Free NFL Picks: Betting the Conference Championship Moneylines

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 1:01 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 1:01 PM UTC

The Championship Round of the NFL playoffs is upon us. Here's our primer for the weekend's double-header complete with NFL picks for each game in straight up betting. Here's who we predict will make it to the Super Bowl XLIX.

Packers +260 vs. Seahawks -320
Green Bay Packers opened the regular season against the Seahawks, only to lose in a lopsided affair 36-16 at CenturyLink Field. Going into this NFC rematch, the Packers are, arguably, a much better team now behind an 8-1 SU record in their last nine games since a week 9 bye. Over that stretch, they went 6-0 at home but just 2-1 on the road; the only hiccup a 21-13 loss at Buffalo. Most recently, the Packers rallied to beat the Dallas Cowboys 26-21 at Lambeau. On the season, the Packers are just 4-4 SU on the road with a 2.1-point margin of defeat.

Seattle Seahawks, meanwhile, have rounded out into form since going into week 8 with a 3-3 SU record. They reeled off ten wins in eleven games. The only blemish on their record: a 24-20 loss to Kansas City Chiefs  on the road. Most recently, they are after a big win over the Carolina Panthers in the divisional round of the playoffs, a 31-17 win to come through for those placing NFL picks as the significant home favourites. Including the divisional round, the Seahawks are 8-1 SU at home with an 11.1-point margin of victory.

The dominating back story to this clash is Aaron Rodgers' torn calf muscle. Rodgers was visibly limping in the game against the Cowboys, which although made his rally to lead the Packers to the 26-21 win after erasing an 8-point deficit all the more impressive, it sends the Packers into their upcoming clash with the Seahawks (and a much better defense) at the decided disadvantage. Evinced by the trepid + 260 NFL odds for the outright win at CenturyLink Field.

It goes without saying the Packers need Rodgers to be as close to 100% as he can be. It's unlikely that he will be in top form, but if the second half against the Cowboys is anything to go by, the 31-year-old MVP favourite is clutch. Every bit of the rave reviews he's received from coach, team and NFL experts alike. Packers have a shot, if notional at the upset. Of course, it's a complete long shot NFL pick to expect the Packers to mastermind the upset in Seattle. It goes against conventional wisdom and established NFL expert opinion. Not only because Rodgers is slightly hindered by his calf, but also because the Seattle defense is formidable and the experience of Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch on offense is already enough of a matchup for a healthy Rodgers and Company. Yet, there's just something about the way the Packers are playing right now, a complete and utter self belief that's enticing. It's just hard not to buy what they are selling.

Free NFL Picks: Packers +260

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Colts +235 vs. Patriots -290
New England Patriots host the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game, which is cornered wholeheartedly in their camp on -290 NFL odds. The Patriots have the decided head-to-head edge over Andrew Luck and the Colts, having won their last three meetings behind lopsided wins, including a 42-20 rout in Indianapolis earlier this season.

Patriots are one of the toughest teams to beat on home turf. They enter the AFC Championship game with an 8-1 SU record this season and a 14.9-point margin of victory, a run of form they improved behind a spectacular 35-31 win over the Baltimore Ravens, twice erasing 14-point deficits no less. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and the Pats et al showed savvy, tactical brilliance and sheer fight in their come-from-behind win over the Ravens, and that combination is one of the reasons this team is always in a position to win Championship games.

It's going to be a tall order for Andrew Luck and the Colts to come into Gillette Stadium and take the win. That they pulled off the feat in the Divisional Round with an upset over Peyton Manning and the Broncos at Mile High lends favourably towards the notion of another upset in the AFC at Gillette Stadium. But it's easier said than done.

As mentioned earlier the Patriots are simply one of the toughest teams to beat at home. Besides, Peyton Manning was playing injured and unfortunately the 38-year-old veteran wasn't able to pull off a Rodgers-like rally. It's debatable how much of that win was down to Luck and the Colts' impressive play and how much was down to Peyton Manning and the Broncos' unimpressive play. Whichever way you slice this game, the Patriots emerge as the smart NFL pick. The Colts could give them a run for their money, but the Patriots should eke out the victory in the end.

Free NFL Picks: Patriots -265 at BetOnline

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