NFL Wild Card Weekend Betting Predictions and Trends

NFL Wild Card Weekend Betting Predictions and Trends

Ladies and gentlemen, we have made it to the NFL Playoffs. After another complete regular season, the betting public has surprised us again. We have a plethora of data to comb through in these playoffs, so let’s get things started right with the two games on Saturday.

Wild Card Weekend is finally here, and we are here to bring you the best betting trends, information, and predictions to prepare you for the slate. Here you will find the best ways to bet on every Wild Card Matchup, but specifcally the Saturday games in the Cleveland Browns vs the Houston Texans and the Miami Dolphins vs the Kansas City Chiefs.

Through the first Eighteen weeks, the public amassed a record of 147-117 ATS (a 56% win percentage). Who would have told you at the beginning of the year that backing the public was the best way to bet in 2023 with any public betting trend? The public has finished better than both the money and sharp differential this year, with it already significantly beating out the sharp differential. 

Its truly been a weird year, especially looking at the trends above. We talked about the reasoning for the public doing so well, too much. And now that we are into the playoffs, its not necessarily true that those trends will carry over. Last year, the trends we had from the regular season only really carried over in the back half of the playoffs. So, with so many eyes and more bets on less games, we will have to use a little bit of a different approach.

I think the public is going to do worse than they have all season in the playoffs. Historically, they hit above a 53% rate in the Wild Card week. However, one of the reasons I think they had a good regular season, was that favorites tended to cover more often than they have. The lack of star power at quarterback was a major issue for most teams, and “the public” tends to bet favorites. Favorites went 137-122 ATS this year and 183-87 SU, that’s pretty significant.

Now that we are into the playoffs, all of the teams are “relatively” capable of beating everyone else, so I am looking to back the dog all the way through. It’s going to be an amazing year for the playoffs and I cannot wait to see what they have in store. Let’s get into the trends and picks for Wild Card Weekend. 

But first, welcome to Happy Hour Sports, my name is DJ and I track how the public and money do each week in the NFL. We want to take the phrase “fade the public” further because everyone talks about the betting public and money data, but when those numbers are brought up, there is no context around them. People assume high tickets on one side is bad, and high money on the other side is good. However, we are here to prove those claims right or wrong, every single week.

Our goal with Sharpen the Public and the weekly articles on this website is to provide context to the numbers and develop discourse regarding the data. If you are ever curious as to when the public does good, or what sharp differentials are strong indicators that a bet is the sharp side, then you have come to the right place. Follow the podcast and listen to us break everything down each week! 

With that out of the way, it’s time to get into this week’s best bets and analysis. Here you will find the bets that I place every week and some discussion on why I am taking most of them. We’re not trying to be those Twitter handicappers that scream max play at you, we want you to trust us. Don’t forget you can always find my recaps of the weeks here as well – detailing where things went wrong and how I did. I cannot get past this skid of going even, despite hitting a 2u play last week I have gone even over the past several weeks.

Deej Record from Week 18: 

Bets: 4-5

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Regular Season NFL Betting Trends

We have made it through the entire NFL Regular Season. Check out the full recap article and many other NFL pieces at our NFL BETTING PICKS. Additionally, the recent podcasts always break down the updates to the trends. If you missed that, here they are:

  • Public Betting Percentage: 147-117 ATS (56%)
  • Money Betting Percentage: 141-123 ATS (53%)
  • Sharp Differential: 133-131 ATS (50%)
  • Public on Over: 71-83 (46%)
  • Money on Over: 48-54 (47%)
  • Sharp Diff. on Over: 32-28 (53%)
  • Public on Under: 60-50 (54%)
  • Money on Under: 88-75 (54%)
  • Sharp Diff on Under: 114-90 (56%)

Now, we are the only people who provide deep recaps on these numbers like this every week; but, we are also the only sports betting brand that will dive deeper into these numbers and tell you important ranges that trends emerge from the already crazy trends you see above. 

As opposed to my normal breakdown throughout the year on these, I am taking the route I took last week in presenting the information. I am going to list the major trends that are apparent through Week 18 (with some context), and point out the playoff teams that currently fall into them. When relevant, I will also add some trends for Wild Card Week and specific teams at the end.

