NFL Wild Card Weekend: A Look At The Betting Odds
The expanded NFL playoff format for 2020-2021 puts six games on the schedule for Wild Card weekend. The first round of the playoffs offers a bettor’s delight, especially in states offering legal mobile sports betting.
This roundup takes a look at how five of the top online sportsbooks in the US set the point spread and payout odds on each of the six first-round playoff games. Some of these games see the five online sports betting platforms (DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, BetRivers, PointsBet, and BetMGM) offer nearly identical lines according to MichiganSharp.com.
Others, like the Tampa Bay-Washington matchup, reward sharp line shoppers with significant variations on the point spread from the different sportsbooks.
Indianapolis Colts At Buffalo Bills
|Indianapolis Colts||+6.5, -109||+6.5, -108||+6.5, -109||+6.5, -110||+6.5, -105|
|Buffalo Bills||-6.5, -112||-6.5, -112||-6.5, -112||-6.5, -110||-6.5, -115|
Five of the top sportsbooks in the US offer identical point spreads on the Colts-Bills matchup. Line shopping opportunities still exist, however, as the payout odds on each side of the 6.5 point spread vary slightly across the different books.
BetMGM offers the best potential payout on the underdog Colts, paying at -105 American odds. The other side of the bet sees the worst payout odds for the favored Bills from the five listed sportsbooks.
PointsBet offers the most favorable odds on Buffalo, putting a -110 line on the AFC’s No. 2 seed for this Wild Card round game. Overall, the top sportsbooks are offering nearly the same line on the Indianapolis-Buffalo matchup.
Baltimore Ravens At Tennessee Titans
|Baltimore Ravens||-3.5, -104||-3, -122||-3.5, -110||-3, -125||-3.5, +100|
|Tennessee Titans||+3.5, -118||+3, +100||+3.5, -110||+3, +105||+3.5, -120|
The Baltimore-Tennessee matchup presents one of the most interesting comparisons of lines across the different sportsbooks. All five books set the visiting Ravens as the favorite over the AFC South champion Titans, with the point spread varying from 3 to 3.5.
The payout odds offered at each book are different on both sides of the bet. None of the five sportsbooks listed here offer the same wager on the Ravens-Titans game.
PointsBet pays slightly positive odds on the underdog Titans, offering the best payout on Tennessee. The +3 spread on the Titans is slightly less favorable than the +3.5 offered at DraftKings, BetRivers, and BetMGM, however.
The Titans knocked the Ravens out of last year’s playoffs as a big underdog going into the game. Tennessee goes into a playoff matchup with Baltimore as the underdog for the second straight year.
Cleveland Browns At Pittsburgh Steelers
|Cleveland Browns||+6, -109||+6, -114||+6, -109||+6, -110||+6, -110|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||-6, -112||-6, -106||-6, -112||-6, -110||-6, -110|
Can the Browns pull off a road victory against the archrival Steelers? COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the Cleveland franchise just days before the team’s first playoff game in 18 years.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, along with two other coaches and two players, tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday, and Cleveland’s team facility is currently closed.
Perhaps it’s interesting to see that all five sportsbooks set the Steelers at -6 favorites. Should Pittsburgh, playing at home against a Cleveland team in disarray, be favored by more?
FanDuel Sportsbook presents the best payout on the Steelers, with DraftKings and BetRivers offering the top odds on the Browns by a very slight margin.
Los Angeles Rams At Seattle Seahawks
|Los Angeles Rams||+3, -104||+3.5, -118||+3.5, -108||+3.5, -121||+3, -110|
|Seattle Seahawks||-3, -118||-3.5, -104||-3.5, -113||-3.5, +100||-3, -110|
The spread on the Rams-Seahawks first-round matchup varies from 3 to 3.5 across the different sportsbooks. That line indicates that this Wild Card round game would be an even-money contest if it was played at a neutral site.
Seattle generally presents one of the most challenging venues in the NFL for opposing teams, but home-field advantage certainly isn’t quite the same without the loudest fans in the league packed into Lumen Field.
PointsBet offers the most favorable payout on the Seahawks, offering even money on the Seattle -3.5 line. DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM present a slightly better point spread for the favored Seattle franchise.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers At Washington Football Team
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-8.5, -109||-7.5, -115||-8.5, -109||-8, -110||-8, -110|
|Washington Football Team||+8.5, -112||+7.5, -105||+8.5, -112||+8, -110||+8, -110|
Teams like the Miami Dolphins (10-6) and even the .500 Arizona Cardinals (8-8) probably wish they played in the NFC East. The Washington Football Team went 7-9 this season, but that was good enough to win the NFL’s weakest division.
Washington’s reward is a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that surged with four consecutive wins to close out the season. Tom Brady’s quest for a seventh Super Bowl championship takes center stage as the main storyline in this game, and the Buccaneers are set as a strong favorite going on the road.
Tampa Bay bettors can find the most favorable spread at FanDuel Sportsbook, which sets -7.5 points on the Bucs. Washington backers can find the most player-friendly lines at DraftKings Sportsbook and BetRivers.
Chicago Bears At New Orleans Saints
|Chicago Bears||+10, -114||+9.5, -105||+10, -114||+10, -115||+10, -115|
|New Orleans Saints||-10, -107||-9.5, -115||-10, -107||-10, -105||-10, -105|
The Chicago Bears 2020 season presents a curious case for playoff legitimacy. Chicago’s 5-1 start was followed by six straight losses, dropping the Bears to 5-7.
Chicago then rebounded with three wins in the last four games, clinching the NFC’s final playoff spot with an 8-8 record. Sportsbooks see the Bears as the biggest underdog from the six first-round games, with New Orleans placed as a double-digit favorite at four of the five books on the above table.
FanDuel Sportsbook sets the Bears at a slightly more respectful +9.5, but overall the Saints are the strongest favorite to advance from the Wild Card round according to the bookmakers.