The NFL Playoffs begin with a Saturday doubleheader to kick off Wild Card Weekend, followed by a pair of pivotal contests on Sunday. Here’s a look at the NFL Wild Card Sunday odds.
To help sports bettors get the lay of the land, the game capsules below cover need to know information, including point spreads and game totals as posted by online sportsbook Bovada.
Teams that rack up 12-win seasons seldom settle for a Wild Card berth, but with the Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) owning the AFC West, the Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) find themselves in exactly that position.
Fortunately for the Bolts, hitting the road hasn’t been a problem whatsoever this year, as Los Angeles surged to a 7-1 record playing away from home. And that lone loss occurred all the way back in Week 3 to their intracity rivals the Los Angeles Rams (13-3), meaning the Chargers haven’t lost outside of La La Land in 2018.
However, of the team’s three home losses, by far the worst occurred just two weeks ago at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens (10-6).
Powered by a college-style ground game centered around rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, the Ravens came to Los Angeles and suffocated the Chargers in a 22-10 romp. Jackson played efficiently, putting up a 12 for 22 passing line for 204 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions, while adding another 39 yards running the option. For the Chargers, veteran QB Phillip Rivers played his worst game of the year, completing 23 of 37 for a paltry 181 yards and tossing two picks to no touchdowns.
The Baltimore defense – which holds opposing offenses to a league-low 292.9 yards per game – is capable of giving any quarterback fits, but its complete shutdown of Los Angeles could be quite telling. Chargers running back Melvin Gordon rushed for only 41 yards on 12 carries, and Los Angeles was held under 20 points for the first time all year.
One concern for Baltimore could be Jackson’s inexperience, especially in the pressure cooker of the postseason. Rookie signal-callers have lost their last five playoff games, a streak which doesn’t bode well for Jackson – especially with Rivers looking to finish off a stellar career in style by hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for the first time.
Based on home field advantage coupled with Baltimore’s impressive victory over Los Angeles the Ravens are slight favorites at (-2.5) on the NFL Wild Card Sunday odds. And given the ground and pound pace of the Ravens offense under Jackson, the low game total of (41.5) portends a defensive struggle.
Last season, career backup Nick Foles replaced an injured Carson Wentz at quarterback late in the year and never looked back, winning Super Bowl 52 and garnering MVP honors along the way.
Miracles like that aren’t likely to repeat, but after Wentz went down yet again with the Eagles sitting at 6-7, Foles returned with a vengeance to spark a three-game winning streak. That run saved Philadelphia’s season, securing them the No. 6 seed and a chance to defend their Super Bowl title.
Foles was banged up in the season finale, but head coach Doug Pederson has already proclaimed “Saint Nick” ready to go for Philly’s first round contest in Chicago.
He’d better be ready too, what with the Bears sporting a ferocious defense that has old-timers reminiscing about the vaunted 1985 team. The 2018 version holds opposing offenses to only 17.7 points per game, the lowest in all of football, and they’re also best at takeaways with 36.
The trade for all-world linebacker Khalil Mack in the offseason has clearly paid dividends, providing second-year QB Mitchell Trubisky a much-needed safety net.
With a Windy City crowd that hasn’t tasted home playoff action since 2010 on hand, the Bears are by far the biggest favorites in the round at (-6) on the NFL Wild Card Sunday odds. And fittingly enough for a team boasting Chicago’s defensive legacy, the game total of (41) is the lowest of the first round.