I didn't write about the Conference Championship round because I really had no view on any of the sides and totals. I do have a view on this game, though, but it appears a lot of people do as well. There has already been a lot of money action on this game. Early odds had the line at Baltimore +4.5, with some places dealing Baltimore +5, and it was quickly bet down to Baltimore +3.5. At the current number, there appears to be a good amount of action on San Francisco -3.5. This could be fairly disastrous for a lot of books if the game ends with the 49ers winning by exactly 4 points. This actually happened during the Conference Championship, with money coming in on both 49ers -3.5 and Atlanta +4.5.
A lot of action will also come in on the props. With almost 300 prop bet possibilities at some sportsbooks, it's not unlikely that they may be off on a few of them. My favorite prop bet is "Who will have more penalty yards?" This prop will probably be dealt at around even odds, although slightly juiced towards the Ravens as they led the league in this category. I really like the 49ers in this bet. These are two of the most penalized teams in the NFL, so it's more of a toss-up than just seeing that the Ravens led the league in penalty yards per game during the regular season. The Ravens were also actually better at inducing opponent penalties than the 49ers. The main danger with the Ravens is that they hit too recklessly and accrue some personal foul penalties at 15 yards per. But the Ravens are also more likely to throw the ball very deep, and with two excellent receivers that can make fantastic deep catches, San Francisco could be vulnerable to large pass interference penalties, and that is what I'm counting on.
With the discussion of Baltimore's deep threats, let's move on to the game proper. I originally picked the under on the Baltimore-Denver game (and personally leaned Denver in that game) because I thought it was obvious after the Indianapolis game that Baltimore would live or die with the deep ball. I thought Denver would be able to stop it but they didn't. I wasn't sure if New England could stop it, and they couldn't. But I do believe that San Francisco, with two weeks of prep, will be able to stop it, or at least contain it enough to win the field position battle.
My pick: San Francisco -3.5
Enjoy the game everybody!