Examining trends for each team can help you make better-informed gambling and fantasy decisions. It’s never wise to bet a game based on a single trend and it’s also never wise to back off a wager based on a single trend, either. With that said, trends can point you in the right direction by corroborating stats and information you’ve gathered or they can make you reconsider making a bad wager based on flimsy data. I’ve gone game-by-game and compiled the most relevant trends for each team heading into this week’s contests. I’ve included any bets or leans I have for each game at the end of each writeup. Good luck with your wagers!
NFC Championship Game
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-5, 10-8 ATS) at Green Bay Packers (14-3, 11-6), 3:05 p.m.
Implied Team Totals: Buccaneers 24, Packers 27
Spread/Total Movements: 4 to 3, 51.5 to 51
Weather: 28 degrees, 35% chance of snow, 5 mph
Buccaneers Injuries to Watch: WR Antonio Brown (knee), DT Vita Vea (leg)
Packers Injuries to Watch: RB A.J. Dillon (quad), OT Jared Veldheer (COVID-19)
The Buccaneers advanced to the title game with a 30-20 victory over the Saints as 2.5-point road underdogs. Tampa Bay has now covered in five of its last seven games.
The Buccaneers handed the Packers their worst loss of the season in Week 6 with Tampa Bay beating Green Bay 38-10 as three-point home underdogs. That game was played in 88-degree weather in Tampa on Oct. 18.
Tampa Bay is 3-1 ATS as an underdog (2-2 outright) and 5-5 ATS on the road (8-2 outright).
The Buccaneers have scored 30+ points in five straight games and 10 times in 18 contests this season.
Tom Brady will be playing in his 14th conference championship game. For perspective, the Steelers and the 49ers have the most conference championship game appearances since the merger with 16. Brady has thrown for multiple TD passes in nine straight games and in 16-of-19 contests. He’s completing just 54.8% of his passes in the postseason against two strong defenses after completing 65.7% of his passes in the regular season. Brady had thrown for 348+ yards in four straight games before posting 199/2 passing against the Saints last week. Brady completed 17/27 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns in this meeting earlier this season.
Mike Evans got wiped out by Marshon Lattimore for the second time in three tries this season, but he did manage to turn his lone catch into a three-yard touchdown. He’s now scored 14 times and on 9-of-15 end zone targets this season. The Packers have given up just 14 TDs to WRs in 17 games and Van Jefferson scored the first WR TD against them last week since Week 13. This week, Evans will see a lot of Jaire Alexander on the perimeter, who has given up a minuscule .64 yards per coverage snap this season.
Antonio Brown will also see plenty of Alexander this week if he’s able to play. He stayed on the sideline for most of the second half last week after he picked up a knee injury in the first half. Brown had scored in four straight games (5 TDs total) before posting 1/10 receiving on three targets last week. AB wasn’t on Tampa’s roster for the first meeting between these teams. With Brown leaving early, Tyler Johnson posted a critical 15-yard catch on eight routes last week, while Scotty Miller recorded a 29-yard catch on two targets.
Chris Godwin has posted 4+ catches in five straight games but he disappointed with just 4/34 receiving on seven targets against the Saints last week. He also had his four-game touchdown streak snapped last week. Godwin saw a 26% target share when these teams played earlier this season but he managed just 5/48 receiving on seven targets. Slot CB Chandon Sullivan allowed a respectable 1.11 yards per slot coverage snap this season.
Rob Gronkowski has reached 3+ catches in just two of his 10 games since Brown joined the team. Brady missed him on a downfield target early in the game and they just missed on an end-zone target later in the game last week. The Packers gave up just 10.4 FPG to TEs this season (3rd-fewest) and Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett combined for just 2/5 receiving on three targets last week.
Cameron Brate has emerged as a key piece for this offense in the playoffs with 8/130 receiving on 12 targets and 38 routes in two games. He could have a bigger role this week if Brown is out or limited.
Leonard Fournette led the backfield last week even with Jones returning to the lineup. He finished with 17/63 rushing and 5/44/1 receiving on six targets against a tough Saints run defense, which gives him 239/2 scrimmage this postseason. The Packers allowed 139.4 scrimmage yards per game to RBs this season and the fifth-most FPG (27.0). Cam Akers posted 18/90/1 rushing with a six-yard catch against the Packers last week.
