AFC & NFC Championship Advanced Lines: Looking Ahead to All Potential Matchups and NFL Odds

Nikki Adams

Saturday, January 16, 2016 6:43 PM GMT

Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 6:43 PM GMT

Several sports betting outlets have already posted advanced lines for all scenarios in the AFC and NFC Championship games. Find out what NFL odds are being proposed for a head start on your NFL picks.

***ATS NFL Picks For Divisional Playoffs***
***O/U NFL Picks For Divisional Playoffs***
***ML NFL Picks For Divisional Playoffs***

Advanced Lines For the AFC and NFC Championship Games From 5Dimes
Even with the AFC and NFC Championship games yet to be decided this weekend, sports betting outlets went ahead with advanced lines for all scenarios NFL bettors can expect to see in a week’s time.

One such sportsbook was 5Dimes, posting advanced lines for the four separate scenarios in each respective conference. They are as follows:

 

AFC Championship Lines

  1. New England Patriots (-1.5) at Denver Broncos

  2. Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (-4)

  3. Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (-2.5)

  4. Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5)

 

NFC Championship Lines

  1. Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers (-2.5)

  2. Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers (-3.5)

  3. Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (-2.5)

  4. Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) at Green Bay Packers

 

One of the first things to leap off the page is the potential for road favorites to emerge in each championship game. It’s no coincidence that those feature last year’s Super Bowl teams: the Patriots and Seahawks.

In the case of the former, odds makers intend to make the defending champions road favorites against the top seeded Denver Broncos, barring any key injuries or questionable play in the divisional round that would take the shine off of the Patriots. The proposed -1.5 point spread isn’t huge by any stretch of the imagination, but it does open a debate about the relevance of seeding and home-field advantage.

As far as the Seahawks are concerned, it’s no surprise that they’d be favored on the road in the case of a matchup with the Packers for the NFC title. It’s worth noting, however, that during the season, the Seahawks went to Lambeau as the +3.5 road underdogs and lost 27-17. Of course, this is a postseason game, a whole different ball game altogether, and the Seahawks have been the standard of the NFC two years running.

Still, that’s not the most interesting NFL betting outlook of all the potential NFC matchups. The one that stands out, arguably, is the Seahawks going to Arizona as the road underdogs of +2.5. If home-field advantage amounts to 3-points (a general rule in football betting), then it follows, by the advanced NFL odds served up, the Cardinals are going to be the notional 5.5-point home chalk (-2.5 advanced line + HFA). That’s a bit overly generous for NFL picks, don’t you think?

To begin with, the Seahawks closed the season with a 36-6 rout of the Cardinals on the road, all while closing as the whopping 6-point underdogs. Churlish NFL bettors might be quick to point out it wasn’t a meaningful game for the Cardinals, thus the result is meaningless too. There’s some merit to that argument, naturally. However, if there’s one place where the Seahawks have proven their merit it’s in the postseason and that experience shouldn’t be overlooked on the NFL odds board, surely. Not least when one considers Carson Palmers’ rather bleak postseason resume: winless in 12 years and making his first appearance in six years.

If the wildcard round proved anything, it’s that home-field advantage was a moot point when faced with established teams with postseason experience. All four road teams swept the round to advance and half of them covered the spread (Kansas City and Green Bay).

In the postseason, the higher seed receives home advantage, but, clearly, not in all cases is the higher seed the better team or, even, more crucially, the experienced team. That notion was nowhere more evident than when the Packers beat the Redskins as the only road underdogs of the week. Some might include Seattle’s come-from-behind win over the Vikings, a rather ugly 10-9 victory, or the Steelers’ come-from-behind 18-16 win over the Bengals, all while Big Ben was throwing cupcakes with a bum arm down the field in the final winning drive of the game.

It remains to be seen how the divisional round plays out and what matchups emerge, but it’ll be interesting to see whether these look ahead lines will hold up or whether Sunday’s opening odds, on the heels of the divisional round results, will bear no resemblance to them at all. Be sure to check in with us at the close of the divisional round for our Early AFC and NFC Championship Odds report where we’ll be looking at exactly that question and discussing whatever developments arise.

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