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NFL Wild Card Betting Trends: Expect an Upset

Profile Picture: Jeremy Jones

January 12th, 2022

The NFL's Super Wild Card Weekend is upon us, and there are plenty of juicy trends and eye-catching analytics available to make smart wagering decisions.

Let's break down the latest metrics from around the NFL and determine the trends you should take advantage once the wildness begins.

Big favorites rarely lose

It is not that often that you see massive favorites in the NFL playoffs since you usually get evenly matched teams. However, when you do get those big mismatches, the favorite typically dominates in those games.

Home teams favored by 10 or more points are a perfect 5-0 ATS in the history of the Wild Card round. In all playoff matchups since 2011, double-digit favorites are 7-1 ATS. This year, you have the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers in this scenario.

Mon, January 17 2022, 1:15 AM

KC Chiefs

Moneyline

-770

Spread

-12.5

Total

O 46.5

PIT Steelers

Moneyline

+510

Spread

+12.5

Total

U 46.5

If you think the Steelers will cover, but not win, beware. The outright winner owns a point spread record of 48-7-1 ATS in the last 56 wild card playoff games. So, it is very rare that a team covers in this round without winning the game. The Chiefs beat the Steelers 36-10 just three weeks ago.

Expect an upset or two

Even though big favorites almost always win and cover, Wild Card Weekend is also good for an upset or two (or more) between more evenly matched teams. Since 2007, at least one underdog has won a wild card round game outright in 12 of the past 14 seasons (only 2012 and 2016 are the outliers).

Home favorites of seven or fewer points are just 14-28-1 ATS in the wild card round since 2003. This applies to every game this weekend except Steelers vs. Chiefs and Eagles vs. Buccaneers. In the past four seasons, there have been 18 total wild card games. The underdog has covered 15 of those 18 games.

Which underdog is most likely to win this weekend?

Road teams have a lot of success

In the last eight years, road teams are 22-11-1 ATS in wild card games. Home favorites facing division opponents in the wild card round are 3-9-1 ATS since 2003. These two trends bode well for the New England Patriots, who will be facing the Bills in Buffalo.

Sun, January 16 2022, 1:15 AM

BUF Bills

Moneyline

-200

Spread

-4

Total

O 43.5

NE Patriots

Moneyline

+165

Spread

+4

Total

U 43.5

The Patriots have won straight-up in their last two playoff games as underdogs. Josh Allen is 1-3 ATS in his playoff career for the Bills.

Another road team with a positive trend is the Philadelphia Eagles. They are 5-1 ATS in their last six playoff games. And even though the Las Vegas Raiders do not have a great history as playoff underdogs, they are facing a Cincinnati Bengals team that is 0-7-1 ATS in the playoffs since 1991.

The season of Unders continues

All season long we talked about how Unders were dominating games this year. The Under finished 141-109 in all non-overtime regular season games. Well, we have some even better trends to follow the Under during the NFL's Super Wild Card Weekend.

Since division realignment in 2002, Unders are 46-31-1 in wild card games, including 12-6 in the past four years. Of the last 30 wild card games with totals of 44 or higher, the Under is 21-8-1 (Only Patriots vs. Bills fails to meet the criteria this weekend).

In the last 31 Sunday wild card games, 23 have gone Under the total. Of the 18 No. 3 seed vs. No. 6 seed wild card matchups over the last nine seasons, the Under is 15-2-1. The Under is 7-1 in San Francisco’s last eight games as playoff underdogs. The 49ers vs. Cowboys game meets all these criteria.

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