NFL Picks: Understanding Conference Championship Betting Markets

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 6:48 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015 6:48 PM UTC

We're down to the last four teams, the defining Championship round that'll serve up the finalists for Super Bowl XLIX. Join us as we preview the Early NFL odds and spot various line movements. Should you bet the NFL spread now or wait until closer to kickoff?

Green Bay Packers +7.5 vs. Seattle Seahawks -7.5, O/U 46.5
The Green Bay Packers opened their season with a 36-16 loss at CenturyLink Field, a game they closed as the 4.5-point road underdogs. This coming weekend, the Packers are set to take on the Seattle Seahawks for the second time this season. A clash that has the look of a season closer about it, if the NFL odds were any indication. Despite the Packers bouncing back from week 1's loss to put forward a convincing regular season run to win the NFC North title and Aaron Rodgers' MVP contending account to go with it, bookies match them as them decided underdogs, even greater than they were so in the first week of the season. Opening lines had the Packers installed as the 7-point underdogs, but the NFL betting trends are moving against them as that starting number swells by half-a-point. On the total front, the numbers has whittled down by half-a-point from 47 to 46.5 at most sportsbook exchanges.

The benefit of rematches in a season is that we have a recent and true (as true as possible) example of how teams stack up against one another. The danger however is taking that result for granted and expecting it to be repeated in its entirety. That's not always the case. One would assume especially in a matchup between two teams that were the class of the NFC this season. For Seattle there will be confidence in the convincing 36-16 win to take away as they try to replicate the result. But it was over four months ago. For Green Bay there's the motivation of payback as well a lesson in defeat of what not to do and adapt the game plan.

It's worth noting that the betting public is split down the middle on this game, more so than one would have expected with 51% taking the points with the Packers and just 49% backing the Seahawks as the 7.5-point home chalk. Similarly, 55% are on the OVER while 45% are backing the UNDER. If the money continues to pour over the Packers, watch if the NFL betting spread doesn't come down again by half-a-point. This could be a spread best to wait on, depending on which side of the coin you're looking to back on your NFL picks.

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Indianapolis Colts +7.0 vs. New England Patriots -7.0, O/U 53.5
The AFC showdown features another regular season rematch when the Colts and Patriots collide at the Foxboro. Unlike the NFC showdown though, the Patriots beat the Colts 42-20 on the road, all while installed as the 3-point road pups and with total NFL odds closing on 59-points. This time around the Patriots will play host to the Colts in the AFC Championship title game. Needless to say, it's the biggest game of Andrew Luck's young life and career in the NFL.

Predictably, the Patriots have this game cornered on 7-points and since early doors the NFL line doesn't seem to have budged at all. Of course, we've a way to go before the weekend so a lot could change until then. For the time being, it would appear the bookies did a good job pricing the game in the public's view.

There's no doubt that Luck is a quarterback on the move, with lots of upside. Consensus in NFL betting circles is that he's not far from breaking into the champions circle. Question is whether he can do it now at the expense of Tom Brady and the Patriots, a tandem that has been his personal kryptonite. In three previous meetings, Luck and the Colts have fallen to the Patriots in a big way, all three were lopsided defeats decided by double-digit margins.

In taking down his predecessor Peyton Manning in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, interest in the Colts has spiked in NFL betting circles. Although the Patriots maintain the edge with the bulk of the bets coming down the wire (so far) piling onto their odds, there is enough action going towards the Colts. Clearly, som are of the opinion they are the sharp NFL pick?  Whichever way you slice this game, this could be the spread to bet on now for your NFL picks.

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