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.
The 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
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.
They 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.