The 2024 NFL Playoffs are almost upon us and we’ve got one conference decided going into Sunday Night Football in Week 18. The Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills will give us an AFC East division title game on SNF to close out the regular season. We already know what the NFC matchups will be and we have one matchup set in the AFC. After SNF, we’ll have a complete list of the odds on DraftKings Sportsbook with some initial thoughts.
2024 NFL Playoff odds: Wild Card Round
No. 2 Cowboys vs. No. 7 Packers
Spread: Cowboys -7.5
Moneyline: DAL -340, GB +270
Update — The line has moved back to 7.5 on the spread while the point total has moved 1.5 points, which is pretty significant. The ML has also moved in favor of Dallas overnight.
This line opened at Cowboys -7.5 and has moved a half a point since opening. The hook was a little too good if you’re betting the Packers. Green Bay has closed the season pretty strong, finishing 6-2 down the stretch to clinch a playoff berth. QB Jordan Love already got the first (sort of) playoff game out of the way in Week 18 vs. the Bears. The Packers defense remains a concern but also sacked Justin Fields five times on Sunday. The decision making of Matt LaFleur in certain situations hasn’t been sound either. But Love looks good and Aaron Jones is healthy. This is a talented, young and hungry group.
The Cowboys have sort of been a wagon all season long. Dallas may have had its slip ups down the stretch with losses to Miami and Buffalo. But the Cowboys led the NFC in point differential. Dallas has a tough defense all around led by Micah Parsons. You also have the narrative with veteran head coach Mike McCarthy facing his old team. Expect CeeDee Lamb to eat against this secondary and Tony Pollard to run wild.
It really comes down to can the Packers keep up with the Cowboys. There are some unknowns if you’re on Dallas about this Green Bay group on offense. Jones you know. Love, Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, Luke Musgrave, Tucker Kraft and Bo Melton you do not. It’s a scrappy group. So betting the spread comes down to if you think Green Bay’s offense can keep up and make enough stops to stay in the game. After what we’ve seen recently, this could be a game where the Packers hang around.
No. 3 Lions vs. No. 6 Rams
Spread: Lions -3
Moneyline: DET -170, LAR +142
Update — Not much movement overnight for Lions-Rams. Only a half point on the spread and a slight change on the total.
The Lions got some bad news on Sunday when TE Sam LaPorta went down due to a knee injury. Head coach Dan Campbell said the injury isn’t serious but also isn’t good either. That means the Lions will need to wait and see what happens during practice this week to determine LaPorta’s status. It could mean he sits out most of the week and Detroit sees how the swelling looks by Friday. Chances are LaPorta will have an injury tag for this weekend.
If LaPorta is out, that’s big. The Rams offense will be tough to stop and we know Los Angeles got some rest in Week 18. You’ve got Matthew Stafford going back to where he played most of his career with a chance to knock off his old team after they traded him. There’s some good narrative there. The Lions would still be favorites if LaPorta ends up out but the line could shift a bit. Los Angeles finished the season 7-1 and its lone loss was to the No. 1 seed in the AFC, Baltimore Ravens. You’ve got remnants of the Super Bowl team still leftover in L.A. There’s a lot to like with the Rams in terms of betting this week.
No. 4 Buccaneers vs. No. 5 Eagles
Spread: Eagles -2.5
Moneyline: PHI -142, TB +120
Update — The only movement overnight for these odds was the total dropped a point.
The Eagles limp into the postseason after another loss, this time to the New York Giants, in Week 18. Philadelphia squandered its chance at the No. 2 seed and homefield for a few weeks in the playoffs. Instead, the Eagles will go on the road and try to defend their NFC championship that way. You can say Philly is fortunate it’s Tampa Bay and the NFC South winner at No. 4 who the team has to face. Thus why the Eagles are favored on the road. But the way Philly is playing shouldn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence.
With that said, does it give the Bucs a chance in this one? Sure. Tampa Bay has won five of the past six games to get the division crown. Rachaad White has broken out and emerged as a top back. Baker Mayfield is proving the haters wrong. The Bucs have a well-rounded team. And gets to face arguably the coldest team going into the postseason in the Eagles. Perhaps the Super Bowl hangover is real. There’s reason to like Tampa Bay at home in this contest.
