The final two spots for the NFL Conference Championships will be up for grabs on Sunday as the Houston Texans visit the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC clash and the Green Bay Packers host the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC playoff contest.
Kansas City and Green Bay received byes into the NFL playoffs, and both will play for the first time since the end of the regular season two weeks ago. The combination of a week’s rest and home-field advantage gives the higher seeds a tremendous edge in the Divisional round. Since 2010, higher seeds are 27-9 straight-up, and all four higher seeds won in the round last year.
Houston-Kansas City is set for 3:05 pm ET, with the game broadcast on CBS.
At Green Bay, the game is scheduled to kickoff at 6:40 pm ET, with Fox broadcasting the game.
Houston and Kansas City is the only NFL playoff game this weekend that’s a regular season rematch. Back on Oct. 13, the Texans went to Kansas City and beat the Chiefs 31-24.
Texas coach Bill O’Brien told reporters at a Friday press conference that he like’s how his players have prepared for the Chiefs.
These guys have been into it,” O’Brien said. “Very, very attentive in the meetings. I thought we were flying around in practice yesterday.”
Despite that, oddsmakers have the Chiefs as 9.5-point favorites, with the line up two points from where it started last weekend. The public seems to be behind the home team, too.
At FanDuel as of Saturday afternoon, 56 percent of the spread bets and 66 percent of the handle are one the Chiefs. On the moneyline (Houston +350/Kansas City -430), 58 percent of the bettors are on the Texans, but 53 percent of the money is on the Chiefs.
At William Hill as of Saturday afternoon, Kansas City represents 61 percent of the spread bets and 64 percent of the handle. On William Hill’s moneyline (Houston +360/Kansas City -440), the Texans have 71 percent of the tickets, but the Chiefs account for 69 percent of the money wagered.
Bettors at both William Hill and FanDuel are fading the under. At FanDuel, 55 percent of the tickets and 61 percent of the handle are betting the total points will exceed 51.5 points. The total is 51 at William Hill, with 51 percent of the bets and 60 percent of the money are on the over.
The Texans are hoping for some good with wide receiver Will Fuller, who has been battling a groin injury. He has not played since Dec. 21, but O’Brien expects him to be a game-time decision.
Seattle has been a trendy pick by some as a team that could win on the road this weekend. They are 8-1 on the road, including wins at top seed San Francisco in the regular season and at Philadelphia last weekend in the NFL Playoffs’ Wild Card round.
Oddsmakers responded by making the Packers only a four-point home favorite. That’s the smallest spread of any of the four games this weekend, and the betting public seems split on the game – at least from the point spread perspective.
At William Hill, 51 percent of the spread bets are on Seattle, but Green Bay represents 56 percent of the handle. FanDuel has seen 54 percent of its bettors take the Seahawks and the points, but again, more money, 52 percent, is on the Packers giving the points.
The moneyline at both books, though is decisively on the Seahawks. At William Hill, 82 percent of the straight-up bets (Seattle +180/Green Bay -210) are on Seattle, accounting for 69 percent of the money. FanDuel has written 77 percent of its moneyline bets (+172/-200, respectively) on the Seahawks, also worth 69 percent of the handle.
With temperatures forecasted in the low to mid 20s and the possibility of snow falling by the second half, oddsmakers are expecting a low-scoring affair. Both William Hill and FanDuel post the total points at 45.5.
And bettors are decidedly bullish on the under. At William Hill, 80 percent of the bets and 71 percent of the money are going that way. At FanDuel, 80 percent of both the tickets and the handle are on the under as well.