Wildcard Weekend – Sunday Games – #GoBills @ #Jaguars, #Panthers @ #GoSaints

Saturday night preview is Here -> Wildcard Weekend – Saturday Games – #TitanUp @ #ChiefsKingdom and #Inbrotherhood @ #LaRams if you missed it, it’s a long read, but I’ve gone pretty in depth with them all, hopefully if you don’t follow my tips it should lead you to something to bet on!

(6 Seed) Buffalo Bills (+9) at The Jaguars (3) – o/u – 39.5

I really don’t want to pick the big home favourites for every game this wild card weekend, but it’s really tough not to! The Bills scraped into the post-season for the first time since 1999 thanks to the Bengals beating the Ravens with a last minute touchdown, their point differential? -57! Admittedly they play the Pats twice which doesn’t help, they beat them by a combined 41 points… and they conceded 60-odd in 2 weeks against the Chargers and Saints, But still, they don’t have a whole lot on offence, their defence kept them in the running in the early season, it’s an above average unit which is 6th in turnovers, but that won’t keep them in playoff games (against most teams anyway)

Tyrod Taylor is not liked by the Bills management, for some reason they seem desperate to undermine him and do as much as they can to show that he’s not what they want in a QB. The fact that he’s thrown the least INTs of any starting QB seems to be overlooked by the Bills hierarchy who replaced him with a QB who threw 5 in one half of a game. I think they want someone to run the exact plays that they script, Tyrod does a lot with his legs and I think they want someone who stands in the pocket and takes hits instead.

It doesn’t seem to matter that Tyrod really doesn’t have much to throw to. Kelvin Benjamin is in theory their number one but he’s been hampered with a knee issue all season, Zay Jones I guess is the WR2? He’s not exactly reliable on a week to week basis, Deonte Thompson is more of a downfield threat, but he’s questionable after being limited in training for most of the week, other than that? God knows, and in fairness it doesn’t matter too much as the Jags pass defence is the best in the league especially at home so I won’t be looking at of them anyway, but they are a little worse against the tight end and Mr. Necessary, Charles Clay is one of the higher targeted tight ends in the league. I was looking at him for an anytime TD scorer, but didn’t realise that he’s only scored 2 this season, both in September. Hardly a glowing resume from him, so I think that o34.5 rec. yards at 5/6 is a better bet on him in this one. If you were looking for a tight end touchdown then Nick O’Leary could be a decent long shot, he doesn’t really get the snaps with Clay in there, but he did score last week against the Dolphins and is a big price at 19/1 on PP. In fact, that’s such a big price I’ll have half a point on him there.

They may have even less on offence is Shady McCoy doesn’t make it through the week after injuring his ankle against the Dolphins. He is apparently going to be a game-time decision and frankly, he’s made of steel, or maybe some kind of carbon-alloy because he usually gets over knocks pretty quickly but a high ankle sprain is very tough especially for RBs, so even if he does go it probably won’t be pretty. In the event of him not being on the field it looked last week like they want to use Marcus Murphy instead of Mike Tolbert, that’s not really a surprise as Tolbert frankly isn’t that good, he is however a massive hulk of a man so good in goal line situations, Murphy is ok on the ground and catching the ball but he’s a very short 7/2 to score anytime which is too low for me. I took 10/1 on Tolbert earlier in the week, the best available is 6/1 now at Ladbrokes/Coral. It’s probably still a bet at that price.

As I said at the start their defence is pretty good and is 6th in takeaways this season, while Blake Bortles has been a lot better than expected this year he has still thrown 5 INTs in his last 2 games so the chance is there for a pick 6. There hasn’t actually been a pick 6 in any playoff game since 2012, so it’s a small chance, but it’s better than nothing!

As they’ll probably struggle to score, o0.5 first half field goal for the Bills at Evens on 365 looks a good bet.

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The Jaguars will win if they get ahead, if they get the game plan they want. They will unleash the pass rush that has led Calais Campbell to 14.5 sacks this season and keep Blake Bortles out of the game as much as they can!

