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Koerner’s Packers vs. 49ers Live Betting Strategy

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Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Garoppolo, Deebo Samuel

  • Sean Koerner, our director of predictive analytics, uses his NFL Power Ratings to project a spread and over/under for the NFC Championship Game.
  • Find his lines for the Packers vs. 49ers as well as how he plans to bet the in-game total on Sunday evening.

Like I’ve done throughout the season, I’ve used my NFL power ratings to project spreads and over/unders for the conference championships, identifying the best way to bet both games.

Now let’s dig into my analysis and picks.


Odds as of noon ET on Thursday and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


Titans at Chiefs

Current odds: Chiefs -7.5; 52.5
My Projections: Chiefs -7.5; 50.5

There are a few different ways to look at this game.

First, the Titans’ offensive game plan over the past three games has been to feed Derrick Henry 30-plus times; he’s rushed for 180 or more yards in each. And while the Chiefs defense has been very strong against the pass — Steve Spagnuolo’s unit ranked sixth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against the pass — their 29th-ranking in DVOA against the run means they’re very much a run funnel defense.

That should be (country) music to the Tennessee’s ears. It sets up perfectly for the Titans when the game is close, as they can continue to feed Henry at will.

On the other hand, the Chiefs offense is starting to heat up at the right time.

After falling behind 24-0 to the Texans last week, the Chiefs put on a fireworks display by scoring a touchdown on seven straight drives. They actually scored so many touchdowns that Arrowhead Stadium ran out of fireworks!

Patrick Mahomes and this Chiefs offense should be able to move the ball with ease against the Titans. The Chiefs are a pass-heavy team while the Titans are better against the run — Dean Pees’ unit had the 10th-best DVOA against the run while ranking only 21st against the pass.

This leads me to conclude that the first half will pit each team’s offensive strength against the other’s defensive weakness, which would favor the first-half over. And if the Chiefs offense is able to take an early lead (as expected), the game environment should favor the second-half under as each offense’s game plans will shift in a way that plays into the opponent’s defensive strength.

If you want to bet on the full-game total, I like the under down to 52.5. But if you’d rather play a dynamic total, I’ll be taking the first-half over 24.5 (-120) and the second-half under (which will likely be in the 24-27 range).

[In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana or West Virginia? Bet now at FanDuel]

Packers at 49ers

Current odds: 49ers -7.5; 45
My Projections: 49ers -7.5; 45.5

The 49ers blew out the Packers, 37-8, when these two teams met on Sunday Night Football in Week 12. That outcome will weigh heavily on how the public perceives this matchup.

To no surprise, 58% of the tickets and 62% of the money bet has come in on the 49ers (see live public betting here).

I am right in line with the spread and total here, so this will be a pass for me, though it’s worth noting that Aaron Rodgers is 24-20 against the spread as an underdog and has been an underdog of seven or more points only three times over his career, covering all three.

I will, however, be looking to attack the in-game total.

If the 49ers take a sizable lead of seven or more points, it could force the Packers to be more aggressive and throw the ball down the field more. We saw this in Week 17, when they trailed the Lions early and it led to Rodgers attempting 17 passes of 20 or more yards. He connected on only three, but it’s clear that they’re more than willing to let him air it out to get back into a game.

On the other side of the ball, the 49ers are more than capable of keeping their foot on the gas, even when up by seven or more points. They have a strong running game and can get the ball in the hands of Deebo Samuel, who is capable of turning short passes into massive gains.

The game’s scoring environment would shift toward favoring the over in this scenario, and that’s when I will be looking to possibly come in on the total.


Koerner is 197-138-3 (58.8%) overall betting on the NFL. Follow his picks in our free app.

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