I’ve made it a point over the entire year how well the public has performed in 2023. However, what may be even more interesting is how well they have done when there are more than 60% of the tickets on a side. The public went 84-59 (59%) when the teams are what I call an actually public side. Below 60%, games feel like either team could be the public side (depending on the number), but actual public teams have fared incredibly this year. Specifically between 60%-70%, those teams are 59-37. This means that above 70%, teams are 25-22, which is still far better than anyone would have predicted to start the year. This is one of the reasons I love bringing this information to everyone. Here are the public sides this weekend (bolded are above 60%):

  • Browns -2.5, Chiefs -4.5, Bills -9.5, Cowboys -7, Rams +3, Eagles -3

I also want to make note of how the public in Wild Card Week. Over the past 20 years, they are hitting at a 53% rate. So, its still not time to fade the public.

Switching to totals:

Public on Over (Last 7 Weeks): 35-30

Money on Over (Last 7 Weeks): 25-17

Sharp Diff. on Over (Last 7 Weeks): 17-10 

A point I made during the midpoint of the season was that all of our metrics (public, money, and sharp diff.) would likely bounce back to finish out the year as we saw overs come back into the fold. Additionally, this was something we saw last year, so we could use that to our advantage in 2023. I did not think it would be as dominant as you see above. People are reading totals well, and 5 of the 6 games went over in 2022 as well. Clearly, there are some weather concerns for a couple of games this week, but in line with the trends here are the games this weekend with the public on the over (any with sharp diff. to the over are bolded):

  • Browns/Texans (44.5), Rams/Lions (51.5), Packers/Cowboys (50.5)

Now we know the money is meant to be one of the metrics that performs well all season. To start the year, any team that had greater than 50% of the money percentage had covered about 50% of the time. Over the last 7 weeks, the money percentage has picked up pace and went 60-46, covering at a 60% rate to bring their season-long record to 141-123, and closer to what it was to end last year. Here are the teams with the money today (keep in mind the money may have come in at different numbers):

  • Browns -2.5, Dolphins +4.5, Steelers +9, Packers +7, Rams +3, Eagles -3

The last thing I want to cover is a few team trends and Wild Card Week Trends that stand out to me and are looking like they will happen today. Each of these trends is how the public betting metrics (public, money, and sharp diff.) have fared on certain teams in 2023:

  • Public on the Browns are 1-5 ATS this season. Browns currently have 64% of the tickets.
  • Teams playing their way into the playoffs (Texans) vs Teams who rested (Browns) are 14-5 ATS in Wild Card Weekend
  • Home Dogs in Wild Card Weekend are 8-3-2 ATS
    • Saturday Home Dogs are 8-1-1 ATS Since 2007
  • Joe Flacco is 5-0 ATS in Wild Card Weekend
  • Rams are 6-3 ATS when the public backs them, and 6-3 ATS when the money backs them in 2023. They currently have both metrics.
  • Chiefs have the public today, but are surprisingly good when they back them. The Dolphins are even better with the public at 
  • Unders are 51-35 over the last 20 years in Wild Card Weekend

I will add some more by the time my plays come out tomorrow and Monday.

Note that I am writing this around Noon on Saturday, so as bets come in these percentages will change. Although, they should remain relatively close to what they are now. Sometimes I will have late plays because I take public trends into account and those constantly update, so follow me @DeejHHSports on twitter to see those picks. Before we get into the picks I will plug the website one last time, thanks for checking us out! We are a small sports brand that is slowly growing. We provide daily and weekly content around the sports we love, so please consider sticking around and subscribing!

 

Staying with my new approach and going to release the plays a little closer to kickoff, but the Texans and Browns preview is here. Chiefs/Dolphins will release later, same with plays for tomorrow and Monday!

