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AFC and NFC Championship Games Best Bets: Expect Points in Kansas City

Our betting analysts highlight their best bets for the Bengals-Chiefs AFC championship game and the 49ers-Rams NFC championship contest.

The AFC and NFC conference championships: Four teams and two games, that’s all that remains for this weekend’s NFL action.

That’s a far cry away from the action-packed regular season that typically features a full slate of games jam-packed into a 16-hour pigskin Sunday frenzy.

Don’t blink, because after this weekend we’ll have just two teams and one BIG game before going into seasonal football depression.

Check NFL Championship Games Lines at SI Sportsbook

Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones (95) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) for a loss of 11 yards during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Cincinnati.

How’d we get here? Let’s take a quick trip down the divisional playoff memory lane.

Three road underdogs—Bengals, 49ers and Rams—not only covered but won outright. The lone favorite that won (and covered) was the Chiefs.For those more in tune with mathematical calculations, underdogs were 3-1.

The opposite was true for wild-card weekend, where we saw the favorites win (and cover) to the tune of a 5-1 record. Gone are the playoff’s No. 1-seeded Titans and Packers,  as well as last year’s Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.

Let’s focus on the present … in the AFC title game, the Chiefs are favored by more than a touchdown (7.5) over the Bengals and SI Sportsbook is expecting a lot of offense given the 54.5 game total.

For the NFC conference championship, the 49ers are getting 3.5 points from their NFC West rival Rams despite beating Los Angeles twice in the regular season. L.A. and San Fran slugfest in the making? Perhaps … the total for this game is 45.5, the second-lowest game total of the entire 2022 postseason (Bills-Patriots, 43.5).

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How should you bet it? Let’s find out what our team of betting analysts has marked for Championship weekend.

Frank Taddeo’s Best Bet: Chiefs -7.5

Patrick Mahomes has won seven consecutive home playoff games. The star signal caller has also thrown the most touchdown passes (25) of any quarterback in their first 10 playoff games in NFL history. I simply do not want to step in front of the Chiefs at home in the postseason and Kansas City is already 2-0 ATS in the playoffs. Look for the playoff-experienced Chiefs to advance to their third Super Bowl appearance in Mahomes' fourth season at the helm. Don’t be scared of laying the wood.

Frank's Season Record: 63-76-2

SB LVI QBs

Jen Piacenti’s Best Bet: Bengals/Chiefs Over 54.5

These teams combined for 65 points in Week 17 and neither defense has gotten any tougher since. Kansas City has allowed the most passing yards (544) and the most passing touchdowns (6) of the remaining playoff teams. Cincinnati has allowed 530 passing yards and the most rushing yards of all postseason teams (211). Meanwhile, the QBs keep impressing. Joe Burrow threw for 446 yards and four touchdowns versus Kansas City in Week 17, while Ja’Marr Chase destroyed the secondary for 266 yards and three  touchdowns. In Week 17, KC “only” sacked Burrow 4 times. The KC defense had the fourth-fewest sacks during the regular season. Last week, Joe Burrow took NINE sacks and still emerged victorious. Burrow should be able to do his thing Sunday. As for the Chiefs' offense…. Have you seen what Patrick Mahomes can do in just 13 seconds? I rest my case. I’m smashing the over in what is hopefully another beautiful shootout between exceptional young QB talent.

Jen's Season Record: 66-62

Will Laws’ Best Bet: Bengals/Chiefs Over 54.5

After putting up 42 last week against what was by many metrics the NFL’s best defense in Buffalo, the Chiefs are primed for another offensive explosion against Cincinnati’s middling D. Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase showed what they can do against Kansas City at home in Week 17, combining for 266 yards and three TDs. That won’t happen at Arrowhead, but the Bengals possess the skill-player personnel to nickel and dime their way down the field in an effort to protect Burrow better than they did last week against the Titans.

Will's Season Record: 43-33-1

Bill Enright’s Best Bet: 49ers +3.5

The 49ers won this NFC West battle twice this year and in both games San Francisco was 3.5 point underdogs. Since the 1970 NFL merger, there’s been 21 playoff matchups between division rivals where one of the teams swept the other during the regular season. The team that swept their opponent has a 14-7 record in that third battle. The Rams were favored by 3.5 points or more 14 times during the regular season and were just 6-8 ATS. Meanwhile, the 49ers were 5-1 as an underdog of at least 3.5 points this season. San Francisco is 8-3 straight-up on the road and the 49ers won the last 6 meetings against the Sean McVay-coached squad. They’ll make it a seventh. I’m taking San Fran and the points.

Bill's Season Record: 57-50-3

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