Even though the Ravens are no longer in it, we are still football fans. And this coming weekend will hold a couple of highly competitive conference championship games.
Both matchups have been lined out fairly close. The Kansas City Chiefs are favored over the New England Patriots by three points across the board and the Saints are listed at -3.5 over the Rams. You can check this 5Dimes review to see which book has the goods that you need.
AFC Conference Championship
A lot of people were on the Chargers last week. Enough that public action moved the lines from Pats -4 to -3.5 at quite a few of the different outlets. But, what we thought would happen happened. The Pats pounded the warm-weather Chargers in below-freezing conditions.
Now the Patriots will get the script flipped as they no longer have the home field edge. One thing will remain constant: the cold. It looks like it will be around 15 degrees Fahrenheit on game day. But the Chiefs are not a sunny day, Southern California team. They are used to playing in chilled conditions.
Last time these two teams collided was just a few months ago, back in October. The Kansas City Chiefs took a trip up to Foxboro and despite a four-TD, 352-yard effort by Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs still fell three points short. Will the Chiefs have better luck in Arrowhead?
Both of these teams are warmed up. The Chiefs rushing game is especially limber. They put four TDs in on the ground against the Colts last week. But Brady and company pounded the ground as well. Terrible Tom threw for 343 yards and a touchdown, but Sony Michel smashed into the end zone three times, and Rex Burkhead plowed his way in once as well.
The Patriots have the No. 5 rushing offense in the league and they’ll be going against the No. 11 Chiefs rushing attack. But Kansas City has the best scoring offense in all of football and the No. 4 ranked home defense. Although the Pats have gotten wins on the road, their offensive production numbers take a drastic slide when they’ve been away from Foxboro this season.
Despite the fact that the Pats are only scoring 21.62 points per game on the road, and the Chiefs are dropping 32.22 on opponents in Arrowhead, the Patriots could win this game. Historically, Bill Belichick just seems to have Andy Reid’s number. The Pats are also road covering machines, at 17-8 against the spread.
Prediction: buy the half-point and take the Patriots +3.5
NFC Conference Championship Game
The Saints have marched their way into the NFC Championship Game for the first time since 2009. A little side note, the last time the Saints made it this far they won the Super Bowl.
It has been an incredible season for the Saints. However, they have started to slow down a bit. I would have expected them to put up a bit more than 20 points at home against a mediocre Eagles squad. That said, the Rams started to fall off a bit towards the end of the season as well. They relied so heavily on Todd Gurley and that big offensive front to push the ball forward, that all those involved in the run game have seemed a bit tired. But they had a week off during the Wild Card and seem refreshed.
This is a difficult game to predict. We have the No. 3 road offense heading into New Orleans to face the No. 3 home offense. The Saints have about a four-point advantage on offense, but the Rams have one of the best road D’s in the league. They only allow 19.33 points per game, whereas the Saints allow 24.33 at home. So, it ends up a wash.
Over the last 10 times that these two teams have played, they have split victories 5-5. But the Saints do hold a 2-1 advantage over the last 3. This includes the 45-35 win they got over the Rams in November.
This game is going to be tight and I don’t see much value. You could take the Saints to win, but the reward isn’t that great. At a spread of 3.5 … either team could easily cover that number.
Prediction: Just sit back and watch the game. Maybe check out the props markets.