Written by Vegas Matty
The Buffalo Bills (9-7) needed help from the Cincinnati Bengals (7-9) in order to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 1999 — and the big underdogs came through to make that a reality on Sunday, finishing up a wild Week 17 of the NFL regular season.
The Bills (9-7) claimed the last AFC Wild Card spot late Sunday afternoon thanks to a 22-16 road win over the Miami Dolphins combined with a 31-27 home loss by the Baltimore Ravens to a Cincinnati team that closed as an 8-point road dog. Now Buffalo will play next Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6), who opened as 5.5-point home favorites and have already been bet up to -7 in early wagering action at BetOnline.AG.
The Tennessee Titans (9-7) also defeated the Jaguars 15-10 to earn the fifth seed and avoid a third meeting with the AFC South champions. The Titans will visit the AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) to kick off the Wild-Card round on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs opened 6.5-point chalk versus the Titans and like the Jaguars have also moved up to -7 in early betting.
Three NFC South teams will be playing next weekend as well, including the two Wild Cards who squared off against each other on Sunday. The Atlanta Falcons (10-6) prevented the Carolina Panthers (11-5) from winning the division title with a 22-10 home victory, while the New Orleans Saints (11-5) simultaneously fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11) on the road. The Saints swept the Panthers during the regular season to win the tiebreaker and become the NFC South champion.
The Falcons will meet the third-seeded Los Angeles Rams (11-5) on Saturday, opening as 5.5-point road dogs at BetOnline.AG before falling slightly to +4.5. Atlanta is the defending NFC champ while Los Angeles enters off a somewhat meaningless 34-13 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers (6-10). There was rampant speculation the Rams rested starters to lose to the 49ers so they could avoid facing the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round and play the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles instead in the next round.
However, New Orleans gets that potential benefit from playing an undermanned Eagles team should they be able to navigate through the Panthers for the third time this season. The Saints opened as 4-point home favorites at BetOnline.AG for the final installment in this year’s trilogy. Bettors like New Orleans so far, moving the line up to -6.5 before the price settled in at -5.5 on Sunday Night
NFL Wild Card Weekend Pointspreads:
Saturday, January 6th – (4:30pm and 8:15pm eastern)
- Kansas City -8 vs. Tennessee – Over/Under 44½
- Los Angles Rams -6 vs. Atlanta – Over/Under 48½
Sunday, January 7th – (1:00pm and 4:30pm eastern)
- Jacksonville -7½ vs. Buffalo – Over/Under 39½
- New Orleans -6½ vs. Carolina – Over/Under 48½
Odds To Win the AFC Championship
New England Patriots -120
Pittsburgh Steelers +250
Kansas City Chiefs 9/1
Jacksonville Jaguars +850
Tennessee Titans 30/1
Buffalo Bills 30/1
Odds To Win the NFC Championship
Minnesota Vikings +175
Philadelphia Eagles 4/1
New Orleans Saints 4/1
Los Angeles Rams 4/1
Atlanta Falcons 10/1
Carolina Panthers 12/1
Odds To Win Super Bowl 52
New England Patriots +250
Minnesota Vikings +450
Pittsburgh Steelers 6/1
New Orleans Saints 10/1
Los Angeles Rams 10/1
Philadelphia Eagles 12/1
Kansas City Chiefs 18/1
Atlanta Falcons 20/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 22/1
Carolina Panthers 25/1
Buffalo Bills 100/1
Tennessee Titans 125/1