Ben Rolfe is back on OddsChecker this week with a parlay for Saturday and Sunday of the NFL Wild Card Round. Here is his Saturday Parlay.
Eight of the 14 playoff teams rank in the top 10 on offense in EPA/play over the past seven weeks. Two of those teams clash this week. However, the way they have done it differs greatly. The Colts rank seventh overall but are fourth in the run game and eighth in the passing game. Meanwhile the Bills are third in passing offense, but a lowly 25th in the running game.
Defensively is where these two teams really divulge in the past seven weeks. In that period the Bills are a top-two defense, leading the league against the pass, while ranking fourth against the run. In contrast, the Colts defense ranks 22nd overall. The rank in the bottom half of the league against both the passing game and rushing attacks. That should be the difference in this game.
Since the bye, the Bills have won every game they have played by double digits. However, only one of those victories come against a playoff team in the Steelers. Meanwhile, four of the Colts five losses have come against AFC playoff teams. In contrast they have beaten just three playoff teams, with only one of those being an AFC playoff team.
My ideal play here is to tease the Bills down six points and take them -1.5 in a parlay. If you want to play this one against the spread, then I would take the Bills. If teasrs are not your thing, the Bills ML would be the first leg of my parlay.
Of the seven teams who rank in the top 10 on defense in EPA/play over the past seven weeks, two of them face off in this matchup. Equally, both teams rank in the bottom half offensively. However, the concern on offense is that the Rams are either starting John Wolford or a banged-up Jared Goff.
The Rams defense will likely limit the Seahawks scoring. They have kept them to a combined 36 points in the other two games this season. However, with the Seahawks defense having stepped up in the last few weeks, it is tough to see the Rams getting far above 20 either.
With the uncertainty around the QB situation in Los Angeles, it is hard to do anything other than put the Seahawks -3.5 on our Saturday parlay.
This is a true offense versus defense matchup between these two teams. In the past seven weeks, the Buccaneers offense ranks in the top 10 in EPA/play, but their defense ranks 23rd. Meanwhile, the Washington defense ranks in the top 10, but their offense ranks 30th.
One of my mantras this season is that when we have a matchup like this where a good offense faces a good defense while a bad offense faces a bad defense, my tendency is to back the offense. However, this game is extremely tough because the Buccaneers offense has really been rolling in recent weeks. They have been doing that against poor to mediocre defenses and this is not one of those.
I am going to stick to my mantra of backing the bad offense to be able to make plays. Washington does not rely on its run game, which is a key to taking on this Buccaneers offense. However, Saturday will see me play three parlays. My main one will not include this game, and then I will hedge this game in the other two. In the final parlay I will use the ability to play an alternate line to move the Buccaneers down to -2.5 as I expect them to win the game, but by around three to seven points.
NFL Wild Card Round Parlay
2u: Bills ML & Seahawks -3.5 @ +157
1u: Bills ML, Seahawks -3.5 & Washington +8.5 @ +391
1u: 1u: Bills ML, Seahawks -3.5 & Buccaneers -2.5 @ +234
NFL Free Picks
Playoff football is finally here after a season which looked like it might not happen at one point. This expanded playoff structure has given us some exciting games. Saturday's Wild Card Round games see Colts @ Bills, in which Josh Allen will look to underline his MVP credentials. Rams @ Seahawks gives us a divisional clash and Bucs @ Washington sees the rookie Chase Young trying to rush the GOAT, Tom Brady. Sunday gives us another three fun games. The Ravens travel to Tennessee to face the Titans in a game between two of the best rushing attacks in the league. The Bears enter New Orleans as outsiders, then the Browns face the Steelers in another divisional game, and a rematch of their week 17 tie.
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