The Miami Dolphins (10-6) and the New York Giants (11-5) were two of the more surprisingly successful teams in the NFL this season under first-year head coaches.
But the Dolphins and Giants still face long odds as they each attempt to reach their ultimate goal of winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy as big road underdogs in the Wild Card round of the playoffs on Sunday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Dolphins have a much bigger challenge though as 10-point underdogs on the NFL lines visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5), who have won their last seven games.
Miami is expected to start Matt Moore at quarterback for the fourth straight game unless Ryan Tannehill’s injured knee drastically improves, according to reports. Tannehill will need to practice this week in order to have a shot to play, something that seems unlikely at this point.
While the Dolphins will be playing in their first playoff game since 2008, the Steelers will be trying to win in the postseason for just the second time since 2010 when they lost the Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers. Pittsburgh defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 18-16 in the Wild Card round a year ago before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos 23-16 the following week.
The Steelers have failed to cover the spread in the past three meetings with Miami according to the OddsShark NFL Database, but they have gone 5-1-1 ATS during their winning streak—all as favorites.
The Packers are hoping to repeat their Super Bowl title run from six years ago but will first have to exorcize some demons when they host the Giants as five-point betting favorites later Sunday.
New York has won in its last two trips to Lambeau Field, both times as a bigger underdog. Giants quarterback Eli Manning is 6-0 ATS in his last six playoff road games, with two of those taking place at Lambeau and resulting in the aforementioned wins.
Manning beat Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre at Lambeau in 2008 and also topped Aaron Rodgers when the Packers were Super Bowl favorites with an NFL-best 15-1 record going into the postseason four years later. New York is 4-0-1 ATS in the past five meetings with Green Bay overall, winning three of them.
The Packers are also just 2-6 ATS in their last eight playoff games as home favorites.