Sharps Backing Falcons In NFC Title Game

Jason Lake

Monday, January 16, 2017 7:04 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 7:04 PM UTC

Only one of the four teams left in the playoffs has the earmarks of a sharp NFL pick, and it’s the Atlanta Falcons, who host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon in the NFC Championship Game.

Season Record: 23-25-1 ATS, 5-9 Totals

Holy frijoles, the sportsbooks have been getting soaked during these NFL playoffs. The first six games saw the favorites go 6-0 SU and ATS, then on Sunday it was two very popular underdogs (the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers) getting the job done. The people are getting what they want: Offense, and lots of it.

Ironically enough, the team with the best offense in the league is the sharp NFL pick for the conference championships. The Atlanta Falcons have opened as 4-point home favorites for Sunday’s game (3:05 p.m. ET, Fox TV) against the Packers; our expanded consensus report at press time shows 56 percent of bettors on Green Bay, but 87 percent of the money is on Atlanta, for an average bet of $728. That’s a healthy piece of real estate.

Step On

The Falcons (12-5 SU, 11-6 ATS) were the only team in the Divisional Round that could truly be happy with its performance. They got some good fortune against the Seattle Seahawks, especially when Russell Wilson stepped on his offensive lineman’s foot and fell into his own end zone for a safety. That plus a series of injuries made Seattle (+6.5 away) easy pickings for Atlanta. Final score: Falcons 36, Seahawks 20.

Green Bay (12-6 SU, 11-6-1 ATS), meanwhile, eked out a 34-31 win over the Dallas Cowboys to cash in as 5.5-point road dogs on the NFL odds board. That’s eight wins in a row for the Packers at 7-1 ATS. Which puts us in a quandary here at the ranch; we normally recommend following the sharps, but both these teams are hot and FiveThirtyEight has an Elo-based projection of Atlanta -4 for Sunday’s game. What to do ... what to do.

What’s this? The total for this contest is ... 60.5 points?! You realize we have to take the 'under' just on principle, right? I know I can’t remember seeing a total in the 60s before, not in the NFL playoffs at least. They’ll take away my old-school cred if I don’t recommend the 'under' here. That’s just science.

NFL Free Pick: 'Under' 60.5 (-105)Best Line Offered: Heritage

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3136840, "sportsbooksIds":[169,19,123,300,238], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1 }[/]

comment here