Monday, June 5, 2023

Conference Championship Betting Guide: Spread, Moneyline, Over / Under Pick for NFL Playoff Round 1

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With AFC and NFC Championship games scheduled for Sunday, the 2020 NFL season has reached its final two clashes before the Super Bowl on Sunday. It’s the second biggest stop in the sport and it has already generated a ton of betting activity. Bettors will be looking at the 19 weeks leading up to this past weekend, looking for any angles they can find against the spread, on the cash line, or over / under totals.

Each week, this column provides a detailed breakdown of our favorite bets, incorporating an overview of exclusive data from BetQL. This compilation serves as a simple overview of everything BetQL has to offer. Check us out now to reveal our full betting predictions for every game in the Conference Championship round, including projections and top bet scores from our NFL best bet model.

All data presented is from Friday morning. You can follow all NFL line movements on BetQL Line Moves Dashboard.

DFS CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP: Top values | FanDuel | DraftKings

Conference Championship Bets Pick: Weekly Spread Pick

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5) at Green Bay Packers

My favorite spread game of the week would be to buy a half point and take the +3.5 Bills in Kansas City, but if I have to take a spread at its current position I feel compelled to go against 65 % of sharp punters and go with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers getting +3.5 at Green Bay.

My longtime friend Steve has been a staunch Tampa Bay fan for over 20 years, and he hates that choice because of the Bucs’ sad record. “They’re going to be beaten this weekend,” Steve said. “That’s what they do.”

But they haven’t had the all-time best quarterback under center until this season. Make no mistake, I was never a huge Tom Brady fanboy despite my New England lineage, but I do recognize his contributions to the Patriots dynasties and to the NFL as a whole. The man never gets angry on the biggest stages. He competes until the very end.

The Bucs might not win on Sunday, but I just don’t see them losing more than a basket. They forced four turnovers and held Drew Brees and the Saints to 294 total yards (190 assists) in their 30-20 divisional round win. They racked up 507 offensive yards (365 assists) against a good Washington defense a week ago, good for a 31-23 wild card win. Brady threw 16 touchdowns and just one interception in Tampa’s last six games.

Let’s also not forget that the Packers fell to the Bucs 38-10 in the first Bay battle this season in Week 6. Brady went 17 of 27 for 166 yards and two touchdowns that week, finishing with a rating of 104.9 QB. Tampa recorded five sacks for 53 yards and forced Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to throw two interceptions. Running back Aaron Jones only managed 15 yards on 10 carries. Green Bay only scored one touchdown in the loss.

That game was obviously an outlier in Rodgers’ fantastic season, for which he will likely win MVP honors. However, Rodgers had his share of struggles in the big moments, especially in the playoffs. Davante Adams, wide All-Pro, will he be blocked again by the underrated Tampa secondary? Will Bucs’ defensive line disturb Rodgers in the pocket? Will Devin White keep his inhuman productivity rate at the limit? These are all separate possibilities.

BetQL’s NFL best bet pattern puts three stars on the Bucs covering the 3.5 points. He also points to an interesting trend: Tampa Bay has gone 7-1 against defensive units allowing over 5.6 yards per game this season. Green Bay allowed just over 5.5 yards per play in 2020.

In the end, I have the Packers who will win 27-24, but it will be a mad race to the finish line and no one will breathe easier until the final whistle.

Conference Championship Bets Pick: Moneyline Pick of the Week

Kansas City Chiefs (-170) vs. Buffalo Bills

It’s so hard to pick against the Buffalo, who I’ve touted as an escape contender since before this crazy season started. Josh Allen has grown in leaps and bounds in front of our eyes and is on a collision course with history in a fantastic series of prime-time conquests. But alas, he’s not Patrick Mahomes, and the Bills just don’t live up to the reigning champions’ dominating depth chart.

If Mahomes clears the concussion protocol and plays Sunday, it’s just impossible to pick against Kansas City on the moneyline line. The question marks around the health of the reigning Super Bowl MVP are the only reason these odds are so good. Otherwise we would probably see KC +170 instead of -170.

Winners make winning plays, and Mahomes has proven time and time again he’s the best in the NFL on the big stage. The Chiefs finished the regular season with the best record, somewhat improving their 2019 offense. Kansas City has also benefited greatly from the hiring of Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator. The Chiefs have managed the top 10 with the fewest runs allowed this season and finished fifth in the NFL in interceptions.

The majestic union of Allen and Bills star catcher Stefon Diggs has been a fantastic story this season, and they will no doubt wreak havoc in the league for years to come. That said, Kansas City has far too many playmakers, including the ever-explosive wide Tyreek Hill and perhaps the best tight pass-catching end to Travis Kelce. The Bills will have their time in the sun soon, but I don’t think it’s this year.

Conference Championship Bets Pick: Over / Under Pick of the Week

Green Bay Packers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OVER 51.5

BetQL loves the Bills-Chiefs game going under 54 points, but let’s face it: it’s more fun to bet on the OVER in the playoffs. So, we’re rooting for a barnburner in the Rodgers-Brady showdown on Sunday afternoon.

The statistics are on our side here. The Buccaneers have scored at least 30 points in their last five games and have hit 44 twice in that span. Green Bay have struck over 30 in seven of their last eight games, while hitting 40 twice. The Bucs are the third most scoring team in the NFL with the seventh most yards this season. The Pack is the top performing team in the NFL and produced the fifth most yards.

Those defenses have both been good this season, but their quarterbacks have been better. It will be a battle between two wary veterans, and it seems highly unlikely that either will let it turn into a defensive brawl. There’s always a risk with the crowd – 79% of the hard money is on top of it – but investing in the point potential of two future Hall of Fame QBs in the first round seems smart to me.

For more betting analysis and information, head over to BetQL and discover our model’s best bets, accurate data and much more for every playoff game! You can find everything NFL lines, spreads and odds updates on BetQL!


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