NFC Championship Game Betting Preview

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The late game on Sunday is for the NFC Championship, as the five-time Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers host the zero-time Super Bowl participant Detroit Lions.

That is the storyline heading into this game. The Lions are the only team in the NFL that has existed for all 57 of the previous Super Bowls and not played in at least one. They are now just 60 minutes of football away from breaking that streak and ending generations of suffering in Detroit.

The Lions haven’t come out of nowhere. When the season began, NFL online sportsbooks had Detroit as the fourth betting favorite to win the NFC, behind the 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Dallas Cowboys. Both the Eagles and Cowboys flamed out in the Wild Card Round. But the 49ers, who have had the best offense in the NFL, remain.

Back then, the Lions were +950 to win the NFC, and San Francisco was +390. Now, the Lions are a big underdog.

Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers (-7)

Online sportsbook has the point spread on this game at 7 points in favor of the 49ers. The moneyline is -354 for the 49ers and +284 on the Lions.

These lines are significant because the 7-point spread is easily the largest against Detroit all season. They were 4.5-point underdogs in Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs, and won that game. They were 5-point underdogs in Week 17 at the Dallas Cowboys, and lost by just one point in a controversial ending that should have had Detroit winning the game.

The Lions are 2-1 straight up this season when the underdog, and overall, they have been making money for regular bettors at Michigan online sportsbooks. Against the spread in the regular season, the Lions were 12-5, and last week they covered against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Divisional Round.

Also, if you like offense, you like the Lions. The over hit in 11 games of the regular season, and again last week against the Bucs.

The 49ers hit the over in 10 of their regular season games, but came up six points short last week against the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round. San Francisco also failed to cover the spread against the Packers – the ninth time this season they lost against the spread. 

The 49ers have been the favorites in all nine of their home games this season. But they are just 3-6 ATS in those games. Last year in the playoffs, they won against the spread in both of their home playoff games. 

Top Prop Bets

In the playoffs, proposition bets become a huge part of NFL betting, with Championship Sunday serving as a warm-up act for the big prop day on Super Bowl Sunday.

We have the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jared Goff, with a passing yards line of 259.5. We have the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Brock Purdy, with a passing yards line of 279.5. Neither quarterback went over his passing yards line last week. However, Goff has been at 260 yards or better in five of his last six games.

From Week 8 to Week 14, Purdy was at 280 yards or better in five of six games. But since throwing for 368 yards against Seattle in that Week 14 win, he has thrown for 242, 255, 230, and 252. Although it is worth noting that the Lions rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, and in their last five games they have given up an average of 373 yards passing.

If Purdy does light it up, he may not have Deebo Samuel in the game to catch passes. He’s banged up with a shoulder injury, and will be a game-time decision. That makes the 49ers other receivers all interesting bets. Brandon Aiyuk’s line is 80.5 yards, George Kittle’s is 61.5, and Christian McCaffrey’s is 36.5.

The top receiver for the Lions is Amon-Ra St. Brown, and his receiving yards line is 84.5. He led the NFL this season with 10 games over 100 yards.

One of the surest bets all season long has been on Christian McCaffrey to score a touchdown. He has gotten into the end zone in 14 of 17 games played this year, and he is paying -370 to score on Sunday. Aiyuk is -125, and if Samuel plays he is -105. For the Lions, rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs is +115, St. Brown is +125, and rookie tight end Sam LaPorta is paying +150.

KIckoff for the Lions and 49ers on Sunday is 6:30PM ET.

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