New England Patriots Large Favorite in AFC Championship, Minnesota Picked to Beat Philadelphia

Posted on: January 15, 2018, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: January 15, 2018, 04:35h.

New England opened as a 9-point pick to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship, while Minnesota is a 3 ½-point selection to defeat Philadelphia in the NFC Championship.

Tom Brady
Tom Brady will try and guide the Patriots to the Super Bowl where they are defending champions. (Image: Getty Images)

Both the Patriots and the Vikings are the top picks in their conference to win the Super Bowl.

The defending Super Bowl champion Patriots have been the top choice with odds makers all season. They opened at 6-1 and are currently at 2-1. Minnesota is currently at 4-1, improving from 25-1 when the figures were set in August.

Their opponents are further down the list. Jacksonville is at 12-1 after beginning at 80-1. The Eagles are also at 12-1 after starting the season at 60-1.

Familiar Path to Title Game

New England dismantled Tennessee, who seemed overwhelmed from the beginning, losing 35-14 in a game that wasn’t even that close.

Bill Belichick’s squad was a 14-point favorite and easily covered the spread. It s the third consecutive game the team has covered a double-digit point spread. Overall this season they are 4-3 ATS with lines of 10 or more points.

Where the team is tough to beat is at home, especially in the playoffs. The last time New England lost hosting a playoff game was in 2012 in the conference championship to the Baltimore Ravens. They are now 17-2 at home in the postseason since 2002.

In addition to their dominance at Gillette Stadium, the team also has more experience being in the playoffs. Before this weekend quarterback Tom Brady had 25 playoff victories, compared to one for the other three signal callers combined.

The Jaguars are 1-3 overall against the Patriots in the playoffs and the last time the two faced each other was  the 2005 Wild Card Game, which New England won easily, 28-3.

The only time Jacksonville defeated the Patriots was in 1999 before Belichick became the coach.

Philadelphia Underdog Again

For the second consecutive game the Eagles are getting points against a playoff opponent despite being the host. Last Saturday they faced Atlanta and for the first time in playoff history since the addition of the Wild Card game a No. 1 seed was not the favorite at home.

Getting 2 ½ points didn’t seem to bother Philadelphia as they dispatched the Falcons, 15-10. The Eagles are 4-0 when the underdog at home.

Las Vegas sports books didn’t think they could do it again and made Minnesota a 3 ½-point pick in Sunday’s other conference championship game. The line has moved since it opened, however, dropping to 3 at several facilities, including Wynn, Westgate LV Superbook and William Hill locations.

While the Eagles won convincingly in their divisional playoff game, the Vikings needed a last-second miracle to down the New Orleans Saints. A catch by Stefon Diggs and a missed tackle allowed Diggs to reach the endzone and escape with a 29-24 win.

The victory gave the team a record of 29-0 when they have had a lead of 10 or more points.