01/05/2014 12:06 PM
Matchup: San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
Spread: Bengals minus-7
Public consensus pick: 59 percent picked Bengals
Public perception: This is the biggest spread of the wild-card weekend, but that isn't keeping the public from being willing to back the favorite. The Bengals are 8-0 SU and ATS at home, so that certainly catches the public's attention, plus the Chargers didn't gather much support after letting down the public last week when they were dominated by the Chiefs' backups and should have lost as 14-point favorites. Many don't feel they deserve to be in the playoffs.
Wiseguys' view: Again, we'll find sharps on both sides here. While there are those that feel the Bengals are clearly the better team and grabbed the minus-6.5 lines that have been available, there are others that see the Chargers as a live underdog. For everyone that says the Chargers are a sun-loving bunch from California that won't want to play in the cold, there are others that point to the fact the Chargers went into Kansas City and Denver and won cold-weather games during the regular season.
Tuley's Take: I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I really like this Bengals team, and I've been burned a number of times when going against it this year (including just last week with the Ravens, though I still don't know how the Ravens went from looking like they would cover to losing 34-17). But at the same time, I just feel this is too many points to pass up. As alluded to in the previous section, the Chargers have done just fine away from home in the cold. Their first meeting was a 17-10 win by Cincinnati, and it wouldn't surprise me to see another low-scoring battle where the points come into play.
The pick: Chargers (lean to the under).