NFL Conference Championship Odds Stable, Saints and Chiefs Remain Favorites

Posted on: January 19, 2019, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: January 18, 2019, 07:28h.

The NFL conference championships on Sunday have seen odds for the two games remain relatively stable, with the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs the favorites.

NFL odds Chiefs Patriots Saints Rams
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes hopes the NFL odds for the AFC Championship are correct, and the game goes in his team’s favor against the New England Patriots. (Image: Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports)

A ticket to Super Bowl 53 is on the line when the Saints host the Los Angeles Rams, and the Chiefs welcome the New England Patriots. Both home teams are expected to prevail, but of course anything can happen in the postseason.

The Rams-Saints play first on Sunday, with kickoff at 3:05 pm ET. New Orleans is a 3.5-point favorite. The line has been relatively stagnant throughout the week. 

The Patriots-Chiefs are the nightcap, with kickoff scheduled for 6:40 pm ET. Kansas City is spotting the visitors a field goal. 

ESPN’s Football Power Index, which projects results based on 10,000 game simulations, gives the Saints a 63.2 percent chance of winning. The Chiefs have a 66.8 percent shot. 

The Westgate SuperBook had the Saints’ preseason odds of winning Super Bowl 53 at +1600. They have the shortest line of the remaining four at +175. 

The Chiefs are at +260, down from +3000. The Patriots’ preseason odds were the shortest in the league at +500. They currently sit at +350. The Rams are also at +350, down from +2000 preseason. 

Weathering Impact

The point spreads for the two NFC and AFC conference championships have been dormant, but the over/under for the Pats and Chiefs has fluctuated on potential weather forecasts. 

Las Vegas oddsmakers opened the New England-Kansas City over/under at 57.5 points. That was a seemingly conservative number considering the two teams scored 83 points when they meet in week six of the regular season in October (New England won 43-40 at home).

However, arctic air that’s invading much of the Midwest has oddsmakers and bettors believing fewer points will be scored in the rematch. The temperatures will be in the 20s with light winds during Sunday evening’s game at Arrowhead Stadium.  

That’s actually a better weather forecast than previously thought. Meteorologists had earlier suggested that the arctic dip would bring even colder temps. 

The SuperBook’s Pats-Chiefs over/under went from 57.5 points to 55 on the forecast. Since the weather outlook has slightly improved, the number has grown back to 56. 

Host Saints play inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, rendering the weather’s impact obsolete. 

Unlikely Underdogs

The Rams tied with the Saints at 13-3 for the best regular season record. If the current odds remain, Sunday will be the first time Los Angeles has entered a game in 2018 as an underdog.

That’s also the case for the Patriots, but they’ve been favored for much longer. Tom Brady is a stranger to playing the role of dog, as Sunday will likely break a streak of 68 consecutive starts where the quarterback’s team has been the favorite. 

With sportsbooks expanding across the country, this weekend will mark the first time many will place their first legal sports wagers. Though the four NFL conference championship teams are in states that haven’t yet authorized sports betting, all four neighbor a state where the activity is legal. 

Since the Supreme Court’s repeal of the federal sports betting ban in May, seven states – Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Mississippi, New Mexico – have joined Nevada in allowing full-scale sports betting operations.