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Burns’ Best Bets – Wild Card Weekend

We closed out week 17 with a 3-2 record and our fourth consecutive winning week. I took a chance on Jacksonville to come through with a strong performance, but they were no match on the road against the Texans. I was high on Tennessee to come through at home against the Colts with a playoff berth on the line but they were clobbered by Indianapolis. I can point towards Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota not being able to play as the reason for the loss, but after watching the game the Colts are just a better football team dominating in all aspects last Sunday night. Let’s take a quick look back before we jump into a great Wild Card playoff weekend. Last week’s results are below.

 

Jacksonville + 6.5 over Houston- L

Buffalo – 3.5 over Miami- W

Cleveland + 6 over Baltimore- W

Philadelphia – 6.5 over Washington- W

Tennessee + 3.5 over Indianapolis- L

 

Best Bets for NFL Wild Card Weekend

 

Indianapolis Colts ( 10-6 ATS ) vs. Houston Texans ( 7-7-2 ATS ) – Under 48 Points

 

These AFC South rivals split their two games this year with the Colts winning the most recent matchup in early December at Houston. Both games were decided by three points and I’m predicating another close game Saturday. Due to how close the games have been played this year, I’m not comfortable taking either side in this matchup. I believe the best way to handicap this game is to look at the total points scored. Indianapolis has a top ten scoring defense, and the Texans have a top five scoring defense. The total has gone under in eight of the Colts last twelve away games. In the past five games between Houston and Indianapolis the total has gone under in four of these games. Houston has lost two of their top wide receivers for the season in Will Fuller and Demaryius Thomas and quarterback Deshaun Watson has been sacked a league high 62 times this season. When you consider the Texans’s injuries plus their inability to protect Watson it could be a challenge to produce explosive plays. Throw in the familiarity between the two teams and I think this will be more of a defensive game. I’m taking the under 48 total points.

 

Los Angeles Chargers + 3 ( 9-7 ATS ) vs. Baltimore Ravens ( 8-8 ATS )

 

When these teams matched up three weeks ago in Los Angeles the Ravens took it to the Chargers and won by double digits. It was a very impressive performance by the Ravens and especially their defense as they held the Chargers to under 200 yards of total offense. This time the game will be played in Baltimore with the stakes much higher. The Ravens are 6-1 SU over their past seven games but only 1-5 ATS in their past six home games. Los Angeles is 11-2 SU over their last 13 games and 7-1 SU and ATS on the road this season. The fact that the Chargers have already seen the unconventional Ravens offense attack led by Lamar Jackson is a benefit in this game. The Chargers will do a much better job containing the rushing attack and will make Lamar Jackson attempt to beat them in the air. Jackson has been a pleasant surprise, but he has been inconsistent in the passing game. My only concern in taking the Chargers is that they will travel from the west coast and then play the early game on Sunday. The game will kick off at 10:00 a.m. PST making it a challenge, but I believe a challenge they can overcome. The Chargers have the better team and the more experienced quarterback. I’m going with the the Chargers + 3 Sunday in Baltimore.

 

Philadelphia Eagles + 6 ( 6-9-1 ATS ) vs Chicago Bears ( 12-4 ATS )

 

Philadelphia needed to beat Washington last week, but they got some help from the Bears to sneak into the playoffs. Due to Chicago smashing Minnesota, we are now left with a very intriguing battle in Chicago. Matt Nagy in his first year leading the Bears has done an amazing job and has the best defense in the NFL at his disposal. The defending Super Bowl Champions were left for dead after the Saints humiliated them in week 11. Since that loss the Eagles have won five out of six games and due to another Carson Wentz injury, Nick Foles is again leading the charge as the Eagles enter the playoffs playing great football. Chicago is 5-0 ATS in their last five home games and are an amazing 12-4 ATS this season. The Eagles are 4-2 ATS in the past six road games and 6-2 SU in the past eight games played at Soldier Field. The key to the game will be how Mitch Trubisky handles his first career playoff game. He has shown great ability yet has been incredibly inconsistent this season. I have been on the Eagles the past few weeks and that is not going to change. With how great the Bears defense has been this season I feel the Bears will win the game, but I’m taking Philadelphia and the points.

 

Shawn Burns is one of the newest content writers for BetQL. As a former staffer for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Director of Football Relations at Florida International University, Burns brings a new perspective and unique handicapping techniques to our readers. You can follow Shawn on Twitter @sburns4597

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