Finding Shockers This NFL Wildcard Weekend

Wayne Root: Finding Shockers This NFL Wildcard Weekend

We have a unique circumstance this weekend where ALL of the visiting teams in the Wildcard games are road favorites. If you love betting home underdogs in the NFL...then THIS is your week!

Of course, that would mean beating on the four "inferior" teams, two of whom are only in the playoffs because they won very weak divisions. Before talking about this weekend, let's take a quick look back to a year ago...

Last Year's Wildcard Results
Arizona +5.5 lost at Carolina 27-16
Baltimore +3 won at Pittsburgh 30-17
Cincinnati +3.5 lost at Indianapolis 26-10
Detroit +6 lost at Dallas 24-20

Only one shocker with the Ravens. Two of the four dogs covered their spreads with Detroit cashing in a loss. A helpful reminder that "blanket" strategies where you "always" take dogs or favorites will hurt you over time because of the 10% vigorish on lost bets. Find the BEST dogs, but don't just back every dog! Or, if you're a square, don't just assume all the favorites are going to crush!

I definitely have my eye on a dog or two this weekend (at least!). But, I obviously can't post my plays for free here in a web preview article. That's not fair to my paying customers. I will outline these keys to finding smart dog bets that you can apply to the matchups.

OFFENSE
I'm always telling you to back underdogs who can score points. Many old school handicappers talk about "defensive dogs." Those are fine for value here and there. But, if you're focused on winning the game outright, your team must be able to score enough to win. WAYNE ALLYN ROOT is the all-time leader in documented upsets because I emphasize offense more than defense. Note that two of the dog losers managed only 10 and 16 points a year ago. The shocker came from the team scoring 30, and the other dog cover came from a team scoring 20. Go through this week's dogs and study which have the best chance to make a run at 20-30 points.

DEFENSE
Definitely something to look at for value. And, this particular weekend it could loom large because...

*HOUSTON'S only strength is defense, in their Saturday matchup with Kansas City. If the Texans are going to advance, it's because their defense disrupts what the Chiefs are trying to do.

*CINCINNATI'S defense has been solid all year, and must come through to take the pressure off A.J. McCarron or a rusty and hurt Andy Dalton.

*MINNESOTA'S defense will be helped by frigid game conditions that will feature wind chills below zero. I could actually see making an upset call based on defense in a game where the weather itself can shut down offenses.

*WASHINGTON'S defense isn't that great, but has a real chance to slow down Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay because everybody is slowing down Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay!

Ultimately, who you're betting for value, and who you're betting for outright upsets on the moneyline will be influenced this weekend by defense.

MOTIVATION
Most people think that motivation is a non-factor in the playoffs. Hey, IT'S THE PLAYOFFS! Everyone's going to be fired up. Well, nobody's going to be in the tank. But, some favorites come in overconfident. Some favorites come in a little flat because they played so great in their regular season finale. Some underdogs come in with something to prove in a way that lifts their games tremendously. How many Wildcard teams have gone on to win the Super Bowl after showing swagger in their playoff opener? (Of course, the Wildcards are all favorites this week!)

Interestingly, we have recent revenge in a couple of games.

*MINNESOTA has revenge after getting crushed by Seattle on this field a few weeks ago

*CINCINNATI has divisional revenge after losing at home to Pittsburgh in the game that knocked Dalton out of the lineup.

Houston also lost a home game to Kansas City this season...but that was all the way back in Week One. Not the same kind of juice flowing for something like that.

I don't want to tip my hand too much here. I will tell you that a motivational angle will behind one of my biggest releases this weekend.

Wrapping it up...you do-it-yourselfers will likely be helped by trying to rank the "upset potential" of all four dogs based on what we just discussed. Don't worry about the pointspreads so much...but focus on scoring potential, defensive quality, and motivational angles to rank upset potential from best to worst. That should help you isolate at least one or two smart dog bets, possibly a very smart favorite bet, and maybe a game you should pass because the value just isn't there.

You can purchase NFL WILDCARD BEST BETS from THE KING OF LAS VEGAS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about which of my services best suits your individual needs, please talk to one of my representatives in the office at 1-877-ROOT-WINS. Be sure you check on combination packages that include basketball, the rest of the NFL, and Monday night's National Championship game in college football.

I'll be talking about that big Alabama/Clemson game the next time we're together. That report is schedule to go up Sunday. Las Vegas sportsbooks are going to be jam packed the next few days because of all the great betting opportunities. That means it's time for you to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!

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