Football bettors must react quickly to these NFL Wild Card odds
By AAA SPORTS
Each week during the pro football season, Art Aronson of AAA Sports looks at the NFL odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later and and which total to watch as the week plays out.
Spread to bet now
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans (+3)
The Texans are a home dog, as well they should be. Kansas City is – on paper anyway – the most dangerous Wild Card team in the field. The Chiefs come in with 10 wins in a row (cautionary note: they were just 1-3 ATS in the final four games of the regular season) and still somewhat under the radar.
Most importantly, over the second half of the season, the Chiefs dominated teams when they go on the road: 20-point win at Baltimore, 14-point win at Oakland, 30-point win at San Diego, 16-point win at Denver.
Early betting is heavily on the Chiefs in this one, so if you can grab Kansas City and have to lay only the field goal, it could be a smart move. Books are cautious about adding that extra half point, but may have no choice in this one.
Spread to wait on
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (+2.5)
Reputation could be one factor as bettors have jumped hard on the Steelers in this one in early wagering. The Bengals always seem to find a way to lose playoff games and the foundation of the team came crumbling down in mid-December when franchise QB Andy Dalton suffering a thumb fracture trying to make a tackle. A.J. McCarron is 1-1 as the replacement, and McCarron brings oodles of confidence and zero experience into the biggest game of his pro life.
Home field might not be of much help in this one, because the road team won both games this season: the Steelers winning that Dalton/thumb game only a few weeks ago, 33-20. The Steelers scored a lot of points over the final half of the regular season, averaging almost 32 points per game in their final eight games. That production is appealing to public bettors.