And then there four. Lets take a look at this weekends Conference Championships and break down the opening odds. Should we jump on the current lines, or should we wait for certain movements before placing our NFL picks?

After a wild weekend of divisional playoff games, the NFL’s version of the Final Four is set for this Sunday. The AFC Championship game will start at 3:00 PM ET with the New England Patriots hosting the Baltimore Ravens. In the NFC Championship game, the San Francisco 49ers will play host to the New York Giants at 6:30 PM ET. 

Jim HarbaughThe most surprising team to be in this year's Final Four is the 49ers, who have won nine more games than they did last season. Head Coach Jim Harbaugh ought to be Coach of the Year, in my opinion, based on how he has gotten the entire team playing together with tremendous passion, chemistry, and commitment. 

49ers TE Vernon Davis exudes this point with his emotional sideline hug of coach Harbaugh after he caught the winning touch with just five-seconds left in the game. You could read Harbaugh’s lips as he uttered almost every expletive in the book telling Davis that he was ‘the man’. Davis has gone from former pariah to team leader, and a lot of credit must go to former head coach Mike Singletary, who benched Davis and sent him to the locker room for insubordination and lack of any true effort on the field. When I have seen this type of emotion involving a team on the rise, it reflects across the entire team. The 49ers are the best team in the NFC, not in the stats, but how they play the game the right way. 

The Giants are the next biggest surprise, as it wasn’t too many weeks ago that head coach Tom Coughlin was again on the ‘hot seat’ with most of the New York media calling for his job. How soon New York fans forget. 

The season for many teams is divided into at least two parts. For example, in Denver, there was the 2-5 pre-Tebow version and then then heroic run to the playoffs in the Tebow version. However, the Giants, like so many of their seasons past have had a tumultuous path to the NFC Championships. 

Bill BelichickThey started out 6-2 with road wins at New England and Philadelphia causing fans to start booking Super Bowl parties. Then, there was the 1-5 drudging that ending by losing to the cellar dwelling football-challenged Washington Redskins. Then, thanks in large part to Rex Ryan’s uncanny ability to motivate the opposition more than his own team, the Giants rebounded strongly by defeating the Jets and earning a last-game invite to the playoffs. 

So, this NFC Championship game involves the reawakening of the storied 49er franchise playing against the streaking New York Giants. This version of the 49ers is certainly more of a Chevrolet version as coopered to the Lamborghini versions of Super Bowl Champions past, but they are playing at home and have a defense that is not in the least intimidated by the swagger that the Giants are carrying around right now. It will be another great game. 

The NFL Betting Lines

The NFL betting line for the NFC Championship game opened with the 49ers installed as 2.5 point favorites. The sports betting flows have been nearly equal with a slight imbalance favoring the Giants. I don’t expect these NFL odds to move from it’s current level barring any major news. 

The same can be said for the total, which I thought opened a touch high at 43.5 points. The total has been equally bet, but it has shifted to 42.5 as a few sharps have forced a slight adjustment lower at some sportsbooks

The AFC Championship game opened with the Patriots a solid 7.5 point favorite. Some shops are hedging against large teaser bets and have listed the game with New England favored by 9 +110. 

The total for the AFC Championship game opened at 50.5 -110 and I fully expect that price to remain static throughout the week. 

To get more information, stats, systems, matchups, and picks do yourself a favor and visit the NFL with John Ryan thread each day.