AFC/NFC Conference Championship

By Josh Appelbaum (VSiN.com) 

NFL Divisional Round dogs barked loudly on Sunday, going 2-0 ATS with one outright victory. In the early game, the Chiefs hung on to defeat the Browns 22-17 but failed to cover the spread. The Chiefs were frozen at -10 all week but then we saw heavy sharp action hit Cleveland on game day, dropping the line from + 10 to + 8. In the late game, Tom Brady led the Bucs to a 30-20 upset victory over the Saints. Tampa Bay received respected wiseguy action throughout, falling from + 3.5 to + 3 early in the week and then dropping to + 2.5 on game day. There was never any buyback on New Orleans, which was a sign that pros always liked grabbing the points, not laying them. The Bucs cashed + 125 on the Moneyline. 

With Cleveland and Tampa Bay both covering, dogs are now 6-4 ATS this playoff season. Dogs improve to 27-17 ATS (61.4%) since 2017, which coincides with the widespread legalization of sports betting and an influx of public bettors (who routinely lean on favorites). Playoff dogs with a line move in their favor (like the Browns and Bucs yesterday) are now 14-3 ATS (82.4%) since 2017.

In addition to dogs, under also went 2-0 on Sunday. The Browns-Chiefs total opened at 54.5 and got bet all the way up to 57.5. But then on game day, we saw sharp buyback hit the inflated under, dropping it down to the closing number of 56. The Bucs-Saints total kept taking in over money, moving from 50 to 53. The oddsmakers ended up being spot on with their opening line. Over/Unders are now 5-5 this playoff season.

Today a new week begins with 10 NBA games, 10 NHL games, and 14 College Basketball games. For an updated breakdown of Monday’s betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at noon ET. I’ll also be joining Michael Lombardi and Patrick Meagher on The Lombardi Line at 12:25 p.m ET to offer a market update.

In the meantime, let’s discuss Conference Championship opening lines and updated Super Bowl odds…

NFC Championship Game (Sunday 3:05 p.m. ET): Bucs at Packers

The Packers opened as consensus 4-point home favorites against the Bucs. Some shops opened a bit higher at Green Bay -4.5. The early action appears to be coming down on Tom Brady and the underdog Bucs. The books that opened 4.5 have fallen to 4 and the rest of the market appears headed to 3.5. Early money also looks to be leaning on the under, as most books opened with a total of 52 or 51.5 and have quickly fallen to 50. The weather could be an issue in Green Bay. The early forecast calls for freezing temperatures in the low 20s with 10-12 MPH winds and possibly some snow. The Packers enjoy a one-day rest advantage as they played on Saturday while the Bucs played Sunday. Sportsbooks will be rooting for the Packers and they have a ton of Super Bowl liability on the Bucs. Many bettors placed longshot tickets on the Bucs to win it all when they landed Brady in the offseason.

AFC Championship Game (Sunday 6:40 p.m. ET): Bills at Chiefs

The Chiefs opened as consensus 2.5-point home favorites against the Bills. Early money has poured in on the Chiefs, driving this line up to the key number of -3. Pro money also seems to be expecting a shootout, as the total has shot up from 51 to 55. The under then took it some money, falling to 54.5 across the board. The big variable here is the health of Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who left yesterday’s divisional-round game with a concussion. The Chiefs may get a boost with the possible return of running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Bills enjoy a one-day rest advantage as they played on Saturday while the Chiefs played Sunday.

Updated Super Bowl Odds at BetMGM

Packers + 210

Chiefs + 210

Bills + 325

Bucs + 400

Exact Outcome Odds

Chiefs beat Packers + 375

Packers beat Chiefs + 400

Bills beat Packers + 550

Packers beat Bills + 600

Chiefs beat Bucs + 650

Bucs beat Chiefs + 725

Bills beat Bucs + 900

Bucs beat Bills + 1000

Super Bowl MVP

Rodgers + 280

Mahomes + 325

Allen + 475

Brady + 550

Hill + 1400

Kelce + 1600

Adams + 1600

Diggs + 2200

A. Jones + 3000

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