NFL Wild Card Playoff Line Movement: Biggest Move Comes On A Total

Written By Mo Nuwwarah on January 14, 2022

The NFL regular season has ended but that doesn’t mean we are done tracking line movement here at, after all, TheLines. We’ll continue on seeing which way the markets are pushing and pulling in the postseason, starting with NFL Wild Card line movement.

Since this is the postseason, we’ll go game by game and instead of just highlighting the major movement.

Tracked lines below come from FanDuel Sportsbook with some notes below from DraftKings Sportsbook as well. Prices are -110, unless otherwise noted.

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NFL Wild Card Line Movement Tracker

GameOpening LineJan. 13, 5:30 p.m. ET
Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati BengalsBengals -6Bengals -4.5 (-114)
New England Patriots at Buffalo BillsBills -4.5Bills -4
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay BuccaneersBuccaneers -7Buccaneers -8.5 (-106)
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas CowboysCowboys -3 (-106)Cowboys -3 (-112)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City ChiefsChiefs -12.5Chiefs -12.5
Arizona Cardinals at LA RamsRams -3 (-118)Rams -3.5 (-115)

The One Wild Card Spread, Total With Big Movement

Eagles At Buccaneers

Both DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook were hanging Buccaneers -7 in the early evening, before anyone had any inkling of just how wild Chargers at Raiders was about to get.

It was a curious line in at least one sense. Back in Week 6, the Bucs had been -7 favorites on the road against these Eagles.

Since then, however, the Eagles have leaned all the way into their run-first offensive identity. It has worked as they finished the season No. 3 in rush offense DVOA. Granted, the opposition has not been the most stout, although DVOA is supposed to account for that.

Meanwhile, the Bucs have lost key weapons on offense in WRs Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin. Multiple critical defenders are banged up as well.

Yet, the market responded with the most fierce and swift steam with which it hit any opener. By the time the Raiders wrapped up their dramatic win, Tampa was pushing toward -9.5. Buy back on the Eagles has since settled the line at Bucs -8.5.

Certainly, the Bucs do match up well here. They have the muscle up front to hold their own against the rush offense. And they threw the ball more frequently than anyone this season despite often playing with leads. The Eagles finished 30th in pass defense DVOA.

One potential wrinkle: rainy and especially windy weather in the forecast. The total has plunged from 49.5 to 46. Keep an eye on this. It could favor Philly.

Raiders Catching Some Support

Raiders At Bengals

The Bengals certainly have the betting public’s attention after a flourish of a finish to the season. They embarrassed division rivals Baltimore to all but lock up the North, then they halted the momentum of the red-hot Chiefs in a statement win.

Yet, the influential market forces have come in on the Raiders in advance of Joe Burrow’s highly anticipated playoff debut. At DraftKings Sportsbook, you could find the Raiders as high as +6.5 shortly after markets opened.

Alas, that number is gone, and the line has dropped as low as Raiders +4.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook, albeit with low juice.

While the Bengals did flatten the Raiders by 19 in November, in Las Vegas no less, the Raiders do have a sizable matchup edge here. Their defensive front has been elite bringing pressure against opposing QBs. The Bengals offensive line ranks in the bottom quarter of the league according to both PFF and Football Outsiders.

Turnovers have been the consistent issue for the Raiders. But, Derek Carr has generally been on the low end of the turnover spectrum in his career, meaning there’s a chance it’s just been bad luck.

If the Raiders hold onto the ball and put Burrow under duress, they have a great chance to steal the win here.

Read why TheLines’ Eli Hershkovich is backing the Raiders.

The Static NFL Wild Card Line Movement

Patriots At Bills

These teams meet for the third time and once again, weather could play a role. Freezing temperature in the single digits are expected, but whom does that favor?

On the one hand, the Patriots had a ton of success in the first matchup, but that likely owed more to incredibly high winds than anything. Their own QB Mac Jones looked barely functional.

Bills QB Josh Allen has had his own struggles in cold weather at times.

Surprisingly, given all of this, the total actually inched up a bit. It was sitting 42.5 in some spots when the lines opened. The spread hasn’t moved much, but has been waffling between Bills -4 and Bills -4.5.

49ers At Cowboys

An old playoff rivalry renewed, and one the market expects to be closely contested.

The number to watch for here for value hunters is 49ers +3.5. That number has popped a couple of times on DraftKings Sportsbook before quickly correcting back. The juice also points that way on the FanDuel line, consistently sitting above a flat -110.

If Dallas has a weakness, it’s their run defense. And the 49ers just bulldozed a Rams front that ranks much stronger in the metrics but gets a bit lackadaisical at times in terms of scheme.

One team pounding the rock and two teams with fierce pass rushes might make you look to the under, but this has moved the other way from the DK Sportsbook opener. That number started at 49.5 but hit 50.5 immediately and has settled at 51 across the market.

Steelers At Chiefs

Last time these teams played, just a few weeks ago, the Chiefs shut out the Steelers in the first en route to a 36-10 rout.

Offense has been an issue all year for Pittsburgh, and things only seem to be getting worse of late. Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t even reached 6 YPA in the last four games, with two of those checking in below 5. Conservative usually at least means ball security, but he has also thrown 3 INTs in that time.

Consequently, the under has taken some money here. It reached a low of 45.5 on DraftKings Sportsbook after opening 47.5. The spread has seen minimal movement, hardly budging since Chiefs -13s were on the board Sunday night.

Cardinals At Rams

The high point here came from the DraftKings Sportsbook opener, which had the Rams -4.5. FanDuel has the low number now at Rams -3.5 (-115), but DraftKings has posted this a couple of times as well. Each time, Rams money has come in and gotten them back to -4.

Both of these teams closed the season with disappointing losses, the Cardinals‘ coming as part of a four-losses-in-five slide. The market doesn’t appear to trust the Rams, either, though.

Erratic play has dogged both QBs, so a high-variance game could be on tap for the rubber match after each team won during the season on the other’s home turf.

Again, some support has come in for the under. Many likely think of these teams as sporting high-flying offenses. Football Outsiders rates both teams’ defenses stronger than their offenses, though. DraftKings Sportsbook dipped as low as 48.5 on the total before some buy back on the over got the number to 49.5. Both previous matchups ended in the 50s.

Mo Nuwwarah Avatar
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Mo Nuwwarah

Mo Nuwwarah got his start in gambling early, making his first sports bet on his beloved Fab Five against the UNC Tar Heels in the 1993 NCAA tournament. He lost $5 to his dad and got back into sports betting years later during a 15-year run in the poker industry. A 2011 journalism graduate from Nebraska-Omaha, he combines those skills with his love of sports and statistics to help bettors make more informed decisions with a focus on pro football, baseball and basketball.

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