Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM
Sunday's Best Bets
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Earlier in the week I touched on what to expect from the Saturday card opening up this year's NFL Playoffs, and hopefully those two games in the AFC play out as expected. Sunday's action is all about the NFC though, and in general, I do believe it's a harder card to break down overall.
The New Orleans Saints are laying over a TD against Minnesota in a rematch of the “Minneapolis Miracle” from a couple of years ago. And then after that, you've got a Seattle team that's outperformed their stat lines all year long, have got just a +7 point differential on the year – every other playoff team except for Houston (-7) is at least +31 in that category (Philadelphia) – as a small road favorite against the Eagles who didn't exactly light the world on fire either.
Home dogs in the playoffs should always at least get some consideration, and in this case, Seattle does fit the profile of a team that deserves to be faded in their current role. But that also means you've got to back Philly, a team that's been ravaged by injuries all year long. It really is a tough card through and through, however, after stepping back for a few days and really thinking about this board, one specific solution into how to wager on these two games did seem to always get circled back around too.
Minnesota at New Orleans (1:00 p.m. ET)
Seattle at Philadelphia (4:40 p.m. ET)
Best Bet: 6-point Teaser: New Orleans -1.5 to Philadelphia +7.5
The fact that there are quite a lot of bettors out there in the market that have already seemingly given this game as a win to New Orleans is a little concerning. The Kirk Cousins futility in big games continually gets brought up as reasoning, and given that the weekend's action is likely going to have the Saints tied up in a lot of teasers and/or ML parlays, oddsmakers would love to see Cousins shed that 'choker' label and win this game outright. That is definitely a bit of concern in making this play, but you can count me among the masses who does believe that New Orleans will win this game outright.
The Saints at home are borderline unstoppable, at least on offense, and I'm not sure the Vikings have what it takes to put up the likely 30+ they'll need to threaten the Saints. New Orleans offense finished the year by putting up 34+ in each of their last four games, and 30 or more in eight of their last 10. Yes, their defense might have some cracks, but those types of cracks usually don't start showing up for division winners until later rounds of the playoffs. At home, with one of the best home field advantages in the league, the Saints should find a way to come out victorious. The point spread of -8 does seem a tad inflated and it's why I'm not interested in screwing around with a game that could easily land a point or two on either side of that spread.
Landing on the Eagles as the second leg of this teaser, as those of you who have read my NFL previews regarding Eagles games this year know I'm not the biggest believer in this team and especially their QB. But Wentz did step up when he needed to in the final month of the season, although let's pump the breaks on talks of him regaining his potential MVP form of 2017; Wentz absolutely needed to play hero against the Giants, Redskins and Cowboys of all teams in that final stretch.
But teasing the Eagles up is much more about fading a Seattle team who is still overvalued despite a recent decline back to Earth. The Seahawks lost their final two games, and three of their final four to slip into this #5 seed and will probably end up getting burned in the playoffs because of it. The only reason Seattle comes into this game laying chalk is based on record discrepancy, as a 7-1 SU record on the road probably doesn't hurt as well.
Yes, it's been a long time since the Eagles faced a quality foe, as their last game against a currently playoff team was actually hosting Seattle in late November, a game that finished 17-9 in Seattle's favor. That lack of competition (and overall healthy talent) the Eagles have recently dealt with is what has me shying away from backing them on the outright point spread, or even outright to win the game in general, but teasing them up through those key numbers of +3 and +7 makes a heck of a lot more sense.
This game could end up coming down to a single score one way or the other – Seattle played in single-score games (8 points or less) 12 different times this year, and did fairly well in those games. That seems to be their level of comfort late in games, and it's the most likely outcome for this one as well.
Eventually, the winner of this game probably gets their ass handed to them next week against the 49ers or Packers, but for this week, I'll take as many points as I can with the underdog and hope it's a close game throughout.