Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs Favored in NFL Conference Championship Games
Posted on: January 24, 2021, 06:06h.
Last updated on: January 24, 2021, 07:52h.
It doesn’t get any bigger than Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady for a trip to the Super Bowl. Unless it’s Aaron Rodgers vs. Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl.
A Rodgers-Mahomes matchup, which would be a dream come true for an insurance company that has built its advertising campaign around the superstar quarterbacks, is the expected result from the NFL’s Championship Sunday. Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are 3.5-point favorites over Brady and the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game. Mahomes and the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs are 3-point favorites over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers
Brady vs. Rodgers is a battle between legendary quarterbacks. Their combined 80 years and 277 days is the oldest in conference championship game history.
Brady has won six Super Bowls and ranks No. 1 all-time in touchdown passes. This will be his 14th conference championship game. Rodgers led the NFL in passer rating and touchdown passes in a turn-back-the-clock season that is likely to result in him winning his third MVP award. He has been seeking his elusive second Super Bowl win for a decade.
Tampa Bay routed the Packers 38-10 on Oct. 18. That wasn’t just Rodgers’ lone bad game of the season, it was one of the three worst of his career.
Bettors are thinking maybe it was a bad day. If you look at Tampa Bay last week, they lost twice to the Saints, so the bettors were thinking, ‘You’re not going to lose three times.’ They were right,” said Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations at DraftKings, to Casino.org.
The Packers are getting about three-quarters of the money against the spread. With Brady joining the team after 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, the Buccaneers are the biggest championship liability at sportsbooks.
“When you look at a guy like Tom Brady, he makes good decisions, he reads defenses well. If you have a guy like that, chances are he won’t make a lot of mistakes in a big game,” Avello said. “That’s what bettors look at. When he went to the Bucs back in March, people were betting at 16/1, 18/1, so they have confidence that he alone can take a team and turn it around.”
Green Bay has won seven in a row while Tampa Bay has won six consecutive games.
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
While the NFC game features living legends, two young guns will be quarterbacking the AFC teams.
In his fourth season, Mahomes owns the highest passer rating and richest contract in NFL history. He won league MVP in 2018 and Super Bowl MVP in 2019, and led the NFL in passing yards in 2020. In his third season, Buffalo’s Josh Allen took a quantum leap forward. He accumulated almost 5,000 yards of total offense and 45 total touchdowns.
Mahomes was knocked out of last week’s victory over Cleveland with a concussion. His status for Sunday was in doubt until Friday.
We probably wouldn’t even have had this game up if it wasn’t an AFC Championship Game,” Avello said. “It’s hard to put something up if you don’t know who the key player is, but we had to put it up because of the magnitude of the game.”
The line would have swung by seven points in Buffalo’s direction had Mahomes been ruled out, Avello said.
The Chiefs are getting about 60 percent of the money against the spread. However, sportsbooks have made a killing against the Chiefs, who are just 1-8 against the spread in their last nine games. Buffalo is 9-1 against the spread in its last 10.
“This team (the Bills) is playing with more confidence right now than probably any team in the playoffs because Josh Allen has come into his own, he feels comfortable out there, and he’s got a go-to guy in (Stefon) Diggs when he needs a big play,” Avello said.
Discounting Week 17, when Mahomes didn’t play, Kansas City has won 11 consecutive games. Buffalo has won eight in a row.
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