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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, January 16, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Both the NFC and AFC Championship showdowns this Sunday opened with the #1 seeded home favorites laying a touchdown to visiting underdogs. Through the week, sharps have moved both games off the key number. You regulars know that’s a very important development telling you a lot about how professional wagerers see these games playing out.

It takes either a lot of money, or a lot of respect for the people betting that money, to move off a 3 or a 7 in the NFL.  Let’s go through both games to see how sharps have been betting the conference championship battles you’ll be watching on TV Sunday.



Here the opener was bet higher, and we’ve seen a stable Seattle -7.5 through the week. This is a very clear indicator that sharps aren’t optimistic about the Packers. That hook would have been bought when it first became available if that was the case. Sharps like Seattle’s prospects against the injured Aaron Rodgers, and a Packers team that was fortunate to survive its game with Dallas last weekend.

I should also note that the public generally takes favorites in big TV events like this (which most of you know). Seattle money wanted to get in on the key number before that had a chance to happen. If the public does come in heavily on the Seahawks from now until kickoff, we may see the game rise to -8 or even -9. It’s not clear to me at the moment what number it would take for sharp Green Bay “value bets” to enter. We know it’s not +7.5. Might be +8. Though, sharps who do prefer the dog may wait even longer given how much Denver rose on game day last week in the same price range vs. Indianapolis. Eight and nine are relatively dead numbers in the percentages, so it’s hard to say. I can’t imagine that Green Bay money would stay on the sidelines if +9 were breached. (Also, if Aaron Rodgers looks to be moving very well in pregame warm-ups, that might encourage Green Bay money to come in more aggressively).

The Over/Under hasn’t moved off of its opener of 46.5 as of this writing. The quants made the number in that range. There are certainly concerns here about the health of Rodgers, and potential weather influences (it’s currently forecast to be windy). If Rodgers isn’t looking mobile in pre-game warm-ups, and the flags are stiff, I would expect Under money to come in. Squares (the public) generally bet Overs in big TV games, but are less likely to do that when a great defense is involved.



Here, we have a move in the other direction. And, that’s a fascinating development because the drop to Indianapolis +6.5 goes against the general flow of public money in big TV games, and the general flow of money on Tom Brady and New England in big TV games! Sitting in the exact same place as GB/Seattle on the opener, this one moved off a key number AWAY from a dynasty team, and wasn’t immediately bought back by value players.

In this case, a half a point is a HUGE move because of its context.

We can assume with some confidence that if the public bets New England through the weekend, we’ll have a tug-of-war between New England -6.5 and Indianapolis +7. Sportsbooks will be rooting very hard for the game not to land on seven because that would mean nobody lost their bets (only winners and pushes).

Not surprisingly, the Over/Under is up from an opener of 53 to 54.5. Sharps preferring the Over wanted to get in before the public bet this battle of quarterbacks. Weather doesn’t look like it’s going to be much of a factor…and Baltimore/New England on this field last seek made it to 66 points last week in very bitter cold. Under money is likely to come in if the line keeps rising. You saw that this past Monday in Ohio State/Oregon where late-afternoon sharp action was on the Under after the total rose too high. I would definitely expect that at 56. Might even happen at 55.

You’ll be able to purchase my BEST BETS in these games this weekend right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about my personal service, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 any time Friday afternoon, or Saturday/Sunday morning. I hope you’ll consider playing some of my Saturday college basketball to build your bankrolls for the big games Sunday.

It’s a shame the football season is winding down. But, we are positioned for some very exciting NFL action with three of the four best seeds still playing, and a nice Cinderella story with young Andrew Luck and Indianapolis. As I mentioned last time, I’ll start working in some basketball coverage very soon. It’s hard to do that on game days because the lines are going up later than they used to…and because sharp action is often delayed for a variety of circumstances related to the current basketball marketplace. I’ll find some general themes to discuss that will help your personal betting.

Thanks for reading. My next football report will be during Super Bowl week. Look for some basketball soon!


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Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri

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