Wild Card NFL Best Bets and Analysis

Cleveland Browns vs Hoston Texans (-2.5), Total 44.5

The NFL Playoffs are here and I am so excited to write about them. One thing I did not expect to write about during the playoffs, though, was Joe Flacco. He has turned this season around for the Browns and it has been pretty entertaining to watch. First this is first, Joe Flacco is a miraculous 5-0 ATS in wild card weekend, and just simply 11-4 ATS in every playoff game. He knows what he is doing when it comes to winning, but obviously the circumstances are far different now that he is with the Browns later into his career. He is more prone to turnovers later in his career, thowing an interception on nearly 4% of his passes. The age narrative is not the worst thing for the Browns today either. Their defense is historically bad on the road, for how good they are at home. In Week 16 against this same Texans team (without CJ Stroud), the Browns allowed 22 points. I think their defensive line is impressive, but they are still heavily banged up from the second half of the season. Throwing some trends into the mix, home dogs being 8-3-2 in Wild Card Weekend and 8-1-1 on Saturday, pushes me to the Texans. The Browns are 1-5 ATS when the public backs them this year, and they have had the public favoritism all week, also pushing me to Texans. The line moved from 1.5 in favor of the Browns to 2.5, with heavy professional resitance at 3 on the Texans side, keeping it at 2.5. Despite the historical woes of rookie quarterbacks in the playoffs, I am not sure CJ Stroud fits into those narratives. He brings so much to this offense, and with a better gameplan in place after having lost to this team a few weeks ago, I think the Texans line up to cover and win at home to kick off our playoffs. We know the Texans’ defense cannot stop anyone, so I also like the over. However, I think the injuries on the Browns’ defense, and Flacco’s turnover capability lead to the Texans pulling it out.

The Plays:  Texans +2.5 and Over 44.5

Miami Dolphins vs Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5), Total 43.5

Enter one of the most talked about games of Wild Card Weekend. The thing everyone wants to point out right now is the weather conditions. Freezing temperatures, wind chills in the negatives, and wind speeds upwards of 20 mph. The Chiefs were able to take a step back and rest some of their players in Week 18, whereas the Dolphins enter this one on a recent skid, losing the division to the Bills on Sunday Night in Week 18. With the 2023 Chiefs, their defense is what won them the division. The lack of offensive power has been very clear through the drops of their various wide receivers and the underperformance of Travis Kelce. Enter the Dolphins that have one of the most explosive offenses in the league, and to the naked eye it would seem like the Dolphins offense should propel them to a win this evening. However, this line opened at 3 points and is continuing to be bet in favor of the Chiefs, with some resistance at the 5 and 6 numbers. I personally think this line has moved to much. The question marks the weather adds actually improve the Dolphins chances in my eyes, since their offense can be so explosive. They can use Tyreek Hill and Achane in the backfield to add a speed that I am not so sure the Chiefs can handle today. The weather and lack of explosivity from the Chiefs offense also lead me to look towards the under, but this total has been significantly bet down from its open at 46. The public is currently on the Chiefs with the money on the Dolphins, but like I said before – a lot of the Chiefs money has come in when the number was closer to 3/3.5. Specifically looking at the numbers, I think the Dolphins have a strong chance of keeping it close, with the Chiefs edging out a win. Mahomes has not been a strong ATS quarterback in games over a field goal, so I am banking on the Chiefs winning the game on a final field goal. Both teams should run the ball a lot, and some books are still hanging a 44/44.5. Excited for this cold one.

The Plays:  Dolphins +5 (lean) and Under 44.5

Green Bay Packers vs Dallas Cowboys (-7), Total 50.5

Welcome to Sunday! We left Saturday 3-1 after losing the teaser, but have an exciting 2 game slate now since the Bills game was pushed back. First things first, both of these lines have had a little bit of movement. Toying between 7.5 and 7 with some Packers love from the sharps and the total has creeped above 50 after opening at 49. I tend to agree with those movements. As shown by the previous two Wild Card games, recent form matters. I think (despite an easier schedule) the Packers come into this one a little bit hotter than the Cowboys. We also saw a rookie quarterback dominate the playoffs, giving hope that rookie playoff quarterback Jordan Love can make some waves as well. Taking an eye on the stats, offensively this Packers team has crept up to 12th in offensive DVOA. The cowboys will surely get theirs on this weak Packers secondary, but against a defense that loves to play Man, Jordan Love should also not have issues moving the ball – despite the impressive Cowboys pass rush. The public is all in on the Cowboys at home and I’m not convinced they should be more than a touchdown favorites. The money is all in on the Packers and it’s clear the books are taking a stand at the touchdown mark. Some books are still hanging the hook which I will happily grab this morning. Single digit underdogs on Wild Card/Divisional Sunday are 46-16-1. I also love the over since I think once they each get a few drives, this game will open up with downfield passes. Let’s keep it rolling!

