This week sees the NFC hopefuls play for a spot in the Championship Match and the Seattle Seahawks look best placed to book the first spot with a home tie against the New Orleans Saints.
Home advantage is a plus for any team but few take advantage of playing in front of their own crowd as well as Pete Carroll’s men.
The Seahawks are 15-1 from their last 16 at CenturyLink Field including a five-game winning streak in postseason football.
The hosts have won four of the last five meetings between the two in the Emerald City and the most recent of those ties shows why Seattle must be backed as 1/4 favourites here.
Carroll’s Seahawks’ ran out 34-7 winners over the Saints in week 13 of the regular season and while that scoreline should be encouragement enough to back the home win, those tempted to take the 14/5 on a Saints victory should consider that teams losing by 27 points or more during the regular season are 2-9 when facing the same side in the playoffs.
With the hosts already showing that they are more than capable of dominating Sean Payton’s men when on top of their game, many could be tempted to get better value from the home win by taking the hosts at -8 to boost the odds to 10/11.
Handicap betting can be risky, but with the Seahawks winning 11 games by eight points or more this season another clear win looks on the cards here.
Seattle boast better stats than the Saints on everything bar passing yards and this is largely down to the visiting quarterback Drew Brees, who this year became the first QB in NFL history with three consecutive 5,000-yard seasons.
That Brees will be instrumental to the Saints’ chances is something of an understatement, but those fearing the Dallas-born star can cause an upset should consider that his seven lowest passing games have all come away from the Superdome.
And with the Seahawks keeping the Saint’s passing to a 10-year low 158 yards in week 13 expect another tough day at the office for New Orleans’ star man.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date
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