This is NFL Best Bets Wild Card Round! Welcome back to our expert article series, where the PlayerProfiler staff provides their best picks to take on BetOpenly. BetOpenly is a spot where you can maximize value by avoiding the juice Vegas wants you to pay. In Week 18, our picks went 2-2. We kick off the NFL playoffs with four best bets from Ahaan S. Rungta and Trevor Tipton with odds that you can only get at BetOpenly.
As a reminder, BetOpenly has launched peer-to-peer player props. You now can also get better odds by 10 to 20 points than a traditional sports book. When you see a player prop for -110 at another book you will generally see that prop at BetOpenly for +108 to +100. That is massive savings and a value you cannot get anywhere else.
If you would like an introduction to using BetOpenly, and want to know why it is more profitable than using a traditional sportsbook, check out our opening article of the season.
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On BetOpenly, you have the option to take or create your own bets on game lines (such as outright wins or spreads) but also to combine player props through the Instant DFS/Props menu. In today’s article, we have a few picks from each category. It is important to tail with discipline. Stick to your normal wagers, don’t chase wins or losses, and play your peers instead of the juice-hungry sportsbooks.
Ahaan’s Wild Card Picks
Miami Dolphins Spread +4.5 vs. Kansas City Chiefs (+100)
After starting the season looking like a historically efficient offense and crushing opponents on their way to the AFC’s top, the Miami Dolphins have recently dealt with a plethora of injuries and did not respond to it with conviction. They blew a division lead and now have to play a road game at Arrowhead Stadium. Despite the uninspiring response to adversity, Vegas opened up the line to this game by spotting Miami with only a field goal on the road against former NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes. That tells you all you need to know about where the Chiefs stand as they field their worst overall roster in the Mahomes era.
On the season, the Chiefs defense ranks No. 20 in pass rush win rate and No. 32 in run stop win rate. Since Week 10, they rank No. 9 in dropback EPA per play allowed. However, they rank No. 16 in rush EPA per play allowed. Do not expect them to take full advantage of Tua Tagovailoa‘s deficiencies when hurried. Additionally, do not expect them to be able to stop Mike McDaniel’s preference to run the ball with his dynamic backfield duo of Raheem Mostert and Devon Achane.
The McDaniel Effect
On offense, while Mahomes is arguably the best pure talent we have ever seen at the quarterback position, McDaniel has proven that he knows how to limit shallow pass-catching rooms like Kansas City’s. Since Week 10, Miami’s defense ranks No. 17 in dropback EPA per play allowed but No. 2 in rush EPA per play allowed. This game is going to have to come down to Mahomes making plays at a Hall-of-Fame rate. That will be harder to do with multiple members of the offensive line dealing with injuries against the Dolphins’ No. 10-ranked win rate pass rush attack.
When these teams played each other on neutral turf in November, Kansas City won by one possession despite neither quarterback turning the ball over. Now that the Dolphins have a second look at the Chiefs’ mediocre offensive attack. Therefore, it will be easier to keep the game close. However, it is tough to ever bet against Patrick Mahomes outright. Spotting Miami this many points, snagging the key numbers of 3 and 4, is too much. On sportsbooks, you have to pay juice for this number or take the push equity of +4. However, on BetOpenly, you can snag this spread at even money.
Los Angeles Rams to Win vs. Detroit Lions (+150)
The Cinderella story return to the playoffs for the Detroit Lions could be in for a brutal crash as they face one of the most refined teams in the NFL right now. With Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, and Kyren Williams all on the field, the Los Angeles Rams offense ranks No. 1 in EPA per play, No. 1 in success rate, No. 1 in yards per play, and No. 1 in points per drive. That is bad news for a Detroit Lions defense that has been getting cooked by everybody lately. The Lions have been especially bad against the pass. They rank No. 29 in dropback EPA per play allowed since Week 10.
