2018 NFL Playoff Game Odds – Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens
In a division (the AFC West) where the Kansas City Chiefs got all the attention, the Los Angeles Chargers were “sneaky-good,” and maybe just AS good. Now they get an opportunity to show it, in a rematch from a game a couple of weeks ago with the Baltimore Ravens, scheduled for Sunday at 1:05 PM ET at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. It’s one of two AFC wild-card games (Indianapolis vs. Houston is the other) slated for the weekend.
CBS televises the game, and while VietBet customers are watching it live, they can place wagers on it in progress while accessing Live Betting Ultra.
2018 AFC Wild Card Game Odds – Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens:
In the AFC playoff betting odds that have been placed on this game by the folks at VietBet, the Ravens are favored:
Baltimore Ravens -3 (+100)
Los Angeles Chargers +3 (-120)
Over 41.5 points -110
Under 41.5 points -110
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AFC Wild Card Game Odds – CJ’s Take on Chargers vs Ravens
Two weeks ago, the Ravens took a trip out west and scored a 22-10 upset of the Chargers at the StubHub Center, which was critical for them in the middle of a battle for the AFC North championship. That gives you an idea of how mentally tough they are. But that’s hardly the whole story when it comes to talking about their chances of making another Super Bowl trip.
In a sense, the Chargers are the NFL’s red-headed step-children, as while they wait to share a new stadium in Los Angeles that the Rams are going to own, they are more or less relegated to a building in Carson, CA that is by far the smallest in the NFL. It is not uncommon for the opposing team to have more in the way of fan support at a Chargers’ home game. But under second-year head coach Anthony Lynn, these guys have become tough as nails, taking on the personality of their coach in the respect they have emphasized the running game a lot more. Both backs they use – Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler – are averaging better than five yards per carry.
This has made things easier on Philip Rivers, who has responded with 32 touchdown passes and 8.5 yards an attempt, with a passer rating of 105.5. He was one of a number of guys who may have been great MVP candidates in any year other than one where Patrick Mahomes threw for over 5000 yards and 50 touchdowns.
The Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson, the former Heisman Trophy winner, in the first round this year, and while it looked as though it was for the purposes of putting together a specific package for him as a change of pace, he has in fact taken over the starting quarterback duties from Joe Flacco. He certainly does give the defense an awful lot to think about with his ability to run. And from that standpoint, he is quite a contrast to the immobile Flacco.
Baltimore also has a team-oriented approach on defense that has been extremely effective, as they have held the opponent to just 3.7 yards a rush and under six yards per pass. And opposing teams have been just 34% successful against them on third down.
The first meeting was a tough one physically for the Chargers, who were limited to 198 yards of total offense and burned for 159 yards on the ground. But they have been a team that seemingly enjoys getting out of Los Angeles County, winning all games they have played on the road except for one against the neighboring Rams. Even coming east, they can’t be counted out at all.
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2018 NFL Playoff Game Odds – Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
Is Nick Foles ready to play the role of the hero again? The Philadelphia Eagles are once more going to be relying on him to take them to the promised land. This season’s been a bit rocky for them, but they have an opportunity to start anew as they go into the NFC Wild Card game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday at 4:40 PM ET at Soldier Field. NBC will televise the game live, and VietBet customers will have the opportunity to place wagers on the game as it is in progress, utilizing what is available through Like Betting Ultra.
2018 NFC Wild Card Game Odds – Eagles vs Bears:
In the football playoff betting lines that have been posted on this game at Vietbet, the Bears are the favorites at home:
Chicago Bears -6.5
Philadelphia Eagles +6.5
Over 41.5 points -110
Under 41.5 points -110
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NFC Playoff Game Odds – CJ’s Take on Eagles vs Bears
Foles, who won the Super Bowl MVP award last year, has come in once again for Carson Wentz, who is out with an injury. He has completed 72.3% of his passes with seven touchdowns, and he has worked with less in the way of offensive machinery around him. Philadelphia has been dealing with injuries all season long, and they won’t have Jay Ajayi, last year’s leading rusher. Darren Sproles has been banged-up during the season as well, and the Eagles have also suffered a lot of attrition in the secondary. But they have won five of their last six games, and that, combined with their magical run to the world championship last year, makes them a dangerous foe for a team without collective playoff experience.
The Chicago Bears fit that description. But it is remarkable how they have transformed themselves in the space of one season under first-year coach Matt Nagy, who is a legitimate candidate for the Coach of the Year award. The Bears have won nine of their last 10 games, losing only to the New York Giants in overtime, and they have one of the top defense is in the NFL. Over the last four games they have allowed only 42 points, and they are playmakers like Khalil Mack, acquired from Oakland late in training camp, who made the All-Pro team once again, registering 12.5 sacks.
Nagy was an offensive coordinator in Kansas City, so a lot of his attention was paid to the development of Mitchell Trubisky, the second-year quarterback who has come through nicely, with 24 touchdown passes and almost 67% completions. They run a lot of run-pass options on this team, and Trubisky is nimble enough to be able to take care of the “run” part, if need be. The receiving corps was revamped, and includes the likes of Allen Robinson, who leads the team with 754 yards, and ex-Eagle Trey Burton, famous for the “Philly Special” play in last year’s Super Bowl, who has caught 54 passes out of the tight end position. The dual-purpose guy is Tarik Cohen, the diminutive but speedy running back who had 444 yards on the ground and 725 in receptions.
Defensively, Chicago is best in the league from the perspective of yards and points allowed per drive, and they have the highest percentage of three-and-outs forced upon the opponent. These guys are all-around performers; they give up just 3.8 yards per rush and 5.7 yards per pass and have posted 27 interceptions on the year. They are formidable.
It’s hard to draw a conclusion about the Eagles from their season-long statistics, since they never really had a completely healthy contingent. But they have a couple of guys who can sack the passer in Fletcher Cox and Michael Bennett, along with the defensive coordinator in Jim Schwartz who had to do some nifty maneuvering to navigate around the injuries. And one thing that’s important to note is that they were best in the NFL from the standpoint of allowing touchdowns in red zone situations. What they have to do here is force the Bears into tough third down situations, and that will be a challenge, as they give up 4.7 yards per carry.
But every year, it seems there are one or two opening-round games where a team with valuable playoff experience takes advantage of another team that doesn’t have it. In this instance, this might be the Eagles on the positive side of that, at least with regard to taking the points.
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By Charles Jay