And the Packers have been on the unlucky end of some big plays. (I checked, there wasn’t.) Every statistic I looked at points to Atlanta being a superior team.
Rufus Peabody: When I looked at the Massey-Peabody numbers on this game — we have Atlanta as only a 2.7-point favorite — I wondered whether there might be something wrong with the model. This one is a little bit scary, but I have to play the under.
Erin Rynning . 2-ranked offense and league-high 33.8 points per game, plus they’re on a nearly as impressive run of 6-1 straight up and 5-2 ATS (and 11-6 ATS overall compared to 11-6-1 ATS for Green Bay), but the public is still decisively on the Packers by a 2-to-1 margin.
Favorites are 6-2 straight up and against the spread so far in the NFL playoffs.
Pick: Green Bay 5, Under 60.5
Massey-Peabody Line: Atlanta -2.7; Total: 57.0
Wiseguys’ view: The Westgate opened Atlanta -4, and early sharps bet it up to -5.5 (it opened as high as Atlanta -6 offshore), but then the flood of public money drove it back down to 4 before settling at 4.5. We saw 65 points in the earlier meeting, and it can certainly be argued that both offenses have improved since then. The Falcons won the regular-season meeting 33-32, though they didn’t cover as 3-point home favorites. I agree with the move and — I can’t believe I’m typing this as I’ve long been an under bettor — still like the over. It really looks as if the Packers have been a very fortunate team — during their eight-game win streak, they’ve outgained opponents by only 0.5 yards per play, and they’ve benefitted from a plus-16 turnover differential. Overs went 3-1 in the divisional playoffs to improve to 5-3 overall.
The pick: Over 61* (lean to Falcons -4.5). That does concern me and does suggest these teams are pretty evenly matched. Louis and San Francisco all the way back m88 mobile in 2000. Sharps still side with the Falcons, and we’ve seen a few books go to 5.
Last week: 0-2 on O/U best bets
Public perception: The Packers have long been a very public team, though maybe never more so than during their eight-game winning streak (in which they’ve rewarded backers to the tune of 7-1 ATS).
Green Bay does have a few other advantages — it is better at running the ball and stopping the run than Atlanta. And it’s not as if the oddsmakers have caught up with either team in the totals department (I think they should have set this number at 66, which I believe should be the Super Bowl over/under) as the Falcons are 14-2-1 with the over including last week and the Packers are 12-6 with overs in their past six games.
Dave Tuley’s take: The NFL Vegas Rankings that I’m a part of here at ESPN Chalk agree with that line move, as we would make the line Atlanta -5.5 or -6. Believe it or not, empirically, the prior still holds some weight, even in the playoffs, and we had the Packers ranked third entering the season (with Aaron Rodgers grading out as the second-best quarterback in the league).
Season to date: 52-50-3 (51 percent) on ATS best bets; 45-31 (59.2 percent) with O/U best bets; 79-71-2 on ATS leans; 12-15 on O/U leans
This game also has the highest total of any game since a Week 9 matchup between St. The narratives make sense for the Falcons, too, but my numbers say these teams are comparable. While Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is certainly working his magic, the Falcons still have the more consistent and balanced offensive attack and the slightly better defense. This could just be the case of the books not being able to set the total high enough (note: in the dozen NFL games with an over/under of 57.5 points or higher, the over is 10-2). The Falcons also have been very popular this season with their high-powered No. Games with extreme totals have tended to be great over bets historically (albeit in a small sample), but my numbers still think this is a touch too high. My numbers even show that Dallas outplayed the Packers by 2.5 points last week.
Season: 29-37-3 (43.9 percent) on ATS best bets; 19-24 (44.2 percent) on O/U best bets; 14-8-2 (63.6 percent) on ATS leans; 8-5 on O/U leans
Spread: Opened Atlanta -4, now Atlanta -4.5
Total: Opened 58.5, now 61
PickCenter public consensus pick: 66 percent Green Bay
Last week: 0-2 on ATS best bets
The Westgate staff thought it was putting up a big over/under of 58.5, but bettors quickly moved it into the 60s, and it hasn’t reversed yet. But really, this is a pick that’s really hard to fit to a narrative.
Season: 15-23 (39.5 percent) on ATS best bets; 22-17 (56.4 percent) on O/U best bets; 7-3 on ATS leans; 3-4 on O/U leans
It’s the NFL conference championship games, and ESPN Chalk’s Vegas experts have you covered with our comprehensive betting previews for both games from our panel of handicappers. I expect a similar game this time.
Last week: 1-2 ATS with best bets (marked with an asterisk); 1-0 with over/under best bets; 0-1 on ATS leans
Note: All odds courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook as of Thursday morning. Here is their take on the NFC Championship Game.
So why is Massey-Peabody so high on Green Bay? This might seem crazy to some of you, but part of it is their prior (our preseason expectation for them)