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Conference Championship NFL Picks Against the Spread

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in NFL Football

Updated Jan 25, 2021 · 8:58 AM PST

Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers gestures to fans after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers defeated the Rams 32-18 to advance to the NFC championship game. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
  • The NFL’s Conference Championship Weekend kicks off Sunday, January 24th
  • Our Best Bets were 1-1 last week (25-32-2 overall, -9.28 units)
  • Read below for analysis on the Conference Championship slate and our favorite ATS picks

The NFL’s final four is set and the road to the Super Bowl will go through number one seeds Kansas City and Green Bay on Conference Championship Weekend. The Packers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship at 3:05 pm EST on Sunday, followed by the Buffalo Bills visiting the Chiefs to decide the AFC crown.

No team has advanced to the Super Bowl without a first round bye since the 2012 season, and while the Buccaneers and Bills are certainly threats to break that trend, online sportsbooks are currently siding with both favorites.

Conference Championship ATS Picks

Matchup Spread Pick Units Risked
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Green Bay Packers GB (-3) GB (-3) 1
 Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs KC (-3) KC (-3) 1

Odds taken Jan. 21st at FanDuel.

These four teams have combined to win 34 straight games with their starting quarterbacks under center and were all among the top-six highest graded offenses by Pro Football Focus. That should mean plenty of scoring in both games, which is exactly what football fans are looking for.

Pick #1: Packers Over Buccaneers

Speaking of offense, the NFL’s top graded unit headlines the NFC Championship game, as Green Bay is a 3-point favorite over Tampa Bay. If you’re looking to back the Packers act quickly, because the way the juice is shaded it’s only a matter time before this game moves to -3.5.

Aaron Rodgers and company led the league in points per game and is one of just three teams in NFL history to average at least a field goal per drive over the course of an entire season. Last week, Green Bay shredded a stout LA Rams defense for 484 yards, racking up 30+ points for the seventh time in its last eight games. Rodgers accounted for 296 passing yards and 3 total TD, while the run game chipped in 188 yards and 5.2 yards per carry.

These two teams met back in Week 6, and after jumping out to an early 10-0 lead, the Packers didn’t produce another point the rest of the way. Rodgers had by far his worst outing of the year, and was abysmal against the blitz happy Bucs. He completed just 6-of-17 passes versus the blitz, absorbing three sacks and throwing 2 interceptions. Tampa Bay will no doubt bring the heat again on Sunday, but it’s important to note that Rodgers hasn’t been sacked versus the blitz since the Week 6 outlier, and finished the year with the sixth highest passing grade under pressure.

On the other side of the ball, Tom Brady continues to defy father time, as he’s now thrown at least 2 TD passes in nine straight outings. The Bucs have scored 30 or more points in five straight, including last week versus the New Orleans Saints, but don’t sleep on this Packers defense.

Green Bay is fresh off holding the Rams to a measly 18 points and 244 total yards. Only one team has allowed fewer passing touchdowns this season, and they rank fifth in opponent passer rating and eighth in yards per attempt allowed. Yes, their run game is susceptible at time, but Tampa Bay is pass happy team and isn’t likely to deviate from that game plan.

Pick #2: Chiefs Clobber Bills

The AFC Championship is also a rematch from Week 6, as the Chiefs are 3-point favorites over the Bills. KC took the first matchup 26-17, abusing Buffalo with the run game. The Chiefs rushed for a season-high 245 yards, and Patrick Mahomes threw just 26 times. Mahomes is currently the biggest question mark of this slate due to a concussion suffered last Sunday, but he’s been at practice all week and is expected to play.

That’s obviously big for the reigning champs because their Super Bowl prospects depend on him being on the field. He’s 24-1 in his last 25 starts, which is the best mark over that many games since 1950. The Bills defense has taken significant steps forward over the second half of the season, but they rank last out of the remaining four teams in total yards allowed per game. Even if Mahomes is less than 100 percent, KC will still pile up points, but the question is will the Bills be able to keep up?

Buffalo was one of the highest scoring teams down the stretch in 2020, but their offense has underwhelmed in the playoffs. They’ve been significantly outgained by both Indianapolis and Baltimore, and rank last among the remaining teams in passing yards and rushing yards per game.

The Chiefs held Josh Allen and company to 122 passing yards and 206 total yards in their first meeting, and Allen produced just 206 yards through the air last week against the Ravens. The Bills offense generated a measly 10 points in the Divisional Round and averaged only 4.0 yards per play.

Obviously a matchup versus KC is more favorable than one against Baltimore, but their playoff struggles are enough to make me lean towards the champs in this matchup. Similarly to the NFC Championship game, the juice is currently shaded towards the Chiefs meaning this number could rise by game time. If you like KC act now.



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