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2016 NFL playoffs picks against the spread: Conference championship games

The conference championship round is at hand, with the top two seeds advancing on both sides of the bracket. Here are my picks against the spread as we learn this year's Super Bowl participants.

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The 2016 NFL playoffs have reached their penultimate round. The AFC and NFC Championship Game take place on Sunday, and we'll soon know the participants in Super Bowl 50. Last week, I went 2-2 against the spread, with overtime costing me one, and a late score saving me in another one. I had the Steelers at +7.5, and thanks to a field goal down ten I got the cover. On the other hand, a wild finish in Arizona cost me a push.

We're back to take a look at conference championship round games against the spread, and see if we can improve on last week. The top two seeds in each bracket advanced through the divisional round, the first time this has happened since 2004. This week, we have one home team favored and one road team favored. The lines have settled in fairly well.

Patriots @ Broncos
Line: Patriots -3
Pick: Patriots - Heavy public money has been coming in on the Patriots, but the line has remained the same with sharp betters looking at Denver. The Broncos offense has been inconsistent under Peyton Manning, but they still have a very strong defense. I think the Patriots offensive firepower will be enough to win by a touchdown or so. It could be close late, but I think the Patriots get the cover.

Cardinals @ Panthers
Line: Panthers -3
Pick: Panthers - Yep, I'm going with both favorites. In my OddsShark picking, I was able to get the Cardinals at +4. That extra point was critical for picking purposes. The weather is pretty brutal in Charlotte, and so I imagine we see a fairly low scoring game. And with Arizona making the Saturday trip, I think Carolina gets the cover.