Conference Championship Picks: Most Passing, Receiving, Rushing Yards
Conference Championship Weekend is here, but there’s more to bet on than just AFC and NFC Championship betting lines and point totals at online sports betting sites. You can find conference championship specials at several legal US sportsbooks.
Conference Championship Betting Lines
Conference Championship Specials
Most Passing Yards in the Conference Championship Games
It’s no surprise Patrick Mahomes is the odds-on favorite here. The Chiefs opened with the highest implied team total (29.8) on the slate, and Mahomes is fresh off a 321-yard passing performance against the Houston Texans. The last time the Chiefs met up with the Tennessee Titans, Mahomes threw for 446 yards. Three yards more than his 443 yards against Oakland in Week 2, it was the most yards Mahomes threw for this season.
With Drew Brees and the Saints out, there’s really no formidable competition.
The 49ers have been a run-heavy team, using a committee approach in the backfield made up of Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida. They’ll try to take advantage of the Packers 23rd-ranked DVOA versus the run on Sunday.
Could Aaron Rodgers end up with the most yards Conference Championship Weekend? Maybe. He has had two 400+ yard games this season but barely passed the century mark against the 49ers defense (No. 2 DVOA against the pass) in Week 12. I expect the Packers to be playing from behind, but I’m not sure it will matter against a ferocious 49ers defense that sacked Rodgers five times in their first meeting. The 49ers will hone in on Davante Adams after the wideout turned eight receptions on 11 targets into 160 yards and two touchdowns last week. If they do minimize Adams’ effectiveness, there’s really no other deep threat for Rodgers.
The Titans will try to keep up with the Chiefs by running the ball, first and foremost. Derrick Henry has 99 touches over the last three weeks, with only three of those touches being receptions. Tennessee won’t pass the ball if they don’t have to…but they might not have a choice. It’s safe to say the Chiefs will force Tannehill, who has the league’s best passer rating, to pass more than he has the first two games of the 2020 NFL Playoffs. But that’s not saying much. Tannehill threw for only 72 yards in the Wild Card game and 88 yards in the Divisional Round. Tannehill only passed the ball 19 times when they beat the Chiefs in Week 10 despite the Titans trailing most of the game.
Another problem with betting against Mahomes is that the Chiefs have aren’t afraid to throw the ball even when they have the lead.
Despite laying some juice, I think Mahomes is a perfectly safe bet. If I were to choose a dark horse, it would be Garoppolo. Maybe the Packers can stun the 49ers in the first half and force the 49ers to pass the ball a bit.
Most Rushing Yards in the Conference Championship Games
When it comes to most rushing yards in the AFC and NFC Championships, we’re presented with a scenario much like the one above. Take the odds-on favorite or try to find value further down the betting board?
As mentioned above, Henry has been a workhorse for the Titans carrying the ball 96 times over the last three weeks. Barring an injury, Henry is nearly a lock to get the most carries on the slate. If the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots weren’t able to stop him, do the Chiefs have any hope? If, like me, you’re considering fading Henry for DFS purposes, then betting on Henry to have the most rushing yards in the conference championships is one way to hedge your DFS fade.
It’s nearly a perfect matchup for the Titans’ running game, facing the 29th-ranked DVOA versus the run. The one way the running game might get away from them is if the Chiefs get out to a big lead, which is certainly in the range of possible outcomes.
Jones had five 100+ yard rushing performance during the regular season, and he’s cemented himself in front of Jamaal Williams as the Packers lead back. As Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders points outs, though Jones was used in just over 50% of snaps in Week 12 against the 49ers, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur has used Jones more in every game since. Despite Jamaal Williams active against the Seahawks, Jones saw an 84% snap share. The Packers have shown willingness to run the ball, and they have a better matchup on the ground than through the air against the 49ers, according to DVOA.
While I like the 49ers’ run game against a weak Packers rush defense, their committee in the backfield is reason for trepidation. Interestingly, Coleman, fresh off a 105-yard rushing game, is +1050 at DraftKings Sportsbook compared +700 at FanDuel. I still prefer to stay away from 49ers running backs considering Matt Breida got the first carry last week and Raheem Mostert was given 12 carries against the Vikings despite tending a calf cramp later in the game. All three runnings backs will see their fair share of action against the Packers.
Most Receiving Yards in the Conference Championship Games
|Travis Kelce||+400||DK & FD|
Most receiving yards in the conference championships is where things get interesting.
Davante Adams is the favorite, but he has the toughest matchup of the bunch. We know he’s going to get a ton of targets from Rodgers, who gave his favorite receiver double-digit targets in nine games during the regular season. Adams has been targeted 53 times over the last four weeks alone. But Adams’ ceiling is a lot lower against the 49ers defense, who held him to merely 43 yards despite 12 targets the first time they played.
As I mentioned last week, despite missing nearly one-third of the season with injuries, Hill has two games with 140+ receiving yards. Last season, Hill went over 100 yards in six games including four games between 139 and 215 yards. Hill scorched the Titans for 157 yards in Week 10, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he does it again.
If the Chiefs and Titans game turns into a high-scoring affair, with the Titans playing catch-up, then Titans’ rookie receiver Brown will be in play as well. Brown has shown the ability to put up big numbers on a minimum amount of targets. In fact, he caught for over 1,000 yards on only 85 targets in the regular season, making him the first receiver in NFL history to post 1,000 receiving yards on less than 94 targets. Brown has five games with 100+ receiving yards this season.
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