NFL picks against the spread: Handicapping wild card weekend

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Betting advice from someone that doesn't bet.

The first round of the playoffs is here. Do you have a desire to place a wager on one of the four wild card games? Well, after giving you my picks against the spread for the last 17 weeks, I will give you mine for the playoffs as well.

Here they are:

Saturday games:

Chiefs at Colts (-1): Andy Reid does a good job with his teams on the road historically, but not enough to make this a clear cut pick. He has covered 62 percent of his road games. On the other side, when Andrew Luck plays at home, the Colts have covered 12 of 16. Now to football facts -- Tamba Hali is questionable and tackle Eric Fisher is out. Add to the fact that the Chiefs just aren't believable as a playoff contender, we have to go with the home team.

Saints at Eagles (-3): This game has conflicting trends. The Saints have not covered their last six road games. They have never won a playoff game on the road. However, the Eagles are 4-19 when favored for the second week in a row, as they are this week. Additionally, they have only covered six of 27 games in Philly. What this comes down to is experience for me. Nick Foles has none of it in the playoffs and Drew Brees does. While Philly does run the ball, I don't trust a QB who has not been in the postseason and has started 16 games in his career. I am taking not only the points, but also the Saints to win straight up.

Sunday games:

Chargers at Bengals (-7): The Bengals are perfect against the spread at home this season -- the only team in the league. Likewise, in the last 18 Bengals games, the road team has only covered once. However, Marvin Lewis' teams have never won or covered a playoff game. This will be the first time. Bengals by double digits.

49ers (-3) at Packers: Trends favor both. San Francisco has covered seven straight on the road. Green Bay is 21-12 ATS as an underdog. Home underdogs in the wild card round do well -- 13-5 against the spread. However, San Fran is playing so well and are better equipped to handle the bitter cold weather. They have a hard-hitting defense and a strong running game. Without Clay Matthews on defense, the Packers will have a tough time stopping San Fran. I'll give up the points with no real worries.

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