Preview/Betting The AFC and NFC Championship Games
After 17 weeks of NFL regular season, Wild Card Weekend, and a Division Weekend, we are final down to 4 teams trying to make it to the Super Bowl in Miami on February 3rd.
Each team has their own particular story line...
- The Tennessee Titans look like a team of destiny. After replacing Marcus Mariota with Ryan Tanney"thrill", the Titans are a different team in every aspect-- from record to DVOA. Plus, Derrick Henry is doing something never seen before-- 4 straight games of at least 32 carries and 180 yards.
- Andy Reid in the playoffs. That's it. That's the narrative.
- San Francisco building a powerful team in a dominant division. From trading draft picks or for Jimmy G, this front office has set up a winner for years to come.
- Green Bay Packers got their new coach in LaFleur but this has to be one of the most disrespected 13-3 regular season teams going into the playoffs.
Some betting trends to point our before we look at each game...
First off, favorites tend to win conference championship games. Since 2003, they've gone 22-10 straight up (68.8%), with home favorites 19-7 straight up (73.1%) according to Bet Labs Sports. However, they don't always cover. Conference title game favorites are just 17-15 ATS (53.1%), with home favorites only slightly better at 14-12 ATS (53.8%).
7 is the magical number. Favorites of -6.5 or less have gone 15-9 ATS (62.5%) on Championship Sunday, while favorites of -7 or more are just 2-6 ATS (25%). In other words, while it may be a small sample size, dogs + 7 or more have covered at a 75% clip this round.
NO FIELD GOALS IN RED ZONES. This has also been the most profitable round of the NFL Playoffs to bet overs. They've gone 18-11 (62.1%) since 2003.
2:05 p.m: Tennessee Titans (11-7, 6th seed) at Kansas City Chiefs (13-4, 2nd seed)
The AFC Championship game opened with Kansas City listed as a 7.5-point home favorite. The public is rushing to the window to lay the points with the Chiefs at Arrowhead. However, despite two-thirds of bets backing Kansas City the line has fallen down to 7.
This is a classic example of sharp reverse line movement on the road dog, with wiseguys hammering the Titans with the hook (+ 7.5), forcing books to drop the line in their favor despite the heavy Chiefs betting.
Kansas City has gone 12-5 Against The Spread this season, including 6-3 ATS at home.
The Titans have gone 7-3 ATS on the road and 11-7 ATS this season.
"Maybe it's just Andy Reid's year," Ethan Hawke told THE RINGER.
Maybe. Today is Patrick Mahomes day, too. This is a nice run by the Titans and they do have a regular season 35-32 victory over the Chiefs in Week 10. The Texans had a regular season win too and look what happened. In that Week 10 loss, Coach Reid elected to opt for field goals 5 TIMES even though the Titans defense gives up long 3rd and 4th down plays. Reid won't settle for field goals and won't take his foot off of the gas like the Chiefs had in the past.
Give up the -7.
CHIEFS 42 TITANS 24
Player Prop Bet: Patrick Mahomes OVER 2.5 touchdown passes (EVEN)
5:40 p.m.: Green Bay Packers (14-3, 2nd seed) at San Francisco 49ers (14-3, 1st seed)
The NFC Championship game opened with the 49ers listed as a 7-point home favorite. Spread bets are relatively split with a slight lean to San Francisco. However, despite this modest support, the line has moved a half point to -7.5. Some books are juicing up the 49ers -7.5 to -115. Our local sports books here in the Quad Cities have reached 49ers -8.
The night game features the top two seeds in the NFC. Both teams are a combined 28-6 and both are coming off a first round bye followed by a home win and cover in the Divisional Round.
San Francisco beat Green Bay 37-8 as 3-point home favorites in Week 12.
However, since that loss, Green Bay is riding a six-game winning streak and have gone 11-6 ATS on the season, including 5-3 ATS on the road.
the 49ers are 10-6-1 ATS on the season but just 4-4-1 ATS at home.
How much of a factor does Aaron Rodgers play in? Rodgers is 109-77 ATS (59%) in his career, including 11-5 ATS (69%) in the playoffs and 6-2 ATS (75%) as a playoff dog.
San Francisco beat up Rodgers in the first meeting. The 49ers sacked Rodgers 5 times and he was 20-33-104 for 1 touchdown. Keep in mind that Bryan Bulaga only played 13 snaps that game.
It doesn't look like Green Bay has done much to little of anything different leading up to this game and San Francisco has the leagues #2 offense and #5 defense. But don't bet against Rodgers in the playoffs, right?
San Francisco WINS but does not COVER. Take the +8.
49ERS 34 PACKERS 28
Player Prop Bet: Aaron Rodgers TOTAL completions OVER 21.5 (-110)