It’s championship weekend in the NFL this weekend as the AFC and the NFC look to decide who will emerge as the top team and go on to the Super Bowl. Fans might be pretty evenly divided, but the sportsbooks have named their definite favorites already. Right now, the New England Patriots are 7 point favorites over the Indianapolis Colts, and the Seattle Seahawks are 7.5 points above the Green Bay Packers. If you are going to bet the moneyline, the odds are pretty stacked against you, just because the spread is so big. To win $100 on the Patriots, you would have to risk $260, making it seem like a risky bet for just a little bit of profit. If you were to bet with the Seahawks, it’s even worse: $300 just to win $100. That leaves the spread as the best option in both games.
In this instance, the inclination is to go with the underdogs because the spread is so large and the level of play is so close. Let’s start by looking at the AFC with the Colts at the Patriots.
The Colts struggled at points during the regular season, but have had convincing wins in the postseason. Andrew Luck has finally gotten the support he’s needed from his team and there’s no indication that this will stop. Statistically speaking, he has had one of the best seasons of any AFC QB this year. When it comes to QB Rating, Brady was only 0.9 points ahead of him. In other words, on any given day the two are about equal. What it will come down to is the supporting teammates, experience under pressure, and raw natural talent. Offensively, Brady has the better running game with LaGarrette Blount. And while T.Y. Hilton is a better overall receiver this season than anyone on New England, the Patriots have two receivers right behind him number-wise, negating any edge the Colts might have had. Offensively, the Patriots are a far better team. Brady also has more experience than Luck and has proven that he excels under pressure. The 7 point spread is going to be tough for the Colts to cover, and the Patriots seem like the best choice, even if you consider the -7 that the books have given them.
The Packers at the Seahawks has an even bigger spread, with the Seahawks having the advantage. The Seahawks have the best rated defense in the NFL this year, and the Packers are way behind in the #14 slot. Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay was a phenom at one point, but even with a great 2014 season, he is not playing as well as he once did. Still, he is one of the best QBs in the NFL now, and not many can touch him, even with these considerations. Seattle QB Russell Wilson is not playing nearly as well as Rodgers. This game presents an awesome chance for bettors as the Packers have a lot of chances to beat the Seahawks outright, which would easily overcome the 7.5 point spread. Based upon Rodgers’ supporting defense, this will be tough, but the Packers are a far better underdog to bet than the Colts. Defenses can score points, and the Seahawks have shown that they are able to do this, but with a star like Rodgers, this will be a lot more difficult for them to do, and this means more chances for him to score points.