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Best Wild Card Bets

The road to the Super Bowl is going to get a whole lot narrower in the weeks to come as the last 12 teams battle it out in the NFL playoffs. It’s a time of year when even casual bettors take more than a casual interest in gridiron play, and the action only gets more intense as the field narrows. Now all we have to do is figure out who to bet on.

As we look ahead at the prospects for each of the remaining teams, it’s clear that this year’s mix of teams lead by seasoned pros and straight up rookies should make for some very interesting postseason play. Andrew Luck, RGIII, Russell Wilson, Adrian Peterson, Aaron Rodgers, and lots of other big names are playing for their playoff lives this weekend.

Let’s start with a closer look at the prospects for the eight teams playing on Wild Card weekend. Remember, five wild card teams have gone on to win the big prize, including the New York Giants as recently as 2008.

If you’re a U.S. resident looking to bet on the 2012-13 NFL playoffs, we recommend BetOnline.com and Bovada.lv. BetOnline posts the earliest odds, while Bovada has a great selection of prop bets. They post their betting lines later than most books, but they’re a great online & mobile sportsbook for casual bettors looking to have some fun. Both of these sportsbooks offer mobile betting, and Visa credit/debit cards for funding accounts.

AFC Wild Card: Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013 @ 4:30pm ET. NBC

Cincinnati Bengals – (10-6, 9-61 ATS) – After some serious mid-season struggles, the Bengals quietly racked up wins in seven of their final eight games. Much of their early success was due to WR A.J. Green (97 rec, 1350 yards, 11 TD’s), but he’s seriously slowed down as the season’s worn on. If he can find that early season mojo, the Bengals have a real shot. Their defense matches up well with Houston, which means this game could be very close.

Houston Texans (12-4, 9-7 ATS) – The Texans’ season move kind of the like Bengals season, only in reverse. They started out incredibly strong, but found themselves struggling to stay in the hunt as the regular season played out. After losing three of their last four games, I’m wondering what they’ve got left in the tank at this point.

Houston is just a 4.5 point favorite against the Bengals and I think that’s about right. If the Bengals, who only allow 107 rushing yards per game can slow down Arian Foster, who’s been troubled by heart arrhythmia recently, Houston’s dream season could quickly come to an unceremonious end.

Best Bet: Bengals +4.5 (-110) at BetOnline

NFC Wild Card: Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013 @ 8:00pm ET. NBC

Minnesota Vikings (10-6, 8-7-1 ATS) – Minnesota finished the regular season by knocking off two division rivals (Chicago and Green Bay) as well as the (once) vaunted Houston Texans. Nonetheless, they’re not a team that’s going to get much respect from the betting public.

This week the Vikings are faced with the formidable task of pulling off a January win at venerable Lambeau Field, and that won’t be easy for a dome team. After beating the Packers just last week, they can expect the Pack to be ready for anything, even Adrian Peterson.

It seems highly unlikely that the Packers will let Peterson rush for 199 on 34 carries like he did last week and that leaves them with some pretty limited options…and that’s why they’re eight point underdogs this week. Wait, eight points? Hmmmm.

Green Bay Packers (11-5, 9-7 ATS) – After losing to the Vikings 37-34 just last week, the Packers have no excuse for losing to them at Lambeau Field this week.

The key to win this week has to be better protection for Aaron Rodgers, who was sacked a whopping five times in last week’s game. Unfortunately, poor protection is a problem the Pack has been struggling with all season. But I like their chances in this rare back-to-back matchup, especially when they’ve got home field advantage. I think the Packers will win SU, but they won’t cover the spread.

Best Bet: Vikings +8 (-110) at JustBet.cx

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AFC Wild Card: Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 @ 1:00pm ET. CBS

Indianapolis Colts (11-5, 11-5 ATS) – The Colts are riding into their Wild Card matchup with the Baltimore Ravens on the heels of an emotional 28-16 win over the Houston Texans.

That game also marked the return of head coach Chuck Pagano after a three month battle with leukemia. Big games like that can sometimes be a bit of curse because maintaining that level of intensity week in and week out is tough.

I loved watching rookie QB Andrew Luck show the world that he’s the real deal, but I think the Colts’ magic ride is going to end this weekend.

Baltimore Ravens – (10-6, 6-9-1 ATS) – The Ravens are 6.5 to 7-point favorites heading into the Wild Card game against the Colts, despite some serious late season struggles. 2012 could have looked a lot different for the OG’s of the NFL were it not for a plague of injuries that just wouldn’t stop.

This week marks Ray Lewis’ return after an extended absence but I don’t think he’ll miss a beat. Lewis is a consummate professional and since this is his final season, don’t be surprised to see him seriously step up his game to give the Colts some real trouble. Rusty? Maybe for a play or two, but then adrenaline will kick in and he’ll be the player we know he is.

Best Bet: Ravens -6.5 (-115) at Bovada.lv

NFC Wild Card: Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 @ 4:30pm ET. FOX

Seattle Seahawks (11-5, 11-5 ATS) – Seattle powered through the last part of the season with decisive wins in seven of their last eight games. They nearly stumbled against the lowly St. Louis Rams after their huge 42-13 win over the 49ers just two weeks ago, but I’m not expecting to see anything like that in the playoffs.

The Seahawks have shown that they’re up for big games, and their defense, which is only giving up around 15 points per game is one of the best in the league. When combined with their formidable running game, Seattle could very easily blow out the relatively inexperienced Redskins this weekend.

Washington Redskins (10-6, 11-5 ATS) – Robert Griffin III is one of the most mature, poised rookies the NFL’s seen in a very long time. His ability to inspire confidence in his teammates has taken the Redskins a long ways this season, but he may be in over his head this weekend.

While the Redskins are the top rushing team in the NFL, they’re not so great at defending against the pass and that could be their undoing this weekend. Washington gives up around 280 passing yards a game and 24.3 points. Though Seattle isn’t the best passing team out there (189 yards per game), I’m expecting them to exploit this weakness and leave Washington cleaning out their lockers.

Best Bet: Seattle -3 (+100) at BetOnline

* Note: This article was written by Brian, not me (Jess) as it shows below. I’m just editing it, and this is why you’ll see some contradictions between this article and a couple that I wrote. The site automatically attributes article authors based on login information. Since I don’t have Brian’s login info, I can’t do that.

Related Articles:

Bengals vs. Texans Betting Lines
Bengals vs. Texans Over/Under
Vikings vs. Packers Betting Lines

This article was written by Jess

Jess is the editor of MobileSportsBetting.com. His job duties include everything nobody else is doing, and making sure it all gets done on time. When he gets a chance, Jess loves to write about NFL, MLB, Formula 1, and tennis betting.

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