Dolphins @ Bills (-13.5), O/U 43.5
This could have been a good game. But, Skylar Thompson is starting at QB for the Dolphins. That explains the big number here. The Dolphins have talent, and for a good chunk of the season, looked like a legitimate threat not just in the AFC East, but in the entire AFC and the entire NFL. Their only hope is that their WR duo, which is the best in the league, absolutely balls out and makes this young QB look good.
The Bills are back. All season long, it’s felt like this was their season. That being said, I’ve actually been fairly unimpressed by them. Offensively, they are super dependent on the greatness of Josh Allen. Defensively, they have not looked dominant.
But I’m still laying the number here with the Bills. I don’t expect the Dolphins to score much, and the Bills should get their 20–30 points. So I feel pretty good about the Bills and the under here.
Picks: Bills -13.5 (Deadbolt), UNDER 43.5 (Deadbolt)
Giants @ Vikings (-3), O/U 48
These two teams just squared off against each other back on Christmas Eve. The Vikings needed a 61 yard field goal as the time expired to win that one. So this line is appropriately set. The Giants rallied down the stretch to get into the playoffs, following a very lackluster few games in the middle of the season. This is a well-coached, gritty, team that plays way above the sum of its parts. That’s a nice way of saying they lack actual talent, particularly on offense.
The Vikings have been labeled the worst 13-win team ever. And they might be exactly that. Their wins were all nail-biters. Their losses were annihilations. That explains their -3 point differential on the season, which is not something you’d expect for a 13–4 team. But they definitely have talent on offense. Their defense is their problem. Simply put, they can’t stop anyone.
I’m laying the field goal with the Vikings here. Everyone is all over the Giants in this game, not just to cover, but to win outright. I don’t see it that way. In their home dome, I expect the firepower of the Vikings to be too much for the Giants. I’ll take the Vikings and the over here.
Picks: Vikings -3 (Deadbolt), OVER 48 (Deadbolt)
Ravens @ Bengals (-8.5), O/U 40.5
Another game with another backup, and possibly 3rd string, QB. What a shame. The Ravens will need to do what they do best, and that’s run the ball and play defense, if they want to stay attached in this one. They could do that. They have a solid RB duo. This is the 3rd matchup in this division battle, and typically that means a tight game. And their coach has been there, so should have his guys ready.
The Bengals quest to get back to the Super Bowl really begins now. This offense is loaded and explosive. They may be the most well-rounded offense in the AFC as they can beat you through the air or on the ground. They have the QB. They have the stars. This team is ready.
I’m not overthinking this one and going to lay the points with the Bengals here and take the over.