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Market Insights: Don't limit yourself to spread bets on NFL title games

January 15, 2020 09:57 AM

NFL Conference Championship Sunday is only four days away. While many bettors are laser focused on handicapping the spread and total for the two big games, it's important to remember that there are other ways to bet on the Final Four, including futures bets and exact outcome odds.


Here are the latest Super Bowl odds at the South Point

Chiefs plus 140

49ers plus 150

Packers plus 600

Titans plus 600


Exact Outcome Odds

Chiefs defeat 49ers plus 200

49ers defeat Chiefs plus 220

49ers defeat Titans plus 600

Chiefs defeat Packers plus 700

Packers defeat Chiefs plus 900

Titans defeat 49ers plus 1200

Packers defeat Titans plus 1800

Titans defeat Packers plus 3000


Why is this important? Because it gives bettors more wagering options, especially if you are confident in a team winning but not covering this weekend. For example, say you like the Chiefs or the 49ers to win the Super Bowl but are wary of laying the points (or a big moneyline) in the AFC or NFC title games. Both teams are -7.5 on the spread this weekend and roughly -350 on the moneyline.

Instead of betting either team at -350 on Sunday, you could place a plus 140 futures bet on the Chiefs to win it all or a plus 150 futures bet on the 49ers. Better yet, you could place an exact outcome bet on Chiefs over 49ers at plus 200 or 49ers over Chiefs at plus 220. 

On the flip side, if you like either dog in an upset this weekend (Titans and Packers are both roughly plus 290 on the moneyline), you could instead place a plus 600 futures wager on either team. 

Of course you would need Tennessee or Green Bay to then win the Super Bowl in order to cash the plus 600. However, this would also present a hedge opportunity. In other words, you could guarantee yourself a profit by betting the other side in the championship game. 

Let's say you bet Packers plus 600 to win the Super Bowl. Green Bay beats San Francisco and then is a 3.5-point dog against the Chiefs in the championship. The moneyline would convert to roughly Chiefs -175, Packers plus 155. You could either "let it ride" with Packers plus 600 and hope they win the Super Bowl. Or you could hedge by betting Chiefs -175 on the moneyline, guaranteeing yourself a profit no matter the outcome. 

The decision to hedge or let it ride is an eternal conundrum for sports bettors. Some bettors would say you should always guarantee yourself a profit if you have the opportunity. Others would say hedging is for landscapers. It all depends on personal preference, risk level and how much you stand to win. But there is no denying that having more betting options is a good thing. It simply opens you up to more winning opportunities.

Wednesday's action includes 10 NBA games, 2 NHL games and 59 College Basketball games. For an updated breakdown of sharp action across the marketplace be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.

In yesterday's newsletter we discussed early sharp action hitting the AFC Title game. Now let's turn our attention to the NFC Title game.  



Sunday 6:40 p.m. ET: Green Bay Packers (14-3) at San Francisco 49ers (14-3)


This true heavyweight battle features the top two seeds in the NFC. Both teams are a combined 28-6 and both are coming off a first round bye followed by a home win and cover in the Divisional Round. Green Bay raced out to a 21-3 against the Seahawks and held on for a 28-23 victory, covering as 4.5-point favorites. The Packers are riding a six-game winning streak and have gone 11-6 ATS on the season, including 5-3 ATS on the road. The 49ers took care of business in their playoff opener, beating the Vikings 27-10 as 7-point home favorites for their third straight win. San Francisco has gone 10-6-1 ATS on the season but just 4-4-1 ATS at home.


The NFC Championship game opened with the 49ers listed as a 7-point home favorite. Two-thirds of bets, including some early sharps, are backing San Francisco which has pushed the line up a half point to -7.5. Similar to the AFC Championship game, the juice is leaning on the road dog (Packers plus 7.5 at -115), signaling a possible drop back down to 7. Green Bay has value as a playoff dog plus 7 or more (37-26 ATS, 59% since 2003, including 6-2 ATS, 75% in conference title games). Home favorites like the 49ers are 14-12 ATS (53.8%) in conference title games. When the line moves toward a team in a conference title game (think -7 to -7.5), those teams have gone 16-9 ATS (64%) since 2003, including 10-5 ATS (66.7%) for favorites. 


The total opened at 45. Two-thirds of bets are taking the over, yet the total hasn't budged. Conference championship overs are 18-11 (62%) since 2003. But outdoor playoff unders are 77-58 (57%), including 4-2 this postseason. John Hussey, the lead ref, has historically favored home teams (54.7% ATS) and unders (56.6%). The forecast looks clear in Santa Clara with temperatures in the high 50s with little to no wind. The under is 10-7 in Packers games and 8-8-1 in 49ers games. San Francisco beat Green Bay 37-8 as 3-point home favorites in Week 12. 


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