NFL Conference Championship Odds: Sharp Money and Line Moves

Jan 24, 2021 |

The NFL season is one step from the Super Bowl, NFL conference championship odds are on the board, and action is already flowing in on both games. The defending champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.

The SuperBook's John Murray provided insights on NFL conference championship opening lines and early line movement, sharp money and public betting. Covers will update this report with NFL sharp picks vs. public bets and line movement throughout the week.

These are the current NFL Conference Championship odds. Click on each matchup in the table below to get updated in-depth information on the opening lines, sharp money, public betting and odds movement as we get closer to kickoff. 

Matchup Time Spread Over/Under
Buccaneers at Packers 3:05 p.m. ET Sunday Packers -3 53
Bills at Chiefs 6:40 p.m. ET Sunday Chiefs -3 55.5

Odds courtesy of The SuperBook

Opening line

Packers -4.5, Over/Under 51

Why the line moved

UPDATE 2:55 P.M. ET SUNDAY: William Hill US is now down to Packers -3, aided by the earlier-reported $500,000 wager on Bucs +3.5 this morning. Ticket count is 3/1 and money 2/1 on Green Bay. The total is up to 53.5, with 66 percent of bets/59 percent of money on the Over.

UPDATE 1:15 P.M. ET SUNDAY: BetMGM New Jersey had the Packers -4 to open and is now -3.5, although tickets are 3/1 and money 4/1 on Green Bay. There are at least three large wagers on this game: $550,000 on Bucs +3.5, $525,000 on Packers -3.5 and $275,000 on Packers -3.5. The total opened at 51.5 and sits there right now, with 65 percent of bets and 71 percent of money on the Over.

UPDATE 11:30 A.M. ET SUNDAY: William Hill US was heavy on the Packers in the NFC Championship Game until 20 minutes ago, when a $500,000 bet landed on Buccaneers +3.5. WillHill director of trading Nick Bogdanovich said that large wager now has the game dead even, though with the Super Bowl futures book very much a concern today, too, the book needs the Packers for the moment.

UPDATE 10:30 A.M. ET SUNDAY: The Packers opened -3.5 at FanDuel and quickly went to -4 and back to -3.5 last Sunday, bounced between -3.5 and -3 during the week and are at -3 this morning. Despite the dip down, the Packers are landing 73 percent of bets and 79 percent of money on the spread. The total is up to 53, off an opener of 51.5 and a low point of 50.5, with tickets and money 2/1 on the Over.

UPDATE 4:30 P.M. ET SATURDAY: When it comes to the biggest games of the NFL season, Treasure Island sportsbook director Tony Nevill often strays a half-point from the pack. This week is no different. While most sportsbooks had Packers -3.5 pretty much all week, Treasure Island opened -3.5, went to -3 Monday morning and stayed there until a couple of hours ago, finally joining everyone else at -3.5. Nevill explained his method: "In the last 20 years, when we get to the conference championship games, I run my power rankings. This year is the first time where the NFC contestants are tied in my power rankings, and so are the AFC contestants." With the Bucs and Packers having an equal power rating, Nevill allowed only for the standard 3-point home-field advantage. "Looking at what everybody else had, I thought they were a little above market value, so I came in a notch lower." Nevill held the Packers at -3 all the way up to a price of -135, then finally went to -3.5 flat today. "That was all money-driven, an accumulation, but most it has come in today."

UPDATE 1 P.M. ET SATURDAY: FanDuel pegged the Packers 3.5-point favorites last Sunday night, moved to -4 and back to -3.5 within 20 minutes, dipped to -3 Tuesday morning and got back to -3.5 Friday evening. Ticket count is 3/1 and money just beyond 4/1 in favor of Green Bay. The total fell from 51.5 to 50.5, then rebounded by Friday to 52, where the number remains now, with 67 percent of bets/71 percent of money on the Over.

UPDATE 3 P.M. ET FRIDAY: Green Bay opened -3.5 and quickly went to -4 Sunday night at William Hill US, then dipped to -3 by Tuesday and returned to the opener Thursday. The Packers are attracting 78 percent of point-spread bets and 83 percent of point-spread money. "We took a couple big bets on the Packers, so we’re pretty high on them right now,” WillHill director of trading Nick Bogdanovich said, noting one of those bets was for $40,000 on Packers -3 (-125). "But it’s still so early, you never know what’s going to happen in this game. Tampa’s drawn a lot of love all year long, and people will like taking 3.5 as opposed to 3. I still don’t think it’ll be a big decision one way or the other."

