MetroBet looks at the odds and dishes out advice for the two NFL wild card games on Sunday.
Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)
Moneyline: Chargers +125, Ravens -145
Betting Total: 41.5 points
Time (Eastern), TV: 1:05 p.m., CBS
It seems counter-intuitive, but the Chargers are a good bet to avenge a Week 16 loss to the Ravens as the venue moves to Baltimore.
The Chargers were road warriors in 2018, going 7-1 straight-up and against the spread. Their only loss away from the Stubhub Center wasn’t even a true road game, as they lost to the Rams at the L.A. Coliseum. A big reason for that success is L.A.’s ground game, as Charger running backs accounted for over 19 additional yards per tilt on the road compared to their overall numbers. So the news that Melvin Gordon practiced in full on Wednesday and is “ready to go” for Sunday was especially good for the Chargers.
Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson looks overmatched by Philip Rivers, who had one of his best statistical seasons in his 15th year in the league. Jackson had a paltry 84.5 passer rating this season and has coughed the ball up 12 times in his last seven games alone. Per oddsshark.com, rookie signal callers are 1-5 straight up in postseason games dating back to 2012.
L.A.’s pass stoppers have been susceptible on the road this year (20th), but Baltimore won’t be able to exploit that weakness. They prefer to grind things out on the ground with Jackson and Gus Edwards. Unfortunately for them, no team in the NFL was better in net yards per play on the road than the Chargers (1.2).
Prediction: Chargers win, 24-20
The play: Chargers to win (+125)
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears (-5.5)
Moneyline: Eagles +205, Bears -245
Betting Total: 41 points
Time (Eastern), TV: 4:40 p.m., NBC
The final game of wild card weekend looks like the biggest mismatch on paper, as the Philadelphia Eagles, who owe the Bears a favor after Chicago knocked Minnesota out of the playoffs for them in Week 17, will travel to Soldier Field to take on those same Bears.
In fairness to Philly, they carry plenty of momentum heading into the postseason, as they’ve won three straight since Nick Foles, as he did last year, came to the rescue after a Carson Wentz injury. The Eagles have averaged nearly 70 more yards per game with Foles, and just over a full touchdown more per game, albeit the sample size is small.
However, the Bears went 7-1 straight-up and against the spread at Soldier Field this year, with the lone loss coming to the Patriots. They wreaked havoc on opposing offenses, ranking first in points per game allowed and INTs. Mitchell Trubisky isn’t known as a big deep-ball threat, but even he should be able to exploit the Eagles’ 30th-rated pass defense.
Prediction: Bears win, 28-13
The play: Bears -5.5