NFC Conference Championship – Free Betting Preview and Prediction
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons -5 Total: 60.5
The Packers head to the Georgia Dome to take on the Falcons in a game that has one of the highest totals (if not the highest) of the season at 60 points. That total may seem high, but when these two teams met back on October 30th – they totaled 65 points between them.
That game, like the one coming up on Sunday, was also played at the Georgie Dome. The Falcons narrowly won that game by a score of 33-32. Neither Matt Ryan or Aaron Rodgers threw for 300 yards in that game, but they did combine for seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
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It’s hard to forget that the Packers were a team that many thought would miss the postseason. They had six losses after Week 11 but managed to run the table after that and finish the season with a 10-6 record an NFC North title.
They did it on the back of Aaron Rodgers, who has put his team on back, not only to close out the regular season but in the first two rounds of the playoffs. He’s thrown for over 700 yards in the two games so far, to go along with seven touchdowns and just one interception.
Green Bay handled the Giants quickly in the first round but had issues with the Cowboys offense late in the game after getting out to a big early lead. The game was tied late in the 4th quarter before Rodgers found tight end Jared Cook down the field for a big gain. It set up Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby for a game-winning kick, which he hit to give Green Bay a 34-31 victory.
The Packers are the hottest team in football over the past two months, but their injury issues cannot be ignored. They will need Rodgers in top form once again with injuries to wide receivers Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, and Geronimo Allison.
All three are expected to play but will be far from 100 percent. Nelson is dealing with broken ribs and is the shakiest when it comes to missing this game. We can expect limited snaps for Jordy if he does suit up. Green Bay will likely have to rely more on backup wideouts in Trevor Davis and Jeff Janis.
The Falcons – Offensive Juggernauts
It’s crazy to say the Falcons are still underrated, but I do believe that is the case, particularly when you look at the season they have put together. They won the NFC South with an 11-5 record and the league’s best offense.
In their last five games, they have scored over 30 points three times and over 40 points twice. Atlanta handed the Seahawks a beating at the George Dome last week, scoring on most drives and stifling Seattle’s offense for most of the afternoon to win the game 36-20.
The Falcons defense is below average, but they have been playing better in recent weeks, aside from giving up 32 points at New Orleans in Week 17. Offensively, there is no one with more firepower. The offense is mostly injury-free as well, which is rare at this point in the season. That includes wide receiver, Julio Jones, who reinjured his foot in last week’s victory. Jones will play this Sunday.
The Falcons opened as -4 favorites at the beginning of the week. This has risen to Atlanta -5 at most bookmakers, with some dealing -4.5. Over 60 percent of wagers have been placed on the Packers so far.
The total opened at 60 points, and that is where it still stands for the most part. Bettors are still favoring the over, despite the high number. Over 65 percent of bets have the oddsmakers’ total going over the number.
It’s not entirely unreasonable to think the Falcons might not punt in this game. The Packers defensive is weak, especially in the secondary. However, Green Bay may have just as good of a matchup on the other side of the ball.
This game will be high scoring, but I think more so, it will be close. If I had to take a side, I would lean Falcons, but for me, there isn’t much of an edge to be had with anything more than a field goal. This one may easily come down to the final possession.
The total is far more intriguing than betting Green Bay or Atlanta. Yes, this game will be high scoring, but should we foresee another 33-32 shutout like the previous meeting? I don’t think so, and there are several reasons.
Firstly, Green Bay’s offense is full of injuries. Rodgers is excellent, but nearly all his receivers have some sort of injury issue. Secondly, the Falcons defense has played a lot better in recent weeks.
Both defenses are bad, and both offenses are good, but 60 points is a lot of points. There are a couple of sportsbooks that have 61 points with standard vig on the under, making the bet even more appetizing at certain sportsbooks.
If you’re truly interested in betting sides – I’m going with the Falcons -5, but I think the best play is still the under.
Pick: Under 60.5