Previews and betting information for Saturday's NFL Wild Card games
The NFL playoff bracket is set, and Super Wild Card weekend kicks off the 2023 playoffs with six games. Leading online sportsbooks have three one-sided point spreads from 9-13 points, and three competitive contests of 2.5 to 3 points. I have no Picks on these games, but provide Opinions and Leans below. We'll review more including props and in-game live betting options as the games approach and unfold. What I'm providing below is stats and ATS betting information with some of my research and game analysis along with additional data provided by Playbook Sports. Check back for added updates.
Isolating stats of the playoff teams accumulated against this year's playoff teams shows how teams did against the stronger NFL teams this season. It doesn't tell us if those teams had key players out or injuries that impacted a teams performance or stats, or a scheduling situation that was favorable or not. But it helps in understanding the stats as a baseline against better teams.
Teams Stats vs Playoff Teams
|Philadelphia Eagles||+571 yards||5-1 SU||4-2 ATS|
|San Francisco 49ers||+440 yards||5-1 SU||4-2 ATS|
||+417 yards||3-2 SU||1-3-1 ATS|
||+414 yards||2-5 SU||2-4-1 ATS|
||+358 yards||5-3 SU||4-4 ATS|
|Kansas City Chiefs
||+161 yards||5-3 SU||4-4 ATS|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers
||+73 yards||2-4 SU||2-4 ATS|
|Los Angeles Chargers
||-155 yards||1-5 SU||4-2 ATS|
|Seattle Seahawks||-234 yards||2-4 SU||2-4 ATS|
|Miami Dolphins||-269 yards||2-5 SU||3-4 ATS|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||-319 yards||2-3 SU||2-3 ATS|
|Cincinnati Bengals||-330 yards||4-2 SU||4-2 ATS|
|New York Giants||-520 yards||2-6 SU||5-3 ATS|
|Minnesota Vikings||-816 yards||3-2 SU||2-3 ATS|
I provided NFL underdog picks and insights this season and went 32-26 ATS (55.2%) with 24 outright winners. That follows last seasons 28-12 ATS and 70% winners. Posting NFL underdog picks the last two years has produced a 60-38 ATS (61.2%) mark with 45 outright winners. Fairway's Forecast the last 6 years posting NFL underdog picks at OSGA have gone 162-117 ATS (58.1%) with 92 outright winners.
Quarterback play will be of key importance again, and recall last year's Super Bowl LVI featured two former first round QB's (Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow) leading both No. 4 seeds to the Super Bowl. ESPN noted that 11 of the top 15 finishers in Total QBR made the 2023 playoff field, and 8 of the 14 playoff teams' projected starters were first-round picks (along with two of the backups). All seven AFC teams could start quarterbacks under the age of 30, and up to six passers could make their first playoff start, per ESPN Stats & Information research.
Wild Card Round Matchups, Odds, Analysis
Sat., Jan. 14
Odds provided by BetOnline
Seattle at San Francisco (-9.5), Total 42.5
The 49er's (13-4) outgained 5-of-6 playoff opponents this season and beat the division rival Seahawks (9-8) in both meetings, 21-13 in December and 27-7 at home back in September. Of course, the early season win was before the 49ers traded for RB Christian McCaffrey, and also featured QB's Trey Lance, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury in that game, and Jimmy Garappolo, who suffered a season-ending foot injury the first game of December against the Dolphins. Now we have Niners rookie QB Brock Purdy vs. Seahawks QB Geno Smith off his unexpected solid season. San Francisco is on a 10-game winning streak and covered 7 of their last 8 games. The Seahawks gained just 217 yards against the 49ers back in the September defeat and 277 yards in the December defeat. The 49ers boast the No. DVOA defense (#2 rush, #5 pass) according to Football Outsiders, while the Seahawks defense (#21 DVOA) ranks only ahead of the Giants and Vikings of this year's playoff teams. The 49ers offense averaged 365 yards per game this season (Seahawks 351), and the Niners dominated all NFL opponents with an average of 10.2 points per game and +65 yards per game to the Seahawks +0.3 PPG and -10.2 YPG. This game, along with the Bills vs Dolphins, has the largest net yards margin vs fellow playoff teams of all the opening round playoff match-ups, and strongly favors the 49ers and Bills.
ATS notes: Playbook Sports adds that home teams that won 12 or more games last season and lost in the conference championship game are 27-2 SU and 21-7-1 ATS in their opening playoff game (49ers).
