Four Fabulous Wild Card Games
The odds may be against wild card teams from advancing to the Super Bowl, but their record is better than you think in the first round of the NFL playoffs.
None of this year’s four wild-card teams — Seattle Seahawks and defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC and Los Angeles Chargers and Indianapolis Colts in the AFC — are favored to win this weekend (odds provided by Bovada).
Since the wild card system began 48 years ago in 1970, only 10 non-division winners have advanced all the way to the championship game. Of those, six have won the Super Bowl.
In the last five NFL playoffs, however, wild-card teams hold a 10-10 (.500) record against division winners in the first round. But that’s where most of these surging teams meet their match as wild-card winners are 1-9 in the divisional round.
- 2017 — Wild-card teams 2-2, both winners lost in divisional round.
- 2016 — Wild-card teams 0-4.
- 2015 — Wild-card teams a perfect 4-0, but all four lost in divisional round.
- 2014 — Wild-card teams 1-3 and that team lost in divisional round.
- 2013 — Wild-card teams 3-1, while San Francisco lost NFC Championship as No. 5 seed.
NFL Playoff Odds Explained
The most common bets on wild card weekend are the money line, point spread and over/under totals.
The money line for the Dallas-Seattle game has the Cowboys listed at -150, while the Seahawks are sitting at +130 as the underdogs. A winning $100 ticket on the Seahawks would return $230 ($100 bet + $130 profit = $230 total return). A winning $150 ticket on the Cowboys would return $250 ($150 bet + $100 profit = $250 total return).
Bettors can play any of the remaining 12 teams in a futures bet to win the Super Bowl. The odds of these teams will continue to change as the championship approaches, but your odds are fixed when you make your bet.
The NFC champion New Orleans Saints currently remain the top pick to win Super Bowl LIII at +275, while the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs are the third pick at +600. A winning $100 bet on the Saints would return $375 ($100 bet + $275 profit = $375 total return). A winning $100 bet on the Chiefs would return $700 ($100 bet + $600 = $700 total return).
Check out below the NFL odds.
Wild Card Weekend Game Picks
Seattle Seahawks (+130) at Dallas Cowboys (-150)
It’s a rematch of the Week 3 meeting in Seattle, won by the Seahawks, 24-13. It’s the first playoff meeting between the teams since 2006. The Cowboys are 7-1 at home this season, while the Seahawks are 4-4 on the road. Seattle is the best running team in the league, while the Dallas defense is fifth against the run.
Pick — Dallas (-150)
Philadelphia Eagles (+200) at Chicago Bears (-250)
The defending champions were the top seed in the NFC last season. This year, they’re No. 6 and head to Chicago for a matchup against one of the best defenses in the game. The Bears are close to perfect at home this season, while the Eagles will need another magical performance out of the best backup QB in football today in Nick Foles.
Pick — Chicago (-250)
Los Angeles Chargers (+125) at Baltimore Ravens (-145)
Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson has gone 6-1 since taking over as the Ravens’ starter and has led the team to its first postseason berth since 2014 and first AFC North title since 2012. Ravens won Week 16 matchup with Chargers 22-10 in Los Angeles. Baltimore, which has won three straight, is 6-2 at home this season. L.A. has a league-best 7-1 record on the road.
Pick — Baltimore (-145)
Indianapolis Colts (+120) at Houston Texans (-140)
The Texans won their third division title in four years, but they will have their hands full this weekend. The Colts are the hottest team in the league right now. Andrew Luck and Co. started the season 1-5, but they have won four straight and nine of the last 10 games. The two teams split their season series, each game decided by a field goal.
Pick — Indianapolis (+120)
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