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NFL Conference Championship Round Picks: Against the Spread & Over/Under (2021 Playoffs)

Jan 22, 2021

Super Bowl Sunday is around the corner now that we’ve reached the NFL season’s penultimate week! We’ll know which two squads are facing off with everything on the line after this Sunday, but which of them has the best chance to cover the spread, and will these matchups feature fewer or more points than the over/under totals? Home teams typically do well against the spread (10-4 since 2013), but Patrick Mahomes’ health and Green Bay’s banged-up offensive line could serve as big hurdles in their ability to cover. Also, favorites have either beaten the spread or failed to do so as a pair. Both covered in the 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2020 playoffs, but both were also unable to in 2019. The over is also 6-2 in this round throughout the last four years, but only 4-5-1 during the playoffs so far. We’ve got the most accurate betting experts here to help as they share their insight on their favorite picks. Last week, we were 4-1 against the spread and 2-3 on the point totals.

View picks from the entire consensus for each Divisional Round playoff game:
TB @ GB (-3.5) | BUF @ KC (-3)

Q1. Which team are you most confident in against the spread and why?

“In the Matt LaFleur era, the Green Bay Packers are a league-best 17-10 against the spread as favorites. But that’s just the beginning. Green Bay’s 12-6 ATS record at home ranks second-best in the NFL during that stretch. In fact, the Packers have covered in 12 of their last 15 games in which they’ve been favored by fewer than a touchdown at Lambeau. As an added bonus, the Pack is 22-9-1 ATS at home in December and January since Aaron Rodgers’ rookie season (in his fully healthy starts) — that number moves to 13-3 when the spread is a touchdown or fewer. Meanwhile, Tom Brady-led teams are just 5-5 ATS on the road in the postseason. I’ll take the Packers at -3.5.”
– Elisha Twerski (numberFire)

“It’s been a weird stretch for the Chiefs (-3), who won their final seven regular-season games (omitting Week 17) by six or fewer points and then lost Patrick Mahomes for part of the Divisional Round. I still think this team has another gear that we haven’t seen in a while. I expect them to find it on Sunday and cover the spread vs. the Bills.”
– Jared Smola (Draft Sharks)

“The sharps have bet down the Buccaneers from +4 to +3.5. The value is gone, but I still like the Buccaneers (+3.5). The Packers have a soft run defense, but their greatest liability is the offensive line, which is missing two starters. The Rams couldn’t quite take advantage of this because of Aaron Donald’s injury, but the Buccaneers and their elite defensive line figure to do so, especially with Vita Vea back in the lineup.”
– Walter Cherepinsky (WalterFootball)

“The sharp answer here should actually be ‘none.’ Without knowing the true nature of Patrick Mahomes’ status/injury, then how can you have faith in a wager on the BUF/KC spread? Sure, you could assume Mahomes is at full strength and you’re getting value at KC -3. But you could also assume Mahomes’ toe is going to limit him and therefore you’re getting the value at BUF +3. Either way, it’s a guess, at best. The GB/TB line, on the other hand, is correct to be +/- 3.5. These lines are the sharpest of the sharp at this time of the year because the market is so liquid and there is simply no way for the books to ‘overlook’ a game with so few on the board. It’s perfectly ok to not bet either line because of this and instead focus more on peer-to-peer contests such as DFS tournaments and 50/50s, as well as trying to take advantage of player prop bets by shopping around for the softest lines.”
– Christopher Dell (Betting Predators)

View more picks against the spread from dozens of experts >>

Q2. Which matchup are you most confident in picking the over/under and why?

BUF at KC: 54 – Under
“I like the under in BUF/KC, as we’re getting a rematch of Week 6’s slog of a game that wound up with just 43 points (Chiefs 26, Bills 17). The Buffalo Bills attempted to play a lot of Cover 2 in that matchup and the Kansas City Chiefs gladly obliged by pounding the rock with a plethora of success. In these types of big games, teams also tend to play it close to the vest, trying not to rush things and avoiding mistakes. Add that to the fact Kansas City’s lone playoff game only totaled 39 points, while the Bills’ two playoff contests have totaled 51 and 20, respectively. If you combined the average score from these teams’ three playoff games, in addition to their Week 6 meeting, we’re looking at an average of just 38.25 points scored per game. Both of these teams are relatively strong against the pass but weak against the run, which is the opposite of what their offenses do best. The sharp move here from both sides will be to run more often than normal. For all of these reasons, that makes the under 54 one of my favorite totals of the NFL season so far, in addition to an in-game, 6.5-point teaser of BUF +9.5/Under 60.5. ”
– Christopher Dell (Betting Predators)

“Over the final five weeks of the season, both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills ranked in the bottom third of the league in pace when their win probability was between 20% and 80% — that’s not a recipe for a shootout. Despite their prolific offense, the Chiefs have played to the under in four of their last six home games and the over hit just four times in their 11 matchups outside of the division. Though it can certainly come back and bite me in the rear, I’m taking the under here.”
– Elisha Twerski (numberFire)

TB at GB: 51.5 – Under
“I’m not a big totals bettor, but the under in the Buccaneers-Packers game looks appealing. The two teams are missing a combined three offensive linemen. The Packers have a terrific pass defense, while the Buccaneers clamp down on the run. Both defenses should control this low-scoring game.”
– Walter Cherepinsky (WalterFootball)

TB at GB: 51.5 – Over
“I like the over in Bucs-Packers, but might wait until Sunday to bet it just to get a better idea of the weather (the total might also come down). Barring a blizzard, I expect both offenses to have plenty of success. Green Bay figures to go pass-heavy against a Tampa defense that’s much tougher on the run, which should mean more plays on both sides.”
– Jared Smola (Draft Sharks)

Bonus Pick
BUF at KC: 54 – Over
“When possible, I like to look at games in groups, and Conference Championship Weekend presents natural pairings of four teams in two games. By simply placing them next to one another, we have the historic greatness of two quarterbacks in the NFC Championship and a complete unknown in the AFC. Specifically, the over-under totals were released without any news of Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes definitively playing — or not — on Sunday, yet it is still higher than the over-under from the NFC game. That’s incredibly telling, as the Chiefs and Buffalo Bills are likely poised to thrive offensively regardless of Kansas City’s quarterback situation. It helps that Buffalo’s defense ranks 26th in yards per rush and 14th in yards per game.”
– Mario Mergola (Sporfolio)

View full set of consensus Over/Under game picks here >>

Thank you to the experts for taking the time to provide their picks and analysis. Please give them a follow on Twitter for more advice throughout the playoffs.

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