AFC Wild Card Game Previews

Comments

The AFC’s Wild Card round takes place on Sunday (Australian time) with Houston hosting Buffalo and Tennessee travelling to New England.

These are two intriguing matchups, especially with regards to New England, which had been in line for a week one bye, only to lose to Miami and fall to the #3 seed.

From a betting standpoint, the underdogs are 8-0 ATS in the last eight Wild Card games (although the year before, favourites went 4-0).

Buffalo Bills (10-6) @ Houston Texans (10-6), Sunday 8:35 am AEDT

Texans
-AFC South champions, #4 seed.
-Ranked #13 in total offense.
-Ranked #28 in total defense.
-Have won four of the last five meetings with Buffalo and have not lost at home to the Bills since 2006.

Bills
-Wild Card, #5 seed.
-Ranked #24 in total offense.
-Ranked #3 in total defense.
-Haven’t won a playoff game since 1995.
-This will be Josh Allen’s first playoff start and the odds are against him: since 2002, quarterbacks making their playoff debuts are 8-28.

Keys to the game

A tricky one to project, since both of these teams are unpredictable and Buffalo lacks playoff experience. The Bills will need to use Josh Allen wisely, as they did in their close loss to New England in Week 16 and not ask him to do too much.

Houston’s Deshaun Watson will be challenged by the stout Buffalo defense and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who has scored in his three previous meetings with the Bills, will be shadowed by star cornerback Tre’Davious White.

Match Betting
$1.62 Houston
$2.30 Buffalo

Handicap
$1.82 Houston -2.5
$1.99 Buffalo +2.5

Total Match Points
$1.90 Over 43.5 points
$1.90 Under 43.5 points

All markets here.

 

Tennessee Titans (9-7) at New England Patriots (12-4), Sunday 12:15 pm AEDT

Patriots
-AFC East champions, #3 seed.
-Ranked #15 in total offense.
-Ranked #1 in total defense.
-This is the first time since 2009 that the Patriots haven’t had the first week bye.
-Have won seven of the last eight against Tennessee, although Titans won last meeting (2018).

Titans
-Wild Card, #6 seed.
-Ranked #12 in total offense.
-Ranked #21 in total defense.
-It’s his first playoff game, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill is 0-6 in Foxborough against the Pats (as a member of the Miami Dolphins).
-Haven’t won in New England since 1993 when they were still the Houston Oilers.

Keys to the game

The weather is predicted to be close to freezing, with some rain and possibly snow. That’s probably good news for the Titans who have the NFL’s leading rusher, Derrick Henry. The Pats would have been expecting a heavy dose of Henry anyway, but weather could make him even more important.

New England has really struggled lately, losing two of its last four, but there’s no doubt that Bill Belichick will come up with an effective game plan, much like he did last season against the Chargers in the AFC Divisional playoff game. Cold weather or not, expect Tom Brady to work the short passing game, with a few trick plays mixed in as well.

Match Betting
$1.42 New England
$2.90 Tennessee

Handicap
$1.86 Tennessee +5.5
$1.95 New England -5.5

Total Match Points
$1.90 Over 44.5
$1.90 Under 44.5

All markets here.

What do you think?