If you believe oddsmakers New England and Pittsburgh meeting in the AFC Championship game is a foregone conclusion. The two teams that received a bye from the first round of the playoffs are heavy favorites in their match ups this weekend.
The Patriots are hosting Tennessee, who upset Kansas City last Saturday, but Las Vegas doesn’t think they can do the same to the defending Super Bowl Champions. Tom Brady and company are 13 ½-point picks to beat the Titans. The over/under is 47 points.
A nearly two-touchdown spread is unusual in the playoffs, but if any team can achieve that it is New England. They were double-digit favorites five times this season against the spread and went 3-2, including their last two games of the regular season.
Early Money on Tennessee
The line opened at 14 and the Westgate LV SuperBook reported that it took in more than $10,000 in bets on the Titans. That prompted them to lower the line by a half-point.
Large spreads don’t deter Patriot fans. They laid loads of money last year when the team was a 16-point favorite against Houston and covered, winning 34-16.
Pittsburgh is a 7 ½-point favorite over Jacksonville and many feel this spread is overinflated, especially after some offshore books opened the game at 6 points.
What is curious to many is that when the two teams met in October the Jaguars crushed the Steelers 30-9. Many are wondering why the line isn’t lower considering the previous game. One factor that hurt Jacksonville was their lethargic performance against Buffalo in the Wild Card game last weekend. The Jags were an 8 ½-point pick to dispatch the Bills. They won the game, 10-3, but couldn’t cover and this has many bettors skittish to put their cash on them against Pittsburgh.
NFC Games More Compelling
The two games between NFC foes are much closer contests and one home team is not even the favorite. The Philadelphia Eagles lost their starting quarterback Carson Wentz in the 13th week of the season and despite going 2-1 with back up Nick Foles, the team is a 3-point underdog as they host Atlanta on Saturday. It is the first time since 1990 that a No. 1 seed is not favored. The over/under is 41 ½.
Atlanta is trying to return to the Super Bowl after last year’s collapse against the Patriots. The team was leading last year’s title game by 25 points with two quarters remaining but ended up losing. They are a 30-1 pick to win this year’s big game.
Minnesota has had quarterback issues as well, but seem to have found a reliable back up in Case Keenum. He took over for Sam Bradford after the first month of the season and led the team to the playoffs. They host New Orleans, who held off Carolina in the Wild Card Game. The Vikings are 4-point favorites and the over/under is 45.