UPDATE 11 P.M. ET THURSDAY: William Hill US goes in-depth on NFL totals each Thursday, and this one dropped from 52 to 51 Sunday night and stayed there. Ticket count is almost dead even, and the Under is landing 71 percent of early cash. Weather could be a concern in Green Bay, but WillHill director of trading Nick Bogdanovich doesn't foresee miserable conditions. "I think it’s just going to be cold there," Bogdanovich said. “Unless there’s wind, people will bet this Over. Both (Tom) Brady and (Aaron) Rodgers play great in the cold. They also do such a great job with the field there in Green Bay. Obviously, both totals are in the 50s and the public would still love to bet both these games Over, so we’ll likely need the Under unless there’s real bad weather at either place."

UPDATE 4:45 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: Green Bay opened -4 at DraftKings, dipped to -3.5, peaked at -4.5 and returned to -3.5, all by Monday morning. The Packers are taking 72 percent of point-spread bets and 71 percent of point-spread cash. The initial move on the total was straight from 50.5 to 52 at DraftKings, but it then dialed down to 50.5 a couple of times and is now 51. Ticket count and money are both running about 3/1 on the Over.

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As the NFC's No. 1 seed, Green Bay is right where it expected to be and surely where it wants to be: at Lambeau Field in late January for the NFC Championship Game, against a team accustomed to playing in much warmer conditions. The Packers advanced with a 32-18 divisional playoff win over the Rams on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, fifth-seeded Tampa Bay traveled to No. 2 seed New Orleans and knocked out the Saints 30-20 Sunday night. So while the warm-weather Buccaneers face the challenge of chilly conditions in Green Bay, quarterback Tom Brady – with his two-decade dynasty in New England – is no stranger to foul weather.

"We opened Packers -4.5, and the money came pouring in immediately on Tampa Bay. Not unlike last week, when we opened the Saints -5.5 and were inundated with Bucs money," Murray said Sunday evening. "This will be a huge-handle game with great write on both sides. Both teams are extremely popular with bettors. Right now, we are down to Packers -4, and the money continues to come in on Tampa Bay."

And the line continued to move, too, dropping to Packers -3.5 less than an hour after going up. The SuperBook certainly wants to see the Bucs vanquished, with Super Bowl liability now looming larger. 

"The Bucs are the one team left in the Super Bowl pool that we lose a big number to," Murray said. "We lose on them in the NFC pool, as well. It’s definitely something we will have to keep an eye on this week and potentially three weeks from now, if they are able to beat the Packers."

Opening line

Chiefs -4, Over/Under 56

Why the line moved

UPDATE 6:25 P.M. ET SUNDAY: Shortly before kickoff, the Chiefs are still sitting -3 at PointsBet USA, with 56 percent of spread bets and 67 percent of money on Kansas City. The total is 54.5, with good two-way action leaning toward the Under, which is attracting 54 percent of bets and 51 percent of handle. On the always-popular prop bet of player to score the first touchdown, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (+700) is taking 20.6 percent of tickets, followed by Bills wideout Stefon Diggs (+850) at 17 percent.

UPDATE 4 P.M. ET SUNDAY: Kansas City opened -1.5 at DraftKings, then the line briefly flipped to Bills -1.5 last Sunday evening, before rebounding to Chiefs -3.5 a few hours later. The line then retreated to -2.5 by Tuesday, then bounced between -3 and -3.5 the rest of the week. The Chiefs are currently -3 and are attracting 58 percent of bets/67 percent of money on the spread. The total initially dipped from 51.5 to 50, shot to 55.5 last Sunday night, then receded to 53 by Tuesday morning. The line crept back up to 55 earlier this afternoon and is now 54.5, with 55 percent of bets/59 percent of cash on the Over. 

UPDATE 1:15 P.M. ET SUNDAY: BetMGM's New Jersey hub opened Kansas City -3 and is up to -3.5, with the Chiefs taking 60 percent of bets and 63 percent of money on the spread. The total opened 50 and is currently 54.5, with 55 percent of tickets/61 percent of money on the Over.

UPDATE 11:30 A.M. ET SUNDAY: PointsBet USA moved from Chiefs -3 to -2.5 a couple times and has been pinned to -3 since Tuesday morning. "Good two-way action on the game, with 51 percent of spread bets coming in on the Bills and 53 percent of spread handle coming in on the Chiefs," PointsBet's Patrick Eichner said. The total went 50.5 to 55.5 to 53 by Monday, and it's now up to 54.5. "Good two-way action on the total, too. We are seeing 52 percent of bets come in on the Under, while 53% of the handle is coming in on the Over."

UPDATE 4:30 P.M. ET SATURDAY: As noted in the NFC Championship Game, Treasure Island sportsbook director Tony Nevill ran his power rankings last Sunday and found the Bills and Chiefs to be exactly even. Initially, though, he didn't award Kansas City the typical 3-point home-field edge, instead opening at -1.5. He quickly went to -2.5 Sunday night, and while almost everyone else was at Chiefs -3 by Monday, Nevill held firm at -2.5 until Thursday morning. "I wanted to take Chiefs money at -2.5," Nevill said. "I really think Mahomes has a dinged-up ankle, and I don't think he'll be 100 percent." If that's the case, Nevill said that will limit arguably Mahomes' most dangerous weapon, his legs. Treasure Island got to -3 Thursday morning. "There was finally enough money on the Chiefs that I didn't have a choice."

