TAMPA, Fla. (COVERS) — The NFL season is one step from the Super Bowl, NFL conference championship odds are on the board, and action is already flowing in on both games. The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.
The SuperBook’s John Murray provided insights on NFL conference championship opening lines and early line movement, sharp money and public betting. Covers will update this report with NFL sharp picks vs. public bets and line movement throughout the week.
NFL Conference Championship Odds
These are the current NFL Conference Championship odds. Click on each matchup in the table below to get updated in-depth information on the opening lines, sharp money, public betting and odds movement as we get closer to kickoff.
|Buccaneers at Packers||3:05 p.m. ET Sunday||Packers -3.5||51|
|Bills at Chiefs||6:40 p.m. ET Sunday||Chiefs -3||54.5|
Odds courtesy of The SuperBook
Packers -4.5, Over/Under 51
Why the line moved
As the NFC’s No. 1 seed, Green Bay is right where it expected to be and surely where it wants to be: at Lambeau Field in late January for the NFC Championship Game, against a team accustomed to playing in much warmer conditions. The Packers advanced with a 32-18 divisional playoff win over the Rams on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, fifth-seeded Tampa Bay traveled to No. 2 seed New Orleans and knocked out the Saints 30-20 Sunday night. So while the warm-weather Buccaneers face the challenge of chilly conditions in Green Bay, quarterback Tom Brady – with his two-decade dynasty in New England – is no stranger to foul weather.
“We opened Packers -4.5, and the money came pouring in immediately on Tampa Bay. Not unlike last week, when we opened the Saints -5.5 and were inundated with Bucs money,” Murray said Sunday evening. “This will be a huge-handle game with great write on both sides. Both teams are extremely popular with bettors. Right now, we are down to Packers -4, and the money continues to come in on Tampa Bay.”
And the line continued to move, too, dropping to Packers -3.5 less than an hour after going up. The SuperBook certainly wants to see the Bucs vanquished, with Super Bowl liability now looming larger.
“The Bucs are the one team left in the Super Bowl pool that we lose a big number to,” Murray said. “We lose on them in the NFC pool, as well. It’s definitely something we will have to keep an eye on this week and potentially three weeks from now, if they are able to beat the Packers.”
Chiefs -4, Over/Under 56
Why the line moved
AFC Championship odds were all over the map Sunday afternoon/evening, as oddsmakers tried to ascertain the status of superstar Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. In Sunday’s divisional clash with Cleveland, Mahomes suffered a concussion in the third quarter, but Kansas City hung on behind Chad Henne to claim a 22-17 victory. Buffalo reached the AFC title game with a 17-3 stifling of Baltimore on Saturday night.
With the Chiefs holding a 19-3 halftime lead against the Browns, SuperBook vice president of risk management Jeff Sherman posted AFC Championship Game odds of Chiefs -4/total 56. Then Mahomes got hurt and the AFC title game came off the board, going back up after Kansas City clinched the win over Cleveland. The new numbers: Chiefs -2.5, with a total of 51.
It didn’t take long for the line to go up to -3, and the total jumped all the way to 55.5 within about 90 minutes, after postgame indications were that Mahomes was doing well.
“We certainly expect Mahomes to play next Sunday. We moved the line up to -3 after reading some quotes from Andy Reid that sounded positive,” Murray said Sunday night. “We had a respected player take Bills +3 (-110) and we moved to Bills +3 (-120). Most of the tickets have been on the Bills so far, although the biggest bet yet was one for $20,000 on Chiefs -3 (even). The public likes both of these teams, even though the Chiefs continue to let the bettors down. They failed to cover yet again today.”
The line would look far different for the AFC Championship Game if early indications for Mahomes weren’t favorable.
“Mahomes is going to play, but if he had been knocked out completely, the Bills would be a decent favorite next week. More than a field goal,” Murray said. “Some of our guys in the room made it Bills -7. I think that’s a little extreme, but it gives you an idea of just how much of a drop-off there is from Mahomes to Henne.”