NFL Wildcard Weekend opens with three of four road teams favored
By ANDREW CALEY
The NFL regular season has come to a close, the playoff field has been set and the Wildcard matchups open with three of the four road teams as favorites.
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans
Wildcard weekend opens in Houston with the Texans hosting the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs, who have won 10 straight games and opened as three-point road favorites in both the Westgate LV Superbook in Las Vegas and online sportsbook Bookmaker. The total opened at 41.
The Chiefs were 7-3 ATS during their 10 game win streak, but were just 1-3 ATS in their last four games. Meanwhile the Texans were 5-3 ATS at home and closed the season going 3-0 SU/ATS.
“We’ve already seen some bettors hit the under as everyone is anticipating a defensive slugfest. Kansas City deserved to be a road favorite here, and we may have been too conservative on that side. This spread could climb quickly,” Scott Cooley of Bookmaker.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
In the second AFC Wildcard matchup, Cincinnati hosts rival Pittsburgh and with Bengals’ starting quarterback Andy Dalton’s status uncertain, the Steelers have opened as 2.5-point favorites. The total opened at 46.5.
“Even though it looks as if Pittsburgh will be down to its third-string tailback, we felt comfortable making the road team chalk because at the end of the day, it’s Ben Roethlisberger vs. A.J. McCarron (if Dalton can’t go),” Cooley said.
The AFC North foes split the two games this season with Cincy winning in Week 8 16-10 in a game that closed as a Pick and Pittsburgh taking the Week 14 33-20 as 1-point dogs. The games went 1-1 O/U.