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NFL Odds and Betting Lines for the 2021 Wild Card Round
That’s a wrap on the 2020 NFL regular season, which literally went down to the wire, with the Washington Football Team playing for their playoff lives on Sunday Night Football.
No, you read that right.
Washington made good on their opportunity to win the NFC East and punch their playoff ticket, even if it’s disgusting that a 7-9 team is making the 2021 NFL playoffs.
The fact that it’s happening tells us right away that this will be a weird, wild ride. Oh, and this rendition of the NFL playoffs features 14 total teams.
The 2021 Wild Card playoffs begin this weekend, with top seeds Green Bay and Kansas City getting the week off. Everyone else has to lace up, however, and it’s your classic “win or go home” environment.
I’m not here to tell you who will win or how you should bet. You can defer to our NFL betting picks section for that. However, it’s important to get ahead of the 2021 Wild Card odds, just in case an advantageous bet is sitting there, ripe for the plucking.
With that, let’s take a look at the early 2021 NFL Wild Card betting lines, and touch on each matchup.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills Odds
Among the first games for the 2021 NFL Wild Card round, this is also one of the best. Indy presents a bit of a challenge for Buffalo’s explosive offense, and they also have the ability to put points on the board, themselves.
There are conflicting narratives here. For the Bills, it’s Josh Allen the MVP, versus the Josh Allen that imploded in the playoffs and lives recklessly.
For Indy, it’s an aging Philip Rivers that may be on his last leg, or a veteran quarterback that may be the last piece of the puzzle for a rock solid Colts team.
Either way, Jonathan Taylor could be the difference here, as he exploded in week 17, and left zero doubt as to how Indy could be a problem in the playoffs.
Jonathan Taylor vs. Jaguars— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) January 4, 2021
⭐️ 253 rushing yards
⭐️ 2 TDs
⭐️ 38.4 PPR fantasy points pic.twitter.com/9LpH5zEjGt
I don’t know if that means you need to pull the trigger on Indy as a straight up bet. Not when the spread is a cool +6.5 or the total is a palatable 52, anyways.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks Odds
The Rams probably shouldn’t even be here, but they leaned hard on their defense to punch their ticket last week.
They will be worth monitoring all week, as the team will hope to get starting quarterback Jared Goff and wide receiver Cooper Kupp back.
L.A. can defend and run the ball, but without those guys, they’ll be in serious trouble here.
The Rams still offer value, as they know the Seahawks well. Seattle is a tough out in general, but their defense is playing very well these days, and this has always been a difficult team to beat on the road.
Divisional matchups often go the opposite of what you expect, which could make the Rams a fun upset try. Either way, this is a game that projects poorly from an offensive perspective. The total is low, but it may be on to something.
Washington Football Team vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds
There aren’t live Wild Card odds for this matchup just yet, as Washington played on Sunday night. That said, it could pay to break this matchup down and look for pricing when it comes out.
This is a very interesting matchup. Obviously the Buccaneers are the sexier team, they had the far better record, they’re more accomplished, and they have more talent.
Well, Tampa Bay has to play up in D.C., for one, and Tom Brady also has to deal with a pretty nasty Washington defense.
That defense ended the year with the best pass defense by the numbers, while Washington also had a top-10 pass rush.
The main issue here is the fact that the Buccaneers stop the run well, and have a good pass rush of their own. And while Terry McLaurin is threatening, Washington as a whole just isn’t a scary matchup for Tampa Bay.
Are we seriously trusting Alex Smith to win a shootout against Tom Terrific?
Probably not, but before you bet, just consider Washington’s defense and home field edge. It’s not nothing.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Tennessee Titans Odds
Lamar Jackson and his Ravens get a shot at revenge this weekend when they travel to Tennessee to battle the Titans.
These two sides faced off last year, when the Titans upset the 14-2 Ravens. Neither team is exactly what they were expected to be as the 2021 Wild Card round approaches, but it’s tough to deny the bad blood here.
Derrick Henry has gotten the best of Baltimore in the last two meetings, and he just dusted the Texans for 250 yards to become one of the few running backs in league history to top 2,000+ rushing yards.
