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2017 NFL Conference Championships Predictions

Wow! Is all you can really say after the NFL Divisional Round. And now, it’s onward to the 2017 Conference Championships where the Falcons, Packers, Steelers, and Patriots will battle it out on the gridiron to decide which team crowns itself as the conference champs and heads on to Super Bowl 51. So which team are you betting on? Keep reading to get my NFL Conference Championship predictions.

  • What: NFC Conference Championship Playoff – Atlanta Falcons vs Green Bay Packers
  • When: January 22, 2017
  • Start Time:  3:05 PM ET
  • Stadium: Georgia Dome
  • Spread: Falcons -4
  • Moneyline: Falcons -190 vs Packers +175
  • Game Total: 60
  • Watch: ABC

Why You Should Bet on the Falcons?

It’s not the first time the Falcons beat the Packers this season. In fact, Atlanta is the clear favorite heading into this game and it’s not only because they’re playing at the Georgia Dome.

The Falcons have the best scoring offense in the league mostly because of how quarterback Matt Ryan is playing this year. He’s way ahead of the pack in this year’s MVP award race and this is among a group of quarterbacks of the caliber of Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Aaron Rodgers. Ryan has been the only quarterback to pass for more than 300 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions against Seattle’s Pete Carroll led defense. That should say how dangerous Ryan is.

But, it’s not only Ryan, it’s the entire offense that’s clicking well. With players such as Julio Jones who singlehandedly pulls most of the defense’s attention it gives other players, such as Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel, ample room to burn Green Bay’s secondary. Again, eight different receivers caught a pass against Seattle’s defense.

And, when you throw in their running game things get even better. The high-powered duo of Devonta Freenman and Tevin Coleman cut through Seattle’s run defense nearly combining for 102 rushing yards and one touchdown. These two should be able to move the chains effectively against Green Bay.

Why Should You Bet on the Packers?

The Packers played the best game of the divisional round and masterfully defeated the Cowboys on their home turf. Aaron Rodgers led the way to the 34-31 victory, but it was kicker Mason Crosby who sealed the deal with a 50-yard field goal with 12 seconds left on the clock.

Rodgers along with Jared Cook will be key to a Packers victory. Cook stepped up in the absence of Jordy Nelson who won’t likely be returning for this game but is listed as doubtful. And though this limits Green Bay’s attack,  Cook grabbed six catches for 104 receiving yards and one touchdown against the Cowboys.

Betting Trends

  • Green Bay is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games
  • Green Bay is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Green Bay's last 5 games
  • Atlanta is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
  • Atlanta is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Atlanta's last 5 games

Game Prediction: It’s Rodgers vs Ryan so expect a shootout and high points on the scoreboard. Between the two teams, they’ve averaged over 60 points per game so my bet is on the over.

  • What: AFC Conference Championship – Pittsburgh Steelers vs New England Patriots
  • When: January 22, 2017
  • Start Time:  6:40 PM ET
  • Stadium: Gillette Stadium
  • Spread: Patriots -5.5
  • Moneyline: Patriots -230 vs Steelers +210
  • Game Total: 50.5
  • Watch: ABC

Why Should You Bet on the Steelers?

The odds were against the Steelers to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs, but behind a gritty performance, and field goal after field goal from Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh toppled KC at Gillete Stadium.

Though none of Pittsburgh’s scores against Kansas City were made by anything Roethlisberger did, he was instrumental in the win. Big Ben’s numbers were fairly conservative, passing for 224 yards on 20 of 31 completions, zero touchdowns and one interception but he managed to steer the offense to within kicking range for Boswell.

However, against the Pats the three B’s will likely have to take over. Roethlisberger will have to go with what’s worked for the Steelers this season: combine an effective passing attack with Antonio Brown along with a relentless ground game with Le’Veon Bell. Bell picked up 170 rushing yards on 30 carries while Brown pulled in six passes for 180 yards.

Why Should You Bet on the Patriots?

Everyone expected the Patriots to go on a beeline for the Super Bowl this year. Even without Brady playing through the first four games of the season, New England wouldn’t be deterred. However, though KC was everyone’s pick to stand up against New England’s might, it’s Pittsburgh who could complicate matters for them.

Obviously, Tom Brady’s leadership and experience will be key to winning this game. Though Brady didn’t exactly impress against the Texans, passing for 287 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, he’s bound to bounce back in this game when the stakes are this high.

And, even if the unlikely happens (that Brady has an off game), New England’s running game is equally as effective as its passing attack. With Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount spearheading the way, the Patriots tore through Houston’s ground defenses. Especially Lewis, who rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns, can turn into a nightmare for the Steelers defense.

Now, New England’s touted offensive line slipped against the Texans and allowed Brady to be sacked twice and be hit more than a handful of times. If they allow Pittsburgh even an inch it could get hairy fast.

Betting Trends

  • Pittsburgh is 7-1-1 ATS in its last 9 games
  • Pittsburgh is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 16 of Pittsburgh's last 22 games
  • New England is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
  • New England is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
  • New England is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games at home

Game Prediction: After watching the Steelers defeat Kansas City, I have to admit I’m not so certain as I was that it’ll be easy pickings for the Patriots. I still believe New England will win but I don’t think they’ll cover. My bet is on Pittsburgh plus the points.