The NFL Super Wild Card Weekend is here and there's only one thing on the minds of the 12 teams competing this weekend: winning.
With every single team in a win or go home situation, who has time to care about a point spread? If you're one of those people that only wants to bet on which team will win this weekend then you've come to the right place.
In this article, I'm going to put point spreads aside and focus on the two best moneyline bets to place this weekend.
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Wild Card Weekend Moneyline Bets
- Texans +115 vs. Browns
- Rams +138 vs. Lions
Browns vs. Texans prediction
To me, the biggest story in this game and the deciding factor in backing the Texans is how the Browns have performed on the road this season. They aren't just slightly worse when playing the road, they're arguably just a bad football team on the road.
For example, their Net Yards per Play fall from +1.1 when playing at home down to -0.7 on the road, a difference of 1.8 Net Yards per Play. That's the biggest difference in home vs. away splits in that specific stat in the NFL.
If we dive into that any further, we see it's their defense, which is the best in the NFL, completely falling apart on the road. They go from allowing just 3.7 yards per play at home to 5.5 yards per play on the road. That's a bottom 10 mark in the NFL in terms of opponent yards per play.
We should also note that as good as this defense has been, the Browns rank dead last in the NFL in Red Zone defense, allowing teams to score a touchdown on 71.43% of red zone trips against them.
Yes, the Browns beat up the Texans on the road in Week 16, but we can throw that game out the window with CJ Stroud not being active for it.
This also may be an unpopular take but I'm not as high on Joe Flacco as other people are. Amongst all quarterbacks who took at least 200 snaps this season, Flacco ranks 26th in EPA + CPOE (completion percentage over expected). Let's also remember that despite throwing for plenty of yards and winning games, he has eight interceptions in five starts. That may come back to haunt him in the playoffs.
With all of those factors combined, I'll take the Texans to win at home.
Rams vs. Lions prediction
Nothing would be more "Lions" than hosting a playoff game for the first time since 1993 only to have your old quarterback, Matt Stafford, come back to Detroit to beat you and break the hearts of every fan in Detroit.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what I think is going to happen. The Lions are stumbling into the playoffs, having a Net Yards per Play of -0.7 in their last three games. Their defense has also been bad all year. Entering the postseason, they rank 26th in opponent yards per play, which is the worst mark amongst all playoff teams.
More importantly, their secondary has been horrific. They're 30th in opponent yards per pass attempt and 25th in both opponent dropback EPA and opponent dropback success rate. That's bad news considering they now need to face a Rams air attack that features Stafford, Cooper Kupper, and Puka Nacua.
Let's also give some major props to the Rams for being the hottest team in the NFL since their BYE Week. They're 7-1 since Week 11 and in that stretch, they've ranked fourth in EPA per Play, fifth in success rate, 17th in opponent EPA per play, and 10th in opponent success rate.
If there is one wild card team that we could all see going on a run to the Super Bowl, it has to be the Rams, whose only loss during this hot streak was an overtime loss to arguably the best team in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens.
The Lions have a lot of things going well for them and winning the NFC North was huge step in the right direction for them, but they're about to face a red-hot team that is a stylistic nightmare for their defense.
Keep your points, I'll take the Rams to win outright.
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
You can check out all of Iain's bets here!