Last week saw one colossal upset, the Colts over the Broncos. As we’re only one game away from the Super Bowl, what surprises will this weekend bring?
January is the best month of the year. The New Year has begun and everyone is filled with hope and optimism. More importantly, the NFL playoffs are in full swing! And the 2014 season is culminating in a fantastic playoff finish.
Last week the Colts stunned the Broncos (who many oddsmakers picked to win the Super Bowl) as upstart Andrew Luck upstaged the ageing Peyton Manning. The Patriots just squeaked by the Ravens, and over in the NFC, the Packers beat the Cowboys while the Seahawks topped the Panthers at home.
We’re down to the Final Four, the final slate of elimination games before the Super Bowl. As football fans, we can barely contain our excitement. As football bettors, we’re chomping at the bit to get a line down on this weekend’s games. If you plan to place a wager on the NFL conference championships, consider the following.
Can the Seahawks repeat? Green Bay at Seattle
Last year the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos as 2.5 point underdogs. When the 2014 season began, every online sportsbook in America picked them to repeat. And there was little reason not to.
• Seattle -7, Green Bay +7
• New England -6.5, Indianapolis +6.5
• Online sportsbook Bovada caters to US players
They returned up-and-coming quarterback Russell Wilson, who has lived up to all expectations. They still have stud running back Marshawn Lynch, and you won’t find a more talented defense anywhere. Back in October, however, there were serious doubts about this team.
The Hawks had a 3-3 record as of October 19 and were struggling on both sides of the ball. Their fortunes began to turn around, however, when they traded talented but troubled wide receiver Percy Harvin to the New York Jets. Seattle went on an 11-1 run after October 19, and once again look like the favorite to win the Super Bowl.
Seattle will be at home against the Packers, a team which last won the Super Bowl in 2011. Oddsmakers are favoring the Seahawks heavily with a -7 spread, but the Pack shouldn’t be taken lightly. They led the league in scoring offense at 30.4 points per game and are fresh off a big win against the Cowboys.
Expert pick: The Seahawks will win, but the Packers will beat the spread
Will Brady pass the torch to Luck? Indianapolis at New England
Dubbed the “War of 1812,” the Colts-Broncos showdown saw Peyton Manning take on his old team and the hotshot young quarterback they traded him for, Andrew Luck. The Colts shocked everyone, winning at Denver as 7-point underdogs.
The Colts victory was also the symbolic end of an era: Peyton handed Luck the reins as the NFL’s best quarterback. Well, almost. Luck surpassed Peyton last week, but he still needs to get past Tom Brady before he can wear the crown.
At 37 years old, the twice MVP and three-time Super Bowl champion has no desire to go gently into that good night. 2014 saw one of his best seasons, throwing for 4,000+ yards for the fifth time in six seasons and 30+ touchdowns for the fourth time in five.
But as brilliant as Brady has been, the Patriots bring a balanced attack to the table: 9th in passing offense, 18th in rushing offense, 17th in passing defense, 9th in rushing defense. They host the Colts in Foxboro, which is a big part of why they currently sit as -6.5 favorites.
As scary as the big, bad, scary Patriots might look this week, the Colts are the epitome of “who cares?” Last week’s stunner over the Broncos show that they can beat anyone, anywhere. As impressive as Brady was this season, Luck was even better.
He threw for more touchdowns—40 to 33—and more yards—4,761 to 4,109—than Brady, and led the Colts to an 11-5 record without a star-studded supporting cast. That is precisely the reason why the Patriots can be expected to win this game.
The Colts need a heroic effort from Luck in order to win. The Patriots could pull it off even if Brady doesn’t have his best performance. As the home team, they have too much going in their favor. On the other hand, the Broncos thought the same thing.
Expert prediction: The Patriots will beat the spread. Next year will be Indy’s year.
The best sportsbooks for betting on the NF playoffs
There are plenty of high quality online and mobile betting sites on the market, but a few we recommend are Bet365, BetVictor, and Bovada. All three offer great lines, a full range of props, and excellent bonuses. That’s why they’re some of the largest bookmakers in the world.
If mobile betting is your thing, BetVictor’s mobile app is considered by many to be the best in the business. If you’re looking to place a wager from the US, Bovada looks like your best bet. The Canadian online sportsbook caters especially to US players.
Wherever you choose to wager your money this weekend, follow two simple rules: bet smart, and have fun!