Ronald Jones appeared to be favoring his injured quad a bit last week with Fournette finishing with more touches (22 to 13). RoJo still turned his 13 touches into 62 yards with another long run negated by a penalty. He ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns in this matchup in Week 6.
The Packers have won seven straight games heading into the NFC title game.
They’ve covered the spread in five of those games with five wins by 14+ points in that span after they beat the Rams 32-18 in the Divisional Round as seven-point home favorites.
The Packers are 9-5 ATS as a favorite (12-2 outright) and 6-3 ATS at home (8-1 outright)
Green Bay has now played over the total in six straight playoff games after playing over a 45-point total last week.
The Packers have scored 30+ points in 13-of-17 games.
Aaron Rodgers will be making his fifth start in the NFC Championship Game in his 13 years as Green Bay’s starting quarterback. Rodgers posted 296/2 passing while averaging 8.2 YPA against the NFL’s best pass defense last week. He also scored a rushing TD against the Rams so he’s accounted for 3+ TDs in seven of his last eight games and in 10 of his last 12 games. Rodgers threw for 160 scoreless yards and two INTs against the Buccaneers in Week 5 with the Packers’ offense averaging just 3.3 yards per play.
Davante Adams has been held under 8.0 YPR in three of his last four games, but he scored for the 19th time in 15 games on his way to posting 9/66/1 receiving on 10 targets against Jalen Ramsey and company. He’s recorded 6+ catches in 14-of-15 games this season, including when he posted 6/61 receiving against the Buccaneers in Week 6. It was one of just three games in which he hasn’t scored in this season. Michael Thomas failed to catch a pass against the Buccaneers last week.
Allen Lazard snapped out of his funk since coming back from his core injury as he posted 4/96/1 receiving on a season-high eight targets. Lazard had failed to top 23 receiving yards in five of his first seven games since coming back from injury before last week. The Buccaneers gave up the fifth-most catches per game to WRs this season (14.8). Lazard didn’t play when these teams matched up in Week 6.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling mustered 4/33 receiving against the Rams last week but he did match a season-high with eight targets. MVS had been an all-or-nothing option in his previous six games with 85+ yards and touchdown in two games, and he failed to catch a pass in four games in that span. The Buccaneers gave up the 10th-most FPG to WRs in the regular season (39.3) and MVS posted 3/32 receiving in this matchup in Week 6.
Robert Tonyan saw exactly five targets in four straight games in Weeks 11-14, a mark he hasn’t reached in four straight games. He still caught all four of his targets for 60 yards but he failed to score for just the second time in his last eight games. Tonyan has now caught an absurd 86.2% of his targets this season (56-of-65). Tonyan managed 3/25 receiving on four targets in this matchup in Week 6.
Aaron Jones turned in 14/99/1 rushing with a 14-yard catch on two targets against a tough Rams defense last week, but he did cede 18 touches to Williams and Dillon last week. He has 15 or fewer touches in his last three games since Dillon emerged late in the year, but he’s averaging a healthy 7.3 yards per touch in that span. Jones managed just 10/15/1 rushing and 3/26 receiving in this matchup in Week 6 while Alvin Kamara turned in 18/85 rushing and 3/20 against the Bucs last week. The Buccaneers are hoping to get Vita Vea (leg) back this week for the first time since breaking his leg in Week 5.
Jamaal Williams finished with 12/65 rushing last week. A.J. Dillon picked up a quad injury in the fourth quarter last week after having a bigger role than anticipated with six carries for 27 yards against the Rams. Williams posted 4/34 rushing and Dillon had 5/31 in this matchup early in the season, with much of that action coming late in Tampa’s blowout victory. The Buccaneers faced the fewest rushing attempts per game (22.6) during the regular season.
*Green Bay Packers -3 (Best Bet)
Aaron Rodgers (GB) over 2.5 touchdown passes (Best Bet)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB) longest reception over 16.5 yards (Best Bet)
Aaron Jones (GB) under 14.5 rushing attempts (Best Bet)
Rob Gronkowski (TB) under 2.5 receptions (Best Bet)
Ronald Jones (TB) over 35.5 rushing yards (Best Bet)