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Early Sharp Action Report for Bucs-Packers and Bills-Chiefs

January 18, 2021 11:59 PM

We are down to the Final Four in the NFL and Conference Championship weekend is just five days away. Over the past decade, we've seen favorites win the vast majority of these big games (14-6 straight up, 70%). Home favorites have done even better (12-4 straight up, 75%). But covering the spread has been a bit more of a coin flip, with favorites holding a slight edge (11-9 ATS, 55%).

Now we move on to Tuesday, where we have a loaded betting menu filled with 25-plus college basketball games, 2 NBA games and 9 NHL games. For an updated breakdown of Tuesday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 12 p.m. ET. I'll also be co-hosting Betting Across America with Mike Pritchard from 3 p.m. ET to 5 p.m. ET.

In the meantime, let's discuss where early sharp money is flowing for this weekend's Conference Championship games...

Sunday 3:05 p.m. ET: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers

This NFC Championship game marks the 14th championship game for Tom Brady and 5th for Aaron Rodgers. Brady is 9-4 while Rodgers is 1-3. The Bucs (13-5 SU, 10-8 ATS) enter as the 5-seed. Tampa Bay beat Washington 31-23 in the Wild Card round, although they failed to cover as 10-point road favorites. In last week's Divisional Round, the Bucs upset the Saints 30-20, winning outright as 2.5-point road dogs. The 1-seed Packers (14-3 SU, 11-6 ATS) received a first-round bye and are coming off a 23-18 win over the Rams in the Divisional Round, covering as 7-point home favorites.

This line opened with Green Bay listed as a 4-point home favorite. The public doesn't love betting against Brady, but they also can't pass up laying a short spread at home with the high-flying Packers. However, despite a slight majority of bets backing Green Bay, we've seen this line fall slightly from 4 to 3.5. This sharp reverse line movement signals respected pro money grabbing Tampa Bay plus the points. Playoff dogs with a line move in their favor are 14-7 ATS (67%) since 2017. These teams met back in Week 6 and the Bucs won 38-10. Green Bay has a one-day rest advantage as they just played on Saturday while the Bucs played Sunday. The Bucs will also be playing their third straight road playoff game. We've also seen some respected money hit this under, dropping the total from 51.5 to 50.5. Weather could play a big factor in this one. The forecast calls for high 20s with possible snow showers. Both teams have been profitable to the over this season, with Tampa Bay 10-8 and Green Bay 10-7.

Sunday 6:40 p.m. ET: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs

This AFC Championship Game marks the third straight conference title game for Kansas City. Meanwhile, it's the first for Buffalo since 1994. The 2-seed Bills (15-3 SU, 12-6 ATS) just dismissed the Ravens 17-3 in the Divisional Round, easily covering as 2.5-point home favorites. A week earlier, Buffalo beat Indianapolis 27-24, although they failed to cover as 7-point home favorites. Meanwhile, the 1-seed Chiefs (15-2 SU, 6-10-1 ATS) just squeaked by the Browns 22-17, failing to cover as 8-point home favorites. Kansas City lost star quarterback Patrick Mahomes late in the game due to a concussion. Mahomes is questionable for this game.

This line opened with Kansas City listed as a 3-point home favorite. Bets are virtually split down the middle and the public doesn't know who to back. But pros seem to be leaning on Buffalo plus the points as many shops are juicing up the Bills + 3 (-120) or have fallen to 2.5. Playoff dogs are 6-4 ATS this season and 27-17 ATS (61%) since 2017. These two teams met in Week 6, with Kansas City winning 26-17. Buffalo enjoys a one-day rest advantage as they played on Saturday while the Chiefs played Sunday. Bill Vinovich, the lead ref, has historically favored road teams (55% ATS). The Chiefs are 8-1 straight up over their last nine games but just 1-8 ATS. Pro money has also hit this over, pushing the total up from 50.5 to 53.5. It even reached 55.5 before some under buyback dropped it back down. Buffalo is 12-5-1 to the over this season. Kansas City is 9-8 to the under. The forecast is very mild: mid 40s with 5-10 MPH winds.

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