NFL Conference Title Games Offer Good Betting Warmup For Super Bowl

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There are oh so few chances remaining to wager on the NFL’s 100th season — other than perhaps 2,873 prop bets two weeks from now — so it’s a good thing Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks have plenty of options for Sunday’s conference championships.

The eight online/mobile sites don’t have quite the Super Bowl level of choices posted, but there are far more than for regular season games — and more are presumably coming by Sunday.

Depending on which site you visit (and line-shopping can usually benefit a bettor), you’ll see not just point spreads, moneylines, and point totals, but numerous ways to package individual players’ performances and outcomes of the contests.

Some of the sportsbooks also offer extra payout incentives to encourage betting on the games by their existing customers, on top of the sign-up enticements for new players. We’ll do our best to explain below.

Chiefs favored by a TD in expected high-scoring game

No need to go crazy, if you’re a traditionalist looking for the standard options on the AFC’s Titans-Chiefs game kicking off at 3:05 p.m. ET or the NFC’s Packers-49ers contest that follows at 6:40.

The Chiefs have won seven straight games and are the current Super Bowl favorite (listed +135 at most sites). The surprising Titans — the AFC’s No. 6 seed — deserve attention of their own as winners of five straight road games who beat the Chiefs 35-32 on Nov. 10, in Patrick Mahomes’ first game back from a knee injury.

As of Friday morning, most Pennsylvania sites listed the Chiefs as a 7-point favorite, while FanDuel had them -7.5.

DraftKings joined FanDuel with the most favorable moneyline odds on the Titans at +280. Going the other way, FOX Bet offered the best return for the Chiefs, at -300.

The point total for the game inched up during the week, going as high as 53 so far at FOX Bet, Unibet, BetAmerica, Parx, BetRivers, and PlaySugarhouse.

If you like the over, FanDuel and DraftKings still had the game at 52.5, with the latter offering the better return with standard -110 vig, compared to -115 from FanDuel.

Packers an underdog to reverse earlier loss

The Packers have come a long way from a 37-8 thrashing by the 49ers in a nationally televised night game on Nov. 24. They have won their last six games, in fact, and are 14-3 like San Francisco.

But the 49ers have been consistently stronger, and oddsmakers have them a 7.5-point favorite across the board. They handily defeated the Vikings last week while Green Bay had to hold off a Seattle comeback attempt.

On the moneyline as a 49ers backer, the best you can do with the Pennsylvania sites betting the favorite is -335 at FanDuel and DraftKings. For the Packers, the +280 offered by DraftKings is a little better than its competitors.

The game is not expected to be as high-scoring as the AFC contest, but the over/under has also crept up during the week for this one. Most sites list 46.5, while BetAmerica has 46.

Let the prop betting begin

It’s the time of year when both sportsbooks and bettors enjoy being more creative, and FanDuel, the market leader in Pennsylvania online betting, is a good example.

It already has 42 parlay props that package outcomes in different games or with multiple players.

For instance, if the Chiefs, 49ers, and Titans combine for 11 or more TDs, a bet is paid off at +135. If you bet on 13+ TDs, the payout is +390.

If you correctly pick Travis Kelce, Davante Adams, A.J. Brown, and Deebo Samuel to each have at least 75 receiving yards, you’re paid off at 9/1. It’s 12/1 on 75 rushing yards each by Derrick Henry, Aaron Jones, Damien Williams, and Raheem Mostert.

DraftKings has numerous player prop parlays that match individual performance with team win, such as +350 odds for a combination of a Chiefs win with Mahomes throwing for at least 350 yards and three TDs.

FOX Bet has at least 35 “bet boosts,” where it lists normal odds for an outcome and tells how it’s making them more favorable. For one, if the 49ers win with the help of at least two TDs by George Kittle, the payout is +1000 instead of +900.

The odds are also +1000 for its Lightning Strikes Twice special: the 49ers to beat the Packers by at least 29 points, as they did earlier in the season.

BetAmerica is looking ahead to the Super Bowl already, offering odds on the eight possible outcomes. They range from the Chiefs to beat the 49ers, at +200, to the Titans over the Packers at +3000.

The other online sites don’t currently have as many exotic offerings, but they’re all worth checking by Sunday.

Some betting specials are worth a look

No matter who you like in the games, team-wise or player-wise, FanDuel is offering two of the same attractive NFL specials it had during the regular season.

Its Blown Lead Insurance lets you make a moneyline bet on any of the four teams, with a site credit of up to $50 offered if your team leads after any quarter but ends up losing the game.

The second is its Same Game Parlay Insurance: Place a parlay of at least three legs on different options for a game, and if just one leg misses, you receive a site credit up to $25.

DraftKings, meanwhile, provides better odds than normal on the most likely players to score the games’ first touchdowns. Pick any player, and the return is at least 10/1 on a wager of up to $10. So, while the site says Derrick Henry and Damien Williams would normally be +550 and return $55 in profit for a $10 wager, you would now net $100 if your chosen player scores first.

For its part, FOX Bet is rewarding bettors just for getting into action on the conference title games. For every $20 they bet, they’re credited with $1 toward wagering on the Super Bowl, up to a maximum of $600.

That’s right, risk $12,000 on Sunday’s games and you’re provided $600 to venture two weeks from now. There are certainly plenty of opportunities to get that much money into play this weekend, whether at FOX Bet or elsewhere, but whether you do so is up to you.

Photo by Kyle Terada / USA Today Sports

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Gary Rotstein

Gary is a longtime journalist, having spent three decades covering gambling, state government, and other issues for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in addition to stints as managing editor of the Bedford (Pa.) Gazette and as a reporter for United Press International and the Middletown (Conn.) Press. Contact Gary at [email protected].

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