UPDATE 1 P.M. ET SATURDAY: The Chiefs opened -1.5 at FanDuel minutes after holding off the Browns last Sunday, and the line crept to -3 by late Sunday night on optimism that Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes (concussion) would play this week. Mahomes is indeed playing, the number remains -3, and Kansas City is getting 53 percent of tickets/59percent of money on the point spread. The toal quickly shot from 50.5 to 55.5 last Sunday night, receded to 53 by Monday night and has now made its way back up to 54.5. The Over is attracting 56 percent of tickets and money.

UPDATE 3 P.M. ET FRIDAY: Kansas City bounced between -3.5 and -3 a couple of times Sunday night at William Hill US, and the second trip to -3 was the last, as the line stuck at Chiefs -3 all week. Even today's news that K.C. quarterback Patrick Mahomes cleared concussion protocol and is set to play didn't jar the line off of 3, as oddsmakers anticipated all week that Mahomes would play. "Right now, straight bets on the point spread are pretty even," William Hill US's Nick Bogdanovich said. "We’re a little high on Bills moneyline, but that’s to be expected. I think this one will be a two-way action game, as well." Although WillHill hasn't moved the line yet, Bogdanovich anticipates a little upward trajectory with Mahomes cleared to play. "It’ll get to 3.5, 4 tops. But I still think there will be Bills money, because the Chiefs haven’t covered a game in so long." Kansas City is 1-8 ATS in its last nine games.

UPDATE 11 P.M. ET THURSDAY: Sticking with William Hill US's totals theme, the AFC title-clash total opened at 51.5 and surged to 55 Sunday night, then receded to 53.5 by Monday night, where the number remains now. The Over is getting 67 percent of tickets, but money is split 50/50 tonight. "All the action in this one will come the last three days, and all will be based on (Patrick) Mahomes’ health," WillHill's Nick Bogdanovich said, alluding to the Chiefs QB's progression through concussion protocols. "There’s weather involved here too, so between weather and health, we’ll figure out the best number. I think it’ll go back up to 55 if Mahomes is in. It just figures to be a high-scoring game. Buffalo’s not running, they’re just throwing every down, too. The people will bet this game Over unless the weather is just so, so bad."

UPDATE 4:45 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: DraftKings pegged the Chiefs slim 1.5-point favorites moments after their victory over Cleveland, then flipped to Bills -1.5, then went back to Chiefs -1, all within 10 minutes Sunday. Within 20 minutes, with the status of Mahomes seemingly positive, DraftKings went to Chiefs -2.5 and later Sunday night briefly got to -3.5. The line then retreated to Chiefs -2.5 and is now -3, with the underdog Bills attracting 63 percent of tickets and 53 percent of money. Similarly, the total moved all over the map, from 51.5 to 50 to 55.5 Sunday night, followed by a dip to 53 by Tuesday morning, and it's now at 54. The total is getting two-way action, with 53 percent of tickets on the Under and 52 percent of money on the Over.

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AFC Championship odds were all over the map Sunday afternoon/evening, as oddsmakers tried to ascertain the status of superstar Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. In Sunday's divisional clash with Cleveland, Mahomes suffered a concussion in the third quarter, but Kansas City hung on behind Chad Henne to claim a 22-17 victory. Buffalo reached the AFC title game with a 17-3 stifling of Baltimore on Saturday night.

With the Chiefs holding a 19-3 halftime lead against the Browns, SuperBook vice president of risk management Jeff Sherman posted AFC Championship Game odds of Chiefs -4/total 56. Then Mahomes got hurt and the AFC title game came off the board, going back up after Kansas City clinched the win over Cleveland. The new numbers: Chiefs -2.5, with a total of 51.

It didn't take long for the line to go up to -3, and the total jumped all the way to 55.5 within about 90 minutes, after postgame indications were that Mahomes was doing well.

"We certainly expect Mahomes to play next Sunday. We moved the line up to -3 after reading some quotes from Andy Reid that sounded positive," Murray said Sunday night. "We had a respected player take Bills +3 (-110) and we moved to Bills +3 (-120). Most of the tickets have been on the Bills so far, although the biggest bet yet was one for $20,000 on Chiefs -3 (even). The public likes both of these teams, even though the Chiefs continue to let the bettors down. They failed to cover yet again today."

The line would look far different for the AFC Championship Game if early indications for Mahomes weren't favorable.

"Mahomes is going to play, but if he had been knocked out completely, the Bills would be a decent favorite next week. More than a field goal," Murray said. "Some of our guys in the room made it Bills -7. I think that’s a little extreme, but it gives you an idea of just how much of a drop-off there is from Mahomes to Henne."

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