NFL Conference Championship Betting

NFL Conference Championship Betting

And then there were four. The quartet of remaining teams battling to claim a spot in Super Bowl XLIX should come as no surprise. Preseason prognosticators pegged Seattle as a legitimate candidate to repeat due in large part to a core of young, hungry talent, led by third-year quarterback Russell Wilson. A healthy Aaron Rodgers surrounded by dangerous playmakers solidified the Packers as the biggest threat to the Seahawks’ reign. New England has been and will remain and AFC favorite as long as the combination of Brady and Belichick is intact. And Andrew Luck continues to elevate the overachieving Colts to new heights, proving it’s only a matter of time before he claims a title. How do these four stack up as they prepare for this weekend’s Conference Championship games? Here are previews and predictions.

GREEN BAY AT SEATTLE -7.5

A rematch of Week 1 that saw Mike McCarthy’s ultra conservative gameplan blow up in his face. He refused to line up Jordy Nelson on Richard Sherman’s side of the field, essentially admitting his Pro Bowl receiver wasn’t good enough to beat the game’s best cover cornerback. Rodgers was hesitant, the run game stalled, and Seattle physically pounded the overmatched Packers on both sides of the ball.

Will we see a similar result on Sunday? Well, there’s no way McCarthy doesn’t go after Sherman, but he’ll do so selectively and creatively. They also have to establish Eddie Lacy, who along with Rodgers is nursing an injury that could limit him. If the Hawks don’t respect the run, they will unleash arguably the most feared secondary in the history of the league. And with Rodgers still gimpy, things could get ugly fast. The Pack defense has to prevent Wilson from extending plays and gouging them downfield, which is easier said than done. Seattle is 6-0-1 ATS in its last seven and 5-2-1 ATS in the last eight as playoff favorites. Green Bay is 7-2-1 ATS in its last nine versus winning opponents. Going against the champs with the way they are playing seems unwise.

Bet Seattle -7.5

INDIANAPOLIS AT NEW ENGLAND -7

Another rematch, this time from a Week 11 showdown that saw the Pats whip the Colts 42-20 in Indy. Unknown running back Jonas Gray rushed for 201 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead the destruction. Needless to say, Gray isn’t likely to play a role in this one, unless the always unpredictable Belichick decides to dust him off for old time’s sake. The Colts’ defense has improved dramatically since that game, especially in the postseason, holding the Bengals and Broncos to a combined 542 yards and two scores.

The Pats took down the Ravens despite only rushing for 14 yards. Brady and some well-conceived gadget plays from offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels were enough to overcome a pair of 14-point deficits. However, a bumbling secondary allowed Joe Flacco to toss four touchdowns, and the front seven was gashed by Justin Forsett to the tune of 129 yards. Tightening up across the board has to be a priority, or Luck will make them pay. The injuries to starting corners Vontae Davis and Greg Toler looms large; Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, and a suddenly resurgent Danny Amendola are all capable of exposing them if they are limited. New England is 3-0 ATS in the last three meetings in the series, but 0-5 ATS in their last five conference title tilts. Indy is 16-6-1 ATS in its last 23 overall and the underdog is 14-5-2 ATS in the last 21 in the series. Luck keeps this one close.

Bet Indianapolis +7