Bortles has definitely been much improved on what we all thought this season, but he still make stupid turnovers and the Bills turnover differential is one place they are doing well and 5 INTs in the last 2 games, they lost both might show a little regression from him? He was in very good form before that though posting better QBRs than most in the league. I’m sure they won’t want to be trusting him with the ball and will do all they can to just feed Fournette all game.

The Jags will need Marqise Lee back to help Bortles, they’ve lost the last 2 games he’s been missing and Dede Westbrook hasn’t had the figures he had in his first month in the team. It seems that Lee really balances the passing game, it seems like he wants to play but as with Shady will be a game-time decision. Those kinds of things never fill me with confidence. Keelan Cole has been the go-to man in recent weeks and has had some crazy stat-lines, 186 yards v the Texans in a blow-out and 108 against the 49ers in a defeat. He’s become a key player for this Jags team. Last week also saw the return of Allen Hurns in the slot to muddle things further. In fairness this is all a bit of a waste of time, I won’t be backing anyone from the WR corps of the Jags as there’s just too much there and I don’t know week to week who will do what.

They could do with Leonard Fournette back to his best in the run game, he’s not been the same since a foot injury halfway through the season and they’ve been leaving him out in some big spots, since the start of November he’s barely averaged 4 yards per carry, with several games around the 2 ypc line. It could be that teams are stacking the box and doing their best to prevent it, or it could be the foot/ankle causing him issue. They do actually have a decent amount of depth at RB as well with Chris Ivory a direct replacement and TJ Yeldon a good 3rd down option as well. Logic would say that Fournette will get 25+ carries this game, they’ll control the clock as they have done well all season.

They have probably the best defence in the league this season, Bouye and Ramsey have been shutdown corners making opposition WRs largely irrelevant and their run defence hasn’t been bad since they signed Bills run stopper Marcell Dareus, both teams run defences have gone in opposite directions since that trade.

I actually think this could be the closest to an upset. It could also be the biggest blow-out if the Jags get it together on offence, they are remarkably 5th in points scored, #1 in rushing yards and #1 in total number of plays. JAGUARS win but nothing on the handicap or totals from me, I would lean under but can’t play under 40 points.

  • Charles Clay o34.5 rec. yards – 5/6 (PP)
  • Nick O’Leary anytime TD – 19/1 (PP) – 0.5 pt 

(5) Carolina Panthers (+6.5) at New Orleans Saints (4) – o/u – 48

Apparently, it’s tough to beat the same team 3 times in a season, that’s what the Saints are aiming to do against the Panthers, having beaten them 31-21 and 34-13 this season already. And while I think the Saints may have peaked too early this season they should have enough to beat the Panthers.

Carolina haven’t really clicked all season, and rely almost entirely on Cam Newton. If the day takes him he can take over a game by himself. He’s only thrown for more than 200 yards in 2 of their last 9 games, although has rushed for 44 yards or more in all but one of those games, basically he’s been trying to do it all himself, not that surprising given the lack of targets to throw to. I can’t state enough that the Panthers performance relies pretty much entirely on this stupid hat wearing douche.

Even with his favourite target Greg Olsen back the team have struggled to get anything going in the passing game. Olsen has had one good game since coming back from injury and it was a monster, 9 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown, other than that he’s had 4 catches for 37 yards in 2 games, that’s pretty darn awful. Devin Funchess isn’t yet a full on WR1 despite having to play that position, he will be against DROY-elect Marshawn Lattimore tonight who will make things very difficult for the Panthers, he actually missed both of the regular season games between the teams. They lost their WR2, Damiere Byrd who had been looking quite good, so have been running out Brenton Bersin. You know, that guy that we were all talking about all season?! Yeah I hadn’t heard of him either until the last few weeks. I backed Kaelin Clay last week who was on the field less and received less targets than Bersin. Bersin is 8/1 anytime and Clay is 12/1 anytime, I’m tempted to have a point on each of them at the odds.