No. 2 Bills vs. No. 7 Steelers
Spread: Bills -10
Moneyline: BUF -440, PIT +340
Update — The spread moved slightly up to Bills -10. The total has dropped significantly because of expected weather in Buffalo this weekend.
The Bills were able to run the table and clinch the No. 2 seed and AFC East title with a 21-14 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday night to close out the regular season. Buffalo has all the momentum in the world and was able to climb out of a hole and steal homefield advantage for most of the playoffs. Josh Allen played well enough and the defense was stout in the win on Sunday. The Bills are heavy favorites as a result and because of their opponent.
The Steelers got some help to get into the playoffs. Pittsburgh only needed to defeat the Baltimore Ravens, which were resting players, on Saturday to stay alive. The Jacksonville Jaguars blew their game vs. the Titans to get eliminated and clinch things for Pittsburgh. The Steelers have found a decent QB in Mason Rudolph but that’s just as an upgrade over Kenny Pickett. The status of T.J. Watt will hurt the Steelers chances of winning.
This spread is pretty big for a playoff game. Maybe if it was +10 you’d take the Steelers and hope for a backdoor push at worst. But 9.5 points is a lot to cover for a team that turns the ball over and looks lost on offense as much as Buffalo. The spread lean may be on Pittsburgh.
No. 3 Chiefs vs. No. 6 Dolphins
Spread: Chiefs -3.5
Moneyline: KC -170, MIA +142
Update — The total dropped a bit because of cold weather in Kansas City.
The Dolphins lost to the Bills and now find themselves in a tough spot going up against the defending champions on the road. The Chiefs had a week to rest and get healthy for the postseason. While Kansas City hasn’t had a great season, it’s still Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid and Travis Kelce. This team can turn it on in the playoffs and the Dolphins should be kicking themselves for squandering a chance at the No. 2 seed.
Miami also has a lot of issues on the injury report. Jaylen Waddle and Raheem Mostert are banged up. Both may return in time for Saturday night’s game. But you can’t expect them to be 100%. WR Tyreek Hill is clearly playing through a lot. He had seven catches in the loss to Buffalo but was taking a lot of hits. The Dolphins have been the most exciting offense all season. It’ll be tough to keep things going into the postseason if health is an issue.
The Chiefs feel like the smart lean on the spread and moneyline initially. The Dolphins limp into the playoffs a bit and have to go into the toughest environment in the playoffs. Against the best QB. And tight end.
No. 4 Texans vs. No. 5 Browns
Spread: Browns -2.5
Moneyline: CLE -130, HOU +114
Update — Minimal movement on the lines here. No weather impact should mean we don’t see much fluctuation with the point total.
We’ve got another narrative with the Browns taking on the Texans. Houston traded Cleveland QB Deshaun Watson and we’ve all seen how that’s worked out so far. Watson won’t even face his former team, instead it will be veteran Joe Flacco, who is a big reason why Cleveland is in the postseason. Now, the Texans have QB CJ Stroud, who helped lead the team from 3-13-1 to 10-7 and an AFC South division title as a rookie. We’d say Houston has won the Watson trade thus far.
The Browns defeated the Texans during the regular season but it was while Stroud was out with a concussion. So that doesn’t really count for anything. What does count is Flacco found WR Amari Cooper for 265 on 11 receptions with two TDs. The Texans will have to figure out a way to limit Cooper in order to advance in this matchup. Houston would also be wise to get to Flacco, who is very immobile. That will be key in this Wild Card game. If the Texans struggle to score on Cleveland’s defense, can Houston rattle Flacco a bit? If so, it could be the difference in what is expected to be a tight game given the spread.
The Texans feel like the early edge. Stroud got that playoff game out of the way in the win-and-in game vs. the Colts. He performed well in that game, so we shouldn’t expect any jitters. Houston has homefield advantage and brings the game inside, which is an edge to an offense like the Texans. Houston on the ML is also a good value. The spread indicates pretty close to a toss up.