Wild Card Sunday provided a stunning upset, a fiercely contested defensive battle, and a big win for the public. Read below for a betting recap of NFL Wild Card Sunday on BetRivers and SugarHouse, including the two most wagered on games of Wild Card Weekend.
NFL Wild-Card Bet Data & Line Movement
Buffalo Bills 27, Indianapolis Colts 24
The Bills (-315 ML) held a 14-point less than a minute into the fourth quarter, great news Buffalo ML (86% of ML handle) backers. But the Colts (+7, +265 ML) drove 75 yards in less than three minutes and scored just minutes later following another 75-yard drive in less than two minutes to shave the Bills’ lead to three with under two minutes to play. With the over/under settling at 50.5 before kickoff, Over 50.5 backers (78%) were in the clear as the game headed to the two-minute warning. The Colts attempted another drive down the field. Phillip Rivers found Zach Pascal on a controversial fourth-and-11, but could not move the ball into FG range. A Hail Mary attempt by the Colts came up short, giving the win to Bills, but the cover to Colts spread backers (31% of spread handle).
Dawson Knox (+1600 1st TD) snagged the game’s first touchdown, paying out more than a dozen prop bets just before the end of the first quarter.
Los Angeles Rams 30, Seattle Seahawks 20
Jared Goff didn’t start, but a first-quarter injury to John Wolford forced the Rams (+3.5, +155 ML) to go to their injured starting QB earlier than expected. But it worked. Goff only threw for 155 yards and one TD on nine completions but was sacked just twice. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks (-180 ML) weren’t as lucky.
Wilson finished with 174 yards on 11 completions, tossing two TDs but also tossed an interception that was returned for a TD (+2500 Rams Defense scores 1st TD), turning the game on its head in the second quarter. Seattle began the drive with eight minutes remaining in the half, trailing 6-3. By the end of the half, Seattle was down 20-10. The Rams held on in the second half to pull off the surprising road win. Bettors backed the Rams with 16% of the ML handle, and 30% of the spread handle.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31, Washington Football Team 23
Alex Smith was ruled out of the game just before kickoff, bumping the line up to Tampa Bay -10. The public was squarely backing the Buccaneers (-455 ML) to win, thanks to 92% of the ML handle. The public was on Washington (+10, +370 ML) early to cover, but the late money made it basically split, with 48% of the spread handle backing Washington.
What no one could expect, however, is that Taylor Heinicke, making his first-ever start for WFT, would put on the performance of his life. The journeyman QB completed 26 of 44 attempts for 306 yards, one TD, and an interception. He also added 46 yards on the ground, including a highlight-reel goal-line TD run that cut the Buccaneers’ lead to just two heading into the fourth.
Six different players scored TDs, meaning plenty of TD prop winners, including a $200 wager on Antonio Brown to score the first TD (+1000) that paid out $2200.
Baltimore Ravens 20, Tennessee Titans 13
AJ Brown (+1050 1st TD) hauled in his 12th TD of the season to give the home Titans (+155 ML) an early lead over the Ravens (-3, 177 ML) on Sunday afternoon. But Lamar Jackson used his athleticism to break off a 48-yard rushing TD to even things up heading into the half.
At 10-10, the halftime score was great news for bettors backing Under 54.5 (39% of O/U handle) and great for bettors who backed a first-half tie (+1100). J.K. Dobbins scored on a short run early in the third to extend the Ravens lead. The rookie RB has now scored a TD in seven straight games, great news for bettors backing a Dobbins anytime TD bet, including an Illinois BetRivers.com bettor who wagered the largest bet of the game, $29,000 on Dobbins to score & Ravens win (-110) for a payout of $55,100.
The Ravens defense held Derrick Henry to just 40 rushing yards on 18 carries and gave up just three second-half points. The public was on Ravens ML early, but late steam on the Titans made it relatively split, with 55% of the ML handle backing Baltimore. The public also picked up a win on the Ravens spread (63% of spread handle).
More NFL Wild-Card Bet Data
New Orleans Saints 21, Chicago Bears 9
In the most wagered-on game of Wild Card weekend, the Saints (-10.5, -590 ML), backed by 68% of the ML handle and 52% of the spread handle, suffocated the Bears’ offense and rode their workhorses en route to a sweat-free win over the Bears (+460 ML). Michael Thomas (+650 1st TD) made his return to the field for the first time in four weeks, and recorded his first TD of the season, scoring on an 11-yard-pass late in the first quarter to take a lead they would never relinquish.
The Saints were the largest favorites of Wild Card Weekend, and while points were hard to come by, two second-half rushing TDs seemed to be more than enough for New Orleans to cover. But Jimmy Graham made a one-handed TD grab as time expired to trim the deficit to 12. But with no time left on the clock, the Bears opted against kicking the extra point, which would have been backbreaking for Saints -11 or -11.5 bettors.
Just 33% of the O/U handle backed Under 48.5, and an Indiana BetRivers.com bettor hit it big thanks to a $850 bet on Under 37.5 (+400) that paid out $4,250. Bettors backing the Bears 1H +7.5 — the most popular first-half prop of the game — were also winners.
Cleveland Browns 48, Pittsburgh Steelers 37
Cleveland defeating Pittsburgh was not the most shocking result of the weekend, but how the Browns (+5.5, +225 ML) beat the Steelers (-265 ML), scoring four first-quarter TDs including a fumble return TD (+2800 Defensive 1st TD) on the very first play of the game. By the end of the first quarter, Baker Mayfield had a TD pass to Jarvis Landry, Kareem Hunt recorded two rushing TDs (+950 2 TDs), and Ben Roethlisberger was responsible for two interceptions.
By halftime, the Browns held a 25-point lead, and had already hit Over 47.5 (60% of O/U handle), cashing the largest bet of the game, a $20,000 wager from an Indiana BetRivers.com bettor on Over 47.5 (-104) that paid out $39,230.
Roethlisberger tossed his first TD of the night to Eric Ebron midway through the third to begin Pittsburgh’s attempt to spoil the night for Browns ML backers (43% of ML handle) and Browns spread backers (31% of spread handle). Four minutes later, Roethlisberger found JuJu Smith-Schuster for a short TD pass to cut the Cleveland lead to 12 just before the start of the fourth quarter. Instead of attempting a fourth-and-1 conversion early in the fourth quarter, the Steelers elected to punt against a Browns defense quickly running out of energy.
But less than a minute later, Nick Chubb took a short pass from Baker Mayfield 40 yards to the endzone to extend the lead for Cleveland and put the game, and spread, out of reach.