NFL Championship Round Handicapping

The 2014 NFL season is nearing the end. We are down to four teams, which is also known as the Championship Round. Amazingly, there really haven’t been any surprises, as all four teams were among the favorites to win the Super Bowl coming into the season.

The Seattle Seahawks will host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship in a battle between two NFC West rivals. In the AFC Championship, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will visit Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

The Seahawks are installed as 3.5-point favorites over the 49ers with a total set of 39.5 points. The Broncos have been listed as 4.5-point favorites over the Patriots with a total set of 55 points. How should you go about handicapping these two games? Let’s take a look at how teams have done in the past in certain situations during championship weekend.

Is There an Advantage Playing Saturday and Getting an Extra Day’s Rest?

It appears that if anything, it has actually been a disadvantage to get the extra day of rest. I honestly figured it would be opposite since an extra day is a big deal, especially since they get to watch their potential upcoming opponent on Sunday after winning the game Saturday. That’s essentially like having an extra day of film to study your opponent.

How Important is Home-Field Advantage?

Teams with home-field advantage have been a losing bet as well. It could be because the betting public believes home-field advantage is more important than it really is in the playoffs. There’s no question it’s going to be loud if things are going good for the home team, but if a road team gets off to a good start, then that can silence a crowd and eliminate the home-field advantage.

How Have Home Teams Fared With a Line Less Than Home-Field Advantage of -3.5?

Oddsmakers have been very wise when setting lines for these teams. They have realized that the home-field advantage wasn’t enough of an advantage for these teams, thus they have gone just 2-5-1 ATS for 29 percent winners. Five of the eight have lost outright. You can find the Seahawks are -3 in some places, which is certainly worth noting.

How Have Home Teams Fared With a Line More Than Home-Field Advantage of -3.5?

Again, oddsmakers have been spot-on with these lines too. They have realized that the home team is better than it gets credit for, or that the home-field advantage is stronger than -3.5. These teams have gone 9-5 ATS for 64.3 percent winners. It’s also worth noting that the Broncos are favored by 4.5 against the Patriots.

How Have Teams Done Revenging a Loss Against Opponent From a Different Division?

Obviously, this only applies to the Broncos vs. Patriots game. Denver is in revenge mode after blowing a 24-0 lead to the Patriots to lose 31-34 in overtime. These teams have managed to get revenge and win outright eight out of 13 times in the Championship Game. They have also covered the spread nine out of 13 times for 69.2 percent winners.

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