In reality the second, or probably first target in the passing game for Cam will probably be Christian McCaffery, he’s had 80 receptions this season averaging 8 yards on each, in fact his biggest game of the season came in the first matchup against the Saints, 101 through the air and 16 on the ground. He was the guy I was looking forward to watching most after the draft and hasn’t done as well as I’d have expected but he is still good to watch. They should get RB Jonathan Stewart back which to add some balance to the running game though, he’s a far more effective runner between the tackles, he was a full participant in practise so should be good to go.

They will rely on their solid run defence to try and blunt the Saints main method of attack and keep them in the game. Kuechly is one of the best linebackers in the game despite looking like a massive nerd.

The Saints main attack this season has been the run game, Kamara and Ingram are both above 1,500 combined yards on the year with 25 TDs between them. Kamara especially seems to be a special specimen, once he gets the edge you’re not going to stop him, and he made his kick return this week look easy while strolling past and away from defenders, he’s electric and he’s a shoe-in for OROY with no QBs to steal it away from him like Dak did to Zeke last year (I’m still pissed about that) In fact the Saints head office did a great job in the draft with Ryan Ramczyk performing as one of their better offensive line players as well. Both Kamara and Ingram were nominated for the Pro-bowl and Kamara making it on to the second team selection.

If you do hold the run game then they’ll need to throw the ball and Brees is still one of the best at that, although he “only” finished with 4,334 yards this season he did take back his completion percentage crown from Sam Bradford, the Panthers pass defence has been pretty poor this season so if I wouldn’t be surprised to see them using the pass game more than they have done anyway. He’s thrown for 4 TDs and no INTs on the Panthers this year and has a 10:0 ratio at home in the playoffs in his career.

The man he’ll look for first will probably be Michael Thomas who has scored in both games they’ve played against the Panthers so far this season, he has topped 1,200 yards this season with 5 TDs in total, the games against the Panthers, 87 and 70 yards the best line available on him seems to be 74.5 which is a tad too high for my liking. Elsewhere in the passing game it’s a tough to choose who will be targeted between Ted Ginn, Brandon Coleman, Tommylee Lewis and I guess Willie Snead although he’s barely had a mention since coming back from injury. Ginn seems to have been the second choice in recent weeks and this is a revenge game for him, against a relatively poor pass defence he could have a big game but he’s hard to trust and around 2/1 isn’t good enough for me either.

I hinted at it above, but the Saints defence, for so long a big weakness to the team, has been very good this year and the emergence of Lattimore has been a big part of it he seems to be pencilled in by most as defensive rookie of the year, him shutting down the main WR has allowed the pass rush to be effective and Cam Jordan has had a great year with 13 sacks this season. With his mobility Newton is a tough guy to sack but there will be probably be some solid Cam-on-Cam action for a lot of the night.

I can’t see the Panthers being able to hang with the Saints and I think they will probably cover the spread and win by more than a TD – SAINTS

  • Brenton Bersin o21.5 rec. yards – 1/1 (365)
  • Brenton Bersin anytime TD – 8/1 (Ladbrokes) – 1pt
  • Kaelin Clay anytime TD – 12/1 (365) – 1pt

And finishing off the Lucky 15 from yesterday…

  • Gurley, Hunt, Clay and Thomas – Now best priced at Betfair, a touch higher than Ladbrokes according the oddschecker. 

Summary of Sunday bets –

  • Charles Clay o34.5 rec. yards – 5/6 (PP)
  • Nick O’Leary anytime TD – 19/1 (PP) – 0.5 pt 
  • Brenton Bersin o21.5 rec. yards – 1/1 (365)
  • Brenton Bersin anytime TD – 8/1 (Ladbrokes) – 1pt
  • Kaelin Clay anytime TD – 12/1 (365) – 1pt

And the Lucky 15.

  • Gurley, Hunt, Clay and Thomas – Now best priced at Betfair, a touch higher than Ladbrokes according the oddschecker. If you’ve not placed it yet, you’re probably better off replacing Clay with someone else of removing him and having a trixie, but I’ve already placed it…

Good Luck if you’re on anything this weekend and thanks for reading!

Adam, @touchdowntips

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