Carolina, New England – Favored in Conference Championships

Odds are out on the NFC and AFC championships next week with a home favorite in the NFC and a road favorite in the AFC.

By: Shane Lambert

The 2016 NFL playoffs continued on Saturday and Sunday as the divisional round concluded in both conferences. Although Wild Card Weekend featured nothing but road-team victories, this past weekend saw all four home teams advance. Accordingly, the NFC and AFC championship games will feature the top two seeds from each conference.

In the AFC, New England will pay for some bad losses down the stretch of the regular season. The second-seeded Patriots will have to travel to Denver to face the top-seeded Broncos for the right to advance to the Super Bowl. This game will be played on Sunday, CBS will have the television coverage, and the start time will be 3:05pm ET. Despite being on the road, according to betting odds it is the Pats who are favored at -162 with SkyBet (about 5/8).

The AFC championship game, in my opinion, is a tricky one because Denver is a tough team to read right now. Few would have given them credit for a first-placed finish in the AFC during the mid-parts of the season as they had issues in the quarterback position. Furthermore, there were plenty of people that were calling for the Pittsburgh Steelers to eliminate the Broncos in the divisional round. Denver has clearly been under-rated, but now they are up against New England and Tom Brady. I’m going to have to go agnostic on the AFC championship game but instead focus on the NFC where one team has generally been under-rated for most of the season.

In the NFC, Carolina and Arizona will meet, the two best regular-season NFC teams. The Panthers enter the game as the outright Super Bowl favorites at this point, with outright odds of 21 to 10 with Paddy Power (+210). Of course that means they are favored to win the NFC and they will be playing on their home turf where they have experienced nothing but success all season. William Hill have Carolina at -170 (10/17) to defeat Arizona and I think that those odds are where the best value lays at this point in NFL betting.

The NFC championship will also be played on Sunday with a start of 6:40pm ET. FOX will have the television coverage in a game that promises to send Cam Newton to his first Super Bowl.

Recommendation:

2-pt bet on Carolina to defeat Arizona at -170 (10/17) with William Hill