NFL Playoff Predictions: Latest Spreads for AFC & NFC Championships

Jeff Grant@@JeffGrantSportsContributor IJanuary 16, 2012

NFL Playoff Predictions: Latest Spreads for AFC & NFC Championships

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    Four NFL teams still have the opportunity to play in Super Bowl XLVI inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, and sports bettors are already crunching the numbers.

    Cantor Gaming has already released the betting odds for the AFC and NFC championship games next Sunday, which promises to be one of the biggest weekends of the year.

    Turnovers definitely played a major part in determining the outcomes of the divisional round, with winning teams registering a combined plus-ten turnover differential.

    Let's take a look at the current lines from a betting perspective.

New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers

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    The San Francisco 49ers picked up a thrilling 36-32 win over the New Orleans Saints as 3.5-point home underdogs in the divisional round, as their plus-four turnover differential was definitely the difference. 

    49ers quarterback Alex Smith showed up big when it counted, relying on tight end Vernon Davis in clutch situations, completing 24 of 42 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns.

    The New York Giants have been the most visually impressive team during the 2012 NFL playoffs thus far, dominating the Atlanta Falcons and top-seed Green Bay Packers.

    It's important to note that the 49ers captured a 27-20 win over the Giants as four-point home favorites on Nov. 13, with the visitor coming off an emotional 24-20 road victory over the New England Patriots seven days before.

    Giants quarterback Eli Manning may have lost on the scoreboard, but the team won the statistical battle by 90 total yards.

    Sports handicappers have definitely circled that 49ers running back Frank Gore sat out most of the regular-season meeting with an ankle injury that plagued him for a couple weeks.

    Handicapper Line: San Francisco 49ers (-1)

    Las Vegas Line: San Francisco 49ers (-1)

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

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    The Baltimore Ravens were very fortunate in facing Houston Texans rookie quarterback T.J. Yates during the divisional round, but they won't have that luxury in Foxborough.

    New England Patriots signal-caller Tom Brady threw six touchdowns passes with just a single interception in Saturday's 45-10 blowout win over the Denver Broncos as 13.5-point home favorites.

    Baltimore reaches the AFC championship for the first time since 2008 and all eyes in practice will be focused on safety Ed Reed, who was assisted off the field at the end of the game with an apparent ankle injury.

    There's no question that the casual sports bettor will find the Patriots to be a more appealing choice after this weekend's games.

    Handicapper Line: New England Patriots (-6.5)

    Las Vegas Line: New England Patriots (-7.5)