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Cincinnati at Indianapolis (-3): Wild Card Picks (ATS)

Jan 2, 2015
Andrew Luck (QB) Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck and the Colts will try to find their offensive rhythm again

For the non-Daily players, fantasy football is over, but that doesn’t mean we’re done asking the experts for advice. We’ve got 4 playoff games on tap this weekend and we’re sure more than a few of you have a “rooting” interest in the outcomes. To help steer you in the right direction, we polled 50+ experts to get their picks against the spread for each game.

The early game on Sunday (1:05pm EST) features the highest over/under game of the Wild Card round. Andrew Luck and Co. have struggled mightily on offense in the last few weeks. On the other end of the field, the Bengals have a strong 1-2 punch of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, and will likely try to kill the clock with their running game. Although Cincinnati got embarrassed earlier in the season against the Colts (27-0), there stands reason that this game could be closer to its 3-point spread. Read on to see who the experts like against the spread this weekend.

Wild Card Picks: Against the Spread
Arizona at Carolina (-6.5)
Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-3)
Detroit at Dallas (-6.5)

Cincinnati Bengals (+3)
Indianapolis Colts (-3)
Pick %
32% 68%
“The Colts are not that good of a football team. Andrew Luck struggled to put up BIG games to close out the second half of the season, and a game against an underrated Bengals defense does not spell success. Luckily the Colts are at home, but no running game and a below average defense does not bode well against the Bengals.”
Muntradamus Beast Dome
“No great feel for this one, so I’ll take the points even with the Bengals’ recent run of one-and-done playoff results. Fantasy hero: Jeremy Hill/Giovani Bernard. Cincinnati only the ran ball 12 times in mid-October’s 27-0 loss to Indianapolis. Bet on that number more than doubling in the rematch, especially with A.J. Green’s concussion concerns even if he plays and Andy Dalton’s history of postseason futility The Colts have surrendered at least 99 yards on the ground in four straight games.. “
Ben Standig CSN Washington
“This is a shaky pick to say the least (and that’s even before you realize that ginger is best only as a garnish). With Marvin Lewis 0-5 in the postseason (with the previously mentioned Andy Dalton at 0-3), even I’m chortling at the proposition of a Bengals upset victory. But let’s not forget that the Colts running game this season has looked a lot like me translating Sanskrit, and while Andrew Luck has put in a career year, the Bengals have shown an ability to contain the pass with a strong front-7 play. At least one road dog always moves on from Wild Card weekend, and believe it or not, based on the other match-ups, I’m betting this is the game where it happens.”
Jason Longfellow Razzball
“This is the toughest game to call because on one hand, Indy shut out Cincinnati 27-0 in Week 7. On the other hand, the Colts don’t have a run game and Andrew Luck isn’t protecting the ball. Ball security and the run game are critical in the playoffs, so I’m taking the points.”
Jeff Collins Fantasy Contrarians
“The hardest game of the weekend for me to predict — I can envision several scenarios given these two teams’ current situations and history. The best player on the field will be wearing orange, so I’ll take the points and hope for an upset.”
Micah James Micah James – FFMagicMan
“These two teams played in Week 7 with the Colts dominating that game 27-0. However, that was when WR A.J. Green was injured and before RB Jeremy Hill established himself as one of the best young backs in the NFL. Green is on track to play (concussion) and I think the game will be closer. Still, I just cannot pick the Bengals to win a playoff game when they are (0-5) under head coach Marvin Lewis and (0-3) under QB Andy Dalton. They have also lost 4 of the 5 playoff games under Lewis by double-digits. I look for the Colts to win and cover the 3 points.”
Derek Lofland FFManiax
“Cincy lost a big game to end the season and that makes taking them a bit of a gamble, but I love what Jeremy Hill has been doing and I think he’ll be a big reason why they pull this one out against a very inconsistent Indianapolis Colts team. “
Dennis Esser Coach Esser
