2017 NFL Conference Round SU Betting Pick

2017 NFL Conference Round SU Betting Pick

Written by on January 20, 2017

The NFL’s conference championships take place this weekend, as the Green Bay Packers visit the Atlanta Falcons in the afternoon (FOX), followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers visiting the New England Patriots at night (CBS). The Packers and the Steelers had to win games in the wild card and divisional rounds to make the championship, while the Patriots and the Falcons had the advantage of a bye week before the divisional rounds. Now, though, it’s one and done for all four teams to make it to the Super Bowl. Take a look at our NFL betting picks for the conference championships.

2017 NFL Conference Round SU Betting Pick

New England wins in a defensive struggle

Pittsburgh enters the AFC championship game riding a nine-game winning streak that began the week after a 35-30 loss at home to the Dallas Cowboys. The Steelers have a pounding offense that features the tough running of Le’Veon Bell but also has the capacity to throw the ball down the field for big gains, thanks to the arm of Ben Roethlisberger and the high-flying speed of wide receiver Antonio Brown. Against the Dolphins, that offense broke down a brittle Miami defense — but against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Steelers made several forays deep into enemy territory without finding the end zone, tallying six field goals in an 18-16 win. The Steelers will need to be able to finish drives in the end zone if they expect to stay with the New England Patriots, who boasted the #1 defense in the NFL this year in terms of opponent points allowed. New England has a bruising running back of their own in Dion Lewis, and the pairing of Tom Brady and Julian Edelman can make just as many big plays down the field, especially against a Pittsburgh secondary that can lose track of opposing wide receivers at just the wrong time. The Steelers do have a solid defense against the run, so I expect this to be a slugfest that the Patriots pull out at the end, perhaps pulling enough away from Pittsburgh in the fourth quarter to cover that six-point line.

Atlanta wins in a video-game style shootout

Green Bay comes in with arguably one of the best four or five quarterbacks of all time at the helm in Aaron Rodgers. Atlanta comes in with a quarterback posting the sort of historic numbers that make an MVP candidacy more than realistic in Matt Ryan. Neither defense plays all that well when it comes to stopping the pass, although the Falcons have a more ferocious pass rush than the Packers. The Falcons have amped up their defensive game since the midpoint of the regular season, while the Packers have suffered some key injuries in their secondary, and wide receiver Jordy Nelson will still likely be feeling the effects of fractured ribs, assuming that he makes it into the game. So while both teams will be flying up and down the field, Atlanta has more weapons — and I see the Falcons pulling out the big win, although it will not surprise me to see a scoring fest along the lines of what Green Bay and Dallas gave us last week.