Hot & Not – Championship Game Angles

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Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under - O/U

NFC & AFC Championship Betting Angles

All it took to put the kibosh on fading NFL playoff teams that won SU but didn't cover was an appearance in last week's Hot and Not, as Buffalo and Tampa Bay won and covered with ease in the Divisional round.

Both teams saw the games drastically shift in their favor thanks to being on the right end of a turnover, and wouldn't be something to see the Bills final roadblock to a Super Bowl title being Tom Brady yet again, this time on his new home field and a one-game, winner-take-all scenario.

Can't imagine that will be the most fun two weeks for any Bills Mafia member out there leading up to the Super Bowl.

A Buffalo-Tampa matchup is only one of four potential Super Bowl outcomes we can get, and in terms of when the NFL started using the seeding method for the 1975-76 season leading up to Super Bowl 10, we've got a decent enough sample size to where we've had both #1 seeds make it to the Conference Championship and what has resulted.

We will start there, but we can't forget the ideas that have been scattered in these pieces throughout the season, as now that we are at the stage of a Super Bowl berth being the stakes, I'm sure some teams have a few more checks in those boxes than others.

Why not start with the big one though, and depending who you're a fan/backer of, you may want to hold off any AFC Championship bets before the NFC Championship game is finished.

Who's Hot

Since seeding began in 1975-76, 25 of the 45 playoff seasons have seen both #1 seeds make it to the Conference Finals. Only once in those 25 seasons have both #1 seeds lost in the Conference Championship (2018 Kansas City and New Orleans)

Really quite interesting to see the history of this one, as prior to the losses by KC and New Orleans in 2018 – two games that had unique endings to say the least – the league had been on a run of five straight times a #1 vs #1 matchup was possible in the Super Bowl, they got it.

Depending on what number you use the Patriots at in their Super Bowl 49 win over Seattle (pick, +1), the underdog in those Super Bowls was also 5-0 SU and ATS. Bad news for the favorite in a Kansas City/Green Bay Super Bowl that would be a year too late for me.

But should quarterabck Tom Brady and the Buccaneers get by Green Bay in the early game on Sunday, history suggests the Chiefs will be Brady's opponent.

Earlier in the year I touched on why that may not be the case though either, and while these past 25 times haven't always gone in chronological order as the potential betting spot we'd have here with a Tampa win early, it does go to show that a Buffalo/Tampa Super Bowl hasn't been the matchup that's connected really at all in the history of the league.

Let's not forget about an offside call negating a Brady interception and no pass interference flag thrown negating what could have been a Saints win in that lone year no #1's made it to the Super Bowl after each making the Conference Finals.

It could have easily been perfect in that regard, but Brady was already on the winning end of half of that 2018 outcome. Him being the last obstacle for Buffalo in a rare “both #1's make Conference Finals, none make Super Bowl” would be the story of all stories, and having two weeks to tell it would bring out quite the takes.

A Green Bay win in the first game though leaves the history on Kansas City getting through floating around 50%.

Obviously the status of QB Patrick Mahomes is going to be a hot topic daily this week, and even for as odd of a week as it was for the first meeting between Buffalo and KC this season - a scheduled TNF game got pushed to Monday afternoon – there is head-to-head film that will get poured over as well.

How much that changes on a normal week and Mahomes status in doubt is a vast range of possibilities right now, but any Bills Mafia member may want to pull for the Packers in the first game just in case. Brady hates the cold weather now doesn't he?

Why would Buffalo want to be up against a 96% historical angle against them, right?

Who's Not

13 of those 25 times we've had a #1 vs # Super Bowl; the AFC is 4-9 SU in those Super Bowl games

Another way to say that if we do get that KC/GB Super Bowl, betting on a repeat may not be the way to go. I touched on the run for underdogs in those #1 vs #1 games, and a healthy Mahomes vs Rodgers matchup likely has the Packers in that underdog role as well as being the NFC representative.

Two of the four wins from the AFC side came a long time ago in Super Bowls 10 and 18, but New England and Denver did do it back-to-back in 2014-15, but even New England's win over the Seahawks there could have gone a much different way.

The most recent meeting of #1's came when Philadelphia upset New England in Super Bowl 52, a much happier time around the Eagles football team then it appears to be now.

Oddly enough, three of the four AFC teams to win it do currently reside in Kansas City's AFC West division (Raiders in SB 10 and 18, Broncos in SB 50), but that's a small string to hold onto, considering the Chiefs are in that still rough 10-25 SU role for NFL playoff teams that won SU but lost ATS just to even get to the game.

Throw on Mahomes health being a question now, and Chiefs bettors that are already creeping towards the exit door on futures tickets might just want to step on through and move on.

That's not all that's working against the Chiefs this week.

Let's put together all the pieces from the year (and beyond) to see what comes out now that the Final Four are known.

Hot & Not - Recap and React

From Week 2: Since realignment in 2002, 28 of the 36 Super Bowl participants started the year 1-0 SU

Bad news for: Tampa Bay

The Buccaneers are the only one of the four teams to have started this year out 0-1 SU, as a Week 1 loss to the Saints was the first piece of the double revenge puzzle Tampa Bay completed last week.