On offense, the Lions have plenty of answers under offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. However, one of those answers just got shaken up in Week 18 as Sam LaPorta was injured. The Rams rank No. 13 in rush EPA per play allowed since Week 10 and No. 13 in run stop win rate on the season. That means, in a high Vegas total of 51.5, Jared Goff is going to have to make some big plays at home to keep up pace. This season, Goff ranks No. 29 in pressured catchable pass rate and No. 17 in completion percentage against zone coverage. This is how the Rams’ defense operates, ranking No. 6 in zone coverage rate.
The NFL is headlined by plenty of narratives. This reunion of Stafford and Ford Field could simply come down to the former Lion making more plays under the bright lights than their current quarterback, Goff. With all things considered, the Rams are the slightly better team right now. On neutral ground, the Rams should probably be favored as the rosters stand right now. Now tack on the fact that the NFL home field advantage has proved to be worth less than two points overall over the last decade, and you have yourself a gift of a line getting the Rams as underdogs. On most sportsbooks, the Rams are currently sitting at approximately +140 to win outright, but you can get it close to the opening line (+150) at BetOpenly.
Trevor’s Wild Card Picks
David Njoku (CLE) OVER 5.5 receptions (+117)
In the upcoming wild card game this Saturday, Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku is poised to have a standout performance against the Houston Texans. With an impressive regular season under his belt, Njoku has emerged as a key player in the Browns’ offense, and his skills and recent success suggest that he will surpass 5.5 receptions in this crucial matchup.
Throughout the 2023 regular season, Njoku has been a consistent target for quarterback Joe Flacco, averaging 7.4 yards after the catch (YAC) per reception, tying him for No. 2-best among tight ends in the league. This YAC ability has allowed him to rack up significant receiving yards, with 882 on the season, and six receiving touchdowns. Since Flacco took over Njoku is also No. 2 in targets, No. 2 in yards, and No. 2 in TDs.
The Texans’ defense has struggled against tight ends this season. They are giving up the No. 5-most receiving yards per game to the position. They have also allowed the No. 2-most targets and receptions per game to tight ends, making this a favorable matchup for Njoku. In their previous meeting in Week 16, he managed six catches for 44 yards and a touchdown against the Texans. This is a performance that will be improved upon in this wild card matchup.
In addition to the favorable matchup, Njoku has been on a hot streak, with six-plus catches in four straight games. His connection with Flacco has been particularly strong, and this chemistry is expected to play a significant role in the upcoming game.
Njoku’s recent success, and the weaknesses in the Texans’ defense, make him a prime candidate to have a big game and help the Browns advance to the next round of the playoffs. BetOpenly is offering this at +117 vs +100 at most sports books. This is a massive edge for this prop and a place to take advantage this weekend!
Josh Allen (BUF) Over 0.5 interceptions (-104)
As the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare to face the Buffalo Bills in this weekend’s wild card matchup, one key factor to consider is the performance of Bills quarterback Josh Allen. Known for his dynamic playmaking abilities, Allen has also been prone (aka a machine) to interceptions. It is going to be cold and windy this weekend in Buffalo. They are calling for 15 mph winds with gusts up to 30mph. This is too much value to pass up on Allen in this game.
The Steelers boast a formidable defense that has been adept at forcing turnovers throughout the season. Led by the likes of Cameron Heyward, T.J. Watt, and Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Steelers’ defense has a knack for pressuring opposing quarterbacks and capitalizing on their mistakes. Even though the Steelers will be without Watt this weekend, they will still be dialing up pressure on Allen. This season, the Steelers have managed to snag 15 interceptions, with Fitzpatrick leading the way with five. With Allen’s tendency to throw interceptions (18 this season), -104 for this game is my favorite bet of the weekend.
Over the past few games, Josh Allen has thrown multiple interceptions, including two against the Miami Dolphins in Week 18. This recent trend of turnovers could spell trouble for the Bills against a ball-hawking Steelers defense. If Allen continues to make questionable decisions and force throws into tight coverage, the Steelers will be more than ready to capitalize on these mistakes.