The long wait is finally over. Welcome to Championship Sunday.
Before we analyze the betting action for today's AFC and NFC title games, it's important for bettors to be aware of some high-level Final Four trends.
First off, favorites tend to win conference championship games. Since 2003, they've gone 22-10 straight up (68.8%), with home favorites 19-7 straight up (73.1%) according to Bet Labs Sports. However, they don't always cover. Conference title game favorites are just 17-15 ATS (53.1%), with home favorites only slightly better at 14-12 ATS (53.8%).
You can also draw a line at 7 points. Favorites of -6.5 or less have gone 15-9 ATS (62.5%) on Championship Sunday, while favorites of -7 or more are just 2-6 ATS (25%). In other words, while it may be a small sample size, dogs + 7 or more have covered at a 75% clip this round.
Following line movement has also been profitable in conference title games. Teams that see at least a half point of line movement in their favor (think a favorite going from -7 to -7.5 or a dog going from + 7.5 to + 7) have gone 16-9 ATS (64%).
This has also been the most profitable round of the NFL Playoffs to bet overs. They've gone 18-11 (62.1%) since 2003.
With these trends in mind, now let's dive into the betting markets for both games.
For more analysis and betting updates, be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning from 9 a.m. ET to 12-noon on The Lombardi Line. We'll be breaking down Sunday sharp action for both NFL games, plus NBA and College Basketball smart money.
3:05 p.m. ET: Tennessee Titans (11-7, 6th seed) at Kansas City Chiefs (13-4, 2nd seed)
The Titans have quickly become the feel-good story of the playoffs. Tennessee snuck in as the 6-seed and then proceeded to upset the Patriots 20-13 as a 4.5-point road dog on wild-card weekend then take down the top-seeded Ravens 28-12 as a 10-point road dog in the divisional round. Tennessee cashed + 190 on the moneyline in round one and then + 400 in round two. The Titans have gone 11-7 ATS this season, including 7-3 ATS on the road. Derrick Henry has been unstoppable through two playoff games, rushing 64 times for 377 yards and a touchdown. On the flip side, the Chiefs fell behind big to the Texans 24-0 early in the Divisional Round, only to storm back and win 51-31 as 10-point favorites. Kansas City has gone 12-5 ATS this season, including 6-3 ATS at home. At South Point, the Chiefs have the 2nd best Super Bowl odds (+ 140) while the Titans have the second-worst (+ 550).
The AFC Championship game opened with Kansas City listed as a 7.5-point home favorite. The public is rushing to the window to lay the points with the Chiefs at Arrowhead. However, despite two-thirds of bets backing Kansas City the line has fallen down to 7. This is a classic example of sharp reverse line movement on the road dog, with wiseguys hammering the Titans with the hook (+ 7.5), forcing books to drop the line in their favor despite the heavy Chiefs betting. Playoff dogs + 7 or more are 37-26 ATS (59%) since 2003. When the line stays the same or moves toward a dog they've gone 59-42 ATS (58%), including 3-1 ATS this postseason.
Sharp money has also come down on the over. The total opened at 51.5 and reached 53 behind two-thirds of bets taking the over. We saw some under buyback at 53, dropping it to 52.5 where it stands now. Conference championship overs are 18-11 (62%) since 2003. The forecast calls for frigid temperatures (20 degrees) but no precipitation but roughly 10 MPH winds. When the temperature is less than 30 degrees the over is 116-81 (58.9%), including 24-14 (63.2%) in the postseason. However, outdoor playoff unders are 4-2 this postseason and 77-58 (57%) since 2003. Tony Corrente, the lead ref, has historically favored unders (56.7%). Both teams have been profitable to the over this season, with the Titans 10-8 and Chiefs 9-8. The Titans beat the Chiefs 35-32 in Week 10, winning straight up as 5-point home dogs.
6:40 p.m. ET: Green Bay Packers (14-3, 2nd seed) at San Francisco 49ers (14-3, 1st seed)
This 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. At South Point, the 49ers are the Super Bowl favorite (+ 120) while the Packers have the worst odds of all four remaining teams (+ 700).
The NFC Championship game opened with the 49ers listed as a 7-point home favorite. Spread bets are relatively split with a slight lean to San Francisco. However, despite this modest support, the line has moved a half point to -7.5. Some books are juicing up the 49ers -7.5 to -115, with some outlier books even touching 8. Essentially, all liability has been on the home team. When the line moves toward a Conference Championship game favorite they have gone 10-5 ATS (66.7%) since 2003. Green Bay has value as a playoff dog + 7 or more. Aaron Rodgers is also a big x-factor. The Packers star QB is 109-77 ATS (59%) in his career, including 11-5 ATS (69%) in the playoffs and 6-2 ATS (75%) as a playoff dog.
Pros and Joes are also hitting the over. The total opened at 45 and two-thirds of bets are taking the over which has driven the line up to 46.5. 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.
Super Bowl Lookahead Lines at South Point
Chiefs -1 vs 49ers
Chiefs -4 vs Packers
49ers -6 vs Titans
Packers -2.5 vs Titans