NFL Championship Sunday Best Bets and Analysis

We have arrived at NFL Championship Sunday, and I could not be more excited. The Ravens and Niners have the chance to prove to everyone they are who we thought they are, while the Lions and Chiefs could end up turning some heads today. There are countless storylines to follow, but luckily we are here to focus on betting.

Championship Sunday is finally here, and we are here to bring you the best betting trends, information, and predictions to prepare you for the slate. Here you will find the best ways to bet on the NFC and AFC Championship games. We went 7-2 in the Wild Card round and 2-3 in the Divisional Round, so are looking for another great weekend of NFL bets. As always, you can find my writeup for every playoff game in this article.

Through the first Eighteen weeks, the public amassed a record of 147-117 ATS (a 56% win percentage). Who would have told you at the beginning of the year that backing the public was the best way to bet in 2023 with any public betting trend? The public has finished better than both the money and sharp differential this year, with it already significantly beating out the sharp differential. 

The playoffs make it a little tougher to talk about public betting trends since we have so little data to go off (down to 2 games per Championship round every year). The main takeaway for this year’s playoffs is the public has not been great. 2-4 ATS in the Wild Card Round and 1-3 ATS in the Divisional Round, is a possible 0-2 Championship Round ahead of them?

Before we get into it, welcome to Happy Hour Sports, my name is DJ and I track how the public and money do each week in the NFL. We want to take the phrase “fade the public” further because everyone talks about the betting public and money data, but when those numbers are brought up, there is no context around them. People assume high tickets on one side is bad, and high money on the other side is good. However, we are here to prove those claims right or wrong, every single week.

Our goal with Sharpen the Public and the weekly articles on this website is to provide context to the numbers and develop discourse regarding the data. If you are ever curious as to when the public does good, or what sharp differentials are strong indicators that a bet is the sharp side, then you have come to the right place. Follow the podcast and listen to us break everything down each week! 

With that out of the way, it’s time to get into this week’s best bets and analysis. Here you will find the bets that I place every week and some discussion on why I am taking most of them. We’re not trying to be those Twitter handicappers that scream max play at you, we want you to trust us. Don’t forget you can always find my recaps of the weeks here as well – detailing where things went wrong and how I did. I cannot get past this skid of going even, despite hitting a 2u play last week I have gone even over the past several weeks.

Deej Record from Week 18: 

Bets: 4-5

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Regular Season NFL Betting Trends

We have made it through the entire NFL Regular Season. Check out the full recap article and many other NFL pieces at our NFL BETTING PICKS. Additionally, the recent podcasts always break down the updates to the trends. If you missed that, here they are:

  • Public Betting Percentage: 147-117 ATS (56%)
  • Money Betting Percentage: 141-123 ATS (53%)
  • Sharp Differential: 133-131 ATS (50%)
  • Public on Over: 71-83 (46%)
  • Money on Over: 48-54 (47%)
  • Sharp Diff. on Over: 32-28 (53%)
  • Public on Under: 60-50 (54%)
  • Money on Under: 88-75 (54%)
  • Sharp Diff on Under: 114-90 (56%)

Here are the trends for the Current Playoffs:

  • Public Betting Percentage: 3-7 ATS
  • Money Betting Percentage: 5-5 ATS
  • Sharp Differential: 6-2 ATS
  • Public on Over: 5-2
  • Money on Over: 3-2
  • Sharp Diff. on Over: 4-1
  • Public on Under: 2-1
  • Money on Under: 3-3
  • Sharp Diff on Under: 3-2

Now, we are the only people who provide deep recaps on these numbers like this every week; but, we are also the only sports betting brand that will dive deeper into these numbers and tell you important ranges that trends emerge from the already crazy trends you see above. 

I’ve made it a point over the entire year how well the public has performed in 2023. However, what may be even more interesting is how well they have done when there are more than 60% of the tickets on a side. The public went 84-59 (59%) when the teams are what I call an actually public side. Below 60%, games feel like either team could be the public side (depending on the number), but actual public teams have fared incredibly this year. Specifically between 60%-70%, those teams are 59-37. This means that above 70%, teams are 25-22, which is still far better than anyone would have predicted to start the year. This is one of the reasons I love bringing this information to everyone. Here are the public sides this weekend (none currently sit above 60% of the tickets):

  • Ravens -4.5, Lions +7

The public went 1-1 ATS on 2022 Championship Sunday.

