With the pro football regular season coming to a close at last, the league and bettors alike move on to the playoffs. NFL Wild Card odds have hit the boards as matchups became locked in during Sunday’s finales, although it took until the final game to get everything written into stone.
In this space, TheLines will collect everything Wild Card: brief previews, time slots, and, of course, the betting markets with all of the best prices available.
NFL Wild Card odds
Check out NFL Wild Card odds below.
In New York? The best sports betting promos for Wild Card weekend
Early line betting strategy for NFL Wild Card Weekend
Getting out ahead of the markets with early bets is best practice, generally speaking. As NFL Wild Card odds move closer to their closing numbers throughout the week, you will find it tougher to get good value.
The exception would come for bettors looking to place high-limit bets who may find themselves capped by early limits.
If you are looking to play the NFL Wild Cards betting markets early on, keep an eye out for the opening lines dropping on Sunday, Jan. 9. As matchups become locked in, sportsbooks looking to cater to customers will provide early lines.
These lines will be softer and more beatable than the later-week numbers. As a bettor, you can take advantage of this by being ready. Have a number in mind for each likely matchup, and be prepared when the line drops. Monitor Twitter and you’ll be able to see when this happens and react quickly with a bet if you see value.
Saturday, January 15
All times Eastern.
Two games will be played on the first day of Super Wild Card weekend. The first tilt will go off at 4:35 p.m. and the second will start at 8:15 p.m.
Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals
The Raiders must emotionally recover from possibly the game of the year and get focused quickly because they have a short week here traveling to Cincinnati. The Bengals come off something close to a bye where they rested many key players including QB Joe Burrow.
While the Bengals enter the postseason as a popular dark horse, they will have their hands full up front with the Raiders’ elite defensive line. The Cincinnati offensive line has been their weak point all season and should make for an interesting battleground here.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
The old AFC East rivals meet a third time this season. Each won on the road, with the Patriots prevailing in perhaps the strangest game of the season, in which they completed only a two passes. QB Mac Jones certainly looked uncomfortable in the cold weather, and Buffalo is not exactly known for being warm in January.
Jones and the Patriots passing game has really hit a rut to end the season, and they won’t have much of a chance against the Bills’ highly-rated defense.
Sunday, January 16
Sunday’s slate will be the biggest of the entire NFL playoffs as three games will be played. Contests are slated for 1:05 p.m., 4:40 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This line has already moved considerably as it opened Buccaneers -7. Remember, the Bucs easily handled the Eagles back in October before a late Eagles charge made it look close (and covered the spread).
The Bucs are the clear better team on paper, but remember that they are juggling a slew of injuries to critical players on both sides of the ball. Watch for the Bucs injury report to see who they get back.
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys
The 49ers looked dead and buried before storming back against the Rams to secure their playoff berth. Their reward: a road date with the Cowboys. These teams have a long and stories playoff rivalry, but they haven’t met in the postseason since 1995.
Another week of healing should help 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who had visible difficulty gripping the ball before settling in during the stirring comeback. Garoppolo’s poor mobility means it will be up to the 49ers’ offensive line to protect him from a fierce Dallas pass rush.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
Ben Roethlisberger will get one last chance to put together a playoff run, but he found the going awfully tough with just 3.8 YPA in the teams’ first meeting. This will surely be the longest odds any team faces in these playoffs, but the Chiefs have not been at their sharpest at several points throughout this season.
Monday, January 17
New this year is the first-ever Monday night playoff game. The game will be broadcast nationally by ESPN/ABC and will start at 8:15 p.m.
Arizona Cardinals At LA Rams
These division rivals split the season series, each winning on the other’s home turf.
The Cardinals reached the playoffs through the backdoor. After looking like a Super Bowl favorite for much of the season, they lost four of their last five. Injuries to their playmakers, particularly WR DeAndre Hopkins, have really hampered them.
The Rams finished stronger with only the late collapse against the 49ers stopping them from a six-game winning streak. However, their offense has not been especially convincing of late, with Matt Stafford throwing 8 INTs in that stretch.