NFL Playoffs Tipsheet: Mini previews and recommended bets for the wild card fixtures

Andrew won't need Luck against Andy Dalton's Bengals

Luca Bercelli gets straight to the point with his NFL wild card previews

"Coach Bruce Arians is a genius, and I think he'll have way too much guile for Carolina. Stop Cam Newton and you stop the Panthers. That'll be Bruce's plan, and it'll work." 

Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers
Saturday 21:25

A mini-slide has got pundits deserting the Cardinals faster than West Brom fans went off Alan Irvine, but I'm still massively on board with the outfit that, yes I'll admit it, I've backed for Superbowl glory. Now there are plenty of reasons for opposing the Cards, not least the fact that half of their squad is in the sick bay. I get it, but, to my mind they've only have one bad result all season (a 35-6 loss to Seattle two weeks ago), and I don't think there's another team out there with the same do-or-die spirit. Coach Bruce Arians is a genius, and I think he'll have way too much guile for Carolina. Stop Cam Newton and you stop the Panthers. That'll be Bruce's plan, and it'll work. 

Recommended Bet
Back the Arizona Cardinals to win @ 3.613/5Best Bet


Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday 01:15

This is a very tough one to call and should be a pick IMO, but I'm going to go with the Ravens on the basis that they're a value bet, and up against a team missing their second best player, Le'Veon Bell. The Steelers didn't impress me last week versus Cincinnati but they're always a threat with the big man under centre. Desperate Dan (otherwise known as Ben Roethlisberger), got off his sickbed to deliver the victory, and he's gained plaudits galore this season for probably the best year of his career. Flacco, on the other hand, has gone quietly about his business and is dependable under pressure. I don't think he'll let me down with the points.

Recommended Bet
Back the Baltimore Ravens +3.5pts @ 1.9310/11
  


Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts
Sunday 18:05

This is only going one way, and it's not in the direction of one Mr Carrot Top esquire. Andy Dalton has earned a reputation as a bona fide choker, and he'll display why when he downs tools against the Colts. He's got a decent crew around him (although star receiver A.J. Green is working with basically one arm), but that's not going to be enough against the yet-to-be-crowned king of quarterbacks, Andrew Luck. If he gets half the time to throw that the Bengals allowed Big Ben last week, he is going to absolutely kill Cincinnati. I can't believe the Colts are 1.68/13 to win. This is 'All-In' territory.

Recommended Bet
Back the Indianapolis Colts to win @ 1.68/13
 


Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys
Sunday 21:40

Any team that has Ndamukong Suh playing for them doesn't deserve to win play-off games. His idea of fun is to stamp all over Aaron Rodgers and then pretend he didn't notice him. The guy is a dirty player, plain and simple; and I'll tell him that to his face if I ever meet him (on second thoughts, maybe not). Anyway, his idiotic actions last week incurred a one match ban, which was ridiculously overturned on appeal. He'll be lining up against the ten-gallon hat brigade this weekend, and I hope he has an absolute stinker. Take the emotion out of betting you say...not a chance. Luckily for me and my wallet, I'm pretty convinced the Cowboys will have way too much for the Lions, with or without their playground bully. Romo, Murray and Bryant, or if you want to put it another way with regard to this fixture, Bish, Bash, BOOM.

Recommended Bet
Back the Dallas Cowboys to win @ 1.374/11
 

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