Betting News & Analysis

NFL Super Wild-Card Weekend Betting: Darius Butler's favorite bets of the week

Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) runs with the ball while evading tackles by New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson (27) and inside linebacker Jamie Collins (58) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NFL postseason has arrived, and it's going to be an incredible ride for fans and bettors alike. 

Rather than just splitting wild-card weekend between Saturday and Sunday, the NFL decided to extend the first round of the playoffs until Monday as well, which means we will be spoiled with three straight days of playoff football.


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My betting picks went 29-27 through the regular season, so let's start the playoffs with a winning week. Here are my betting picks for the NFL's Super Wild-Card Weekend.

You've got the first pick with your finances. Western Southern Financial Group.
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Buffalo Bills (-4.5) over New England Patriots 

Coaching and quarterback play matters even more during the postseason.

Even though Sean McDermott has done an excellent job in Buffalo since he was hired in 2017, the Patriots certainly have the coaching edge with Bill Belichick, who is coaching his 44th NFL playoff game, still at the helm.

Nonetheless, the quarterback matchup is not even close, as Josh Allen is a top 3-5 QB in the league when he's at his best. Among quarterbacks who dropped back at least 100 times during the regular season, Allen ranked sixth in overall PFF grade, third in big-time throws (39), second in the percentage of pressures turned into sacks (10.6%) and eigth in average depth of target (9.0 yards).

Quarterback comparison
Quarterback J. Allen M. Jones
PFF Grade 86.5 79.3
Passer Rating Clean 100.0 98.1
Passer Rating Under Pressure 74.0 74.2
Big-Time Throw % 5.7% 4.3%
Turnover-Worthy Play % 3.4% 2.5%
Power Rating 7.0 3.0
Power Rating Rank 4th 16th

This game will feature two of the NFL’s best defenses, as the Patriots (75.9) rank fourth in team-defense grade while the Bills (73.0) are close behind in ninth.

The Bills defense will have a much easier task on their hands, as the recipe for success all night will be to stop the run and get Jones off of his spot. As a player, I loved facing young QBs who were going to be a statue; therefore, I expect the Bills passing defense — fourth in team coverage grade (88.8) — to put forth a dominant performance.

I'm picking the Bills to win by a touchdown.

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Dog of the Day: San Francisco 49ers (+3) over Dallas Cowboys 

If you heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times by now — the 49ers are a bad matchup for the Cowboys.

Most believe that Dak Prescott is the better quarterback in this matchup, but I I don't. After Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady , I trust Jimmy Garoppolo more than the rest of the NFC playoff quarterbacks. Garoppolo ranks second among quarterbacks (min. 100 dropbacks) in yards per attempt (8.6) and seventh in passing grade when kept clean (90.4).

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Defensively, the Cowboys thrive at rushing the passer (78.3 team pass-rush grade, eighth-best in the NFL) and creating turnovers, as the Cowboys led the NFL in takeaways (34) during the regular season.

The 49ers' game plan will be to establish dominance on the ground with their offensive line that boasts the No. 1-ranked run-blocking grade (88.4). Shanahan uses pre snap motion and misdirection to get defenses out of position and force defensive backs to tackle. The 49ers rank first shift/motion rate (80.3%) and average 0.70 expected points added (EPA) per play when doing so.

If San Francisco's ground game is effective, it will enable Garoppolo to get the ball out of his hands quickly to let his playmakers create big plays, as the 49ers ranked first in yards after the catch per reception (6.6) during the regular season.

Give me the 49ers plus the points Sunday.


Darius Butler is a former NFL free safety. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He has also played for the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts.

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