The NFL regular season has come to a close and the playoffs countdown the weeks to the Superbowl – one of the biggest games in professional sports. The playoffs are important for all qualified teams to rally in a do-or-die scenario, while sports bettors hope to pick the right favourite to make the Superbowl rally even more exciting. The first playoff round kicks off with the wildcard matchups, and gamblers are looking for the odds-on-favourites for a big win of their own.
Saturday January 5 begins with the AFC wildcard matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Houston Texans. Houston started off the season as one of the strongest teams in the league, but has dropped three of their last four games with fewer points scored than their impressive run earlier in the season. On the contrast, the Bengals defense has proven one of the strongest in the league and has contributed to the team’s last seven victories in eight games. Bookmakers have noted the Bengals surging performance with odd of 4.5 to win, and a smart gambler knows recent history is all that matters.
The second Saturday game will pit the Minnesota Vikings against their rivals the Green Bay Packers, both teams possessing some of the strongest offenses in the entire NFL. Aaron Rodgers has proven himself as an elite QB for the Packers, while the young Adrian Peterson is just as effective at running the ball as he is throwing it for the Vikings. This will be one of the toughest games to make a good bet, but since the Packers are at home and used to the outside cold – that could be the edge they need.
Sunday’s games will feature the Indianapolis Colts facing off with the Baltimore Ravens. The Colts proved a surprise for all football fans as the loss of Peyton Manning was expected to slow them down. However, they have proven they can still make great plays and win close games which is how bookies expect this matchup to go down. The Ravens are like the Texans, coming apart at the end, and the Colts have the opportunity to shoot the birds down for good.
The final wildcard match places the Seattle Seahawks on the field against the Washington Redskins. The Seahawks are a young, vibrant team with lots of depth on their roster which has given them the strength to carry through the season. Their dynamic offense is expected to pounce upon the worst ranked defense in passing yards – the Redskins have proven less than capable at stopping big plays. The Washington offense that carried the team through the first half of the season has shown weakness in the last few games, and analysts aren’t expecting much of a turnaround.
Gamblers know when to make the right play with the right information. Elimination rounds are always exciting and nerve-wracking, but a smart gambler knows how to distinguish the two.