“Indy stomped the Bengals earlier in the season, 27-0. The Bengals had a legitimately awful day, Andy Dalton in particular. With a better established run game though, this game won’t be so one-sided. There’s just no way the Colts walk all over Cincinnati again, so I have to take the points. If you take away the Colts six easy divisional wins, their resume isn’t as impressive as some might think.”
Matt De Lima FF Toolbox
“Is it finally time for “Good Andy” to show up in a playoff game? Cincinnati is the more complete unit on both sides of the ball and will do just enough to knock off Andrew Luck and the Colts. “
Wayne Bretsky BretskyBall
“Bengals frustrate Colts with two dual-threat backs and play a short game.”
Tony Mauriello ProjectRoto
“This game will come down to good Andy Dalton, or bad Andy Dalton. Because aside from the quarterback position, I believe the Bengals have the better overall defense and offense. Additionally, from what I saw last week with the Bengals pounding Jeremy Hill and getting creative with Giovani Bernard in the slot, I think they will have no problem pacing the Colts offense if necessary. I recognize it’s tough to go against one of fantasy football’s best, Andrew Luck and a kicker like Adam Vinatieri, who did miss his first field goal of the year last week. But in what is projected to be a closely contended game and one the Colts may win on the money line with a Vinatieri field goal, I’ll hedge myself against bad Andy Dalton and take the Bengals and the points.”
Scott Whitfield Roto Rankings
“These two teams are trending in opposite directions. Jeremy Hill runs all over the Colts in this one and the Bengals actually get a win in January. Pigs everywhere then proceed to fly.”
Jeff Ratcliffe Pro Football Focus
“Against playoff teams this season, Indy has a 2-4 record—they are not a lock to beat any ‘good’ NFL team. We all want to give this game to Indy, because we all love Andrew Luck…but in those six games against playoff teams in 2014, Luck has thrown for 10 TDs/9 INTs. Luck has not been ‘all world’ against the better teams he has faced this season. Cincy is no lock either…they are all over the place. They got smoked by Pittsburgh twice in the last four weeks, but they’ve also made Peyton Manning and Drew Brees look pedestrian more recently. Indy smoked Cincy 27-0 earlier this year, but I’ll take the bounce back shocker this week…or at least the cover. “
R.C. Fischer Fantasy Football Metrics
“Andy Dalton. Enough said.”
Ross Miles Pro Football Focus
“Andrew Luck at home against Andy Dalton who falls apart in the post-season… no contest. Colts cover with ease. “
Mike Rigz Gridiron ExpertsMike Rigz's most confident pick for this week
“True toss up game but Dalton history works against cincy”
Ken Zalis Pressbox
“If A.J. Green were 100 percent, and I knew we wouldn’t see the bad Andy Dalton, I’d take the Bengals. As it stands though, the Colts can put up plenty of points and have Cincy on their heals quickly.”
Jake Ciely RotoExperts
“Colts put a hurting on the Bengals last time they met and with home-field advantage will find another way to win and keep the Bengals from getting a Play-off win. “
James Hatfield Hatty Waiver Wire Guru
“Andy Dalton in January with A.J. Green banged up? No, thank you. I’ll take the league’s top offense, which managed to win five of their last six heading into the playoffs.”
Igor Derysh XN Sports
“It’s likely we’ll see Dalton throw a few picks and we’ll see them playing from behind, which isn’t a great thing for Andy Dalton in playoff games as he struggles mightily in throwing the ball. In 3 playoff games, Andy Dalton has thrown 70-of-123 for 718 yards with a 1:6 TD-to-INT ratio along with an 0-3 record. Andy Dalton has thrown the ball 20+ yards 30 times this season, which ranks 25th in the league. Andrew Luck has done this a league leading 73 times! “
Tozzi Brothers Legion ReportTozzi Brothers's most confident pick for this week
“Colts are pretty solid at home, in fact earlier in the year they beat the Bengals 27-0 at Lucas Oil. This one comes down to quarterback play for me. When it’s all said and done, I have more confidence that Luck can led his team to a home playoff victory. “
Pat James Fantasy CouncilPat James's most confident pick for this week
“Andy Dalton has posted 1 TD vs. 6 INTs through 3 postseason games. He enters this one with a banged up A.J. Green, swaying me in favor of the home team. “
Kevin English Draft Sharks
“Andrew Luck and the Colts have kinda stumbled into the playoffs, but I’m putting my money on Luck over Andy Dalton in a big spot any day of the week.”
