Wild Card Weekend is upon us and we have games starting Saturday afternoon and running through late into the evening Monday night. For this week’s picks we run the course of the weekend’s games – making two picks for Saturday’s games, two picks for Sunday’s games, and a pick for the Monday night Dallas-Tampa Bay showdown.
Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook
Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott scores a touchdown (+120)
Elliott wasn’t the leading rusher for the Cowboys this year, but his ability to finish drives from in close remains his strength. In his last 10 games, he has scored 11 touchdowns, including one or more in nine of them. Tony Pollard will get his share of the workload against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but when Dallas gets close to the goal line, it’s Elliott they always go to … and he always delivers.
Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert UNDER 280.5 passing yards (-115)
This is a huge O/U number that is likely predicated on the history of the Chargers throwing far too much – Herbert threw 699 times this season. However, he hasn’t topped this number in his last three games or in nine of his last 13 games. When Herbert has thrown for more than 280 yards, the Chargers are 3-4. When he throws for 280 yards or less, the Chargers are 7-3. If the Chargers intend to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, they’re going to need more balance between the run and pass because big statistical days for Herbert don’t translate into wins.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen UNDER 37.5 receiving yards (-115)
This is a low number for a player with the career stats of Thielen, but the reality is he has been reduced to the No. 4 receiver in Minnesota’s offense in the last month as the Vikings prepare for the New York Giants. In the last four games, Thielen has been targeted just 16 times, catching seven passes for 71 yards. He has been far overshadowed by Justin Jefferson (42-29-311), K.J. Osborn (33-25-350) and T.J. Hockenson (38-24-217). Against the Giants in Week 16, he had a season-low one-catch effort for six yards. He may need four or more catches to go Over this number, and that hasn’t been happening for the last month.
Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki OVER 17.5 receiving yards (-115)
History has taught us that tight ends are a young quarterback’s best friend, because they typically run short routes over the middle and are quick-release targets. Gesicki’s number is so low because he’s been invisible for much of the season, catching just 11 passes in his last nine games. However, the one game he played with Skylar Thompson at QB, he caught four passes for 46 yards. For a team that is a huge road underdog to the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins will be forced to pass, and it doesn’t take many catches to top this pee-wee number.
San Francisco 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey OVER 74.5 rushing yards (-115)
This is a tough number because of McCaffrey’s versatility and the depth of running talent on the 49ers roster. However, since Brock Purdy took over as starter, McCaffrey has topped 100 rushing yards three times, including season highs in carries (26) and yards (108) in a Week 15 meeting with the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers have the talent to blow out Seattle, which could see McCaffrey getting a lot of carries in the second half. If he gets more than 15 carries, he will likely blow past this number.
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