Wild Card Weekend Against The Spread Picks

Wild Card Weekend ATS Picks

Wild Card Weekend Against The Spread Picks

After 17 weeks of hard fought football its time for the NFL Playoffs there are plenty of chances to find value Wild Card Weekend ATS picks.

Team records, stats, streaks…nothing matters now. This is good news for the 7-8-1 Carolina Panthers, as they have just as good of a chance to make a deep run as the 12-4 Dallas Cowboys.

With the Seattle Seahawks, the Green Bay Packers, the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos looming next here are my Wild Card Weekend ATS Picks:

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Analyzing My Wild Card Weekend ATS Picks

Matchup: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
Date: Jan. 3, 2015 
Start Time: 4:20 p.m. ET 
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Stadium: Bank of America Stadium
TV Info: ESPN
Radio:  Arizona Vs  Carolina
Point Spread: Panthers -4
Game Total: 39

Analysis: Carolina was unstoppable against the Atlanta Falcons. On the road and playing in a game to decide the winner of the NFC South, quarterback Cam Newton stepped it up big time.

Newton only threw for 114 yards, but he completed 10 out of 16 passes and he threw a TD. More importantly, he didn’t throw an interception and he rushed for 51 yards from 6 carries and scored a TD on the ground. That’s what you expect from a running quarterback. You don’t want him to hurt you by throwing picks or fumbling the ball and you want him to only use his speed sparingly.

Arizona’s defense had trouble stopping Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback without the passing skills that Newton has, in Week 17. Kaepernick completed 15 of 26 for 204 yards. He threw 2 touchdown passes. If the Cardinals’ D couldn’t stop Kaepernick, who also rushed for 63 yards, what are their chances of stopping Cam Newton?

Their chances aren’t very good.

My Wild Card Weekend ATS Pick: Carolina Panthers -5.5

Matchup: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Date: Jan. 3, 2015 
Start Time: 8:15 p.m. ET 
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Stadium: Heinz Field
TV Info: NBC
Radio:  Baltimore Vs  Pittsburgh
Point Spread: Steelers -3.5
Game Total: N/A

Analysis: Don’t look now, but the hottest team in the NFL against the spread is the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers have gone 4 and 1 against the spread since their bye week. They’re actually 4 and 0 ATS in their last 4 games and they’ve covered spreads versus decent teams like Atlanta and Cincinnati on the road, and Kansas City and Cincinnati at home.

Pittsburgh is bringing in RB Ben Tate to help with rushing duties since they aren’t sure if Le’Veon Bell can go or if he goes this weekend, how long he’ll be able to go. That’s excellent news for Pittsburgh fans because Tate used to play for Cleveland and knows Baltimore’s defense well. Not only that, but Tate is used to catching the football out of the backfield, which is one of the ways that the Steelers have been using Bell lately.

Pittsburgh’s defense won’t have to shut down Joe Flaaco and the Ravens’ offense for the Steelers to cover the spread in the game. Pittsburgh should put up enough points in order for the Steelers to employ a bend but don’t break defense when Baltimore has the ball and still cover the spread.   

Wild Card Weekend ATS Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -3

Matchup: Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts
Date: Jan. 4, 2015 
Start Time: 1:05 p.m. ET 
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Stadium: Lucas Oil Stadium
TV Info: CBS
Radio:  Cincinnati Vs  Indianapolis
Point Spread: Colts -4
Game Total: N/A

Analysis: It looks like the Colts have a lot of things going for them versus Cincinnati, a team that they beat 27 to 0 earlier in the season, but before football handicappers start throwing down cash on Indianapolis, they’ll want to take a closer look at this game.

The Colts failed to cover the spread against a single team with a winning record after their bye week this season. They failed to cover against New England, Cleveland and Dallas and they pushed versus Houston. The Colts’ defense allowed the Patriots to rush for 246 yards, the Cowboys to rush for 127 yards, Houston to rush for 137 yards and Cleveland to rush for 115. Even Tennessee, in a 27 to 10 Indy victory in Week 17, rushed for 142 yards.

The reason that the Colts’ rush defense stats are important is because Indianapolis faces a top rushing team, with a seriously talented running back in Jeremy Hill, this Sunday. Indy could have a tough time keeping the Bengals from running it down their throat.

Wild Card Weekend ATS Pick: Cincinnati Bengals +4