NFL Playoffs Picks Against the Spread Predictions, Best Picks, Odds

  • Get the most recent odds for NFL Wildcard Round Games in 2022
  • Our top predictions and picks for the season’s Wildcard Weekend of games
  • View stats from past seasons to help give you an edge over the sportsbooks

For the first time ever, NFL fans got to enjoy the eighteenth week of games in a regular season that ended with three overtime matchups with the winners heading to the postseason, an exciting finish to a season made complicated (and frustrating) by injuries, Covid-19, and off the field drama that some teams (Raiders) could game plan around and others (Browns) could not.

The nineteenth week in the NFL involves a three day Wildcard Weekend full of exciting conference matchups between six of the divisional winners and the six lucky wildcard teams, the league spreading out the half dozen games with two on Saturday, three on Sunday, and a final matchup on the last Monday Night Football broadcast of the season.

Unbuckle your fat betting kitties and get ready to make a few smart bets on some of the most exciting matchups of the season and be sure to take a look below at our best NFL Wildcard Round predictions, picks, spreads, and odds to help you make the wisest wagers of the week.

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NFL Wildcard Picks

AFC Wild Card Playoff Matchups Saturday, January 15

Las Vegas Raiders (+6.5) vs Cincinnati Bengals

How to watch: Saturday, 4:30 PM ET, NBC

It took two overtime field goals by Las Vegas Raiders placekicker Dustin Hopkins for HC Rich Bisaccia’s team to beat the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 18 and earn their way into the postseason as the fifth AFC seed in what will be QB Derek Carr’s first ever NFL playoff game in which their 13th ranked pass defense will be put to the test against these deep threat Bengals.

The Cincinnati Bengals are the fourth AFC playoff seed after winning the AFC North for the first time since 2015, a team made great by the play of young superstar QB Joe Burrow and his favorite connection, WR Ja’Marr Chase along with Gronk-like TE C.J. Uzomah, an offense that is also dangerous on the ground thanks to Joe Mixon, their 18th ranked defense getting better.

Given that the Raiders are ranked better than the Bengals on both sides of the ball, take them to at least cover this widespread though it might be tough to win outright in Cincinnati.

Pick:

Raiders +6.5 (-110)

New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills (U43)

How to watch: Saturday, 8:15 PM ET, CBS

In terms of momentum, the New England Patriots are in trouble after having lost three out of their last four games, including to these Buffalo Bills in Week 16, 21-33, this postseason rematch the perfect time for rookie QB Mac Jones to prove that HC and GM Bill Belichick made the right choice under center, their top-4 defense the main thing keeping their games close.

The good teams stack wins, and for the second stretch in the regular season, the Buffalo Bills have won four games in a row, and now still on their latest streak and led by QB Josh Allen, the Bills hope to beat New England for the second time in four weeks, this time at home where the fans can chip in with their distracting noises, an 11-6 team with the best defense in the league.

Usually when the Patriots are underdogs the score goes under the total points line, so bet the under in this one.

Pick:

U43 (-110)

Two NFC, One AFC Wild Card Playoff Matchups Sunday, January 16

Philadelphia Eagles (+8.5) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

How to watch: Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX

The Philadelphia Eagles are a wildcard team that has won four of their last five games, six of their last eight, so they are finding themselves with young QB Jalen Hurts under center, his ability to throw on the run and avoid tackles to earn first downs and more becoming a new identity for Philly, but right now their top-10 defense a big reason they are playing in January.

Football franchises handle the onset of the postseason differently, and while some teams rest their starters during the last week of the regular season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had all their playmakers in as they whomped the Panthers, 41-17, a rhythm and momentum that QB Tom Brady and HC Bruce Arians did not want to interrupt this far into their SB return journey.

In all eight of the last Philadelphia postseason games, the underdogs have covered the spread, so expect the Eagles to do that in Tampa despite the Bucs most likely earning the win.

Pick:

Eagles +8.5 (-110)

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San Francisco 49ers (+3) vs Dallas Cowboys

How to watch: Sunday, 4:30 PM ET, CBS

It was another Week 18 overtime win, this one by the San Fran 49ers whose injured QB Jimmy Garoppolo (finger) was in pain every time he threw the ball in his team’s 27-24 victory over the Rams to clinch their way into an NFC Wildcard spot, now having to take on the Cowboys whose offense might be one of the few in the NFL that can challenge the Niners’ 3rd ranked defense.

After winning five of their final six games, the Dallas Cowboys are the third NFC playoff seed and their number one ranked offense led by QB Dak Prescott appears to be firing on all cylinders, which means that not only are his main targets – Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and TE Dalton Schultz – playing well, RB Zeke Elliott is also regaining consistency with the run.

Given that Dallas has failed to cover the spread in seven of their last eight January games, it might be smarter to take the Niners and the points.

Pick:

Forty-Nines +3 (-110)

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Kansas City Chiefs (U46.5)

How to watch: Sunday, 8:15 PM ET, NBC

The Pittsburgh Steelers had to be watching the last game of the season since if the Raiders and Chargers had tied (which they were one regretful time out away from doing) then the Steelers’ season would have ended, but Las Vegas won, and Pittsburgh is now the AFC’s 7th playoff seed and for that QB Ben Roethlisberger (in his final NFL season?) must face the Chiefs.

Now recovered from their relatively slow start to the season, Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs look to be back on a roll now after having won nine of their last ten matchups, this offense a better squad that has been forced to beat opponents with patient matriculation, although playmakers Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce can still beat you deep at will.

For the last five games, the Chiefs have gone under the total points line, so expect this one to do the same against Big Ben’s limited arm and take the under.

Pick:

U46.5 (-110)

NFC Wild Card Playoff Matchup Monday, January 17

Arizona Cardinals (+4) vs Los Angeles Rams

How to watch: Monday, 7:15 PM ET, ESPN, ABC, ESPN+

The Arizona Cardinals have dropped four of their last five, so the initial 10-2 momentum they had is shot now and QB Kyler Murray and HC Kliff Kingsbury must game plan a way to outscore these offensively powerful Rams, and with Arizona’s 11th ranked defense having a tougher time against the run, expect Los Angeles to attack on the ground in this final MNF of the season.

Right up until they fell short in Week 18 to the Forty-Niners in OT, the Los Angeles Rams looked to be the number two NFC playoff seed, but with that loss they drop to fourth and must face the challenging Cardinals, but L.A. has a defense that features DT Aaron Donald, LB Von Miller, and CB Jalen Ramsey, so expect them to keep their own QB Matthew Stafford on the field.

When coming off overtime, Los Angeles has failed to cover the spread the last four times, so expect them to come up short here and for the Cards to cover.

Pick:

Cardinals +4 (-110)

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Mike Lukas

Expert on NFL

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]