“We’ll carry on, and though you’re broken and defeated, your weary widow marches on and on”;
Welcome to the Black Parade, My Chemical Romance
A brief personal aside to begin things this week. You probably know I’m a Packers fan, and Saturday…did not go well. Such an abrupt ending to a season in which you’re the betting and narrative favorite to win the Super Bowl is jarring, to say the least. When your recent history suggests you would lose in the Championship Game, not even to get that far is even more appalling.
Contrary to popular public opinion, I did not have a coronary event Saturday night. Still, the evening’s events did leave some mental scarring, so I may need to do some therapeutic writing. I cannot confirm or deny at this time, but there may be an off-season roster review/primer coming to the aether near you after the Super Bowl. Anyway, as the song says, we’ll carry on picking games, even if our (the “royal our”) team is not involved.
Standard disclaimer – NFL Conference Championship Betting Lines
All opinions are my own and may or may not reflect those of this website. “Analytic Lines” are ELO point spreads from fivethirtyeight.com, and “Vegas Lines” are courtesy of thelines.com, current as of the writing of this article. Predicted Line (“PL”) is my early week estimate of where the Vegas line would be set. Chosen games are those with a multiple point variance between the Vegas and Analytic Lines for the NFL Conference Championship Betting Lines.)
Last Week Accountability
Brutal. Until the miracle final two minutes of the KC/Buffalo game, I was on track to be winless in the best playoff weekend in recent memory. ELO was similarly into the home favorites, so we both went 1 – 3. In last week’s review, a key quote from the previous week’s prediction was well received. So, let’s run that ABC, as painful as it may be.
Game of the Week – Buffalo at Kansas City – “KC has home field, the better coach, and Travis Kelce. All things that matter in the playoffs. Should be a barn burner; I’m laying the points with the home team.”
Everything else I said last week was pretty much 1000% incorrect. So, allow me to indulge in the one nail I hit completely on the head. The only thing I got slightly wrong about this game was that I said it would likely be the de facto AFC Championship. It was the de facto Super Bowl. I am completely in favor of taking a page from the other three major North American sports and making the NFL Championship best of seven, so we can run that game back six more times. Who says no to that?
Cincinnati at Tennessee – “Going on the road, against a team that can play keep away from Joe Burrow, and should do a better job of pressing their advantage over the Bengal O-Line when he does have the ball.”
I got the Titans D Line overwhelming the Bengal O Line right. Unfortunately, Miami-era Ryan Tannehill came Back to the Future to “quarterback” the Titans. That’s a very bad thing.
San Francisco at Green Bay – “San Fran will be playing back-to-back road games, on a short week, and frankly, weren’t super impressive against Dallas.”
Nor were they super impressive in this game. They didn’t score an offensive TD. Jimmy G threw one pick and should have had a couple of others. What they did do was exploit Aaron Rodgers’ tendency to lock in on Davante Adams and keep the score close enough for the Packers’ Special Teams to spectacularly implode and cost them the game. We’re talking about demolishing the Astrodome level of spectacular implosion. Costing your team (at least) 10 points in a game when 23 points are scored in total is a #VERYBADTHING.
Non-Upset of the Week – Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay – “I like all the chalk this week, so no Upset of the Week.”
Narrator: “There were three upsets. In four games.”
Last week: My picks: (ATS) 1 – 3, (SU) 1 – 3; Analytics: (ATS) 1 – 3
Season: My picks, (ATS) 75 – 77 – 1, (SU) 6 – 4; Analytics, 74 – 75 – 4
NFL Conference Championship Betting
Cincinnati at Kansas City – Analytic Line: KC (-10), Vegas Line: KC (-7.5), PL: KC (-7)
The upstarts against the two-time defending conference champion, playing in its fourth straight conference title game. These two just played four weeks ago in Cincinnati. KC looked unstoppable until JaMarr Chase went absolutely nuclear and joined Marshall Faulk and Alvin Kamara in the “That Guy Single-Handedly Won/Lost Me a Fantasy Championship” Hall of Fame.
KC still looks unstoppable, and I doubt the Chase thing will happen again. At least not to that level. Cincinnati has proven me wrong every time I pick against them for being “not ready for this spot,” but I can’t go against the Chiefs right now. They’re too hot, and historically, too good in the playoffs to fade.
San Francisco at Los Angeles – Analytic Line: LAR (-4), Vegas Line: LAR (-3.5), PL: LAR (-3.5)
The only reason this line is this close is the Niners have won like 75 straight against the Rams or something (hyperbole alert). Going back to their game three weeks ago, the Rams went up 17 – 0 before the desperate Niners made one of the better comebacks of the season. That San Fran team needed to win to get in the playoffs, the Rams were only playing for seeding.
I think this time that the Rams keep their foot on the gas and polish off their rivals to the north. Playing in SO-FI isn’t much of a home-field advantage, but literally, everyone in that locker room is thanking their lucky stars. They get to play in a dome instead of going to Green Bay and playing in single-digit temperatures. They’ll take advantage of their good fortune.
That’s it for NFL Conference Championship betting. Only 16 more shopping days until the Super Bowl!
Keep an eye on our Club Dyntasy Page all offseason long for new content while the NFL is away!