Joe Bond Fantasy Six Pack
“At home with Andrew Luck at QB as a three point favorite, yes please. Might be the easiest pick of the weekend.”
Paul Greco FantasyPros911Paul Greco's most confident pick for this week
“If either of these teams was playing a different opponent, I’d pick against them. But I have to pick one … and it’s not the inconsistent Bengals.”
John Halpin Fox Sports
“It looks like the Bengals will have AJ Green back on the field, but I’m doubtful that he’ll be effective. Couple his absence with Andy Dalton’s continued struggles in ‘big’ games and I think Indianapolis wins this game running away.”
Jon Collins Fantasy Sports LRJon Collins's most confident pick for this week
“The last time the Bengals came into Indy, they got dominated, 27-0. Andrew Luck is awesome at home and he was magical in the first round of the playoffs last year. Cincy’s defense can be suffocating, but they also can be pretty vulnerable at times. Facing an elite offense can shift that to the negative side, with Andy Dalton potentially being the tiebreaker. If that’s the reality, the edge has to go to the Colts.”
Kevin Roberts Breaking Football
“Andrew Luck > Andy Dalton “
Chris Meaney Fantasy Sports LR
“Given the postseason struggles (0-3) and overall inconsistency of Andy Dalton, it’s difficult to have a lot of confidence in the Bengals this week. And although Andrew Luck has three consecutive games with less than 200 passing yards, Luck had an efficient performance in his Week 17 postseason tuneup by completing 10-of-16 for 160 yards (10.0 Y/A), two TDs and no INTs in one just one half.”
Kevin Hanson EDSFootball
“Andrew Luck and Andy Dalton. Don’t let yourself be caught on the wrong side of that matchup. “
Justin Boone The Score
“Sometimes it’s as simple as this: Do you want to put money on Andy Dalton on the road in the playoffs or Andrew Luck at home in the playoffs? Dalton has a QB rating of 56.2 with a 1:6 TD/int ratio in the postseason over his career. The Colts have a healthy T.Y. Hilton finally and Dwayne Allen looks to be ready to roll. On the flip side, Cincy’s A.J. Green is still going through concussion protocol while nursing a bicep injury. I know the Bengals run game has been stout recently but I think the Colts do enough defensively to rattle Dalton while Luck puts up his usual big numbers. Think about it: Do you really think Luck’s ascension as one of the NFL’s elite will be tempered here in the Wild Card round at home? Sometimes commons sense wins out. Colts win and cover.”
Tom Poisal Top Tier FootballTom Poisal's most confident pick for this week
“Jeremy Hill or no I don’t see how you can pick the Bengals ATS in this one after the Colts embarrassed them in Week 7. AFC home teams are .625 ATS when facing NFC teams since 1990”
Sean Morris Bruno Boys
“It’s tough to figure out either one of these teams. The Bengals will need to rely on Jeremy Hill if they want any chance to win this one. We have seen playoff Andy Dalton already. I don’t think he magically turns it on Sunday. “
Sean Beazley EDSFootball
“If A.J. Green plays, the Bengals will have a chance, but I still think the Colts will cover.”
John Paulsen
“The Bengals aren’t vibing they way you want a team to be vibing heading into the playoffs. I’ll take the team with the (far) better quarterback. The Colts win at home.”
Zach Greubel Gridiron Experts
“No one should factor in Indianapolis’ 27-0 thrashing of Cincinnati back in Week 7. A.J. Green missed that game due to a toe injury and both were very different teams back then. Green suffered a concussion last week against Pittsburgh, but his recent return to Bengals’ practice Thursday bodes well for his chances of suiting up this Sunday. There’s a possibility he won’t be playing at 100%, however, which means we should see plenty of Jeremy Hill, who has a much greater role in Cincy’s offense than he did back in Week 7. The Colts are a very dangerous team at home (6-2), but T.Y. Hilton (hamstring), Reggie Wayne (groin) and Dwayne Allen (knee) have been dealing with injuries and Andrew Luck hasn’t done a great job of taking care of the football lately. On the bright side, Boom Herron has done an admirable job filling in for Ahmad Bradshaw and Coby Fleener, Donte Moncrief and Hakeem Nicks speak to the Colts’ depth on offense. I like Indianapolis to cover the spread, especially if Luck doesn’t turn the ball over.”
Ryan Rufe RotoBallerRyan Rufe's most confident pick for this week
