Sunday's NFL Championship game at Lambeau Field is one for the history books. Two of the greatest all time quarterbacks will try to lead their teams to the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were my bet at 5/1 odds just prior to the playoffs to win Super Bowl LV and the Lombardi Trophy. But in their path to make it to the Big Game is six-time Super Bowl winning QB Tom Brady.
I've been providing weekly underdog picks and reports throughout the NFL season. While the Buccaneers are clearly capable of winning their third straight playoff road game and fifth road game in the last six weeks, I wouldn't bet on it. I provided more conference championship insight and information you can bet on in my update at Forbes. That includes betting data and support on the Packers.
There is plenty of support and betting on both teams. But the line has nudged back up to Packers -3.5 after sitting at -3 with extra juice during the week.
And as I covered in my NFL Conference Championship market report, more than 75% of the spread bets are on the Packers at many leading online sportsbooks. That includes at William Hill, where more than 80% of the money is on the Packers minus the points.
"We took a couple big bets on the Packers, so we’re pretty high on them right now," Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill US, said in an email.
I get updates from Nick and other sportsbook directors and PR representatives from many of the leading sportbook operators. That includes at the SuperBook in Las Vegas.
"I think the NFC championship could be the highest-volume non-Super Bowl game ever," John Murray said. "It's Brady versus Rodgers at Lambeau Field. You couldn’t ask for a bigger game. It will be a massive handle through the roof."
But one bettor in Indiana likes the Buccaneers. By Friday, William Hill took its largest moneyline wager for this weekend's games on Tampa Bay. A bettor placed $20,000 on the Buccaneers (+150) for a total potential payout of $50,000. He/she could have done better if they waited. The Bucs are now +165 on the moneyline to beat the Packers.
By kickoff Sunday, there will be plenty of five and six-figure bets at leading online sportsbooks. But there are better opportunities or value bets on in-play live betting. Player props and parlays are very popular, and one bettor at BetMGM played a Packers parlay that included UFC fight night Saturday.
- Conor McGregor to win and Packers to cover -3.5 ($209,500 wins $335,865).
That didn't work out very well. Dustin Poirier took out Conor McGregor in the second round by TKO. Dustin the Diamond rewarded underdog bettors at a +275 price, and here is the video of victory and Dustin clubbing Conor.
Packers Player Props
Last week, Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes prop bettors got concussed when Mahomes was knocked out of the game in the third quarter. The Chiefs held off the Browns to win 22-17, but failed to cover the point spread. And Mahomes prop bettors were likely going to win OVER his passing yards prop along with pass attempts and completions. But I noted the injury risk in some of my analysis on Mahomes and when betting props.
Mahomes cleared the NFL's concussion protocol and was cleared to play Friday.
As you watch the two conference championship games, here are the quarterback passing yards props from OSGA elite rated sportsbook Heritage Sports.
Over/Under QB Passing Yards
288.5 - Tom Brady
287.5 - Aaron Rodgers
314.5 - Patrick Mahomes
304.5 - Josh Allen
I'll chip-in another player prop on Packers RB Aaron Jones.
23.5 - OVER reception yards
With information you can bet on from Pro Football Focus, I'll note that Aaron Jones is still not getting a true three-down role. Last week he played 64% of the snaps in the 32-18 win over the Rams. Green Bay out-gained the Rams 484-244 and the Pack pounded the ball on the ground for 188 yards with Jones rushing 14 times for 99 yards. That was all against the Rams top-ranked defense. Tampa Bay features the leagues No. 1 rush defense allowing 82 rushing yards per game.
The Buccaneers defense held Jones to a season-low 15 rushing yards in Week 6 when Green Bay played its worst game of the season in a 38-10 loss. Making matters worse for the Packers and running game is the return of Buccaneers DT Vita Vea (leg, IR). He'll be on the field for his first action since Week 5. The impact of Vea's return can't be overstated: Only Aaron Donald (94.2) posted a better PFF grade than Vea (90.1) among 137 qualified interior defenders this season.
So, I see the Packers using Jones more in the short passing game and keeping the other two running backs active in the running game. If Jones is lined up in the slot or out wide more in this contest, he'll almost certainly go over this reception yardage. Jones has been among the league's top three running backs in average yards per route run in recent seasons. He was targeted five times and had 3 receptions for 26 yards against Tampa Bay in Week 6. But if he doesn't get there in this conference championship game, I'll be back on Jones as a receiver against the weaker defenses of the Chiefs or Bills in the Super Bowl. #GoPackGo.
You can bet on it.
FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay