NFL playoff early odds: Packers-Falcons NFC title game features historic total
Atlanta is the early favorite in the NFC title game
After a thrilling NFC divisional round matchup between the Cowboys and Packers -- a 34-31 Green Bay victory at the last second -- it would be tough for the encore to top it. But Las Vegas believes it's possible, by setting the highest over-under total in history for the Packers-Falcons NFC Championship Game.
The over-under for that game opened at a ridiculous 58.5 at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. The total almost immediately jumped up to 60.5, indicating a heavy early influx of money on the over.
Can you blame anyone for that? We just saw the Packers light up the scoreboard against the Cowboys (themselves a questionable defense) and over their eight-game winning streak, dating back to Aaron Rodgers saying they would "run the table," the Packers are averaging just over 32 points per game.
In the seven games since their bye, the Falcons are absolutely on fire, averaging 36.6 points per game. Atlanta was the highest scoring team in the NFL during the entirety of the regular season, averaging 33.5 points per game.
It's gonna be a shootout and you're going to want to watch. Let's look at the odds.
(All lines via the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook )
NFC Championship Game
No. 4 Green Bay (10-6) at No. 2 Atlanta (11-5)
Opening Line: Falcons -4 points
Current Line: Falcons -4 points
Over/Under: 60.5 points
Don't be fooled by the number on the Falcons remaining the same. It's jumped all over the place. Initially it opened as a 4-point line, and heavy action on the Falcons pushed them as high as a 5.5-point favorite. Then a bunch of money on the Packers and Rodgers getting that many points pushed the line in the other direction, with it settling back in at the Falcons favored by four.
These two teams met previously this season, in a thriller of a game that took place in Week 8 at the Georgia Dome, a 33-32 Falcons win.
Rodgers played extremely well in that game, but he wasn't Laser Aaron Rodgers we've seen over the past few weeks. The Packers would lose three more games in a row after falling to Atlanta, losing to Indy at home, getting pummeled by the Titans on the road and being run over by Rob Kelley and the Redskins on Sunday night in Week 11.
Then everything clicked and the Packers ripped off win after win after win after win. The Packers rode their streak to finish 9-6-1 against the spread, while also covering twice in the playoffs (they smashed the Giants and were underdogs to the Cowboys).
Ryan and the Falcons have been no less hot against the number, going 10-6 against the spread in the regular season and covering easily against the Seahawks in a dominant home victory. Atlanta was just 3-5 against the spread at home, however, while going 7-1 (!) on the road.
Green Bay is now 5-5, including the playoffs, against the spread on the road, so there's no clear advantage, although Rodgers previously beat Ryan and the Falcons in the Georgia Dome en route to winning his only Super Bowl.
Regardless you can expect plenty of fireworks with that high total. Covers.com has it as the second-highest total in playoff history.
Packers/Falcons total currently 60.5 or 61 at most books.— Covers (@Covers) January 16, 2017
Highest O/U in our database:
61.5 - STL@SF 2000-01
59.5 - DET@NO 2011-12
And Bookmaker.eu says it's "the highest ever for a conference championship or Super Bowl."
AFC Championship Game
No. 3 Pittsburgh at No. 1 New England (14-2)
Opening Line: Patriots -4.5 vs. Steelers
Current Line: Patriots -5.5 vs. Steelers
As soon as the Steelers closed out the Chiefs 18-16 in Kansas City, we got a line for the AFC Championship Game, with the Patriots being favored 4.5 points over the Steelers.
And as soon as that line came out, it jumped quickly, with heavy action on the Patriots moving the line to New England -5.5. It shouldn't be entirely surprising: the Patriots played terrible and still blew out the Texans 34-16. The Steelers won as well, but didn't look good in the red zone, not managing to score a single touchdown. Every point from Pittsburgh came via kicker Chris Boswell, who hammered home six different field goals in the win, a postseason record.
Adding to the problem is the poor play of Ben Roethlisberger on the road this season -- he's been so much better when playing at Heinz Field, but now he must head to Foxborough for the toughest test possible. The Steelers have the gas on offense to make it happen -- between Big Ben, Le'Veon Bell (170 yards against Kansas City) and Antonio Brown, they've got the most dangerous triplets in the NFL.
This will ultimately be a huge test for a young defense that's full of first-round talent and suddenly playing very well under Keith Butler. If they can limit Brady and the Pats offense, a group that should be angry about a poor outing against the Texans, the Steelers should/could/will make this an exciting game.
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