“When the Bengals visited Indianapolis earlier this season, it ended in a 27-0 victory for the Colts. I think Cincinnati will keep things closer in this one, but I don’t see them being able to keep pace with Andrew Luck and company. “
Jason Willan Gridiron Experts
“Bad Dalton is going to show up, and the Bengals have lost four straight playoff games.”
Adam Pfeifer ProjectRoto
“Prediction: Colts 26, Bengals 22 “
Mike Clay Pro Football Focus
“The Bengals have the more well-rounded team, but the drop-off from Andrew Luck to Andy Dalton goes deeper than the Mariana Trench. This one feels easy, and maybe that should be a warning flag. But … Indy to cover.”
Pat Fitzmaurice The Football GirlPat Fitzmaurice's most confident pick for this week
“Andy Dalton scares me in the playoffs and not in a good way. The Colts should be able to move the ball against the Bengals and cover 3 points.”
Walton Spurlin Fantasy SharksWalton Spurlin's most confident pick for this week
“The Colts are just too much for a Bengals team that hasn’t looked all that great against playoff teams. AJ Green has a ton of question marks around him as well from a concussion, strained bicep and back pains which could likely limit his performance in this game. I expect this game to fall apart quickly for the Bengals.”
The FFGhost Dynasty League FootballThe FFGhost's most confident pick for this week
“Cindy has found its run game at the right time, but they have also lost A.J. Green stretching the field as he is trying to play through an injury. This should be one of the closest games over the weekend, but I’ll take Luck at home over Dalton. “
Mike Tagliere Tags Fantasy Football
“Cincinnati is a much better team at every position other than the one that matters most. I can’t see Luck losing to Dalton at home.”
Kevin Kumpf Razzball
“This game is a tossup in my eyes. I really like the Bengals play of late, especially with Jeremy Hill making tons of plays in the running game. But I just can’t pick the Bengals on the road with Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback. Dalton has been a disaster in the playoffs, so I don’t trust him over Andrew Luck.”
Jeff Paur RTSports
“This one is the toughest pick of the week. Cincinnati will be coming to Indy looking for revenge for the shutout they suffered to the Colts in Week 7. The Bengals will certainly have a different team this time. A.J. Green will be at their disposal and their running game with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard has gotten hot. The Colts certainly have plenty of weaknesses to exploit, but I expect their offense too be to much for the Bengals to handle in this game. Indianapolis finished the season as the #3 offense in the NFL, and they will be able to simply out produce Cincy in this one. Tough break for the Bengals. “
Kelly Smelser Punch Drunk Wonderland
“This is probably the toughest game to call out of the slate of first-round matchups. Cincinnati has shown in recent weeks that it can run the ball with impunity while also stepping up and playing quality defense in spurts. Indianapolis has a clear advantage at QB and coach but may have trouble running the ball or keeping Cincinnati from keeping the game close. I’m rolling with the homefield, coaching and quarterback advantage and taking Indianapolis to win a close game, one that may very well end up a push.”
R.J. White Fantasy Football Cafe
“I’m betting against Andy Dalton with the help of a hobbled A.J. Green in yet another sluggish “prime time” game. The Colts beat the Bengals 27-0 the first time these teams met this season, although that likely means nothing when it comes to Saturday’s matchup. “
Dalton Del Don YahooDalton Del Don's most confident pick for this week
“Andrew Luck has been struggling lately but I think he’ll be fine. I like the Colts in this game more because of Andy Dalton than anything else. I’m going to need him do it before I have any faith in him winning a playoff game. There’s always a chance Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill go off, but if we’re talking most likely scenario.. give my AL.”
Russell Clay Dynasty League FootballRussell Clay's most confident pick for this week
“The Bengals are 0-6 in their franchise history in road playoff games and have gone 8,764 days since their last playoff win (Jan 6, 1991 vs. Houston Oilers). Andy Dalton vs. Andrew Luck – enough said.”
Dan Clasgens Get Sports Info

Thanks to the experts for giving us their picks. Agree or disagree? You can discuss in the comment section below.


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