Updated: Oct 1, 2021
Like the NFL itself, the NFL's conference championship games will be quarterback-driven. In Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen, the AFC and NFC championship games feature a matchup of two of the greatest to ever play and another featuring the brightest stars of the NFL's younger generation.
But in a quarterback-driven league, the health status of a star like Mahomes has the power to create big odds swings, according to TheLines, which tracks odds in the U.S. regulated sports betting market.
A look at a consensus of the nation's largest legal online sportsbooks — including DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, PlaySugarHouse, BetMGM, Unibet, and William Hill, shows just how quickly things can change.
With Mahomes in the league's five-step concussion protocol, the Buffalo Bills opened on Sunday night as a 1.5-point favorite over the reigning champions Chiefs. But as bettors look to cash in on a favorable line as the status of Mahomes remains uncertain, Kansas City has been bet to a 2.5-point home favorite.
Mahomes' status may be weighing on the oddsmakers' point total, too. In a game featuring two of the top offenses in a historical offensive year, the over/under of 54 points is just the third-highest in the last 10 years of the AFC Championship.
In the NFC, a matchup of two certain Hall of Famers offers more clarity. Set for frigid Lambeau Field, the Packers sit as 3.5.-point favorites. Home teams are 33-17 straight up and 27-22-1 against the spread in the NFC Championship game since 1970. Green Bay, though, is 1-3 against the spread in NFC Championship games in which Rodgers starts.
Brady's teams, on the other hand, are 9-3 against the spread in conference championship games, all with the New England Patriots.
"It's rare that the status of a team lynchpin like Patrick Mahomes is so uncertain ahead of a conference championship game, so the consensus point spread will likely keep shifting as bettors make speculative plays," said Brett Collson, lead analyst for TheLines.com.
"Add a matchup between two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever live, both with long, intriguing histories in conference championship games, and this could be the most intriguing championship weekend for bettors that we've seen in a very long time."
The consensus point spreads for the AFC and NFC Championship games, as of Monday, Jan. 18:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers (-3.5); over/under 51
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5); over/under 54
The current odds for remaining playoff teams to win Super Bowl LV as of Monday, Jan. 18 (with preseason odds):
Kansas City Chiefs +200 (+600)
Green Bay Packers +220 (+3100)
Buffalo Bills +325 (+2500)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +450 (+1500)
To access updated NFL playoff lines and Super Bowl odds, and for more analysis, visit TheLines.com/odds/nfl-playoffs.
About TheLines.com: TheLines.com is a source for news, analysis, and research related to the market for regulated sports betting in the United States. Affiliated with the PlayUSA.com Network, TheLines.com provides daily reporting and offers player advocacy tools related to the advancement of licensed, and legal online sports betting. Based in Las Vegas, the PlayUSA Network is independently owned and operated, with no affiliations to any casino — commercial, tribal, online, or otherwise.
Source: PR Newswire/TheLines.com