- The NFC and AFC Championship games take place this weekend on Sunday beginning at 3 p.m. EST.
- In the AFC Championship Game, the Tennessee Titans visit the Kansas City Chiefs.
- In the NFC, the Green Bay Packers battle the San Francisco 49ers for a Super Bowl berth.
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The AFC and NFC championship games are this weekend, and are going to be some of the biggest betting events of the year. The winner of each game will go on to play in the Super Bowl in Miami, the biggest sporting and sports betting event in the United States.
In the AFC Championship Game, the Tennessee Titans take on the Kansas City Chiefs. Over in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers visit the bay area to take on the San Francisco 49ers.
AFC Championship Betting Preview
Nobody expected the Tennessee Titans to make it this far. They defeated the reigning champion New England Patriots in the first round and then ran through the presumptive favorites this year, the Baltimore Ravens, in the second round. Now, the hard-nosed defense and playing style of the Titans comes up against the explosive Kansas City Chiefs offense.
The Titans are quarterbacked by Ryan Tannehill, who is fresh off of a relatively poor stint with the Miami Dolphins. Tannehill was electric during the regular season after capturing the starting job, but the sample size is fairly small, as he only started 10 regular-season games.
In the playoffs, Tannehill has taken a backseat to star running back Derrick Henry. Henry, a crushing 6’ 3” monster out of Alabama, won the Heisman Trophy in college with a similarly dominant season. He took some time to find his footing in the NFL, flashing visions of what he could be but never putting it together for long. This year, however, Henry has excelled, becoming one of the most dominant running backs in NFL history over the latter half of the season.
Henry led the league in rushing, and his playoff stats have been otherworldly: 377 yards on 64 carries through two games. Of course, Henry and Tannehill both rely on the elite defensive unit of the Titans – a unit that gave up a total of 25 points against the Ravens and the Patriots.
That defense will be tested by perhaps the best quarterback in the league, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes has ascended to a level of play never before seen at the quarterback position, the speed and accuracy of his throws reaching herculean levels. To go along with the explosive playmaker at quarterback, Kansas City has explosive playmakers everywhere.
Tight end Travis Kelce’s combination of speed, size, skill, and strength make him impossible to guard consistently. Wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman are two of the fastest players in the league, which is a talent well utilized by the enormous arm of Mahomes. The Chiefs’ defense is nothing to write home about, but they’ve improved.
Kansas City enters the game favored by 7 points, and the over/under is set at 52.5.
NFC Championship Betting Preview
The NFC Championship pits a legendary quarterback against an up and comer, a grizzled veteran against a team of young studs. The Green Bay Packers meet the San Francisco 49ers in a battle of styles.
The Packers are helmed by the legendary Aaron Rodgers, who is still able to summon some of his old magic when needed. During the season, Rodgers took a backseat to elite running back Aaron Jones, who had a breakout year. In the playoffs, however, Rodgers has excelled, especially his connection with his best wide receiver, Davante Adams.
The Packers opponents, the San Francisco 49ers, are a team built around the defensive line. Linemen such as Nick Bosa have amassed a combined 48 sacks – the fifth most in the league – and the most of any of the remaining playoff teams. Those sacks have accumulated 367 yards proving when San Francisco gets to the quarterback, they get a huge advantage.
San Francisco’s defense has also forced the most fumbles this year, with 23, and they’ve recovered 15 of them, for the fourth most fumble recoveries in the league. Basically, they are excellent at getting to the ball and damaging the ball carrier.
On offense, they’re led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, a young phenom who has taken to life in the Bay Area with aplomb. After a bad injury last year, Garroppolo returned with a vengeance, cementing himself as a quality NFL starter. He is joined in the backfield by Raheem Mostert, an explosive and talented running back, and retains the services of George Kittle at tight end. Kittle is one of the best in the league at his position, able to block well and receive at a truly elite level.
San Francisco enters the game as 7.5-point favorites over Green Bay. The over/under line is set at 46.5.
Prop Bets On The AFC And NFC Championships
When looking through online sportsbooks, the game lines are always the first betting type seen, but the number of prop bets around this time should have bettors refocusing their attention. Aside from getting ahead on the Super Bowl prop bets, bettors can finetune their strategies during the championship games.
In the Titans and Chiefs game, a prop bet asks who will record the first interception. With Mahomes always being excellent with the ball in his hands, betting on any Titans’ player should be avoided. Instead, taking a chance on Bashaud Breeland (+600) or Chavarius Ward (+600) offers great odds.
This may be a difficult prop bet to hit, as defensive substitutions could keep certain secondary players off of the field at inopportune times.
Also in this game, a prop bet exists that will focus on who will catch the first pass whether it is a defender or not. Travis Kelce (+400) and Tyreek Hill (+500) are the two strong favorites, however, this only would make sense if the Chiefs get the ball first.
As the Titans love their play-action and like to set up the run game with defenders overcrowding the box early, taking a chance on Corey Davis (+1200) or AJ Brown (+1000) would be wise investments.
No matter whether a tight end, wide receiver, or defender catches the first pass, the odds for the first touchdown scorer in the Titans and Chiefs game provides even further value.
The running backs in Damien Williams (+500) and Derrick Henry (+550) are the two favorites. While this is likely to happen, bettors can continue to play the longshot odds and take a chance on Jonnu Smith. The Titans’ tight end has connected with Tannehill in the recent games and the odds for Smith to be the first touchdown scorer are sitting at +2200.
On the NFC side of the betting boards, all of the aforementioned prop bets exist as well. However, other options still are in play such as who the last touchdown scorer in the Packers and Niners game will be.
The three running backs in Jones (+600), Mostert (+650) and Coleman (+650) are well above the pack. Bettors would be wise to select one (or all three) of these athletes, as the team with the lead may look to keep the ball on the ground at the end of the game. With this, assuming no last-minute score or Hail Mary happens, a running back scoring last seems likely.
Prop bets and other NFL betting action can be found at many online sportsbooks. Don’t be the person who could have successfully bet on sports but missed out on the opportunity. The first game (the AFC Championship) kicks off at 3:05 p.m. EST.
News tags: Aaron Jones | Aaron Rodgers | Davante Adams | Derrick Henry | George Kittle | Jimmy Garoppolo | Mecole Hardman | Nick Bosa | Patrick Mahomes | Raheem Mostert | Ryan Tannehill | Tennessee Titans | Travis Kelce | Tyreek Hill
Michael began writing as an NBA content writer and has spent time scouting college basketball for Florida State University under Leonard Hamilton and the University of Alabama under Anthony Grant. A graduate of both schools, he covers topics focused on legal sports betting, betting odds, and casino reviews. Michael likes to golf, play basketball, hike, and kayak when not glued to the TV watching NBA games.