After another thrilling regular season, the NFL postseason will take center stage this weekend. The league will stage six games, starting Saturday afternoon through Monday night. Super Bowl LVII hopefuls, 49ers, Bills, and Bengals will all be part of Wildcard weekend.
While San Francisco, Buffalo, and Cincinnati are heavy favorites this weekend, the other three games could be very compelling and entering. I expect the Chargers-Jaguars and Giants-Vikings matchups to be incredibly competitive. Here are my best bets for the six NFL contests.
San Francisco 49ers (-9.5) Over the Seattle Seahawks
The first 2022 playoff contest features the third meeting of the year between the 49ers and Seahawks. San Francisco (13-4) is the NFC’s No. 2 seed by winning 10 straight and claiming the conference’s west crown for the second time in four years. Seattle (9-8), making their ninth postseason appearance since 2011, has won two straight though the ‘hawks got into the playoffs by virtue of the Lions defeating the Packers on Sunday night.
The 49ers have been rolling since Christian McCaffery arrived in the Bay area. I expect the Niners to keep the mojo going. Give the points and go with San Francisco to win its 11th straight.
San Francisco is 10-1 and averages nearly 30 points a game with McCaffrey in the lineup. For his part, McCaffrey has been a boom for the 49ers in the running and passing game as he averages 110 yards from scrimmage and scored 10 touchdowns with the team.
McCaffrey is one of many weapons for rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, who has done a fine job since being forced into a starring role. Brandon Aiyuk – who is having a career season – Deebo Samuel – who returned in Week 18 after missing three games with an ankle injury – and George Kittle are the Niners’ other key offensive players.
While the 49ers’ offense has improved throughout the season, their defense has been excellent and finished the season ranked No. 1 in scoring and total defense. They dominated the Seahawks’ offense in the Niners’ two victories during the regular season, allowing a total of 20 points and 493 yards.
San Francisco is 11-6 in ATS, including 7-2 at home, while Seattle is 7-10 ATS and 3-4 on the road. The 49ers have covered in four of the six games they have been favored by at least a touchdown.
Cincinnati Bengals (-7) Over Baltimore Ravens; Under 42 Points
The Bengals, the AFC’s No. 3 seed, begin their defense against the No. 6 Ravens in a rematch from the past weekend. Cincinnati came away with a 27-16 victory on Sunday as Baltimore sat most of their starters. The Bengals are making their second straight NFL playoff appearance, while the Ravens are in the NFL postseason for the fourth time in the past five years.
Go with the Bengals. Cincinnati is playing its best football of the season, having won eight straight games.
The Bengals rank in the top 10 in the league in scoring on both sides of the ball. They have just too many weapons for a banged-up Ravens squad.
Baltimore has yet to determine who will be under center for them. Lamar Jackson has not practiced since suffering a knee injury several weeks ago, and Tyler Huntley is questionable with a wrist injury.
I also like the under, as the Ravens’ defense has been fantastic all season long, ranking 10 in yards allowed and third in scoring. Meanwhile, the Bengals’ defense is very underrated.
Cincinnati has been one of the best teams in the league against the spread. The Bengals are 12-3-1 ATS, including 5-1-1 at home.
- Justin Herbert Over 1.5 Touchdowns Passes (-140)
- Josh Allen Over 1.5 Touchdown Passes (-160)
- Rachaad White Under 60.5 Rushing/ Receiving Yards (-115)
- Evan McPherson Over 1.5 Field Goal makes (-115)
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