teams already in the Divisional Finals, Broncos, Panthers, Patriots and Cardinals, that leaves eight that will go to battle over the weekend for a chance to move on.
Chiefs vs Texans: Saturday, Jan. 9 – 21:35 GMT
The Chiefs are on a ten-game winning streak after starting the season 1-5. They are playing to win, running the ball very well, playing defense like a team should, and are winning turnover battles, which lead them to wins. The biggest problem is that they face JJ Watt, the league's sack leader, which will pose a threat to QB Alex Smith and his risky style of play. Even with the QB throwing for more yards (3,486) than even before in his 11-year career, the Chiefs must be weary of the Texans defense.
Bet365 betting odds are in favor of the Chiefs at 1.57, while the Texans are behind at 2.55. There are an additional 203 individual betting markets ahead of the game.
Steelers vs Bengals: Sunday, Jan.10 – 1:15 GMT
The Bengals won the AFC North, but with the injury to Andy Dalton, their chances against the Steelers are slim. Even with the loss of Ben Roethlisberger to injury, the Steelers have been playing well and they are the favorites to win this one. During the regular season the teams split their head-to-head games so the game will undoubtedly be a nail biter. The question is if AJ McCarron has enough to take the Steelers to victory?
Winner Sports has posted the Steelers as outright favorites at 1.70, while the Bengals will need to play hard to win at 2.20.
Seahawks vs Vikings: Sunday, Jan. 10 – 18:05 GMT
This game will be the most significant of all Wild Card matchups. The Vikings won their first NFC North title since 2009 and they are playing incredibly, even with average performances from Teddy Bridgewater. Lest we forget, the Vikes have the NFL rushing leader, Adrian Peterson in the backfield and if he is on his game, the Seahawks will have a lot to deal with on defense. The Vikings are at home, which should make their chances a bit better against an amazing Seahawks offense, but they will need to establish their running game early in order to beat Seattle.
Real Deal Bet Sports has a ton of odds, but the outright props are in favor of the Seahawks at 1.40, while the Vikings are not too far behind at 2.90.
Packers vs Redskins: Sunday, Jan. 10 – 18:05 GMT
This game is for either team to lose. The Packers lost their last two games of the season, which led to their losing the NFC North to the Vikings. The Redskins are playing some of the best football of any team in the playoff picture and should be able to beat Green Bay at FedEx Field in Landover. The only silver lining for the Packers will be an inconsistent Redskins defense that has allowed more than 20 points over their last four games. Their defense was torn to shreds by the Jets, Buccaneers and the Panthers earlier in the season and Green Bay's struggling offense might be able to do the same.
888 Sports has the tightest odds of any other sportsbook for this game, with the Redskins as marginal favorites at 1.82, while the Packers are at 2.02.