There are two huge conference championship matchups on the NFL board this Sunday, with the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos battling for the AFC title, and the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks mixing it up for the NFC crown.
We talk with Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker with CarbonSports.ag, about the action coming in the NFC Championship Game, the early line moves, and where he sees the line landing coming kickoff.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks – Open: -3, Move: -3.5
These NFC West rivals know each other all too well, having split their two games during the regular season. However, Seattle covered in both those contests and has drawn the early action in this battle of 11-5 ATS teams.
According to Stewart, sharp money first showed on the Seahawks and forced an extra half a point on the field-goal spread. However, since that adjustment, the public has piled on the underdog 49ers, who have won eight in a row, including two road playoff games.
“We’re seeing way more action on the dog than we are on the favorite,” Stewart tells Covers. “After going to 3.5, we saw a surge of 49ers money but this isn’t a game where we wanted to move the number and go back to -3, because as everyone knows, three is such a live number and we don’t want to get middled or sided.”
With about 70 percent of the handle sitting on the Niners, oddsmakers are juggling the juice, trying to stick to that 3.5-point spread. Sharp money hit the Seahawks again Wednesday morning, forcing a five cent adjustment to the vig from 49ers +3.5 (-125) to +3.5 (-120), with the Seahawks coming back at -3.5 (EVEN).
“This is a game where we’re seeing public money on the dog and sharp money on the favorite, and we kind of anticipated this scenario,” says Stewart. “Our bettors have been all over the 49ers in the playoffs. We’ve seen sharp money support the Seahawks at home all season and unlike last week, they’ve gotten the money more times than not. So this game and the line movement has been somewhat predictable.”
Stewart says the bulk of the action is still to come but they aren’t exposed with liability on either side so far and he doesn’t expect the spread to stray much farther than its current stand, offsetting money by dialing the juice up and down.
As for the total for the NFC Championship Game, the number opened at 41 points and immediately drew money from wiseguys on the Under Sunday evening. That trimmed the total to 40 but could stop action from sharps playing the Under. Their most recent move to 39.5 has finally coaxed Over bettors out of hibernation but it’s not enough to add to this number.
“We respect the Under money we booked so I don’t see us going back to 40 anytime soon,” says Stewart. “We really like where we’re at in this game, both on the side and total.”