Brady was responsible for two of the four Super Bowl titles those eight teams that did start out 0-1 SU eventually wo

From Week 13: Over the past 10 years, 19 of the 20 teams to make the Super Bowl had 4 losses or less after Thanksgiving

Bad news for: Tampa Bay

Another knock for the Bucs as they were 7-5 SU on the Wednesday after the holiday weekend (Dec 2, 2020), with the Packers, Bills and Chiefs all sitting on three or fewer losses.

Interestingly enough, only KC when they sat guys in Week 17 has lost since then, as Buffalo enters Conference Championship weekend on an eight-game winning streak, Kansas City (1 win), Green Bay on a seven-game winning streak, and Tampa riding a six-gamer.

From Week 14: Only 2 of 18 Super Bowl matchups since realignment have been a rematch from the regular season

Bad news for: Kansas City-Tampa Bay Super Bowl

A Mahomes/Brady Super Bowl would have football fans everywhere gushing over the matchup of the GOAT vs a guy that's well on his way down a similar path and looking to defend his title at the same time.

But as I said at the time, these regular season rematches just don't particularly happen in the Super Bowl, that is unless Tom Brady is involved of course.

7 of the 18 Super Bowls since realignment have been between two teams who played the same “direction” of the non-conference division.

This was a wild one to come across in my research, and I know it's still likely not explained the best in the header as my editors here at VI can attest to rereading it multiple times on the first submission. But I am actually thrilled to see it's alive and well to be a possibility this year, and not just one way either.

A Buffalo-Tampa Bay matchup in the Super Bowl, may have the #1 theory when both are in the semi's and at least one making the Super Bowl working against them, but both teams dealt with the “West” division in the opposite conference, the same thing hurting a KC/Tampa Bay potential rematch scenario.

That leaves a Green Bay-KC matchup in the Super Bowl, which would be both #1's as well, with the Packers playing the AFC South in non-conference play, and KC going through the NFC South. For the lifespan of this data, seeing one of those matchups would be great, detrimental to my own betting bankroll or not.

From Week 17: 17 of the past 20 Super Bowl participants won SU in Week 17

Bad news for Kansas City

Here is the other tough news to hear for Chiefs backers, but it's not like you can hate on them for resting their starters with nothing to play for in Week 17.

It's just been one of those historical oddities where teams that aren't good enough with reserves to win on Week 17 seem to foreshadow a tough end to the season, and teams that aren't good enough to tank and back into the playoffs off a loss don't seem to be long for the postseason either (see Chicago and Pittsburgh this year alone).

Mahomes status could end up being that asterisk should the Chiefs stumble without him on the field, but this is going to be a tough week for Chiefs fans to sleep regardless.

From SB 54: 22 (now 23) of the 29 (now 30) Super Bowl winners since 1990 made the playoffs the previous year

Bad news for: Tampa Bay

Massive roster change over or a big jump up in talent/improvement as “too much, too fast” tends to be behind this historical perspective being so strong, but Tampa is in the interesting case of being in the massive roster change category, and blatantly going out and trying to “buy” their way to a title.

The Bucs embraced their win it now mentality and if they get through all the other stuff and make it to the Super Bowl, being one of the few organizations to win it all after a year of no playoffs wouldn't be the most surprising thing for this 2020 Tampa team to do.

Since the start of the 2000 season, SB teams that had the QB with more regular season passing TD's are (now) 6-14 SU and 0-5 SU the past five years.

Bad news for: Both NFC Teams

File this one away for when we actually get the two teams left standing, but in order, the list goes Aaron Rodgers (48 TD), Tom Brady (40), Patrick Mahomes (38) and Josh Allen (37). Good news for either of the AFC teams then, as both will be on the lower end of the spectrum there no matter who they play.

Hot & Not 2020 Summary

Without being too committed this early in the week, it's not hard to figure out from this piece on the historical perspectives on how these Super Bowl matchups come to be, the Super Bowl matchup I'm already leaning towards.

The majority of those trends focus on who NOT to be backing, and when the most common answers to the team(s) that fit those roles are either Tampa Bay and/or Kansas City, the only answer that's left is us seeing a Green Bay vs Buffalo Super Bowl this year.

90%+ of the time we at least one #1 seed in the Super Bowl when both make the Championship Game, and it's only both #1's a little better than 50% of the time.

There are enough knocks on KC and/or a KC/Tampa Super Bowl that going with Buffalo makes plenty of sense even before getting to the Mahomes health question, and that's how it likely stays for me this week.

Going to be hard for that thought to change much this week from where I'm sitting, even with the most positive Mahomes health news there could be.

I am interested to see how the market reacts the rest of this week, though, as I'm sure positive Mahomes news only gives out a better number on the Bills.

Tampa could end up in the public underdog role as well, which makes Green Bay all the more attractive to my eyes.

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