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 oddsmakers about the action coming in the both games and where lines landing coming kickoff.
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos - Open: -7, Move: -4.5, Move: -5.5, Move: -5
Subplots abound in the AFC Championship Game as legendary quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning go head-to-head one more time.
The two teams met in Week 12, with the Patriots earning the 34-31 OT victory and covering as 1-point home faves. The combined 65 points easily went over the closing 54-point total
Books opened this line as high as Denver -7, and bettors lined up to grab the underdog Patriots at that number. But even with the line movement, Pats money has still flooded in. Until the current number, that is, which Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker with CarbonSports.ag, says is a number seeing "dead even" action.
"The action on the Patriots has definitely slowed down in the past few days," Stewart says. "But no question we're still seeing more Patriots money than Broncos money. Since going back to Broncos -5.5, we saw 75 percent Patriots money at that number, but on Thursday night we went back to Broncos -5 and at that number the action is dead even. As we get closer to game time, I do expect us to see more and more Broncos money come in at -5."
The total - which opened 56 - remained relatively calm for the majority of the week, but as weather forecasts remain fairly positive, the number has climbed up and up.
"I did say this total would be moving up and as we get closer to gametime," he says. "As we saw more and more money bet over 56 and 56.5, we went to 57 on Friday afternoon. At 57, great two-way action but I do think we'll need to get to 57.5 if we want to offset all the money we booked over 56 and 56.5, but we will see. As always with Broncos games, I'm concerned about Over money flooding the market on game day and if we do see a surge of over money come in, we'll move off our 57 and get to 57.5 or even 58."
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks - Open: -3, Move: -3.5
The old adage "familiarity breeds contempt" certainly applies here as the 49ers and Seahawks meet for the third time this season. It's no secret that the two franchises aren't fond of each other.
The two teams were two of the NFL's best ATS bets in the regular season, each posting an 11-5 record. Covering versus the Seahawks was a bugaboo for San Fran in the regular season. The 49ers could not cash in for their backers in either game this season and are 0-4 ATS in the last four meetings with the Seahawks.
Books opened with the home team as 3-point faves and bettors have nudged it to -3.5 as we head into Sunday evening's start time.
"Seattle opened -3 and we got sharp bet in less than 15 minutes, so moved to Seattle -3.5 (even)," says Mike Perry of Sportsbook.ag. "The line has been at that number pretty much all week. While 72 percent of cash is backing the 49ers, we expect to stay on this number until kickoff as we want a decision on this game, so going back to -3 doesn't make much sense to us."
As far as the moneyline is concerned, Perry states that 65 percent of moneyline cash is backing San Francisco (+150).
Much like the AFC game, the total hasn't seen a whole lot of movement yet. The majority of books opened the total at 40, but Perry confirms that as of yet, sharp bettors have avoided the total.
"No wiseguy plays on the total, which opened 40 and dipped down to 39.5," he says. "Sixty percent of cash is on the Over."