The Plays:  Packers +7.5 and Over 50.5

Los Angeles Rams vs Detroit Lions (-3), Total 51.5

Now we have the Matthew Stafford Bowl, which should be a fun one to end our Sunday night. Similar to the Chiefs game, this spread has moved slightly, but this time in favor of the underdog. The Rams opened as 4-point underdogs and have held steady at 3 points for a few days now. I think the reappearance of Kyren Williams has been one of the most impactful things to happen this season in the NFL. This offense has been rolling, winning their last 4 and scoring more than 26 points in everyone (except Week 18 where they rested some players.) Defensively, they should have some real advantages over the Lions’ offensive line, especially with Aaron Donald leading the charge. Goff is known to be one of the worst quarterbacks against pressure, and he will likely struggle again tonight. The Lions’ defense also ranks as one of the worst NFL teams against the pass, something that Stafford should have a lot of fun doing in a dome that he feels very comfortable in. The lights are going to be too bright for Goff and company tonight, so I love the Rams and the over. Let’s keep it rolling in the Playoffs!

The Plays:  Rams +3 and Over 51.5

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Buffalo Bills (-10), Total 38.5

We have made it to Wild Card Monday! After another thrilling day of playoff football, we enter Monday up nearly 4 units in the playoffs at 6-2. Things have been going well, but today is a day I feel far less confident in. Regarding the game at hand, the Bills and Steelers matchup has obviously been questionable all weekend. For one, it’s being played a day later than anticipated. For two, the weather still isn’t the most pristine it could be. Forecasts still show upwards of 15 mph winds and snow predicted. I think the wind is going to make it very difficult for the Steelers to put up a relevant fight. Anything can happen in cold football weather, but last weekend against the Ravens, Mason Rudolph was not very good in the poor rainy weather. When he came in for Mitch Trubisky, the Steelers offense got a nice jump because the George Pickens long ball was added to the playbook. The Steelers were hitting often on those plays, but today against a stout Bills defense and in the windy Buffalo weather, there is a slim chance those explosive plays happen for the Steelers. Additionally, the loss of TJ Watt is season-changing for the Steelers. We saw them perform significantly worse all of last year without him, and I don’t see a world where the Steelers’ defense manages to contain Josh Allen without him. History is also on the Bills side here in saying that double-digit favorites since 2010 are 11-4 ATS in the NFL Playoffs. For the Bills, the only question mark I see is if Josh Allen comes to play. He is either one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, or one of the worst, never in between. Since the Bills switched offensive play callers, this Bills team has been on a roll, and it is because they are limiting the amount of passes for Josh Allen to cause a turnover. James Cook and the Bills offensive line should have a field day against a TJ Watt-less Steeler’s defensive front. If Allen limits the turnovers, I only see a world where they roll through Pittsburgh. The public has been split on both the side and the total due to the weather conditions, so I think it is priced right. I lean over because I think there’s an opportunity for the Bills to heavily dominate and the Steelers to be forced to put the ball in the air despite the wind. Although, there are too many question marks for me to play the total. Pros indicate they love the Bills at -9.5, so I am following that side. Let’s see Josh Allen again in the playoffs.

The Plays:  Bills -10 AND Over 38.5 (lean)

Philadelphia Eagles vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3), Total 43

The Plays:  Coming Monday!

Plays without a writeup (Podcast):

  • Sharpen the Public Teaser: Texans +8.5/Dolphins +10.5
  • Rams +3

Thanks for reading! If you guys like what you see or have any comments/critiques, please let me know on Twitter, I appreciate all feedback. Please also follow the podcast and share the website! I will see you on Tuesday with another recap episode of Sharpen the Public.

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This is an article written by DJ Bianco

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