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No question that teams in the playoffs are more likely to be on the healthy side. Staying injury free is one reason teams advance past the regular season and deeper into the playoffs. However, there is still actionable information this weekend.
We ended the 2021 regular season’s Sunday five picks against the spread using the late week FanDuel lines with a 49-40-1 (+9, 55%) record. Last season, we finished a better 50-30-5 (+20, 62.5%). The documented two-season average of 58.6% or +14.5 units per season is respectable. Always use the injury information at Sports Injury Central (www.SICscore.com) as one factor to improve your decision making.
Two games Saturday, three Sunday and one Monday night for the Super Wild Card contests. The most actionable matchup of the weekend is the Eagles at Buccaneers and we will cover that Sunday game tomorrow but go to SICscore.com for the preview.
Meanwhile, here are our Saturday game assessments.
CINCINNATI -4.5 vs LAS VEGAS (over 48.5)
A long playoff victory drought for both squads but the Bengals have the health advantage in what could be a high scoring contest. Cincinnati essentially treated Week 18 as a bye week and their players are well rested, while Las Vegas played a Sunday night overtime game and has to travel on a short week. The difference in overall health is small but the Bengals jumped almost 25 points as a team (offensively and defensively) in terms of the SIC score. Joe Burrow’s knee is fine, Joe Mixon and others are back. Even the linebacker corps is stabilized. By the health trend, the home team is the right side.
BUFFALO -4.5 vs NEW ENGLAND (over 44)
This is the rubber match between these AFC East rivals. The Patriots dominated with a ground game in high winds. The Bills came back to win easily in the more recent contest. There is very cold weather but not nearly the same wind as last time in Buffalo. No, we don’t believe Josh Allen will use Viagra to aid his cold feet. Both squads are equally healthy and have some potential secondary issues. New England will be short its left tackle. Bill Belichick rarely repeats a game plan. Even with the rookie QB, look for him to open it up more this time, so the key will be for Mac Jones to avoid turnovers but the stout Bills defensive line may cause problems.
In both Saturday games, the home team favorite and the over is what the health analysis indicates. The strongest play is the Bengals.
Good luck. Go to SICscore.com for all the details and the rest of the playoff games are posted or come back to OutKick to see the rest of the analysis.