The New England Patriots are a heavy favorite to beat the Baltimore Ravens in their AFC championship game rematch, while the visiting San Francisco 49ers are the pick to top the Atlanta Falcons for the NFC title, based on the point spreads set Sunday by Las Vegas oddsmakers.
According to VegasInsider.com, which tracks point spreads at numerous locales where gambling on pro football is legal, the Patriots opened as a consensus 10-point favorite over the Ravens, but the line was soon bet down to 9.5. The 49ers began as a three-point pick over the Falcons, but that line crept up to 3.5.
The Ravens will travel to Foxborough, Mass., next Sunday to take on the Patriots. The Patriots beat the Ravens 23-20 in last year's AFC title game to advance to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the New York Giants. Baltimore could have forced overtime, but Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal in the final seconds.
The Ravens edged New England 31-30 in Baltimore on Sept. 23.
The 49ers play the Falcons on Sunday in the Georgia Dome. The teams haven't met since Oct. 3, 2010, when San Francisco lost 16-14 at Atlanta.
The consensus over-under lines are 51 for the AFC title game, 48 for the NFC title game.