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Market Insights: How money is flowing for Sunday's wild-card games

January 4, 2020 11:24 PM

Saturday was a thrilling opening to the NFL Playoffs. In the early game, the Bills blew a 16-0 lead and fell to the Texans 22-19 in overtime. Houston covered as a 2.5-point favorite, although early sharps who hit Buffalo plus 3 pushed. The shocker of the day was the Titans upsetting the Patriots 20-13, winning straight up as plus 4.5 dogs and cashing plus 190 on the moneyline. Tennessee received sharp reverse line movement plus 5.5 to plus 4.5. Some are calling it the end of the Patriots Dynasty as Tom Brady is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career on March 18. 

Unders went 2-0 yesterday, with Buffalo-Houston closing at 43 and landing on 41 and Tennessee-New England closing at 45 and landing on 33. Wild Card unders are now 42-24 (63.6%) since 2003.

The Titans will now travel to the Ravens for the Divisional Round while the Texans head to Arrowhead to face the Chiefs. 

Here are the opening lines at Westgate

Ravens -10 vs Titans, OU 49

Chiefs -7.5 vs Texans, OU 50

Now we turn our attention to Sunday's two big games. 

For Sunday game-day analysis and betting updates, be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning from 9 a.m. ET to 12-noon on The Lombardi Line. We'll be breaking down all the late sharp action leading up to kickoff.

Until then, let's discuss where sharp money is flowing. 

1:05 p.m. ET: Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at New Orleans Saints (13-3)

On paper, this looks like a layup for the Saints. New Orleans finished the regular season tied with the 49ers and Packers for the 2nd-best record in the NFL. Sean Payton looks to have one of his strongest teams in years. Drew Brees (116.3 QB rating) has played unbelievably since returning from his thumb injury in late October. Michael Thomas just set the single season record for catches in a season (149). Plus, New Orleans finally seems to have a defense they can rely on (allowing only 21.31 PPG). Meanwhile, Minnesota lost their final two regular season games and although Kirk Cousins had a strong year (107.5 QB rating), the stigma remains that he can't win a big game. 

This line opened with New Orleans listed as an 8-point home favorite-- the largest spread of any Wild Card Weekend game. Roughly two-thirds of bets are laying the points with the Saints. However, despite this heavily lopsided betting the line has remained frozen at 8 or even dipped slightly down to 7.5. This signals some sharp reverse line movement on the road dog, with pros leaning on the Vikings to keep it close. Wiseguys have also targeted the over. It opened at 47 and has been bet up to 49.5. The over is 29-14 (67%) in dome or closed roof playoff games since 2003. Both teams are 9-7 to the over this season.

4:40 p.m. ET: Seattle Seahawks (11-5) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)

The final game of Wild-Card Weekend is shaping up to be the ultimate Pros vs Joes showdown. Seattle enters with a superior record and is led by Super Bowl champion and perennial All-Pro Russell Wilson. Seattle has been a road warrior all season long, going 7-1 as visitors (including 5-2-1 ATS). The public doesn't seem to respect the Eagles because of their 9-7 record and the fact that they come form the worst division in the NFL and barely squeaked into the playoffs. However, Philadelphia has quietly won four straight while Seattle dropped their final two regular season games. 

The Seahawks opened as short 1-point road favorites. The public can't believe this line is so low. They see a team with a better record and superior quarterback and are rushing to the window to back Seattle. With more than eight-out-of-ten bets on the Seahawks, the line rose to -2.5. But ever since then, pros have hammered the Eagles, dropping the line down to a pick'em or even Eagles -1. Essentially we are looking at a super-sharp reverse line move on the Philadelphia. Also, Philly is your top contrarian play of the weekend as they are only receiving roughly one-out-of-five bets. The Eagles also appear to be the healthier team as Seattle is dealing with several key injuries. Starting linebacker Mychal Kendricks is out with a torn ACL and star offensive lineman Duane Brown is doubtful with a knee injury. Zach Ertz is expected to play for the Eagles. 

Sharps have also come down on the under. The total opened at 46 and has dipped to 45.5 or even 45. The forecast calls for low 40s, high 30s with 7-10 MPH winds. Wild Card Weekend unders went 2-0 yesterday and are 42-24 (63.6%) since 2003. 

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