Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 12:00 AM
THE NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS - WE TACKLE SATURDAY'S GAMES (THAT'S COLTS AT TEXANS, SEAHAWKS AT COWBOYS) PLUS, WE GETCHA THE SUPER BOWL 53 WIN-IT-ALL ODDS TOO
Okay, so who is your choice to be the Super Bowl LIII winner next month in Atlanta? Well, the good folks in Las Vegas have weighed in here just a couple of days before we crank up this year's NFL Playoffs and here's what they say (all odds based on $100 per play wagers):
SUPER BOWL 53 ODDS TO WIN IT ALL
|TEAM||ODDS||ONE QUICK THOUGHT|
|New Orleans||+ 200||Saints are bigger-than-we-thought favorites for SB 53|
|Kansas City||+ 450||For once in their lives, can Chiefs win playoff home games?|
|LA Rams||+ 450||Maybe last year's playoff stumble taught 'em a lesson|
|New England||+ 600||The Brady bunch is counting on a healthy Gronk|
|Chicago||+ 800||Best pass-rush team in NFL is really hungry|
|Baltimore||+ 1600||Rookie QB Jackson-led squad shows no fear at all|
|LA Chargers||+ 1600||If "Old Man" Rivers gets in a groove, watch out|
|Dallas||+ 2500||The 'Boys need Dak to play like Roger Staubach|
|Seattle||+ 2500||QB Wilson may be post-season's numero uno X Factor|
|Houston||+ 3000||Is there a more disrespected #3 seed in playoff history?|
|Indianapolis||+ 3000||Winnin' three in a row on the road is uber-tough, folks|
|Philadelphia||+ 3500||The defending champs need more goodies from "St. Nick"|
On Saturday, it's ...
INDIANAPOLIS (10-6) at HOUSTON (11-5) - 4:35 p.m. ET, ESPN / Line: Houston -1 and 48 points
It's Colts vs. Texas Part III - and we'll see if we headed for a third straight FG-margin game (see Texans 37, Colts 34 in OT back in Week 4; and then Colts 24, Texans 21 in Week 14): No question that Indy QB Andrew Luck (4,593 yards passing with 39 TDs) needs to keep the pocket moving against this fierce pass rush starring J.J. Watt / Jadeveon Clowney (see 25 total sacks) and so gotta believe the quick slants to WR T.Y. Hilton and friends is key. On the flip side, Houston QB Deshaun Watson (4,165 yards passing / 26 TDs) needs to evade the pass rush /negative plays (he's been sacked 62 times, for goodness sakes) but it says here that WR DeAndre Hopkins must snatch up 10-or-more pitches here and make it into the end zone a couple times if Texans are to win/cover. Spread stuff ... Houston is 7-2-1 ATS (against the spread) since Week 7; Indianapolis is 6-3 ATS away since late '17.
SEATTLE (10-6) at DALLAS (10-6) - 8:15 p.m., Fox / Line: Dallas -2 and 43 points
Here's a real Saturday Night Special ... the Seahawks/Cowboys clash in prime-time might well come to the key stat:
Seattle sports the NFL's top-ranked rushing attack (160 yards per game) while Dallas ranks fifth in rush defense (94.6 ypg) but it's what QB Russell Wilson does when he exits the pocket as a runner where his chain-moving (or not) runs figure to be the key. Gotta believe that Dallas will get RB Ezekiel Elliott (1,434 yards rushing) his 25-or-more touches here but can aforementioned QB Dak Prescott (3,885 yards passing / 22 TDs) hold onto the ball when hit and can he flip the field with some timely chucks to WR Amari Cooper? Interestingly enough, the totals price on this game opened at 41.5 and has gone up a tad ... hmmm. In case you were wondering, the last time the Cowboys won/covered a playoff home game was 10 years ago (see 3.5-point fav Dallas 34, Philadelphia 14). Spread stuff ... Dallas is 5-2-1 versus the vig as hosts this year; Seattle is 85-66-6 ATS all-time under 9th-year head coach Pete Carroll (a solid .563 winning rate).
NOTE: Catch Sunday's NFL Wild Card previews in tomorrow's Jim Sez.