The NFC Wildcard games didn’t leave much to be desired by the typical NFL fan but there were some solid betting opportunities that knowledgeable sports bettors exploited in the two games.
The New Orleans Saints looked like they would destroy the Detroit Lions on paper and the Sportsbooks agreed. The Sportsbooks posted the Saints’ Pointspread as a 10.5 favorite at home and the Saints turned it on in the second half to destroy the large spread, defeating the Lions by a score of 45-28.
The Over was another number that looked unreachable in the Saints/Lions game. The Saints indoors with Drew Brees can play on another level and they did just that against the Lions. The Over made history as the highest Over/Under ever posted on an NFL post season game with a number of 69.5 in some places. The daunting number encouraged action on the Under but the Saints combined with the Lions to score 73 points.
The New York Giants hosted the Atlanta Falcons in the second NFL Wildcard game and there was never a doubt the Giants would cover the 3.5 Pointspread. Eli Manning and the Giants have been inconsistent all season but when the team is on they are one of the best in the NFL.
The Over of 47 was never in jeopardy for the game with the Giants defense handling the Falcons and Matt Ryan. The Falcons have a history of imploding in the post season and this game was no different. Ryan struggled and Mike Smith gambled at the wrong times.
Now the Saints take on the San Francisco 49ers on a slow track in Candlestick Park and the Giants travel to the frozen tundra of Green Bay to take on Aaron Rodgers and the defending champions, the Green Bay Packers.
Prepare for another week of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow and Tebow mania. Tebow did it again against the Pittsburgh Steelers, finishing the AFC North Wildcard representatives in Denver, 29-23. Tebow did it in spectacular fashion, hitting Demaryious Thomas over the middle on the first play of overtime to seal the win.
Ben Roethlisberger never looked comfortable in the pocket and the Denver Broncos defense, despite giving up 23 points, kept him on the ropes all game. The Steelers, favored on the road by 8.5 points, never looked like the best team on the field and they never covered the Pointspread during the game.
Tebow turned in his best performance of his career by the numbers and the Steelers defense helped him do it. The Steelers focused on making Tebow pass by stuffing the run and the strategy backfired. Tebow made big pass after big pass to keep the Steelers on their heels and the Over of 34 points got covered early in the fourth quarter.
The first AFC Wildcard game between the Houston Texans and the Cincinnati Bengals was a battle of the rookies. Rookie quarterback T.J. Yates led the Texans over the Bengals and their rookie quarterback Andy Dalton. The Texans, received the nod from the sportsbooks, getting posted as a 3 point favorite based on the Texans hosting the game.
The real story of the Texans and Bengals battle was defense. The Texans effectively brought the heat on Bengals quarterback Dalton and forced mistakes including an incredible interception by Texans defensive lineman, J.J. Watts.
The Texans nearly covered the 38 point Over total by themselves. Yates turned in a workman like performance to give the Texans their first NFL playoff victory and now they get the honor of traveling to play the Baltimore Ravens.