This Sunday, it’s the AFC Championship between Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. How should you bet on this game?
Chiefs-Bengals game lines
Yet again, we are looking at a cold game. Sunday’s high is forecast to be 24 degrees. While I doubt this will affect play — because it won’t be cold enough to drastically affect how the ball moves — I do expect this will affect how quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ ankle feels. But over the past week, you’ve heard enough about that ankle to last a lifetime.
The spread has gone back and forth all week; at different times, both teams have been favored. At this writing on Friday morning, the game is a pick-em. In the Divisional Round, the Bengals looked nearly unstoppable against the Buffalo Bills. But I actually think Mahomes’ injury forces Kansas City’s coaches staff to rethink the game plan. They should be able to come up with something the Bengals aren’t expecting.
In a game where one quarterback is hurt and the other has an incredibly banged-up offensive line, I would typically recommend betting the Under. But an Over/Under of 48? The Over is just begging to be taken. In their last 10 games, the Chiefs have hit the Over only four times. Meanwhile, the Bengals have hit the Over only five times in their last 10 games. In their Week 13 matchup between these two teams, they hit the Under. But I can’t justify taking the Under when it’s set at 48.
I can absolutely see ways Kansas City could lose this game. But I still have hope that Cincinnati will be unprepared for what Reid and his staff have planned. This will be the ultimate test of the offensive line.
Chiefs (EVEN), Over 48, Chiefs Moneyline
Joe Burrow: Over 275.5 passing Yyrds (DraftKings)
At the moment, Burrow is probably the NFL’s second-best quarterback — and the Chiefs’ secondary isn’t exactly phenomenal. If Kansas City defensive line can’t get to Burrow, then expect him to have a big passing game.
Isiah Pacheco: Over 48.5 rushing yards (DraftKings)
Pacheco is now the starting running back. And on Sunday, I expect the offense to run through him. He’s the high-yardage runner — and when Mahomes needs him, Pacheco will be there. Last Saturday, his O/U was 55.5 yards. He crushed that number with 95 yards rushing. He’ll hit the Over again.
Travis Kelce: Over 76.5 receiving yards (DraftKings)
This is Kelce’s game. When these teams met in the AFC Championship a year ago, Kelce had 10 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. If the Chiefs are to have any chance of winning, he has to have a big game. And since Kansas City is more likely to focus on short-to-intermediate passing, Kelce should have a big game.
Ja’Marr Chase: Over 82.5 receiving yards (DraftKings)
Come on! It’s Ja’Marr Chase! Whenever the Chiefs play the Bengals, he’s a beast. He didn’t have a huge game in the last championship — but in the two regular-season matchups, he averaged 181.5 yards. He — along with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd — make up the NFL’s best wide receiver corps.
And to Mike Hilton and Eli Apple... welcome to “Burrowhead.” Enjoy your stay.
As always... bet responsibly!