NFL betting: How's the market moving prior to Wild Card Weekend?

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The NFL playoffs get underway this weekend with six games spread across Saturday, Sunday and Monday. These games all have their own windows and are played in stand-alone spots, which makes them extremely popular games to bet on. While the public often waits until closer to gametime to place their wagers, the betting market has already seen some significant movement since the opening lines were posted on Sunday. 

What's the betting market saying about this weekend's slate? Let's take a look at all six games on tap and where the number has moved from the opening number. All betting lines are as of Thursday afternoon and courtesy of BetMGM.

Slight Raiders support

Nobody expected the Raiders to be here, but here they are. In fact, the same could be said about the Bengals. We've got two exciting offenses to kickoff the playoff schedule on Saturday afternoon. The Bengals opened as a 6.5-point favorite. 

However, it appears the market thinks that number was a bit high. Currently, Cincinnati is just a 5.5-point favorite over the Raiders and that number looks like it could get even lower. 

This is the first ever playoff start for both Joe Burrow and Derek Carr, though Carr has more experience in the league as a whole. Burrow has taken the league by storm over the past few weeks, but will that continue into the playoffs?

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 02: Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) during the NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Joe Burrow plays his first NFL playoff game this weekend. (Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Cincinnati has not won a playoff game since 1991, while the Raiders haven't won a playoff game since 2003. One of these long streaks will finally be snapped this weekend. 

The total has seen slight movement, bumping up to 49 points after opening at just 48.5. Will Burrow and Carr provide the fireworks?

Line move favors New England

Buffalo vs. New England, part three. 

These division rivals split a pair of regular season meetings, but game three of the series will send one of these teams to the divisional round while ending the season of the other. 

We all know the narratives surrounding this one. Betting against Bill Belichick in the playoffs is a scary proposition, especially when there's a young quarterback on the other side and weather looks like it will be a factor once again. 

However, it's hard to deny that Buffalo is the more talented team. They have the better quarterback and more weapons on offense. Allen has been here before while Mac Jones hasn't. 

The Bills opened as a 4.5-point favorite at home. The market thinks that might have been a bit heavy, as the Patriots are now just a 4-point underdog in Buffalo. Can Belichick do it again?

Low scoring game expected in Tampa Bay

There hasn't been much line movement when it comes to the point spread for Eagles-Buccaneers. The Buccaneers opened as an 8.5-point favorite and that's where they currently sit.

However, the total has seen significant movement. The market opened with the total at 49.5 points. However, the total has been bet down four points. Currently, the total for Buccaneers-Eagles sits at 45.5 points.

Leonard Fournette should be back for the Buccaneers, but they'll still be without Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown. While the offense might be missing pieces for Tampa Bay, the defense is expected to get key pieces back. Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David are all back at practice this week. 

On the other side, you'd have to think the Eagles will try to run the ball and keep the ball away from Tom Brady. Miles Sanders should be back for the Eagles which will help that gameplan. There is also wind in the forecast which could slow down any passing attack. 

Are the 49ers a live dog?

The Dallas Cowboys opened as a 3.5-point favorite over the San Francisco 49ers. The Cowboys won their division and were the better team during the regular season. They'll be playing the game at home and they're also the most popular team in the country.

Despite that, the betting line has moved in favor of the 49ers. Currently, San Francisco is just a 3-point underdog in Dallas.

The 49ers have been on a roll down the stretch, winning seven of their last nine games to get into the playoffs. It looked improbable they would make the playoffs late on Sunday afternoon, but they pulled it off. 

Dallas has been inconsistent throughout the season despite their strong record. For large parts of the season, it felt like there's been something a bit off and that this team had another gear to their game. Will they find that gear or will they be upset in the first round?

Too many points for Steelers?

I don't think anybody actually expects the Steelers to beat the Kansas City Chiefs. The question becomes whether the Steelers will be able to stay within the number. Can the defense keep it close enough? Is there any world where Ben Roethlisberger can hang with Patrick Mahomes?

This is a very big number for a playoff game, and it seems like the market thinks it might be a bit too large. After opening as a 13.5-point underdog, the Steelers are currently getting just 12.5 points from the Chiefs.

Rams become bigger favorites

The Arizona Cardinals looked like the best team in the league for the first half of the NFL season. Then, they hit a rut. Arizona lost four of their final five games after starting the season 7-0. Will they be able to turn it back on for the playoffs? The market isn't convinced. 

Arizona is currently a 4-point underdog against the Los Angeles Rams. The market opened with the Rams as just a 3.5-point favorite. 

Sean McVay is 5-1 as a head coach against Kliff Kingsbury. McVay's lone loss came earlier this season, but he avenged that loss with a win later in the season. McVay and Matthew Stafford have experience in the playoffs, while the same can't be said about Kingsbury and Kyler Murray. 

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