NFL Conference Championship Betting Strategy: Spread Picks for Titans vs. Chiefs & Packers vs. 49ers
Quinn Harris/Getty Images. Pictured: Davante Adams #17 of the Green Bay Packers
The 2020 NFL Conference Championship Games are set for Sunday:
- Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5) vs. Tennessee Titans (3:05 p.m. ET, CBS)
- San Francisco 49ers (-7.5) vs. Green Bay Packers (6:40 p.m. ET, FOX)
More than 60% of spread tickets are on the Chiefs and 49ers. After Kansas City’s comeback and San Francisco’s dominant performance in the Divisional Round, it is easy to understand why recreational gamblers are backing the favorites.
Is it a smart strategy to follow the playoff momentum? Or are these favorites now overvalued and ripe for fading?
NFL Conference Championship Spread Betting Strategy
Unfortunately for the public, history suggests the Chiefs and 49ers won’t cover.
Since 2003, underdogs in the postseason have gone 99-80-4 (55.3%) against the spread (ATS) according to Bet Labs. Oddsmakers know casual bettors tend to wager on the favorites and will inflate their lines, making it easier for underdogs to cash tickets.
It has been more profitable to bet bigger pooches (more than 3 points) when they get little public support (less than 50% of bets).
Gamblers following this strategy would have gone 43-28-1 (61%) since 2003. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $1,227.
The Titans and Packers are matches for this system on Sunday. This is not the largest sample, so it is reasonable to be hesitant to follow it blindly.
However, it is not just history that points to value on Tennessee and Green Bay. According to the Action Network simulations, the Chiefs are projected to win on average by 3.8 points, and our model makes the 49ers 5-point favorites.
The public is on the Chiefs and 49ers, but history and math say the Titans and Packers are smart plays.
With seven a key number in NFL betting, I’m backing Tennessee and Green Bay as 7.5-point dogs.