NFL wild-card betting: Bucs, Steelers attracting nearly 90% of money as favorites

Sam Cooper
·4 min read

The NFL’s wild-card weekend is fast approaching and money is pouring in on all six matchups at BetMGM.

In four of the six games, both the betting public and sharps are siding with the favorites. In particular, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Pittsburgh Steelers are receiving the overwhelming majority of the bets as of Thursday.

Tom Brady and the Bucs opened as seven-point favorites but are now up to -8 on the road against the Washington Football Team, the 7-9 NFC East champions. While 78% of the bets have come in on the Tampa side, 88% of the money is on the Bucs to cover the eight-point spread.

There’s a bigger discrepancy in the Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game. The Browns, making their first playoff appearance in 18 years, are dealing with COVID-19 issues that will keep head coach Kevin Stefanski and a few prominent players from being available for the game.

As such, the Steelers have gone from 4.5-point favorites to six-point favorites over the course of the week. Despite the line movement, the Steelers have received 85% of the bets and a whopping 89% of the money.

The other favorites attracting the majority of the bets this weekend are the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks.

The Bills will host the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday afternoon and are favored by 6.5 points. The Bills, who enter the postseason with an 11-5 record against the spread in 2020, have received 75% of the bets and 71% of the money.

The Seahawks are favored by 3.5 points at home against NFC West foe Los Angeles Rams. The point spread opened at 4.5, but has dropped down a point. Seattle has received 69% of the bets but the handle splits are much closer. Only 54% of the money has come in on Seattle.

“This year’s Wild Card round boasts an uncommon amount of large spreads, with all six games currently being over a field goal. Public money is on most of the favorites, BetMGM will need a few underdogs to win,” said Matt Cosgriff, the Director of Trading for BetMGM.

Titans, Bears popular underdogs

In the other two games, both the public and sharps are on the underdogs as of Thursday.

In Sunday’s first game, the Baltimore Ravens are 3.5-point favorites on the road against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans upset the Ravens in last year’s divisional round. This year bettors are on the Titans, this time as home underdogs. So far, 60% of the bets and 63% of the money are on Tennessee.

The other underdog getting love from bettors is the Chicago Bears, who are getting 10 points on the road against the New Orleans Saints. It was a spread that opened at 8.5, but has now reached double digits. The Bears have received 61% of the bets and 60% of the money at BetMGM.

The Bears and Saints faced off in Chicago back on Nov. 1 and the Bears covered the spread as 5.5-point underdogs. The Saints won 26-23 in overtime.

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) rushes for a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) rushes for a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

Sharps eyeing the under in two games

In the data released Thursday by BetMGM, there are two games that really stand out from a total perspective.

While 73% of the bets that have come in on the over in the Titans-Ravens game, 69% of the money is on the under. The total in that game currently sits at 54.5.

Similarly, the public is betting on the over 47.5 in the Saints vs. Bears game but more money is coming in on the under. Currently, 64% of the bets at BetMGM came in on the over, but 60% of the money was on the under.

Another under that is attracting a significant amount of money comes from the Washington vs. Tampa Bay game. While 68% of the total bets on that game are on the under, a whopping 88% of the money is on the under. The number opened at 46.5 but has dropped to 44.5.

Other games:

  • Bills vs. Colts (Opened: 52.5, Currently: 51.5): 85% of tickets on over, 78% of handle on over

  • Seahawks vs. Rams (Opened: 41.5, Currently: 42.5): 50% of tickets on over, 58% of handle on over

  • Steelers vs. Browns (Opened: 45.5, Currently: 47.5): 64% of tickets on under, 72% of handle on under

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