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NFL Picks Against the Spread 2015: Wild Card Weekend

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Here are my suggestions when trying to beat Las Vegas.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Before the first round of the 2015 NFL playoffs kicks off, I thought we'd have some fun by looking at the spreads for this week's round of Wild Card games. Here are my suggestions when trying to beat Vegas. You can find all of today's NFL betting lines and more at the SB Nation odds page. Click here for a complete schedule of this weekend's games.

I finished the regular season with a record of: 104-124-6. That's pretty awful, but maybe I'll do better in the playoffs. Here's to wishful thinking. Before we get started, fun fact: this is the first time since 2007 where all four home teams were favored.


Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers (-6): It's weird to see a below .500 team in the playoffs. It's even weirder to see a below .500 team in the playoffs favored by six points against a team that went 11-5 in the regular season. I feel like this has to be an unprecedented situation. The narrative is that Carolina is "hot" after finishing the season strong. While that's not necessarily untrue, it is worth noting that the Panthers really benefited from playing against their terrible NFC South rivals, along with the Cleveland Browns. Cam Newton certainly holds a big edge over Cardinals starter Ryan Lindley, and I think the Panthers can win this one. But the Cardinals will find a way to keep it close and cover. Pick: Cardinals +6

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3): The Ravens and Steelers split their regular season series at 1-1. Each team played better when they were at home. That seems to favor the Steelers in this case. Also consider that the Ravens are 1-6 SU & ATS last seven road games versus the AFC North while the Steelers are 7-0 SU in their last seven divisional home games (6-1 ATS). The Le'Veon Bell injury makes things tough, however. He's been critical to the Pittsburgh's success. The Ravens haven't looked so hot recently so I'll side with history here. Pick: Steelers -3

Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts (-3.5): First off, the Bengals are always better at home than they are on the road. Meanwhile, the Colts are always much better at home. Cincy is 0-5 in playoff games under Marvin Lewis. Maybe he can win a playoff game, but I don't think he does here. Andrew Luck is really tough to beat in Indianapolis. Pick: Colts -3.5

Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys (-7.5): Wow, not a lot of respect here for the Lions. Or perhaps too much respect for the Cowboys? There's no doubt Dallas is hot heading into the postseason. They could certainly go on a run. That Detroit defense isn't to be taken lightly, though. The Lions might lose this game, despite having Ndamukong Suh, but they will be able to keep it within a score. Detroit has the personnel to slow down the Dallas offense. And let's not forget that the Cowboys really aren't all that special when playing at home. They don't have much of a home field advantage. Pick: Lions +7.5