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New England is a three-point underdog in the AFC Championship – and they’re letting everyone know about it

Super Bowl outright odds (As of Jan. 18)

New Orleans Saints: 2.90
Kansas City Chiefs: 3.20
Los Angeles Rams: 4.40
New England Patriots: 5.20


What a weekend it could be in the National Football League.

The AFC and NFC Championships take place Sunday, featuring the top two teams in each conference at the conclusion of the regular season now vying for a ticket to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta on Feb. 3. Both matchups place two future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Tom Brady against two bright young stars at the position in Jared Goff and Patrick Mahomes.

Both games are rematches from high-scoring, highly entertaining contests earlier in the season, which could make for a completely unpredictable afternoon of football on Sunday.

Point Spread odds (As of Jan. 18)

Patriots +3.0 (1.95)
Chiefs -3.0 (1.90)

Seahawks and Cowboys

Don’t look now, but the hashtag #BetAgainstUs is a thing. Julian Edelman even has some T-shirts sporting that same adage made up for sale online.

The New England Patriots – the dynasty New England Patriots – are apparently using the words of their doubters and detractors as motivation going into the AFC Championship as road underdogs against the Kansas City Chiefs.

As if this matchup needed another storyline. But we certainly appreciate this one.

Here is the thing: As of Thursday morning, the majority of the money was on the Patriots to 1) cover the spread; and 2) win the game outright.

About 57 per cent of money wagered on the Money Line market at PlayNow.com was on New England to win, on the road, and book yet another trip to the Super Bowl. About 59.94 per cent of money was also on Tom Brady and the Pats to cover the spread as three-point underdogs.

The latter development is a significant shift from Wednesday afternoon when just under 90 per cent of money wagered on the point spread was on the Chiefs to cover.

The Patriots opened as three-point underdogs in this game, and they’re certainly relishing the role. The numbers three days ahead of kickoff show the bettors are actually leaning toward the Patriots, who had Money Line odds of 2.35 to win, as of Thursday.

But you’re still probably going to hear more of that ‘Us Against The World’ talk from the Patriots leading into Sunday afternoon (*rolls eyes*).

Sarcasm aside, what a treat this game should be.

It pits Tom Brady, the future Hall-of-Famer and perhaps the greatest quarterback of all-time, against Patrick Mahomes, the 23-year-old phenom quarterback whose cannon for an arm helped him connect with his immensely talented group of receivers and running backs for a league-leading 50 touchdowns during the regular season.

These teams met back in Week 6 and let fly an offensive showcase that led to 83 points scored and New England notching a last-second field goal to win a thriller and give the Chiefs their first loss of the season.

The Patriots averaged 27.2 points per game during the regular season, which was fourth in the NFL. They also lit up the L.A. Chargers in the Divisional Round last weekend. The Chiefs led the league in that category with 35.3 points per game, and then picked apart the Indianapolis Colts defence last weekend to advance to the AFC Championship for the first time since 1993.

The weather in Kansas City this weekend could play a role in the AFC title game. It’s expected to be cold, below freezing, but dry. Total Points for this game opened at 57.0 at PlayNow.com last weekend but shifted to 54.5 in the middle of the week when the forecast showed the possibility of even chillier temperatures. It may, according to various reports, be a tad warmer than earlier predicted – though still cold – and the total points went back up to 56.0 at PlayNow.com by Thursday morning.

About 80 per cent of the money was on the Under.

Of course, this can fluctuate prior to game time.

One thing that isn’t likely to change is the Patriots feeling of being slighted. You know it’s serious when there’s a hashtag involved.

Colts and Texans

Point Spread odds (As of Jan. 18)

Rams +3.5 (1.85)
Saints -3.5 (1.95)


Drew Brees turned 40 years old earlier this week. While he has racked up records and accomplishments as a supposedly undersized quarterback in the NFL, he has only been to one Super Bowl.

The New Orleans Saints are one win away, but they face the ascending Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship. Again, this is another battle of a future Hall-of-Fame QB in Brees up against a rising star at the position in Jared Goff.

The Saints opened as 3.5-point home favourites against the Rams, with odds of 1.95 at PlayNow.com to cover. The Saints are 10-7 against the spread to this point in the season, while the Rams are 8-8-1 ATS.

As of Thursday, the bettors were looking to the Saints to defeat the Rams and advance to the Super Bowl for only the second time in the Brees-Sean Payton era. About 63 per cent of money wagered was on New Orleans to win, although 52.73 per cent of money was on the Rams to cover the spread.

As was the case with the Patriots-Chiefs, the Rams-versus-Saints NFC Championship game represents a rematch of a highly entertaining and high-scoring showdown earlier in the season.

The Rams and Saints met back in Week 9 – in New Orleans – with the Saints scoring a 45-35 win. Alvin Kamara had three touchdowns and 116 total yards, while Brees threw four TD passes and 346 yards, and Michael Thomas had a monster 12-catch, 211-yard, one-touchdown day against the L.A. secondary.

The Saints finished third in the league with 31.5 points per game, while the Rams averaged 32.9 points per game. Only Kansas City averaged more points on offence during the season.

With this game taking place indoors, it’s no surprise the Over is generating plenty of buzz with the bettors. The Total Points opened at 57.0, and has since moved to 56.5 at PlayNow.com. As of Thursday, 85.24 per cent of the money was on the Over, with the anticipation these two high powered offences could put on another spectacular show on Sunday.

As for Drew Brees: He’s currently the favourite to be named Super Bowl MVP, with odds of 3.00 at PlayNow.com as of Thursday.

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