WELCOME TO THE WILDCARD WEEKEND OF THE NFL PLAYOFFS
In theory, teams playing in the Wildcard Weekend should be weaker than those who’ve received byes, but in practice, Wildcard teams have proved incredibly disruptive in the NFL playoffs. With that in mind, we asked the UNU Football Swarm to take a look at all four matchups on tap for this weekend. Many experts have wrecked on those rocky shores, but beating the experts is sort of UNU’s bread and butter.
One wrinkle we’ve added this week is asking the Swarm “how much should we bet on this game?” Though the question is phrased in terms of money, what we’re really asking is best understood as an expression of relative confidence, rather than an actual betting recommendation. Here’s how this looks in practice, using one of the swarm’s most confident results – Green Bay over the New York Giants – to illustrate.
This is a High Confidence pick for Green Bay to beat the New York Giants and cover the spread of 4 points. But, that’s only half the battle. You also need to know where to put your money in order to maximize your return. And, so when the Swarm was asked to rank its confidence in Green Bay -4 on a scale of $0 to $100, the Swarm was willing to risk $64, making it the second most confident pick of the weekend behind Seattle at home. On the other side of the spectrum, the Swarm liked underdog Oakland to cover the 4 point spread in Houston, but perhaps because of the Raiders’ QB issues, was only willing to risk $27 on the outcome.
Click the Wildcard Weekend graphic below to see replays for all of the Swarm’s picks!
Of course, this is the NFL Playoffs, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t give it our best effort. To that end, we’ve enlisted a second swarm to compete against our weekly UNU Football Swarm. With 35 football enthusiasts gathered from across the country, this swarm was a bit larger than the UNU Football swarm, but it reached many of the same conclusions as our regulars. See the chart below for the full list of predictions from the second swarm.
So, where does that leave us? Both Swarms felt like Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Green Bay would win and cover. Both Swarms also felt that the Houston would win a close game over Oakland, but disagreed on who would cover the 4 point spread. Perhaps it’s not surprising then, that both Swarms felt the Houston / Oakland game was hardly worth betting on, compared to higher confidence picks for Pittsburgh, Seattle and Green against the spread in both Swarms. Here then, are the official recommendations from two sets of Swarms for Wildcard Weekend.
Check back next week for an ROI comparison between the two groups!
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