2,000+ Rush Yard Seasons in NFL History:— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) January 4, 2021
1984 HOF Eric Dickerson: 2,105
2012 MIN Adrian Peterson: 2,097
2003 BAL Jamal Lewis: 2,066
1997 HOF Barry Sanders: 2,053
2020 TEN Derrick Henry: 2,027
1998 HOF Terrell Davis: 2,008
2009 TEN Chris Johnson: 2,006
1973 HOF OJ Simpson: 2,003
That is quite the feat, but there is one glaring issue for the Titans; their defense is awful.
Can Lamar Jackson and co. take advantage of it like they were unable to do a season ago? It’s open for debate, but it will be hard to bypass the underdog Ravens and their cool +175 moneyline.
The other issue is the total.
Do you side with the explosive Titans and bet the Over, or will Baltimore’s ball control offense win out? Baltimore’s defense edge has me leaning their way early in the week, but there are numerous routes to consider here.
Chicago Bears vs. New Orleans Saints Odds
The Bears backed their way into the 2021 Wild Card playoffs. They had been hot going into a week 17 clash with the Green Bay Packers, but they couldn’t get the job done against their rival.
Arizona lost, though, so Da Bears are back in postseason play.
It will be tough to get behind an erratic 8-8 team on the road against the Saints. However, New Orleans played without Alvin Kamara this past weekend, so bettors will need to stay on top of his status.
My guess is he’s fine to play by the time the weekend rolls around, and the Saints at home will surely prove to be too much for Chicago to handle.
Not just offensively, either. While that’s likely going to be the case, the Saints also stop the run well, and that will probably put too much pressure on Mitch Trubisky to win this game.
All that said, the Bears do have a capable defense, and they’re playing with house money here. I don’t hate the Bears ATS, and the offensive upside in a dome makes the Over pretty alluring at first glance, too.
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Odds
This may be my favorite game of the 2021 NFL Wild Card weekend. Not only are the Browns back in the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2002. The 2020 rendition of the Browns is easily their best team (and best shot at a title) since the 1980s.
Whether or not this is their year, the Browns are going to be a team to root for. And even if you don’t care, a third clash with the Steelers (who they just beat in week 17) is going to make for must-see television.
I mean, for Baker Mayfield alone, am I right?
There’s that long ass list of QBs that have taken starting snaps for the Cleveland BRAHNS the last couple of decades…— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) January 3, 2021
Baker Mayfield will forever be remembered as THE GUY that got them to the playoffs for the first time in 18 years.. DECADES of failure, FLIPPED. #Respect pic.twitter.com/TrylwRmpj4
The edge probably goes to the Steelers here, to be sure. They’re at home, they have a good defense, and Ben Roethlisberger was mostly good during a solid 12-4 campaign.
However, Pittsburgh clearly collapsed following an 11-0 start. They’re also pretty one-dimensional, and among the top NFL playoff betting strategies is steering clear from those types of teams.
Depending on which version you think shows up for the 2021 Wild Card round, it may impact how you bet.
The total and spread are both appropriate here, but I’m leaning toward a slugfest outing where the Browns try to slow things down on the ground. To be frank, that puts every bet in play.
This is going to be fun. And to be honest, a bit weird. Seriously, think about it.
The structure of the NFL playoffs is completely different, one of the teams that got in isn’t even above .500, the first round features two divisional showdowns, and the Cleveland Browns are in this thing.
Actually, they’re not the only team to be in the playoffs that missed out last year. Six other non-playoff teams join them.
The 2021 NFL Wild Card round is going to be insane, as three games are strewn across two different days, and six games in total take over our lives next weekend.
Wild-Card Schedule:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 4, 2021
Colts at Buffalo, 1:05 pm (CBS)
Rams at Seattle, 4:40 pm (FOX)
Bucs at Giants/WFT 8:15 (NBC)
Ravens at Tennessee, 105 (ESPN)
Bears at NO, 4:40 (CBS)
Browns at Pittsburgh, 8:15 (NBC)
It may pay to check out the 2021 Wild Card odds early and start to assess your bets. I don’t mean you have to bet right this second, but formulating your wagers, or at least narrowing down your betting pool could be a good idea.
And if something looks too good to pass up, it obviously could make sense to pounce before prices change later in the week.
As fun as the 2021 NFL Wild Card round will be to watch, it’ll be even better to bet on. If you need a little help doing that, just hit up the NFL picks link above.
And if you’re not sure where to bet, just check out the best mobile NFL betting apps online.