Handicapping NFL

Wildcard NFL Point Spreads: Betting Tips & Expert Free Playoff Picks

Expert NFL Cappers – Wildcard Playoff Projections

The NFL Wild Card Round takes place this weekend – the matchups are as juicy as can be. Injuries could play a huge part in this weekend’s action – Drew Stanton, Le’Veon Bell and TY Hilton are all question marks for their respective teams.

Wildcard Pointspreads & Handicappers Insight

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So who advances in the four games on the slate? Lets’ take a look at each game, the odds that accompany those games and what could play out in each.

Saturday, January 3

Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers (4:35 PM ET)
2014-15 NFL Wild Card Round Point Spread: Panthers -5 1/2

The Cardinals will either go with Ryan Lindley or a gimpy Drew Stanton at quarterback on Saturday – that’s reason enough to pick the Panthers in this one. More critically is the fact that the once stout Arizona run defense has been seriously exposed to the tune of 473 yards the last two weeks! Carolina is a running team!

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Carolina enters on the heels of a four game win streak – they are playing their best ball of the season by far and they held a good Atlanta offense to just three points in Week 17. The rushing game is averaging almost 200 yards per game during their streak and the much maligned defense is finally starting to show some character.

Carolina is that one unheralded team that could make some noise in the playoffs. They are peaking at precisely the right time on offense and defense and are suddenly a handful for their opposition. I like Arizona’s story – just don’t love their chances Saturday!

Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (8:15 PM ET)
2014-15 NFL Wild Card Round Point Spread: Steelers -3

The Pittsburgh Steelers were dealt the worst possible news on Sunday – a hyper extended knee threatens to keep Le’Veon Bell out of the Wild Card game. It would be a crushing blow if not for the issues that Baltimore has had this season versus the pass.

The Ravens are a team that Ben Roethlisberger threw for 340 yards and six TDs earlier this season – Baltimore’s pass defense is brutal and could be the reason the Steelers move on. Antonio Brown has been virtually unstoppable for Pittsburgh lately – he had 11 catches for 144 yards in the last meeting between the teams and he has gone over 110 yards receiving in three of his last four games.

Pittsburgh will score points as they exploit Baltimore’s bad secondary. I’m not sure the Ravens’ schizophrenic offense will be able to keep up. Pittsburgh looks like a team of destiny while the Ravens look like a team just happy to be there.

Sunday, January 4

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Indianapolis Colts (1:05 PM ET)
2014-15 NFL Wild Card Round Point Spread: Bengals +4

Despite shutting out the Bengals 27-0 in Week 7, the Indianapolis Colts enter the playoffs with more question marks than almost any other team. Will the lack of a running game hurt them in the end? Is TY Hilton’s hamstring fully healed? Will the defense hold up against what is a pretty good Bengals offense?

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A lot has changed since the Week 7 showdown – the Colts have lost all semblance of a running game and the Bengals have established Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard as the cornerpieces for their offense. Hill especially has rewarded the team, rushing for 100+ yards five times in seven weeks with 140+ yards four times!

The Bengals emerging running game does two things – it keeps Andrew Luck on the sidelines and it allows the offense to methodically operate without the weight of the world on Andy Dalton’s shoulders.

Expect the Bengals running game to dominate, for the Bengals defense to minimize what Andrew Luck hopes to do and for Andy Dalton to win his first playoff game in his fourth try.

Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys (4:40 PM ET)
2014-15 NFL Wild Card Round Point Spread: Cowboys -7

Simply put the Lions just can’t win on the road against teams with winning records! And now they face the prospect of entering Sunday’s game without their top run stopping defender – Ndamukong Suh who was suspended after “walking” on Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.

It’s true that Detroit’s defense is incredible but they have shown cracks on the road – they gave up 30+ points to the Patriots and Packers and now face Tony Romo, Demarco Murray and Dez Bryant who put up 40+ points in three of their final four games.

If Detroit’s offense was clicking on all cylinders, I would have some hope for the Lions. But the Lions are struggling to score – Megatron has disappeared and Matt Stafford has regressed as the season has rolled on.

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The name of the game is scoring more points than your opposition – I can’t see that happening for Detroit on Sunday.

Check out our Updated NFL *Wildcard Point Spreads*.

CHECK BACK HERE SOON. EVERY 4* Wildcard NFL Free Pick we make this week will be listed here. This page will update.

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By DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.