Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

On the line from Vegas: Are title-game spreads out of whack?

By Tim Graham

Today's AFC and NFC Championship Games feature fascinating point spreads.

The Atlanta Falcons are the NFC's top seed yet are underdogs in the Georgia Dome. The New England Patriots opened as lopsided favorites, but recent history shows the Baltimore Ravens should keep it close.

Here are Las Vegas oddsmaker and Buffalo State grad Joel Staniszewski's thoughts and trends for the conference title games.

San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons

Spread: Niners minus-3.5

Total: 49 points

  • • San Francisco is 4-1 against the spread in its past five road games against a team with a winning record.
  • • San Francisco is 0-4 against the spread in its past four games after allowing more than 30 points the previous game.
  • • San Francisco is 5-2 against the spread in its past seven games in January.
  • • Atlanta is 12-1 straight up in its past 13 home games.
  • • Atlanta is 6-1 straight up in its past seven home games versus San Francisco.
  • • Atlanta is 0-5 against the spread in its past five playoff games.

Staniszewski's take:

"It's crazy to think a No. 1 seed in a conference championship is an underdog at home. That line opened at 2 and it just kept going and going and going. It's tough to turn down those points, but you have to base it on who's the hot team. San Francisco's the hot team. Atlanta should have lost last week. They were a flubbed kick away from losing. I think San Francisco's the play."

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

Spread: Patriots minus-8

Total: 51.5 points

  • • The underdog in this series is 3-0-1 against the spread in the past four meetings.
  • • Baltimore is 4-1 against the spread in its past five games after gaining more than 350 yards the previous game.
  • • Baltimore is 1-6-1 against the spread in its past eight games after allowing more than 250 passing yards the previous game.
  • • Baltimore is 4-1 against the spread in its past five January games.
  • • New England is 4-1 against the spread in its past five home games.
  • • New England is 10-1 straight up in its past 11 games.
  • • New England is 6-1 straight up in its past seven games at home against Baltimore.

Staniszewski's take:

"The point spread's a little high for this game. It opened at 9 points. Money is coming in on Baltimore. I think it's the right side to take the points, but it's tough to go against Tom Brady in a must-win game."

tagged

On the line from Vegas
comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement

About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | [email protected]


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | [email protected]


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | [email protected]

Subscribe

Advertisement