The Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game on FOX. It is a marquee matchup between two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, with Tom Brady leading the Bucs, while Aaron Rodgers is under center for the Packers. Green Bay is listed as a 3-point home favorite, with the total at 50.5. Let’s look at NFC Championship Game odds, key matchups, key trends and NFC Championship Game picks.
Watch the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, January 24 at 3:05 p.m. Eastern Time. Bet on NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu every day of the season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers (3:05 p.m., FOX)
Packers -3, total 50.5
The Packers are the top seed in the NFC and right with the Chiefs in terms of current Super Bowl favorite. It is a little surprising that the number on this game isn’t a little bit higher. The Bucs do have Brady and there is no denying how great he has been throughout his career, but the Packers have Rodgers and Green Bay is the better team. The Packers also are playing at home and they rarely lose at Lambeau Field. Tampa Bay did beat Green Bay earlier this season, but that game was in Tampa and Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said to the media that his team is much different now than they were in Week 6. "I think our team has come a long way from that day, but everything's just words at this point," LaFleur said to the media, "You've got to go out there and you've got to have a great week of preparation and you've got to go earn it on the field. So that'll be our mindset and that's how we'll approach it."
This game comes down to which team protects their quarterback. In the first meeting it was the Bucs who kept Brady clean, while the Packers struggled to protect Rodgers. Brady has been excellent in a clean pocket, completing almost 72% of his passes with 36 touchdown passes and he had a passer rating of 115.1. The Packers didn’t get pressure on Brady in the first meeting, while Tampa did get pressure on Rodgers.
Just how critical is it to protect Brady and Rodgers? Brady had a 115.1 rating with a clean pocket and just a 54.5 rating when pressured. Rodgers had a 129.7 rating with no pressure and an 89.3 rating when pressured. The Packers protected Rodgers against the Rams and Green Bay rolled to an easy win. Their defense also harassed Jared Goff in that victory. Green Bay allowed 21 sacks this season, four of which came against Tampa Bay.
The home team is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings in this series. The Buccaneers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games as an underdog. The Packers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a home favorite. The Over is 6-1 in the Buccaneers last 7 games as a road underdog. The Over is 6-0 in the Packers last 6 playoff games.
NFC Championship Game Pick
I said earlier that I was surprised that the number on this game was only three. When the matchup was first determined I thought the Packers would be a 6-point home favorite. If you look at the matchups across the board there is no doubt that Green Bay has the edge. The Packers have the better offense, while the defenses are almost even. Green Bay also has the edge in special teams and they are playing at home. It is possible that Brady still has some magic left and can keep the Bucs in this game, but the most likely scenario is that Rodgers puts up more points and Green Bay gets the win. I’ll lay the points with the Packers.
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