The NFL schedule makers saved the best divisional playoff matchup for last, pitting Patrick Mahomes and the AFC West Champion Chiefs against Josh Allen and the AFC East Champion Bills, under the primetime lights on Sunday night.
By the time the game kicks off, the NFC Championship game will be set and either the Titans or Bengals will be awaiting the winner of this titanic matchup which was also responsible for deciding the AFC representative in last year’s Super Bowl.
No. 3 Buffalo enters the divisional playoffs fresh off a dominating 47-17 win over New England in the wild-card round. Allen threw more touchdowns (5) than incompletions (4), which resulted in Buffalo scoring a touchdown on all seven offensive drives in the game (excluding kneel down). The Bills, who improved to 12-6 straight-up (SU) following the playoff victory, have now returned a solid profit sporting a 10-6-2 against the spread (ATS) mark. The Bills will now attempt to carry that momentum into Arrowhead Stadium in a playoff rematch with Mahomes and the Chiefs. Last year, the Chiefs beat the Bills, 38-24, in the AFC Championship Game.
No. 2 Kansas City heads into Sunday’s showdown with the Bills after routing the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-21 as 12.5-point home favorites. Mahomes looked impressive passing for 404 yards and five touchdowns. The Chiefs, who improved to 13-5 SU record, have only posted a pedestrian 9-9 ATS mark. Kansas City, who has now won 10 of their last 11 games this season, have also covered five straight games against the number at home.
The questions bettors must answer in this matchup is simple: Can Buffalo, who has won five consecutive games outscoring opponents by an average of 18.0 points per game, upset Mahomes who has won six consecutive home playoff games? The star signal caller has guided the club to 22-plus points in every postseason victory over that span at Arrowhead Stadium.
In Week 5, when the two clubs met in the regular season, the Bills beat the Chiefs 38-20 as 2.5-point road underdogs. Oddsmakers have not made any adjustments to their October power rankings, once again installing Kansas City as small favorites for Sunday’s second meeting between these two AFC rivals.
Spread: Buffalo +2 (-110) | Kansas City -2 (-110)
Moneyline: Buffalo (+105) | Kansas City (-125)
Total: 54 – Over (-110) | Under 54 (-110)
Public (Spread) Betting Percentages: BUF 59% | KC 41%
Game Info: Sunday Jan. 23, 2022 | 6:30 p.m. ET | CBS
Editor's Note - Odds are subject to change
The line has ticked down since the opener of Kansas City (13-5 SU; 9-9 ATS) as 2.5-point home favorites over Buffalo (12-6 SU; 10-6-2 ATS) to only a 2-point demand at SI Sportsbook. The total which opened at 55 has been shaved down to 54 following strong public money backing the under. In the first meeting, the two clubs combined for 58 points, surpassing the 57.5-point game total.
Allen was near-perfect leading an offensive attack that produced a whopping 47 points last week against New England. Allen, who finished seventh among all quarterbacks with 36 regular season touchdown passes, will now face a Chiefs defense that has been stellar in front of the Chiefs faithful allowing a paltry 10.8 points per game over the last six home contests. The fourth-year veteran torched the Kansas City secondary in Week 5, throwing for 315 passing yards and three touchdowns - while also adding 59 yards and a score on the ground.
Wideout Stefon Diggs leads a powerful passing game that also receives contributions from fellow wideouts Emmanuel Sanders, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis as well as pass-catching tight end Dawson Knox . Diggs, who has seven touchdowns in his last 10 games, has not topped 77 receiving yards in three career games as a member of the Bills against the Chiefs. Knox, who was immense last week against the Patriots, led the team with five receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns. In the first meeting with Kansas City, the third-year tight end hauled in three receptions for a game-high 117 yards and a touchdown. Since that massive production by Knox, Kansas City has not allowed any opposing tight end to surpass 58 receiving yards over the last 13 games. Upon a deeper dive, we also discover that the Chiefs have also not allowed an opposing tight end to find the end zone in 10 straight games.
In the backfield, Devin Singletary has emerged as the primary running back in the Bills rushing attack over the second half of the season. The third-year back, who scored six total touchdowns over the last four regular season games, made a pivotal impact in the wild-card win over New England. Singletary rushed for a game-high 81 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the victory. In the first matchup with the Chiefs, the shifty back was only on the field for 26% of the offensive snaps which resulted in only seven touches. DFS managers can expect that to be far from the case on Sunday for a player who has been on the field for 81% of the snaps over the last six games.
Mahomes once again performed at an elite level last week throwing for 404 yards and five touchdowns in the team’s rout of Pittsburgh. Mahomes, who finished fourth in the NFL in passing yards (4,839) and fourth in passing touchdowns (37) in the regular season, will face a Buffalo defense that has surrendered the fewest passing yards (163.0) per game in the regular season. In the first meeting with the Bills, Mahomes threw for 272 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The star signal caller, who only threw multiple interceptions three times all season, will need to take care of the ball against a Buffalo defense that ranked sixth in the NFL with 27 takeaways in the regular season.
In the passing game, Kansas City’s dynamic duo of wideout Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce were in peak form in the wild-card round. Hill, who finished third among all wide receivers in receptions (111), grabbed five receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers. Kelce, who entered the postseason posting 34 or fewer receiving yards in four of his last five regular season games, was once again the Chiefs top passing option in last week’s victory hauling in a game-high 107 yards and a touchdown. In the first meeting with Buffalo, Kelce pulled in 6 of 10 targets for 57 yards and a score. On Sunday, the best tight end in the NFL, who has scored six touchdowns in seven career games against the Bills will need to be at his best in what will likely be the highest scoring game of the weekend.
The Chiefs' top rushing tandem of Darrel Williams (toe) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder) are both questionable to suit up on Sunday night due to injury. Last week, Jerrick McKinnon stepped up in a big way against the Steelers. The veteran back finished as the team’s leading rusher with 61 rushing yards. However, it was working out of the backfield where McKinnon excelled the most adding six receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown.
This game is arguably the most difficult of the four matchups this weekend to handicap and easily the reason why it has the smallest point spread being offered by oddsmakers. Respected money has targeted this game as the final leg in teaser wagers and we will follow their lead.
BET: TEASER (7-point) Los Angeles Rams +10 / Buffalo Bills +9
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Wild-Card weekend did not get off on the right foot as the Raiders (+6) came up a few yards shy of back-dooring the Bengals and the Cowboys (-3) simply could not overcome tying the NFL record for most penalties (14) in a playoff game against the 49ers. The two total plays went 0-1-1 as Buffalo simply crushed my under (44) wager - playing a ‘flawless’ offensive game against New England, while a late two-point conversion by Philadelphia took my under wager (46) from a win to a push. My weekend closed out strong as Kansas City (-12.5) dominated as my lock of the weekend and the Rams (-4) came through in solid fashion hammering the Cardinals.
2021 SI Betting Monday Night Football: 9-8 ATS / Props 16-12 +5.75 units
2021 SI Betting Playoffs: 2-3-1 ATS -1.30 units
2021 SI Betting NFL Football Overall YTD: 47-40-1 ATS & Props +9.82 units
2020 SI Betting NFL Football: 72-58-1 ATS (55%)
Frankie Taddeo is a successful high-stakes fantasy football player who created the first-ever DFS program ever offered in a Las Vegas sportsbook. Frankie is SI Betting's Senior Analyst who provides his significant experience and resources in the sports betting scene. You can follow Frankie on Twitter @Frankie_Fantasy for his latest betting and fantasy insights from Las Vegas.
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