NFL Championship Game Tendencies

By: Marc Lawrence | Monday, January 13, 2020
NFL Helmet

And then there were four.  
NFL’s version of the ‘Final Four’ kicks off this Sunday in the Championship Games where surprises have certainly been the buzzword. 
That’s confirmed by the fact that underdogs have managed to pull off upsets in 19 of 41 title games since the 1990 season, the most recent being both the LA Rams and the New England Patriots last year. More important, 12 of the 19 underdog winners went on to win the Super Bowl, going 12-7 SU and 14-4-1 ATS in the big game.
Let’s take a quick look at what’s worked and what hasn’t in the Championship Games, because when it comes to handicapping games at this stage of the season we can certainly use every edge imaginable.
Note: All results are ATS (Against The Spread) and are since the 1990 season, unless noted otherwise. 
What A Rush
Running the football is tantamount to success in the NFL, especially in the playoffs. See the Tennessee Titans this postseason.
It’s no coincidence teams who have managed to rush the ball for 100 or more yards in conference championship games are 29-16 SU and 31-13-1 ATS.
And when they manage to crack the 100-yard barrier on the ground against foes coming off a satisfying double-digit win, they zoom to 20-5 ATS in these games.  
The Chiefs allow more than 129 rushing yards per game at home this season.
Situationally Speaking
The odds makers have done a nice job overall balancing the books during this round, with favorites checking in at 31-28-1 ATS, and home teams 30-29-1 ATS.
Meanwhile, dogs of 8 or more points are 12-6 ATS. 
That could be music to the ears of Tennessee backers.
Gravity Alert
While high scoring games tend to be the norm in the NFL these days, teams arriving to the championship round off a high scoring effort in their last game have a tendency to come back to earth harder than a skydiver with a faulty chute.
Consider: only 11 of the 19 teams that scored 40 or more points in their Divisional Round victory have managed to win in this round, while going 6-12-1 ATS as well.  
Worse, if these same teams are at home they are just 3-9 ATS. 
That puts Kansas City on hard ground this Sunday.
Over There
Points aplenty in this league of late have forced the odds makers to raise the Over/Under totals bar.
Its what happens when there have been 34 OVERS and 23 UNDERS with 2 pushes in Championship Games.
Surprisingly, the higher the total the more OVERS there have been as games with a posted total set at 49 or more points going 7-3-1 OVER.
Stat Of The Week
The Green Bay Packers are 9-1 in one-possession games this season. They were 2-6-1 in one-possession games last season. 

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