November 5, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Easgles 28-13. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Wildcard Picks Against the Spread (Saturday)

Come all ye office-pool players, casual bettors, wiseguys, and degenerate gamblers: the NFL Picks Against The Spread column is here to help you win mountains of cash and/or bragging rights. They say you need to win at least 53% of your games to actually make a profit betting on NFL games. Well you and I know that I’ll probably only hit about 45% at the most, so go ahead and play the opposite of all my recommended Best Bets and you’ll be sure to make some money.

Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts, OVER 46
This game opened at Colts -2.5 and by Saturday morning had moved down to a “pick’em.” I like the Chiefs to win this game, but would have felt better about the pick if I was getting the 2.5 points. So I’m gonna make the best bet in this game the total points to go OVER 46. We think of the Chiefs as a conservative low-scoring offense, but they’ve actually averaged close to 27 points per game this year. Outside of Robert Mathis, the Colts defense is not a particularly great unit, so KC’s dynamic RB Jamal Charles should have a big day on the turf indoors. Indy has scored the fewest first-quarter points in the NFL this season, which sounds like it favors a low-scoring game, but if they get off to another slow start and fall behind early, it will just add some scoring urgency in the second half and we’ve already seen enough magic in Andrew Luck’s young career to know he can lead a comeback. I can see each of these teams getting to 24 points. And maybe Andy Reid’s historically bad clock management allows Luck to steal the game at the end. The game itself is a coin flip, but I think it goes Over 46.

New Orleans Saints +3 at Philadelphia Eagles
It seems like the whole world sees this game through the lens of “the Saints aren’t good on the road, they suck outdoors in the cold.” Sure, Drew Brees and the Saints are lights-out dominant at home in their dome and they aren’t as good outside away from from home. But I don’t think Brees is gonna just forget how to play football. His career QB rating in the playoffs is the highest in NFL history. And last I checked, Sean Payton is a pretty good football coach. Let’s also keep in mind that among their road woes were losses at Carolina and New England, both great teams watching wildcard weekend from the comforts of a first-round bye. And those teams needed last-minute TD’s to beat these Saints. On the other side is Philly QB Nick Foles in his first-ever playoff game, and coach Chip Kelly, in his first year in the NFL. Sure, they’ve both had terrific seasons and they’ll have superstar unstoppable RB LeSean McCoy and a raucous home crowd on their side Saturday night. But the Saints are ranked in the top 5 in total offense AND top 5 in total defense. While Philly’s defense has played better lately, I don’t trust their safeties against Brees and all-world TE Jimmy Graham. I don’t think any team could have a “let down” at home in the playoffs, but the Eagles are coming off an emotional winner-take-all game in which they barely got by a Cowboys team featuring a bad defense and a backup QB. Now they step way up in competition vs. the Saints at home in Philly (where the Eagles have covered the spread only 6 out of their last 27 games). I’ll take the better and more experienced QB/Coach combo, and the slightly better defense, plus the points.

[Note: this point spread was -2.5 all week, but late reports have Saints RB Pierre Thomas ruled OUT of this game and this line is moving to -3.]

Tags: Against The Spread Andrew Luck Andy Reid Arrowhead Addict ATS Best Bets Chip Kelly Drew Brees Free NFL Picks Indianapolis Colts Jamal Charles Kansas City Chiefs New England Patriots New Orleans Saints NFL Picks Against The Spread Nfl Picks Ats Nfl Playoffs NFL Wildcard Weekend Nick Foles Philadelphia Eagles Picks Against The Spread Pierre Thomas Sean Payton Wildcard Picks Against The Spread

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