The Seattle Seahawks lead the updated odds to win the NFC Championship at -120, but in speaking with my fellow handicapper buddies, none of us are that hyped about them. The 13-3 SU and 11-5 ATS Seahawks benefitted from a weak, front loaded schedule. I know that they beat Carolina and San Francisco in the first two weeks but those were two weird games. Troubling near-losses to St. Louis, and Tampa Bay, along with outright defeats to the Niners and Cardinals should throw up red flags with the proverbial favorites in this conference.
Bearing down on Seattle is the second seeded Carolina Panthers. This will be Cam Newton’s first trip to the post season, and if you think this team can claim their second conference title, then go ahead and bet on their updated odds to win the NFC Championship because they’re a great bet. At +460 you could do a lot worse. The Panthers lost just two games after their bye week against Arizona and New Orleans and won games in a variety of ways: they won ugly, in blowouts and in slug fests consistently proving their resiliency and toughness. I love the Panthers overall.
Of course, it’s impossible to talk about the updated odds to win the NFC Championship without mentioning the revitalized Green Bay Packers at +975. Aaron Rodgers looked vindictive last weekend, while Eddie Lacy was a beast, in Week 17’s win over Chicago. The Packers don’t have a great defensive side, but Clay Matthews should be good to go after taking last weekend off. If you want to take the +975 odds here, they’re perhaps the best value on the board…but they have to get past the defending conference champions in wild card weekend.
That team is none other than the San Francisco 49ers who are at +550 in the updated odds to win the NFC Championship. In my eyes, this is the most complete team in the conference. They have a fantastic defense, that gave up the third fewest yards, the 8th fewest points and were ranked in the top-7 against the pass and the rush. You can focus on Colin Kaepernick’s shortcomings as a quarterback, but people who slept on the Niners last year at this phase of the playoffs were left eating dust. I’d prefer to burned on the bandwagon than off of it.
Two teams are logging in at +1150 in the updated odds to win the NFC Championship. The first is the Saints, who barely made it in to the post season to begin with and fell off the wagon as a betting team going just 8-8 ATS. Nobody should be that encouraged by the Saints despite the presence of Drew Brees. This is a weak team and the odds prove it.
Their opponent in wild card weekend offers much more intrigue. The Eagles gave up the most passing yards defensively, but were a top-10 team against the rush and also blossomed in to the second best offensive team in the whole league. During their last eight games, the Eagles went 7-1 SU and 5-3 ATS while posting a point differential of +11.9 points. The Eagles have a lot of tempting value as +1150 longshots in the updated odds to win the NFC Championship especially since they played so well away from home going 5-3 SU and ATS on the road. They’re perhaps the most curious play on this board, and I’m very intrigued.
However, this is a two horse race by my calculations. The road to the Super Bowl might go through Seattle, but the two teams to beat are the 49ers and Panthers who are the second and third favorites in the updated odds to win the NFC Championship and deserve more of your attention than the overhyped Seahawks.