The NFL playoffs are a great time to go contrarian. Each game is a heavily bet, nationally televised event. Plus the market is flooded with public money looking to get in on the postseason action. Bettors who might not have wagered every week during the regular season are now lining up to bet the playoffs. As a result, contrarian bettors have more public bias to bet against.
Over the past five postseasons, Wild Card dogs have gone 16-8 ATS (67%). Similarly, Wild Card unders have gone 16-8 (67%) as well. With the public biased toward favorites and overs, going the other way has proven to be a successful postseason strategy.
With this in mind, let's examine five Wild Card Weekend games receiving sharp action from respected bettors...
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (-9.5, 42.5)
The Seahawks (9-8) are the 7-seed and finished the regular season with two straight wins. Seattle just edged the Rams 19-16 but failed to cover as 4.5-point home favorites. Meanwhile, the 49ers (13-4) are the 2-seed and have won ten straight games. San Francisco just crushed the Cardinals 38-13, easily covering as 14.5-point home favorites. This line opened with the 49ers listed as a 10-point home favorite. The public is rushing to the window to lay the points with San Francisco. However, despite receiving 66% of bets we've seen the 49ers fall from -10 to -9.5. This signals sharp reverse line movement on Seattle, with pros taking the points with the road dog. Wild Card dogs who missed the playoffs the year before are 29-15 ATS (66%) over the past five postseasons. Seattle also has value as a divisional dog, with the built in familiarity leveling the playing field and benefiting the team getting points. Sharps have also hit the under, dropping the total from 43.5 to 42.5. The forecast calls for id 50s with rain and 10 MPH winds.
Los Angeles Chargers (-2, 47.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Chargers (10-7) are the 5-seed and went 5-2 over their last seven games. Los Angeles lost their season finale against the Broncos 31-28 but covered as 6.5-point road dogs. Meanwhile, the Jaguars (9-8) are the 4-seed and have won five straight games. Jacksonville just beat Tennessee 20-16 to win the AFC South but failed to cover as 6-point home favorites. This line opened with the Chargers listed as a 2.5-point road favorite. The public is laying the points Los Angeles. However, despite receiving 63% of bets the Chargers have fallen from -2.5 to -2. This line even got down to a pick'em at some shops briefly. Reading between the lines, all respected money and liability seems to be on the Jags plus the points. Jacksonville has buy-low value as a contrarian play (37%) in a heavily bet primetime game. The Jags are also in a prime teaser spot (+2 to +8), which passes through multiple key numbers.
New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings (-3, 48.5)
The Giants (9-7-1) are the 6-seed but went just 2-5-1 down the stretch. New York rested their starters in Week 18, losing to the Eagles 22-16 but covering as 17-point road dogs. On the flip side, the Vikings (13-4) are the 3-seed and went 5-2 in their last seven games. Minnesota just beat the Bears 29-13, covering as 6.5-point road favorites. This line opened with Minnesota listed as a 3-point home favorite. Despite 60% of bets laying the points with the Vikings, the line hasn't moved. This signals a sharp line freeze on the road dog Giants, with books refusing to move to -3.5 and hand out the hook to contrarian bettors. New York is only receiving 40% of bets but 50% of money, a wiseguy bet discrepancy. Wild Card dogs playing a team who missed the playoffs the previous season are 10-1 ATS (91%) over the past five postseasons. Daniel Jones is 16-5 ATS (76%) as a road dog in his career. Sharps have also hit the over, raising the total from 47.5 to 48.5. The over is receiving 39% of bets but 54% of money. Minnesota is 11-6 to the over this season, including 7-2 to the over at home.
Dallas Cowboys (-2.5, 45.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Cowboys (12-5) are the 5-seed and went 2-2 in their last four games, falling to the Commanders 26-6 in Week 18 and losing outright as 7.5-point road favorites. Meanwhile, the Bucs (8-9) are the 4-seed and won two of their last three games. Tampa Bay just lost to the Falcons 30-17, failing to cover as 6-point road dogs. This line opened with Dallas listed as a 3-point road favorite. We've seen the Cowboys fall from -3 to -2.5, indicating sharp money grabbing the Bucs plus the points. Wild Card dogs with a line move in their favor are 16-7 ATS (70%) over the past five postseasons. Tampa Bay is receiving 54% of bets but 62% of money, a wiseguy bet discrepancy. The Bucs also have buy-low value as a "bad" ATS team (4-12-1) against a sell-high "good" ATS team (10-7). Tampa Bay is a prime teaser candidate as well (+2.5 to +8.5), passing through multiple key numbers. Pros have also leaned over, ticking up the total from 45 to 45.5. The Bucs are 4-1 to the over in their last five games. The Cowboys are 5-2 to the over in their last seven games.
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-9, 46)
The Dolphins (9-8) are the 7-seed but went just 1-5 down the stretch. Miami did beat the Jets in Week 18 though, winning 11-6 and covering as 3.5-point home favorites. On the flip side, the Bills (13-3) are the 2-seed and have won seven straight games. Buffalo just brushed aside the Patriots 35-23 in Week 18, covering as 7.5-point home favorites. This line opened with Buffalo listed as a 10.5-point home favorite. The public is heavy on Buffalo, with 74% of bets laying the points. However, we've seen the Bills fall from -11.5 to -9. This signals respected money taking Miami plus the points. This move coincided with the news that injured Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa might play. Miami has value as a divisional dog. The Dolphins are also one of the top contrarian plays of the weekend, receiving only 26% of bets. Sharps have also hit the over, raising the total from 44 to 46.