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It’s Wild Card Weekend! The Win Machine!

The NFL Playoffs are here and DraftKings Sports-Book--an official betting partner of the NFL--is kicking things off with a huge offer! Counting down to Super Bowl 56, new customers can get 56-1 odds on any Wild Card weekend team to win their game! Bet just $5 and win $280 in free bets if your team is victorious. Just use promo code GODZILLA! 

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Lines by DraftKings as 01-15-22 12:00 PM

Here we are! It's crunch time. The regular season is long and grinding, but playoff picks separate the contenders from the pretenders. It's all or nothing. Win or go home. Cover the spread or not. Don't be a Karen. Don't be that guy at the traffic light sitting in his car alone with the windows rolled up wearing a mask. He picks losers.

I ended the regular season going 8-8 Against the Spread (ATS) in week 18. Getting clobbered in the early games, I came roaring back with a four-game winning streak starting with the 'Niners that lasted through Georgia on Monday night. It's called keeping the faith. In the words of Gordon Gekko: "Ride the turns, stay focused, nobody likes a crybaby."

That brought my regular-season record to 98-76-2 (ATS). That's 22 games over .500. My goal was +25 so I was close. After picking 176 NFL games against the point spread over 18 weeks that put me in elite status. Vegas wise guys can't touch this.

This is my playoff tribute to my pro football hero Al Davis: "Just win, baby." We love you Al, we know you're watching. Let's win this thing.

By the way, my son Joe and I are in Nashville next weekend. Welcome back, Derrick. See you in Los Angelas. It's all good in Hollywood. So when the Titans get there it's just like the Beverly Hillbillies. Mike Vrable is Jeb.

Here We Are 

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SATURDAY

Raiders at Bungles (-6)

Rule #1 of NFL playoff betting: bet with your head, not your heart. There is a lot of Raiders Nation sentiment: the big win on Sunday night in overtime, John Madden, Derek Carr, the death of a teammate, their coach getting fired, coming back from losing four of five games mid-season, etc. I get it. Then, reality sets in. Vegas played an emotionally draining game just five days ago on the West coast. Now they come back facing a red-hot Bungles bunch who has their own demons to exorcise. It's in the Queen City, the place will be rocking. Here is one thing to let sink in: the Chargers set an NFL record by converting six consecutive fourth and longs (all over seven yards) in a row in the fourth quarter with both teams playoff hopes on the line. All were through the air. All had receivers wide open all over the field. Do you think Joey Burrow and company has watched this film? This is a very tough assignment for Carr and the Raiders. Burrow led the NFL in completion percentage (70.4%) and yards per attempt (8.9) this season. The Vegas secondary is like a sieve, and it can't contain this Bungles bunch. Sorry Al, love you man, but it won't be close.  Pick: Bungles -6 

Pats at Bills (-4.5)

The Pats have had a very successful formula for winning playoff games over a very long time: great coach, great quarterback, a solid run defense, and a lights-out secondary. Going into Buffalo, they have three of the four. While he's a rookie, Mack Jones has proven he's a capable in-game manager. He gets in trouble if he finds himself in a shoot-out.

It's forecasted to be two degrees above zero tonight in Buffalo. That's not conducive to a high-scoring affair through an air assault. It's three yards and a cloud of dust. When asked why he ran the ball so much in Green Bay, Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi said, "Only three things can happen when you throw the football. Two are bad."  This is another smash-mouth in your face-run it up the gut and tries to stop us Pats game plan.

I'm not a Bills believer. They have beaten a lot of lousy teams. While I picked them both times over New England in the regular season (going 1-1) I love the Pats here. I can't believe I am getting 4.5 points in the snow and ice with Belichick. Also, it's not an easy assignment to bet on Billy B losing two games in a row in four weeks to the same team in his division. The Mafia will be out in force no doubt, but that pass defense of New England is just good. So it turns into trench warfare. Remember the last time this happened in Buffalo? The Patriots ran the ball a million times, Buffalo put nine in the box and still got pushed around like your daughter's rag doll. The Pats have held opponents to the second-lowest pass completion percentage in the league this season (the Bills were first). Nugget: rookie QB's are 0-6 in NFL playoff games since 2000, and 2-4 ATS. That stat will be 1-7 after next week. Run, Pats, run. Pick: Pats +4.5 

SUNDAY

Eagles at Bucs (-8)

No one wants to play Philadelphia in round one. This is the most dangerous game Brady has south of Green Bay. The Eagles are having fun, they are fearless, they are physical and they just don't care. This is a scary opponent at home as an eight-point doggie. Plus they think they are good, and they are hot.

It's Tom Brady for gosh-sakes, of course, Tampa wins this game, right?

But in all candor, when was the last time Tampa Bay looked like a Super Bowl team? When they got shut out by New Orleans a few weeks ago? The Bucs gave up two 100 yard rushing games in a row in the final two weeks of the season. Guess who loves to run the football? Yep, the Eagles who average 6.0 yards per carry. Yikes! Jalen Hurts was three years old when Brady had his first playoff game. Hurts can run a little, too.

This has upset written all over it, as the Eagles defense is for real. Don't be shocked if the Bucs find themselves in a fourth-quarter dogfight. Plus die-hard Eagles fan Pete Snyder is at the game. A lot of Eagles fans will be in Tampa this weekend. Take the points. Pick: Eagles +8

'Niners at Cowboys (-3)

Why is this game only 3 when it's in Dallas? Because San Francisco is for real. Their comeback win at the Rams last Sunday was impressive as their season hung in the balance. Down 17-0 on the road, with the Saints up big, the curtain was closing and the noose was tightening on their season. They showed the world something. Jimmy Jesus, much-maligned, was stoic in overtime. SF will run the ball a few times, then unleash that crazy Deebo Samuel dude down the sideline. My view here is simple: go with the hot teams in the first round. Dallas peeked way to early and actually had a must-win game in the Peoples Republic of Maryland against the woeful WFT just a few weeks ago. Wow. How did that happen? The Dallas of October is not the Dallas of January. SF wins the whole game.  Pick: SF + 3 

Steelers at Chiefs (-12)

This is painful to watch. But easy to bet. This is the blowout game of the weekend. The Steelers went to Arrowhead a few weeks ago and got humiliated in a rout, trailing 23-0 at the half. What changed? Pittsburgh has lost three consecutive playoff games, giving up an average of 43 points. Meanwhile, Mahomes has a career average of 91.9 QB rating against the Steelers defense, the best of any team he has played. It's a sad day for Steelers nation-but take heart: at least you got here and gave ancient Ben another game to play. Pittsburgh ages by the hour, they are slow, plodding, tedious, and boring. Don't bet with your heart. Bet with your brain. Follow the science!  Pick: Chiefs -12 

MONDAY

Cards at Rams (-4) 

I am not betting on the Cardinals' smoke and mirrors Bozo bus in the playoffs. This team started 7-0 then opponents got a game plan together and they limped into the playoffs, trading off their fast start. The Rams are a legit Super Bowl threat, with the whole package. J.J. Watt is coming back. Is it enough to slow the Rams defense down? Phony Cards lost four of five down the stretch and looked downright sick in every defeat. The Rams are a better team with a better coach and are at home. Cards are one and done. Four points is a joke. Pick: Rams -4 

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