The lines are drawn, the NFL odds posted on NFL odds board across all sports betting platforms. Join us as we analyze opening AFC and NFC Championship game odds.
AFC and NFC Championship Odds
On the heels of Sunday’s round of divisional games, odds makers promptly went to press with NFL odds for the highly anticipated Conference final showdowns.
NFL odds for the NFC Championship went up early in the day at the conclusion of the divisional matchup between the Seahawks and Panthers. Obviously, following Carolina’s convincing win over Seattle there was no doubt the top seeds would be the favorites, and so they were installed with a field-goal advantage. On the heels of Denver’s win over Pittsburgh, however, odds makers went to press with the New England Patriots as the field goal favorites on the road. Some books, even, went with an additional half-point on the Patriots to the good.
Pinnacle Sports, 5Dimes, Heritage, amongst others opened the line on the NFC Championship game with the Panthers as the 3-point home favorites on the NFL odds board. They’ve not moved off that mark at early doors but the juice has been hopping – from an opening -110 to -120 on the Panthers and +100 to +110 on the Cardinals, or thereabouts depending on the sportsbook in question.
Pinnacle Sports, William Hill, amongst others opened the line on the AFC Championship game with the Patriots installed as the 3-point road favorites on the NFL odds board. Others such as The Greek and 5Dimes opened with the second seeds at -3.5 but that line came quickly down to -3. The juice on the Broncos is moving anywhere from -101 to +105 while on the Patriots it’s moving anywhere from -107 to -120 at early doors.
Earlier in the week, we looked at the look ahead lines that went to press with several of the aforementioned sportsbooks. It’s worth it to review those lines (below) as there are notable differences to take stock of, namely the New England Patriots emerge greater road favorites than initially anticipated:
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
There are many reasons why proposed lines and actual lines differ; the main being the merit of the preceding performance. In the case of the AFC Championship game, the Patriots put in a commanding performance over the Kansas City Chiefs, who arrived at Gillette Stadium riding the momentum of an 11-game winning streak. One could argue the Patriots were at home and their proven championship pedigree swung the balance wholeheartedly in their favor en route to the 27-20 win. Still, odds makers have taken stock of their win over the Chiefs more so than the Broncos’ 23-16 win over the Steelers in Sunday’s late game.
As far as the Panthers are concerned, odds makers stayed true to their initial forecast, sending the Panthers into their clash with the Cardinals as the home chalk. The only difference being is the Panthers are more favored than initially anticipated. That’s down to the respective accounts of each team: the Cardinals were pushed to the brink in their win over the Packers – Aaron Rodger’s second, last-gasp Hail Mary of the season saw the Packers tie the game and force overtime in a thrilling NFC showdown that took some of the shine off of the Cardinals. Meanwhile, the Panthers decimated the Seahawks in the first half 31-0 and, then, held on in the second half to clinch the seven-point victory. Those contrasting accounts have served to improve the opinion of the Panthers while challenge the merit of the Cardinals and their postseason upside.
It remains to be seen how the NFL betting trends develop over the week until the AFC and NFC Championship games get underway – you can bet we'll keep a close eye on those developments for your NFL picks – , but if the NFL odds were any indication, it appears we are headed towards a Patriots vs. Panthers showdown.