NFL Betting Trends for AFC, NFC Conference Championships

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Yes, less can mean more. Gamblers observing NFL betting trends for conference finals gain abundant considerations on scoring props, over-unders, alternate totals, and in-game betting.

Here’s our look at these trends before Sunday’s big games between the host Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs, along with the host San Francisco 49ers against the Detroit Lions.

Related Pages: Best Sports Betting Apps | NFL Betting Promos | Super Bowl Odds | Super Bowl MVP Odds

In-Game Nirvana: More Gambling Choices on the Fly

A late 2023 programming innovation has brought gamblers more in-game selections. One of them, a menu item from DraftKings, mirrors the first and anytime touchdown scoring market that goes up before the kickoff – on every play.

Bettors can not only make a wager on whether a team scores a touchdown on its next drive but who will tally it. Star players and longshot scorers carry reasonably good payouts because they only have one drive to deliver a ticket.

This is a menu enhancement for the in-game betting realm. It’s already significant that bettors can wager on each possession, with options ranging from a touchdown, field goal, turnover, or even a safety.

Now, they can grab a longshot payout on a wager they believe makes sense.

Maybe it’s a receiver suddenly getting more looks because his teammate is double-covered. Maybe it’s a back getting more carries against a tiring defense. Or good field position from a punt, making a field goal the logical next-possession wager.

The bet rewards gamblers for following the game closely.

This became particularly viable during the Kansas City Chiefs-Buffalo Bills contest in the divisional round. Numerous lead changes brought significance to the new scoring props because the touchdown selections were paying off.

“We started unveiling this about halfway through the year, and it has been popular with bettors. They love it,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told Gaming Today.

“The nice thing about that wager is that, in this circumstance, you have a couple minutes to bet. We managed to get that prop up as soon as possible after the touchdown. You have time to assess what the right play is for you.

“The other popular form of in-game wagering is when you are betting between plays. In that case, you only have a few seconds to get it down, and whether you do may depend on how good your signal is.

“Either way, you have much more of a betting opportunity during the game.” 

Avello said this benefit augments the human-nature wagering uptick for playoff games.

“This is when you see [a] $10 bet [go up to] $50 and $50 bettors wager a lot more,” Avello noted. “The games are so much more meaningful. There are fewer games, but the bettors have had all week to focus in on them. They make larger bets with confidence.”

Public Betting Sentiment Favors Home Chalk

Avello said the 49ers opened at -6.5 against the Lions, but that number quickly bolted to -7. The betting line has fluctuated between those points ever since. (Best Live Odds for 49ers Spread: )

Regarding NFL betting trends, the Niners survived a major scare before escaping with a sloppy 24-21 triumph over the Green Bay Packers. Avello said the book’s liability balanced out with the Niners failing to cover and the Pack being unable to notch a big moneyline triumph at +10.5.

Books are believed to be heavily liable for a Niners Super Bowl triumph. But that isn’t necessarily so.

“The Niners have been the favorite for quite a while, but the Buffalo Bills were our biggest hazard,” Avello said of team that gained substantial bets at close to +700 and looked to be a threat to win it all.

But the Bills fell short against the Chiefs, 27-24.

This week, the Ravens opened at -3 with -120 juice against the Chiefs. Heavy Ravens support pushed the number up to -3.5, where it sat in the middle of the week. (Best Live Odds for Ravens Spread: )

NFL Betting Trends: Reading Between the Lines

The Lions have occasionally flashed signs of defense but primarily win by winning high-scoring games.

Their playoff victories both feature plenty of points among NFL betting trends. While the 24-23 nailbiter against the Los Angeles Rams fell to the Under, their 31-23 triumph over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hit the Over.

Now they have a total of 51 with a high-powered offense and suspect defense.

The arsenal of running back David Montgomery, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, and tight end Super Sam LaPorta is as good a triumvirate as any in football.

And their defense is porous. The Lions have allowed more than 400 yards in consecutive games.

The task for their defense won’t get easier against an offense that showcases Christian McCaffrey. DraftKings has him at +300 to score first, which is not a great number but reflects that he’s done it seven times this season.

Bettors may also look at McCaffrey to score twice. It’s +145 at DraftKings. Not a great bargain, but he is who the Niners look to near the goal line.

 

The weather is not expected to be a problem this week. The Niners and Packers played in a hard, steady rain. Sunday’s forecast calls for 70 degrees and no rain, perfect for the offenses.

Anytime TD Prop Analysis: Chiefs vs Ravens | Lions vs 49ers

Injury News: Bettors Wonder If Deebo Will Go

Another major key to this game is the health of Niners star receiver Deebo Samuel. He was lost early in San Francisco’s 24-21 triumph over the Green Bay Packers, and the Niners scuffled. They were fortunate not to fall too far behind, and McCaffrey’s go-ahead TD with 1:07 left was just enough to save them from blowing the No. 1 postseason seed with an early loss.

Samuel is a vital part of the Niners offense. The team lost all three regular-season games he missed. Samuel is a deep threat and spreads the field for other players.

He was listed as questionable at midweek but will probably play even if used as a decoy. The line reflects the expectation that he will play, Avello said.

Prop-Betting Considerations

Of course, they are all over the board, but some contenders jump out for perusal this weekend.

In the Kansas City-Baltimore game at the time of publish, Lamar Jackson to score first is +650 at DraftKings. Gus Edwards is +700. Travis Kelce stands at +750.

Isiah Pacheco is a nice, fat +850, while diamond-in-the-rough Rashee Rice is +900 to tally first and +140 anytime. Patrick Mahomes is becoming increasingly reliant on him. Rice is still slightly under the betting radar.

 

Anytime scorers are a crapshoot in the small plus-numbers range.

Baltimore has an explosive special-teams lineup, and this game looks geared for one potential game-breaking play. The Baltimore defense/special teams are +2500 to score first and +550 anytime. The Kansas City group is +3500 to tally first, +700 anytime.

About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Writer
Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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