Sunday Spreads Postseason Vol. 3: Conference Championship Games (With Props!)
An excellent divisional round last week sets up one of the most exciting Championship Sundays we've seen in years. Despite another round of young gun versus young gun and veteran versus veteran in the QB department, these matchups deserve a repeat. Here are my favorite prop bets for the last week of play before the Super Bowl, along with how each game will go against the spread.
A Risky Parlay
Call me a sucker for good advertising, but a current M/L parlay offered by MGM is just too tantalizing for me not to talk about. I'm normally not a fan of parlays, but if I had to pick one, it'd be for Packers and Chiefs to win at +135. As you'll see later in this column, I do think both games are going to be extremely close. We're looking at four teams with quarterbacks that like to sling the ball, even the young guys, so it's going to be two wars of attrition. I like the Chiefs and the Packers to barely win both of these games, and think throwing a $5 parlay their way won't hurt your wallet too much if it doesn't go through.
Parlay Pick: Packers and Chiefs to win (+135)
My Two Favorite Props
Like I mentioned earlier, the biggest performers today are going to be the men behind center, so I think it's fitting that my prop picks today concern Quarterbacks.
Let's start with the NFC, our first game of the day. It's a tough call, and I would understand any rebuttals with proper evidence, but I think Aaron Rodgers has the most cohesive receiving staff out of any team left in the playoffs. We've talked all season about how Brady's got the big names in Evans, Gronk, and Brown, but I really think the Packers offense has evolved since these two teams first meeting of the season. Davante Adams was coming off of an injury last time against Tampa Bay, and Aaron Jones has proven to be a solid backfield receiver. Look for Rodgers to find plenty of targets.
Prop Pick: Aaron Rodgers OVER 2.5 Passing TDs (+130)
In the AFC, Josh Allen is going to be playing with a lot more intensity than his first matchup against the Chiefs this season, a game in which he only put up 122 yards. Allen was playing in bad weather without John Brown, so he was forced to hand the ball off a lot more. Brown is healthy and the weather looks decent in Kansas City tomorrow, so I think Allen will have all the tools he needs to put up 300 yards or more. Stefon Diggs matches up well with Kansas City's corners, so he'll be a prime target for Allen.
Prop Pick: Josh Allen OVER 305.5 Passing Yards (-120)
Should you take both underdogs ATS?
Short answer; maybe? Long answer; QB battles like this usually come down to a bad kick, a last minute play, or one or two costly turnovers. I think both games are prime territory for any of these things to happen, making each underdog worth a single unit play.
For the NFC Championship, the Packers biggest challenge is going to be getting around Todd Bowles blitz packages. Bowles defensive play-calling locked down the Packers offensively and forced Rodgers to throw two picks. While the Packers will obviously be more prepared this time around, the blitz is still formidable. If Rodgers has a tough first half working around the pass rush, it may give time for Brady to put a couple touchdowns on the board early.
ATS Pick: Bucs +4 (-115)
When looking at the AFC Championship, it's going to be injury troubles that prevent Kansas City from covering. Although cleared to play after going through concussion protocol, a lot of people seem to forget about Mahomes' toe injury. Don't get me wrong, Mahomes can sling the ball, but his ability to run the ball when necessary helps boost him into the role of the best QB in the league. Without that extra mobility, Buffalo's defense is going to have an easier time slowing down the Chiefs defense. Even without Mahomes running the ball, Kansas City's ground game is going to take a hit, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire listed as questionable with a hip injury. The Chiefs offense might be a one-trick pony on Sunday, leaving them little options to move the ball forward.
ATS Pick: Bills +3.5 (-115)