Packers vs. Buccaneers Betting Predictions

NFC Championship Packers vs Buccaneers
Green Bay vs. Tampa Bay, NFL Betting Predictions, NFC Championship Game, January 24

The NFC Championship Game is a rematch of a Week 6 contest in which the Tampa Bay Buccaneers befuddled the Green Bay Packers in Tampa. The two teams have taken very different paths since then as Green Bay is riding a seven-game winning streak into this matchup while Tampa Bay has finally found its stride after staying inconsistent for most of the season. Of course, this game is also a matchup of Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks with Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady set to take the field for yet another conference championship game. The difference in this game is on defense where the Packers are much better than the Buccaneers at the moment.

Packers vs. Buccaneers Betting Odds

As much credit as we want to give Brady and the Buccaneers offense for figuring out their issues, there are still some underlying issues that Green Bay might be able to exploit. Brady’s two worst completion percentages this season have come in the last two weeks as he’s completed 55 percent or fewer of his passes in both playoff games. The rushing attack has helped add some balance to the offense, but Brady will need to convert more of his chances this week against a tough Packers defense if Tampa Bay is going to win. Brady only threw for 166 yards against Green Bay in Week 6, his worst output of the season, though part of that was the short fields Tampa Bay’s defense set up for the offense. The real challenge is believing in the Buccaneers defense to slow down the Packers’ passing attack. Tampa Bay will need to rely on its pass rush that sacked Rodgers four times earlier this season to again put pressure on the quarterback and make him uncomfortable. The quicker Rodgers has to get rid of the ball, the easier it will be for Tampa Bay to limit the big plays Green Bay loves to hit.

This is the first time in five appearances in the NFC Championship that Rodgers gets to host the title game at Lambeau Field. The mystique won’t affect Brady, who is appearing in his 14th conference championship game, or the Buccaneers, but it does add a bit of confidence for this Packers squad. Rodgers is just so good at dissecting defenses and moving the offense, whether it’s with his arm or utilizing Aaron Jones and the running game efficiently. The Buccaneers were the top rushing defense during the regular season, but the Rams were the third-best and Green Bay still ran for 188 yards last week. If the Buccaneers try too hard to shut down Jones and the running backs, Rodgers will be able to beat them with his arm. What has derailed the Packers offense this season has been when the pass protection fails Rodgers. Green Bay allowed nine combined sacks in the two games Rodgers failed to throw for 200 yards, and 11 sacks total in the other 17 games of the season. Defensively, the Packers have done extraordinarily well in recent weeks, but they must be able to disrupt Brady’s rhythm or the two teams might go back and forth on each other all day.

The over/under in this game had to be one of the more challenging NFC Championship betting odds to set for the football sites in New Jersey. The sportsbooks settled on 51.5 points, which is an interesting given these two offenses. Green Bay has scored at least 30 points in seven of its last eight games and it’s been five straight games with at least 30 points for Tampa Bay. Both teams have confident defenses at the moment, though, the Packers defense might be more talented and more trustworthy than the Buccaneers’ unit at the moment. I can’t imagine Tampa Bay will have the same success against Green Bay that it had in Week 6, and I don’t trust the Buccaneers in pass coverage enough to slow down Rodgers. So I’ll start easy by betting over 27.5 points for Green Bay at -106 odds. Brady will find ways to make plays as he always does, which means this game might be more offensive than people think. It only takes a few more points on the over/under line to find some value, so I’ll settle on betting the over 56.5 points in this game at +170 odds.

Packers to win

Green Bay opened as a three-point favorite at the New Jersey online sports betting sites, which might be underselling the Packers a little bit. During this current seven-game winning streak, Green Bay has five wins by double digits and the other two were a touchdown difference. It includes four games against playoff teams and Green Bay pretty much dominated those games. This is a revenge game as well for Green Bay after the way the Buccaneers embarrassed them in Week 6 in Tampa. The Packers offense just put up 30 points on the best defense in the league, so this game will come down to whether or not Brady and the Buccaneers can match that offense. Tampa Bay had a slow start last week against New Orleans, and I’m not convinced the defense can make the same plays against Green Bay to jumpstart the Buccaneers offense that it was able to do against the Saints. It’s Brady, so the game will be close, but I’m very confident in betting Green Bay laying 6.5 points at +130 odds at the NFL betting sites in New Jersey as my NFC Championship prediction.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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