Wild-card weekend sweats: A handful of bets to add to your NFL card


Wade Vandervort

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks to pass the ball during a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020.

Fri, Jan 8, 2021 (2 p.m.)

Don’t bet on any Super Bowl futures in the next several hours before the NFL playoffs officially kick off.

The hold percentage is high and the value is nonexistent after bettors and bookmakers have spent months knocking the odds into shape. That doesn’t mean not to back a team you’ve identified as a strong championship bet.

There’s a way to get around sinking money into futures and instead getting a better payout: Bet the chosen side on the moneyline in every round of the playoffs, rolling over the winnings.

I’ve shared that advice for years but never actually done it myself, so this is the postseason it changes. I’m going to back the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to at least reach the Super Bowl using the strategy, expecting the prospective payout to be better than the 4-to-1 at which they’re currently offered at Circa Sports.

The Buccaneers are the most well-rounded team in the NFC — yes, their defense even gives them an edge over the Packers — and capable of winning three straight on the road starting on Saturday night in Washington. So let’s kick off this edition of (not actually) Sunday Sweats with a bonus pick — the Buccaneers to beat the Football Team at -380 on the moneyline at Circa — with an intent on seeing how far Tom Brady can take us over the next few weeks.

Read the wild-card version of the Sunday Sweats column below. For accounting purposes, all plays outside of the pick’em will be linked and counted in the record. The records are attached to each individual category and totaled at the bottom of the page with the monetary figure calculated by the assumption of a bettor placing $100 on each play.

Tasty Total (12-8, $290.92): Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans under 55 (Stations)

The best bets are the hardest ones to make, right? I don’t know if I actually believe that cliché, but it applies here. Much of the chatter surrounding this game has revolved around how poor Tennessee’s defense has played, and to a lesser extent, how Baltimore has struggled to stop Derrick Henry. It’s helped result in a total that’s simply too high. These teams only got to 54 in a regular-season matchup — a 30-24 Tennessee win — because of overtime. They combined for 40 in last year’s playoff game. The totals on those two affairs were 50.5 and 47.5, respectively. Where are the extra five points coming from? I suspect recency bias.

Two-team Teaser (8-8, -$140.23): Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2 & Alabama -2 (William Hill)

Don’t bet this. Seriously, it’s probably not a good idea. But I’m committed to this category and couldn’t find any better option. The Buccaneers are a strong teaser option, but they’re the only one that fit the profile in the NFL this week. Teasing college games is a bad idea, especially college games with a total of 75 points. But I’m having a really tough time imagining Alabama losing on Monday night, so the Tide become the de facto choice to pair with the Bucs.

Moneyline parlay (8-8, $1,267.26): Indianapolis Colts & New Orleans Saints +425 (Stations)

This feels like another dart throw, but the nothing-really-behind-it strategy of pairing my best underdog moneyline with my best favorite moneyline has worked pretty well all year. So let’s give it one more whirl. Stations is offering the highest price on the Colts at +260 — they’re as low as +235 elsewhere in town — and their defense will slow the Bills and give them a chance. As for the Saints, yeah, it’s a mismatch. They’re not losing to the Bears. *Mentally prepares to embarrassingly eat words next week.*

Prop-hunting (12-20, -$836.71): Robert Woods to score a touchdown +210 (Boyd)

I don’t see Rams at Seahawks as the slugfest that the market is implying. Yes, both games between the teams were low-scoring during the season but that had more to do with red-zone failures than inefficient offenses. The Seahawks will have chances to score, and so will the Rams. Seattle hasn’t defended No. 1 receivers all year, and Woods is going to have his chances to make a difference. His price to score a touchdown is far too high.

Non-football play (9-8, $110.12): Indiana Pacers -3 vs. Phoenix Suns (Westgate Las Vegas Superbook)

These teams have both been revelations, emerging as two of the best sides through a couple weeks in NBA action. It seems the market has only come to realize it with the Suns while the Pacers are still mispriced. This is a terrific scheduling spot for Indiana with Phoenix coming off of a back-to-back. The Pacers, meanwhile, will have enjoyed two days of rest. They’ve been terrific this season, and this number should close at least a half-point higher.

Sunday Sweats overall record: 49-52, $691.36

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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