(7) Philadelphia Eagles @ (2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7, 49) | 1:05pm ET
A surprising 9-8 Eagles team is set to take on the defending champs in what looks to be a one-sided matchup. Philadelphia is a middle of the pack team offensively and defensively, whereas Tampa Bay is top 10 in both total offense and defense. The two teams played in Week 6 with the Bucs winning 28-22.
Both teams are around .500 ATS and the over has hit in over half of games played for both teams. When the two teams played in Week 6, the under hit. However, that same point total (45.5) on Sunday would be a win for the over.
Tampa Bay will be missing several of its key contributors. Wide receiver Chris Godwin is out, as is running back Leonard Fournette. Backup running back Ronald Jones is questionable. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you also know that Antonio Brown is no longer a member of the team.
Despite the difference in total defense between the two teams, both are pretty comparable on a per attempt basis. Both teams are in the league’s top 8 for allowing the lowest passing yards per attempt. Both are in the top half against the run as well, with the Eagles having the edge on a per carry basis.
The obvious difference here is quarterback play. Seven-time champion Tom Brady vs. second year pro Jalen Hurts, who’s playing in his first playoff game. Despite the injuries, Brady still has Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski to throw to.
I like Tampa to win, but this feels like a close game. Without Brown (who was excellent in the Week 6 matchup), Godwin, and Fournette, I don’t believe that Tampa will move the ball at will. Because of this, the under also seems pretty tempting.
It should be noted, however, that forecasted high winds do not appear to be nearly as severe as anticipated. The current forecast in Tampa calls for potential showers and cloud cover as opposed to intense thunderstorms. This may allow either team to open more and could present some values on play props.
With that said, the line has now dropped to -7, in which case I won’t be touching the Eagles at (+7). If you’re feeling bold, however, the Eagles moneyline sits at +290.
Prop bet: it’s hard to pick just one, but there are some really good touchdown odds. Dallas Goedert, Hurts’ favorite target, sits at +210. Jordan Howard, who has gotten a lot of goal line work, is +250. Cameron Brate, Gronk’s backup tight end who gets a lot of red zone targets, is +340. I will most certainly be putting a small feeler on Brate to hit pay dirt. There is a lot of value to potentially be had in this game.
(6) San Francisco 49ers @ (3) Dallas Cowboys (-3, 49.5) | 4:40pm ET
This matchup invokes the days of Montana, Young, Aikman, and those great teams of the 80s and 90s. These teams are nowhere near that level, but this should be a fun matchup, nonetheless.
Both teams are above water ATS. San Fran is 9-8 and Dallas is a whopping 13-4. Over/unders are 8-9 for both teams.
If you look at the Cowboys over their final 10 games, they either win games by comfortable margins or lose very close games. The offense has been a constant over the last several years, but the defense is finally good this year. Dallas leads the league in takeaways. Their usually explosive offensive was first in points and yards. Much of this damage, however, was done against teams such as Washington, Atlanta, and the Eagles’ backups in week 18.
San Francisco has a great defense, allowing the third fewest total yards per game across the league. Their offense has been good too, but much of this seems to do with coach Kyle Shanahan’s scheme. Star wide receiver Deebo Samuel has been the ultimate weapon for the Niners, combining 1405 receiving yards and 365 rushing yards. This is an offense that is difficult to gameplan for.
In my opinion, the game will come down to who can protect their quarterback. A turnover could easily decide this game. I lean toward Dallas winning in a low scoring affair. I would not be surprised either way. I would hammer the under. I lean San Fran getting a field goal, but would not bet that with any confidence.
Prop bet: Dallas tight end Dalton Schultz and Niners wide receiver Jauan Jennings have been no stranger to the end zone lately. Schultz is +185 and Jennings is +270 to hit pay dirt. A little feeler on each player seems like it could have some big upside.
(7) Pittsburgh Steelers @ (2) Kansas City Chiefs (-13, 46.5) | 8:15pm ET
This game figures to be the most lopsided of the wild card slate. Pittsburgh scratched and clawed their way into the field with unlikely help from the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Chiefs coasted to an AFC West division crown by winning nine of their final 10 games.
These two met at Arrowhead in Week 16 with KC winning 36-10.
Both teams are 8-9 ATS. Pittsburgh regularly hits the under (11 of 17), and the Chiefs tend to hit the over (10 of 17 and each of their last five). Something has to give.
Pittsburgh owns the league’s second worst passing yards per attempt and fourth worst rushing yards per attempt. Simply put, this offense is inept. In order for the Steelers to have a chance, the defense will have to generate turnovers.
KC is its usual self on offense. After a slow start, Mahomes once again looks like Mahomes. On defense, KC still allows opponents to move the ball. However they’re 5th in takeaways and 8th in scoring defense, so they have been great at limiting damage and getting the ball back for their high-powered offense.
With the last matchup being a blowout, it begs the question if Pittsburgh can keep this one close. Despite being visibly washed up, QB Ben Roethlisberger might still have some magic left after some clutch drives in the Steelers’ last 2 games.
Strange things can happen, but I just don’t see this being a close game. I see KC winning by at least 2 touchdowns. I like the under as well.