The 2019 NFL playoffs are officially here and the action kicks off with two intriguing matchups Saturday followed by two good ones on Sunday. With the weekend finally upon us, we’ve seen movement in betting lines on the wild card games, so we’re going to take a look at the latest odds and roll out final picks.
Before we get into actual predictions and picks on the four matchups for the opening weekend, let’s take a look a the playoff schedule for this week. The action starts Saturday afternoon with an AFC matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans which has become a hot-button topic for bettors.
NFL Playoff Schedule 2019: Wild Card Round
|DATE||TEAMS||TIME (ET)/TV CHANNEL|
|Saturday, January 5||AFC: No. 6 Indianapolis Colts vs. No. 3 Houston Texans||4:35 p.m. ESPN/ABC|
|Saturday, January 5||NFC: No. 5 Seattle Seahawks vs. No. 4 Dallas Cowboys||8:15 p.m. Fox|
|Sunday, January 6||AFC: No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers vs. No. 4 Baltimore Ravens||1:05 p.m. CBS|
|Sunday, January 6||NFC: No. 6 Philadelphia Eagles vs. No. 3 Chicago Bears||4:40 p.m. NBC|
The playoff schedule is split on the two days with the AFC matchups kicking off the action on both Saturday and Sunday and the NFC receiving the late slot. Each of the games has seen a decent amount of movement in terms of the betting lines since they were first released after the playoff matchups were set.
Specifically, the home teams seem to be receiving a decent amount of love from bettors, with the exception of one game. The Colts are picking up steam against the Texans, as that line has moved in favor of Indianapolis. Before we dive into the weekend action, here’s a quick look at the full playoff bracket. It’s worth noting that the wild card winners are re-seeded, with the worst seed facing the No. 1 team.
Let’s take a look at the latest betting info on the four games and offer up a few picks.
Latest NFL Playoff Betting Lines & Picks
We’ll go game-by-game and evaluate both the starting and current betting info, as well as offer a pick and prediction on each playoff matchup. There’s no better place to start than with the Colts vs. Texans matchup on Saturday afternoon.
*Note: Opening odds and lines courtesy of Odds Shark and updated info from 5Dimes.
Colts vs. Texans Updated Betting Line & Pick
- Colts vs. Texans opening betting info: Texans -3 (-102), over/under 47.5 (-110)
- Colts vs. Texans current betting info: Texans -1 (-107) over/under 48 (-102)
The Colts have picked up a decent amount of love, and even as recently as Friday morning, Odds Shark pointed out that their moneyline odds have gone from +120 to -105 since opening.
It’s apparent that bettors are jumping on the upset train here and backing Andrew Luck and company, even in a road game. That’s not overly surprising considering the two AFC South rivals split their season serious by a combined six points. The teams each defeated each other on the road as well.
Regardless, I’m still backing Deshaun Watson and the Texans here. Defeating a team during the regular season on their home field is one thing, but doing so in the playoffs is another. It wouldn’t be surprising if we see that projected total get destroyed with two quarterbacks who can light up the box score, though.
Pick: Texans -1 and over 48
Seahawks vs. Cowboys Updated Betting Line & Pick
- Seahawks vs. Cowboys opening betting info: Cowboys -1 (-114), over/under 41.5 (-110)
- Seahawks vs. Cowboys current betting info: Cowboys -2 (-105), over/under 43 (-108)
The Seahawks and Cowboys matchup is another one we saw earlier this season, as Seattle defeated Dallas 24-13 at home back in Week 3. Obviously, Dak Prescott and company have come a long way since that point, adding wide receiver Amari Cooper and finishing the season as one of the hottest teams in the NFL. The Cowboys won seven of eight games to wrap up the regular season and will be a tough out at home.
It seems the public agrees with this notion, as Dallas has moved to a two-point favorite entering the weekend. Although a lot can change quickly, this matchup is an interesting one, as Russell Wilson and company won six of seven to finish the year, including a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
One topic worth mentioning is whether the Seahawks can stop Ezekiel Elliott, as they’ve allowed 1,382 rushing yards, 908 receiving yards and 15 total touchdowns to running backs this season. With Dallas targeting Elliott more in the passing game this season and being willing to go all-in with the rushing attack, I think they get the job done against Seattle.
Pick: Cowboys -2 and under 43
Chargers vs. Ravens Updated Betting Line & Pick
- Chargers vs. Ravens opening betting info: Ravens -1 (-114), over/under 42 (-110)
- Chargers vs. Ravens current betting info: Ravens -3 (+102), over/under 41.5 (-105)
The love for the Ravens is picking up steam, even with the Chargers looking at somewhat of a revenge narrative. Baltimore defeated Philip Rivers and company 22-10 in Week 16 during a primetime matchup played in Los Angeles. In turn, that loss for the Chargers was the difference between the No. 1 seed in the AFC and a wild card spot.
While Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has been electrifying and fun to watch, the Chargers are the only team who have managed to slow him down as a runner. Over Jackson’s seven starts, he totaled 67 rushing yards or more in all but one, and that was against the team he’ll face in the playoffs. The Chargers defense held Jackson to just 39 rushing yards on 13 attempts, but the rookie managed to throw for 204 yards on just 12 completions against them.
I think we’ll see more points in this game than last, and while both defenses are solid, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the projected total go over. The Chargers will also either get their revenge or keep it very close so I’m taking the three points.
Pick: Chargers +3 and over 41.5
Eagles vs. Bears Updated Betting Line & Pick
- Eagles vs. Bears opening betting info: Bears -5.5 (-108), over/under 42 (-101)
- Eagles vs. Bears current betting info: Bears -6 (-108), over/under 41 (-104)
The Eagles and Bears both finished the season on a heater, with Chicago winning nine of their final 10 and Philadelphia taking five of six games down the stretch. The Bears eliminated two division rivals in the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings from contention over the last three weeks while defeating the Los Angeles Rams prior to that.
On the Philly side, the Carson Wentz-less Eagles got the job done with Nick Foles in a story that’s eerily similar to last year. They defeated the Rams, Houston Texans and rival Washington Redskins in the final three weeks to get into the postseason. But they’re still the biggest underdog of wild-card weekend.
While the story surrounding the Eagles’ late-season run to make the playoffs has been fun, they’re in a tough spot. The Bears are 7-1 at Soldier Field this season and the Philadelphia defense has struggled in multiple key areas defensively this year. The Eagles could have fits with the Bears wide receivers, as they’ve given up 3,082 yards and 16 touchdowns this season to the position.
Tarik Cohen should also have his way as a pass-catcher out of the backfield for Mitchell Trubisky. In the end, I think the Bears win it by 10 and the total manages to clear the projected 41 points.
Pick: Bears -6 and over 41