Craven’s Corner ended the college football season with a win after backing Alabama to trounce Ohio State in the championship game, driving our college record to 35-21 on the season. The first round of the NFL playoffs weren’t as forgiving, however, as we limped to a 2-3-1 record in the wildcard round. Overall, the Corner is 72-50-4 on the year with a 37-29-4 record betting on the NFL.
Packers -6.5 vs. Rams: Aaron Rodgers is arguably the most talented quarterback of this generation, even if he doesn’t possess the championships of some of his contemporaries. Rodgers should be the MVP of the regular season after passing for 4,299 yards and 48 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He led the Packers to a 13-3 record and a first-round bye. The rest should allow Green Bay to waltz past an overachieving Rams squad that upset Seattle in the first round.
Ravens +3 over Bills: Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson dismissed his critics last week by winning his first career playoff game. He did so against a Tennessee squad that is quickly emerging as a real rival of the Ravens despite not sharing a division. The win could propel Baltimore onto a similar path that a win over the Ravens achieved for Tennessee last season. Both of these teams are in uncharted territory, but my money is backing the running game of Baltimore. Buffalo survived against Indianapolis last week. Baltimore won’t make the same mistakes as the Colts.
Chiefs -9.5 vs. Browns: Betting on Kansas City in the playoffs should be a no-brainer until an NFL team proves it can contain quarterback Patrick Mahomes in crunchtime. The Chiefs ripped through the playoffs last year en route to a championship. The Corner believed in the Browns for most of the season, even winning last week with a bet for Cleveland to cover against the Steelers. And while I’m one of the few people with a 512 area code who loves Baker Mayfield, the former Lake Travis star is not on the same level as Mahomes. Ten points is a lot to give up in the playoffs, so I suggest buying a half-point to keep the line in single digits.
Buccaneers +3.5 vs. Saints: Two legends meet up in the second round of the NFC playoffs. The Corner successfully bet on the Saints to win the NFC South division title despite Tampa Bay adding Tom Brady to the roster, but this is a playoff game. Betting against Brady in the playoffs rarely pays. Drew Brees is a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee, but he’s not the greatest of all-times. That distinction belongs to Brady, who passed for 381 yards and two touchdowns in the opening round win over Washington.
How to bet
A quick refresher: Betting looks difficult, but it’s easy to grasp. A negative number denotes the favorite. The number after the negative represents how much money you’d need to bet to win $100. So, a -265 favorite would require a $265 bet to win you $100. Conversely, a positive number is the underdog. The number following the positive represents how much money you’d make on a $100 bet. So, a +265 bet means $100 earns you $265.
As for point spreads, the team with the negative number is a favorite. For example, Oklahoma was a -2.5 point favorite over Texas in October. The Sooners needed to win by at least 3 points to cash. Texas needed to lose by 2.5 points or fewer.
We’re using BetMGM.com as our general sports book. Remember that lines fluctuate based on bets and are subject to change before kickoff.