After a wild inaugural Week 18 that saw the Jaguars deny the Colts a playoff bid while the 49ers salvaged a postseason spot with a stunning rally, the stage is set for the NFL’s inaugural Super Wild Card Weekend.
There will be two Wild Card playoff games Saturday, three Sunday and one Jan. 17.
The three NFC matchups were set before the Raiders beat the Chargers 35-32 on a 47-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson on the final play of overtime as 3-point underdogs (+150 on the money line) in a wild Wild Card play-in game on “Sunday Night Football” at Allegiant Stadium.
Bettors loaded up on Las Vegas and won big when it advanced to the postseason for the first time in five years after squandering a 29-14 fourth-quarter lead.
BetMGM lost almost $1 million on the game, according to MGM Resorts director of trading Jeff Stoneback.
“Everybody going to the game has got money on the Raiders on the money line,” he said before kickoff. “If the Raiders win straight up, with all the straight bets and all the parlays that are still live, it’s going to be close to a seven-figure loss for us.”
Station Casinos had a small winning day before essentially giving it all back when bettors cashed the popular parlay of Raiders and over (50).
“We are kind of in the position of double or nothing,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said before the game. “The Raiders winning and over is the worst case.”
Westgate SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay projected the tentative opening NFC playoff lines, making the Buccaneers 8½-point home favorites over the Eagles (total 47½); the Rams 5½-point home favorites over the Cardinals (49½); and the Cowboys 3-point home favorites (-120) over the 49ers (48).
San Francisco feat
The 49ers stormed back from a 17-0 deficit en route to a 27-24 overtime win over the Rams as 3½-point underdogs.
The Niners had been 3-91 when facing a 17-plus-point deficit before Jimmy Garoppolo led them on an 88-yard touchdown drive in 1:01 to tie the score with a 14-yard TD pass to Jauan Jennings with 26 seconds left, then directed a drive in overtime to set up a game-winning field goal.
San Francisco will renew its rivalry with the Cowboys that saw the storied franchises face each other in the NFC title game in three straight seasons from 1992-94. The winner went on to win the Super Bowl each time.
“That’s easily the most interesting matchup of the NFC Wild Card games,” Kornegay said. “A classic rivalry and certainly two interesting teams that have the goods to create some damage in the playoffs.”
The Cowboys crushed the Eagles 51-26 on Saturday, easily covering as 6-point favorites.
But underdogs led the way in Week 18, going 11-5 ATS with seven outright wins.
Double-digit home underdogs went 3-0 ATS. The biggest upset was Jacksonville’s 26-11 victory over Indianapolis as a 14-point underdog (7-1 on the money line).
All the Colts had to do was win and they were in the playoffs. But they trailed throughout against the Jaguars, who finished 3-13.
Another great game for the books was the Broncos covering as 11½-point home underdogs in Saturday’s 28-24 loss to the Chiefs.
While most bettors lost their wagers on Kansas City, two people in the Circa Survivor contest turned their $1,000 entries into $1.53 million each when the Chiefs prevailed — thanks in large part to Nick Bolton’s 86-yard fumble return for a score with 7:42 left.
All five remaining entries survived Week 18 and split the $6 million main prize ($1.2 million each), and all three entries that selected the Chiefs or Buccaneers in Week 18 split the $1 million bonus prize ($333,333 each).
The other Survivors took Tampa Bay, Tennessee and Washington.
The Buccaneers (-11) whipped the Panthers 41-17 in one of the best results for bettors.