NFL (2 Units) 2-Team 7 Point Teaser (-140)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -0.5: 12:00 PM CT on FOX
Is first-time playoff starter Jalen Hurts, along with rookie head coach Nick Sirianni, going into Tampa and beating the GOAT and defending champs? If you answered yes, seek professional help. This Eagles team truly epitomizes sneaking into the playoffs, with all their wins coming over non-playoff teams while going 0-6 in their games against teams that did make the postseason.
It’s simply a bad matchup for what the Eagles are forced to do with Hurts at QB, which is run the football. The Bucs own the best rush defense in the league and are getting several key defensive starters back just in time for the playoffs. Predicted bad weather has driven the side and total of this game down, right into range for getting Tompa Brady at a pick ‘em price that I’m fully confident in.
Kansas City Chiefs -5.5: 7:15 PM CT on NBC
So far in this Super Wild Card weekend, chalk has come in fairly easily. But the Chiefs are laying a big number here that feels at serious risk of leaving the back door open late, so I’ll tease this down to the much safer territory of under a touchdown. If this game plays out anything like the 36-10 Chiefs win three weeks ago, the tease won’t be necessary. But this is the playoffs, and the Steelers will likely be pulling out all the stops in this one.
Andy Reid has a pattern in these situations: get up big early and coast down the stretch to preserve his players’ health going into the next round. He certainly has the offense to jump out to that early lead, as evidenced by the 23-0 halftime score of the first meeting. But there have been so many late Pittsburgh rallies this season that I’m wary of laying 12.5 points. Less than a touchdown covers all kinds of scenarios for a Chiefs win, so I see this number being the safest tease option in this game.
NFL (0.75 Unit) Kansas City Chiefs 1st Half -7 (-110): 7:15 PM CT on NBC
For all the reasons above, I like the Chiefs to go into halftime with at least a touchdown lead. Also consider that the Steelers are just 6-11 ATS for first half numbers but 7-4 ATS for the full game as an underdog. That’s an excellent illustration of how this team consistently starts slowly and comes alive late.
That first meeting between these teams marked the third straight road game in which Pittsburgh trailed by at least 23 points going into half, the first time that’s happened in NFL history. Kansas City has most of the matchup advantages in this game, plus a coaching staff excellent at scheming plays early in games. Combine that with Pittsburgh’s early-game tendencies, and I see a comfortable lead for the home team at halftime.
NFL Bonus Props (0.25 Units Each) 49ers vs Cowboys: 3:30 PM CT on CBS
CeeDee Lamb Over 63.5 Receiving Yards (-110)
I’m of the somewhat-contrarian opinion that Michael Gallup’s absence actually helps CeeDee Lamb from a production standpoint. That moves him to the outside where he’s been more productive this season and will have more opportunity to catch deep passes. Lamb is 9-7 over this number on the year, but should have no trouble against a relatively weak 49ers secondary.
Amari Cooper Over 59.5 Receiving Yards (-110)
Cooper has been up and down this season, but with Lamb occupying the outside of the field across from him, he should see plenty of single coverage in this game. Cooper is still extremely dangerous, especially in single coverage, and has become a security blanket for Dak Prescott. I see the Cowboys passing a lot in this game and that should get Cooper over his prop total.
Deebo Samuel Over 64.5 Receiving Yards (-110)
As a Cowboys fan, this man scares me. Samuel has turned into one of the most lethal weapons in the NFL, and Dallas has to just hope to contain him because you can’t stop him. The 49ers will look to use short passes to negate the aggressive Dallas pass rush, and Samuel should get plenty of those opportunities.
George Kittle Over 52.5 Receiving Yards (-110)
Teams have slowed Kittle somewhat since his torrid stretch after returning from injury. But I don’t have a lot of faith in the Cowboys secondary to contain all of San Francisco’s weapons, and Kittle should get his today. The return of Elijah Mitchell to the 49ers backfield should open up the passing game, creating plenty of opportunity for Kittle to get open and rack up yards after the catch.
No degenerates today.
Tiny Nick is 524-413 ATS (+80.6 Units) on his Locks since joining Zone Coverage.
Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining but riskier picks.