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Recreational bettors tend to wager on favorites, because it is fun to cheer for the more talented team which is often favored in the betting markets. Oddsmakers know this and will inflate the line, forcing the public to take bad numbers.
Savvy gamblers can capitalize on this tendency by wagering on underdogs. Since 2003, underdogs have gone 99-80-4 (55.3%) against the spread (ATS) in the playoffs according to Bet Labs.
This is a simple approach to wagering on the NFL postseason that has been a consistent winner.
With that said, we can make this strategy even better.
NFL Conference Championship Game Betting Strategy
While all underdogs perform well in the playoffs, they truly bark when the line moves in their direction (+4 to +3, for example).
Since 2003, teams that became smaller underdogs in the playoffs have gone 38-13-2 (75%) ATS. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $2,332 following this system.
Why has it been profitable to bet underdogs even after the line moves? It is important to understand what is causing the line movement.
As we discussed earlier, the public tends to wager on the favorites. If the line moves in the underdog’s direction, this is an indication that smart money is taking the points. Professional bettors don’t always win, but being on the same side as sharps is a profitable long-term strategy.
In the AFC Conference Championship game, the Tennessee Titans opened as 7.5-point underdogs in Kansas City against the Chiefs. (3:05 p.m. ET, CBS). A majority of spread tickets are on Patrick Mahomes & Co. as home favorites, but the line has shifted from Titans +7.5 to +7.
With the line moving in Tennessee’s direction, the Titans are a match for our system.
And it’s not just history that points to value on the underdogs. According to the Action Network NFL simulations, the projected spread for the AFC title game is Chiefs -3.8.
I’m betting the Titans and would feel comfortable wagering on Tennessee down to +6.