Switching to totals:

Public on Over (Last 8 Weeks): 37-31

Money on Over (Last 8 Weeks): 27-18

Sharp Diff. on Over (Last 8 Weeks): 20-10 

A point I made during the midpoint of the season was that all of our metrics (public, money, and sharp diff.) would likely bounce back to finish out the year as we saw overs come back into the fold. Additionally, this was something we saw last year, so we could use that to our advantage in 2023. I did not think it would be as dominant as you see above. People are reading totals well, and last week every sharp differential predicted the total correctly. There are some weather concerns for a couple of games this week, but in line with the trends here are the games this weekend with the public on the over (any with sharp diff. to the over are bolded):

  • Chiefs/Ravens (44.5) and Lions/Niners (50.5)

The public went 0-1 on 2022 Championship Sunday

Now we know the money is meant to be one of the metrics that performs well all season. To start the year, any team that had greater than 50% of the money percentage had covered about 50% of the time. Over the last 8 weeks (including playoffs), the money percentage has picked up pace and went 63-49, covering at a 60% rate to bring their season-long record to 141-123, and closer to what it was to end last year. Here are the teams with the money today (keep in mind the money may have come in at different numbers and bolded also have sharp differential):

  • Ravens -4.5, Niners -7

Sharp Differential Sides went 2-0 on 2022 Championship Sunday.

The last thing I want to cover is a few team trends and Championship Week Trends that stand out to me and are looking like they will happen today. Each of these trends is how the public betting metrics (public, money, and sharp diff.) have fared on certain teams in 2023:

  • Lions were 8-2 ATS when the public backed them (currently sitting with 52% of the bets), 7-2 ATS when the money backed them, and 6-1 ATS when the sharp differential backed them in the regular season.
  • Ravens went 8-3 ATS when the public backed them this year, 7-1 ATS when the money backed them, and 5-1 ATS when the sharp differential backed them. They currently only have the public, the money, and the sharp differential.
  • Lamar is historically terrible as a favorite (15-23 ATS as a home favorite). 4/5 of his career playoff games have gone UNDER.
  • Teams are 24-41-1 ATS over the last 4 seasons coming off a game against the Bills (Chiefs today)
  • Goff is 34-35-2 ATS outdoors in his career. 
  • Chiefs are 15-5-1 ATS as underdogs since 2016.

Note that I am writing this around Noon on Sunday, so as bets come in these percentages will change. Although, they should remain relatively close to what they are now. Sometimes I will have late plays because I take public trends into account and those constantly update, so follow me @DeejHHSports on twitter to see those picks. Before we get into the picks I will plug the website one last time, thanks for checking us out! We are a small sports brand that is slowly growing. We provide daily and weekly content around the sports we love, so please consider sticking around and subscribing!

Staying with my new approach and going to release the plays a little closer to kickoff, but the Ravens and Chiefs preview is here. Lions/Niners will be released later!

NFL Championship Sunday Best Bets and Analysis

Kansas City Chiefs vs Baltimore Ravens (-9.5), Total 44.5

In the AFC Championship, we have an incredibly exciting showdown between Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes. The Ravens asserted their dominance last week against the Texans, whereas the Chiefs were able to sweat out the Chiefs for yet another year. Getting into my thoughts about this one quickly, I think it is going to be a major uphill battle for the Chiefs to climb. They are traveling to their second straight road game in the playoffs, which is something they have never had to deal with in the Mahomes era. The main issue though, in my opinion, is the team they have come up against. This Ravens team is front of the pack in all aspects. Starting with their defense, they rank number 1 in points allowed per game and defensive DVOA. Last week there was no rust after a bye week and they held the dynamic Texans offense to just 10 points. This limited Chiefs offense is going to have too much to deal with on their hand to get things done offensively. I think the game stays very slow and low-scoring because of this fact. The linebackers of the Ravens are the best in the league and will have a game plan to stop Travis Kelce, and then the elite Ravens secondary should have no issues dealing with the only Chiefs receiver that has shown signs of life, Rashee Rice. On the other side, the Chiefs defense is also going to have a lot to deal with. All season we talked about how dominant the Chiefs’ defense had been, and they certainly deserve their flowers. However, the weakest point of their defense is what they can do against the run. They ranked 19th in opponent rushing yards allowed in the regular season and it was clear through the Bills gameplan that that was how to play the Chiefs. Nearly 200 yards on the ground from the Bills in their Divisional Round matchup is very telling. Now, the Chiefs come up against the best-rushing offense in football, the best-rushing DVOA, and the team with the most rushing yards per carry in the Baltimore Ravens. I think as long as the Ravens take care of the football, they should have no issues bringing this one to Kansas City and dominating the game on the ground. That is also why I took Gus Edward’s over on the podcast, I think he has a great game today. I like both sides of this game in the spread and the total. The spread has only moved in the Ravens’ favor and that makes sense as they have the public, money, and sharp differential – all of which are strong indicators that the Ravens may cover (8-3 ATS this year when backed by the public). Additionally, the public is slamming the over, with major money on the under. I am backing the sharps today, and hopeful that someone can beat the Chiefs.

The Plays:  Ravens -4 and Under 44.5

Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers (-7), Total 50.5

The Plays:  Coming Later!

Podcast Plays without a writeup:

  • Gus Edwards o41.5 Rushing Yards 
  • Jahmyr Gibbs u3.5 Receptions 

 

Thanks for reading! If you guys like what you see or have any comments/critiques, please let me know on Twitter, I appreciate all feedback. Please also follow the podcast and share the website! 

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This is an article written by DJ Bianco

DJ Bianco Author for Happy Hour Sports at the Colosseum in Rome

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