With just three games left in the 2020-2021 NFL season, the focus for NFL betting has become magnified on each contest. This is AFC and NFC Championship week as the Green Bay Packers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs host the Buffalo Bills. Which two teams will represent their respective conferences in the Super Bowl? Time will tell.
When it comes to betting on the AFC and NFC Championship games, there is a vast amount of information available for consumption to make the best choices. As we do each week, let’s go over some facts to know before wagering on this weekend’s action.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers designate DT Vita Vea for return
The Bucs have the top-ranked rushing defense in the NFL and have allowed a league-best 3.6 yards per carry. That is anchored by an elite run-stuffing nose tackle in Vea, who has been injured since Week 6. In five games with Vea, the Bucs allowed the following yardage totals on the ground: 82, 87, 42, 46, 35. That is under 300 yards combined rushing in five games. Those are some absurd numbers, especially when those teams had Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey, Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler and David Montgomery.
Getting Vea back would make a huge difference for this already stout Bucs defense, which brings some value in betting some Packers unders based on their success on the ground.
Use Super Bowl futures to your advantage
What does this mean? We are at an interesting time in the NFL season where futures may carry more value than betting on a specific outcome from a betting perspective. For example, say you wish to wager on the Buffalo Bills money line to beat the Kansas City Chiefs.
At DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bills are +125 on the money line this weekend. But the Bills are +325 to win the Super Bowl. How does this benefit you? If you believe the Bills will beat the Chiefs, you can have a live +325 Super Bowl futures ticket to use next week as leverage rather than just cashing a +125 ticket this week.
What this allows you to do is enter the game with money in your pocket, assuming the Bills will not be large favorites in the Super Bowl should they win.
There are many ways to take advantage of the Super Bowl futures to maximize your return, so be sure to keep that in mind when wagering on this weekend’s games.
Patrick Mahomes is questionable for Sunday
This is an obvious one, as the Chiefs’ star quarterback went down with concussion symptoms in the Divisional Round. But what does that mean from a betting perspective?
The Chiefs are -2.5-point favorites at home against the Bills, which means it’s a neutral-site “pick ‘em.” If Mahomes were healthy, this line would likely be at least 4.5 points. So, if you believe that Mahomes will play Sunday, this line is full of value at -2.5. On the other hand, if you believe that Chad Henne will be the Chiefs’ quarterback, the Bills at +2.5 or the money line at +125 is also full of value (in addition to the futures strategy above).
There is nothing definitive on Mahomes’ status, but you can use your intuition to your advantage if you believe he will (or will not) play.