2023 NFL Strength of Schedule (SOS): 49ers (No. 15, .514 opponent win %), Seahawks (Tied No. 12, .517 opponent win %).
Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5) at Jacksonville, Total 47.5
Two young star franchise quarterbacks make their playoff debut when the Chargers (10-7) and QB Justin Herbert tackle the Jaguars (9-8) and QB Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville. The Jaguars head into the postseason with five straight wins (4-1 ATS, 14 point ave. margin of victory) and playoff type pressure each week as they overtook the collapsing Tennessee Titans (7-straight losses) to win the AFC South division with a Week 18 win over the Titans, 20-16. The Chargers averaged an AFC-high 41.8 pass attempts per game this season, and Herbert battled an early season injury to pass for 4,739 yards - second most behind Patrick Mahomes. The Jaguars (+6.5) did upset the Chargers 38-10 back in September in California, and the Chargers suffered some injuries in their Week 18 loss at Denver (WR Williams, back, day-to-day, DE Bosa, groin, will play) and travel from altitude to CA and now East to Jacksonville with one less day rest. The Chargers have an average DVOA Defense (No. 16), but top 10 vs the pass and poor against the run. The Jaguars DVOA Defense is No. 26 (worst of all AFC playoff teams) and No. 30 against the pass setting up our bonus prop plays on Herbert passing. The Jaguars Offense DVOA (No. 9) ranks higher than the Chargers (No. 19), and Lawrence has really come on with his stronger play and passing (No. 6 pass DVOA), making over 47.5 points of more interest.
ATS notes: Playbook Sports adds that Wild Card home underdogs (or pick 'em) are 12-3 ATS, and Jaguars head coach Doug Peterson is 5-0 ATS as a playoff underdog, including in Super Bowl 52 when we flew with the Eagles in their 2018 Super Bowl win over the Patriots, 41-33 (OSGA - "I have Eagles (+4.5) winning Super Bowl LII and won't be surprised if it's by margin"). Sharps are lining up on the Jaguars to win or cover, yet the line is up from Chargers -1 at opener to -2.5. Let's lean the Chargers way and look forward to another rematch with the Chiefs next round.
2023 NFL Strength of Schedule (SOS): Jaguars (No. 23, .477 opponent win %), Chargers (Tied No. 12, .517 opponent win %)
Lean: Chargers and Opinion 'Over'
Miami at Buffalo (-13), Total 43.5
Another divisional duel kicks off Sunday's playoff games and this line has shot up from Bills -9 to -13 with the news that Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa (concussion) will not play. Neither will Teddy Bridgewater (dislocated finger), leaving rookie QB Skyler Thompson to make his third career start. The Dolphins (9-8) won the September meeting 21-19, and the Bills (13-3) took the rematch in December 32-29 with Bills QB Josh Allen passing for 304 yards and 4 TDs and leading the team in rushing with 77 yards. For the season, Miami outgained opponents by 26.7 yards per game (-0.1 points per game), while the Bills rolled past opponents by +10 points per game and +73.8 yards per game. I've always noted that Buffalo is one of the most difficult places to play, and especially so late in the season/playoffs (cold) and even more difficult for a rookie or inexperienced quarterback. Skyler Thompson failed to get the Dolphins into the end zone in last week's start and game against the Jets, and now he faces an even stronger defense on the road. The Bills DVOA Defense ranks No. 4 this season and best of the AFC playoff teams. Combined with the Bills No. 2 DVOA Offense, and Buffalo should fry the fish again. I bet the Bills earlier, and now the big line moves keeps this as a lean.
ATS notes: the Dolphins are 1-11 SU and 3-9 ATS away in outside stadiums in January since 1990. That doesn't matter when considering today's personnel, but Miami is also 2-14 SU and 3-13 ATS in Buffalo when arriving off a SU and ATS home win, which they did in the closing seconds of Week 18 over the Jets to secure a wild card spot.
2023 NFL Strength of Schedule (SOS): Bills (No. 7, .542 opponent win %), Dolphins (No. 2, .554 opponent win %).
Check back this weekend for additional stats, ATS, game analysis, opinions and information you can bet on for the remaining Wild Card round playoff games.
New York Giants at Minnesota (-3), Total 48
Baltimore at Cincinnati (-9), Total 40.5
Dallas (-2.5) at Tampa Bay, Total 45.5
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper with unparalleled success in NFL pointspread prognosis. Fairway is recognized as one of the sports industry's insightful analysts, and he chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Follow FairwayJay here at OSGA.com and on Twitter @FairwayJay for more betting insights.