NFL Playoffs Tips: Seattle will keep Sunday night showdown competitive

Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson is set for a Sunday night showdown

A massive weekend of NFL action looms with the eight remaining teams just two wins from an appearance at Super Bowl LIV. Mike Carlson previews the action and has three bets to follow...

"I think Seattle can keep it close, and because the Pack have a penchant for running up leads and seeming to fall asleep, I think Russell Wilson can bring the Seahawks back, if not all the way, within a field goal."

Last week you would have been better off listening to me on Betfair's NFL Only Bettor podcast, where my best bet of Tennessee/New England under was the panel's only best bet that did pay off. Getting fancy and trying to give you readers a different best, I took the Bills plus 2.5, which was a bad beat considering Buffalo led all the way before losing by three in OT. I did recommend the under 43.5 there too, and that came in, but apart from a suggestion of the Titans +5.5 my value and outside bets and my other two suggestions, failed as well. Though I still think Tom Brady over 1.5 yards rushing was a good bet, and why they didn't sneak late in the first half when they couldn't score is beyond me.

Divisional weekend offers the biggest home-field advantage in football. Think about it. On paper the four seeded teams are better than their opponents. They have had an extra week to rest, recover, and prepare for the game. And, of course, they are at home, where the advantage is usually somewhere between 55-62%, though it's been on the lower end lately.

In the divisional round, however, the home team winning percentage goes up: since 2011 home teams are 25-7 in this round. Which is why when you look at the odds this week, you'll see four rod dogs and three games with spreads of a TD or better to the home team.

Only the Packers, giving Seattle four, are offering some doubt in the smart guys' eyes. Interestingly, though, according to football stats guru Scott Kacsmer, since 2002 teams who were favoured by nine or more are 9-5, while the dogs are a respectable 6-8.

Titans can keep this respectable

Best Bet: Tennessee at Baltimore Under 47.0 at 10/11

This week I am sticking with my prediction on the Wednesday podcast, especially as the over/under has gone up from 46.5 to 47. Although I can see Baltimore running away with this if they take an early lead, I think they may be able to defend well enjoy to keep the Ravens under 30, while the Ravens won't allow Derrick Henry 185 yards and still ought to be able to control Tennessee's offense, and keep them under 20. This is a well-weighted O/U, and if you like the under, you might well like the Titans +9.5 because the lower scoring the game is, the better chance they have of covering.

Kirk to get air time

Value Bet: Kirk Cousins Over 21.5 completions at evens

Here's what I see: if the Niners take a lead, or hold Dalvin Cook in check, or both, Cousins has to go to the air, which means 30 plus throws, and it's not unreasonable to assume he'll complete 22. Now that isn't the scenario the Vikes would want: they'd like to run the ball more and hold Cousins to around 25 attempts, but I don't think my scenarios are unreasonable, so I like this as an outside bet at a value price. I also like George Kittle over 6.5 catches at 11/10: it's a lot, but I think they will be looking for him a lot.

A field goal game at Lambeau

Outside Bet: Seattle +4.5 at Green Bay at 10/11

This is the only game where the spread is less than a TD, and I think it's a field goal game, especially if it snows as it is supposed to in Green Bay. It will be cold, as it is a Sunday night in northern Wisconsin just off Lake Michigan, but the NFL thinks this is the big ratings grabber so it's the Sunday night showdown. I think Seattle can keep it close, and because the Pack have a penchant for running up leads and seeming to fall asleep, I think Russell Wilson can bring the Seahawks back, if not all the way, within a field goal. Wilson and Rodgers are really the two QBs on whom you have to put your faith for the team's success, though in fairness, if it is snowing you could hitch the rest of the Seattle to Marshawn Lynch and let him plow through the snow like a Clydesdale.

Listen to Mike and the gang in this week's NFL...Only Bettor

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles