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Below you'll find our picks for the best bets to make Sunday of the AFC & NFC Championship Games of the 2022-23 NFL season. Remember, you can always compare NFL lines and odds by sportsbooks here.
Sunday Best Bets – NFL Championship Games
Kansas City Chiefs vs Cincinnati Bengals UNDER 48– Sunday, 6:30 pm
The Bengals travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs on what will be a cold and windy Sunday night, with temperatures in the teens and wind chills feeling even colder.
This weather is not ideal for Patrick Mahomes as he tries to play through a high ankle sprain. His mobility will most certainly be tested and the Chiefs will likely look to make him more of a traditional pocket passer with a limited game plan. They will also try to rely on the run to take some of the pressure off of Mahomes.
The good news for Mahomes is that he should not be under constant pressure, as the Bengals ranked 29th in the league with just 30 sacks during the regular season. That will give him time to make his reads and throw the ball against the Bengals 23rd ranked pass defense.
The Bengals will look to control time of possession like they did against the Bills last week and limit the Chiefs chances to score. While the Bengals have the offense to keep up with the Chiefs, they definitely don’t want to get in a shootout if they can avoid it.
The trends look good for the under as well. The Bengals are 6-3-1 to the under in their last 10 road games. The Chiefs are 8-2 to the under in their last 10 home games. Since 2018 these teams have met four times, with the under cashing in three of those games.
The Bengals allow 20.1 points per game and the Chiefs allow 21.7 points per game. I would expect this game to trend more towards their defense averages than their offensive averages.
Given the weather, Mahomes inability to make big plays with his feet, and the Bengals likely plan to control the clock, play UNDER 48 on Sunday night.
Cincinnati Bengals +1.5 @ Kansas City Chiefs & OVER 47.5 – Sunday, 6:30 pm
I got serious deja vu, the AFC playoffs are playing out nearly identically to last year, (minus the epic Allen/Mahomes duel) and it’s going to make for one intense game.
The Bengals are coming into Kansas City to try and knock off the one-seeded Chiefs with help from their red-hot offense and impressive defense that hasn’t given up more than 25 points in a game since November 20th (37-30 win over the Steelers). Meanwhile, the Chiefs are looking to get revenge but may have some trouble considering the injury to Pat Mahomes.
Last week, the Chiefs suffered a major setback that nearly cost them a fairly easy Divisional Round game, after Pat Mahomes’ leg got trapped under a Jaguars defender as he was being tackled midway through the second quarter. Mahomes stubbornly stayed on the field, actively limping on one leg, in a rough-looking sequence of plays where it was clear that he had severely sprained his ankle.
Not backing down from the pain, Mahomes took one drive off before halftime (an impressive 98-yard touchdown drive led by veteran backup Chad Henne) and was back at it again after emerging from the locker room. Mahomes was good enough to maintain the lead late in the game, mostly working from a condensed offensive game plan that heavily featured the run and didn’t include a single out-of-the-pocket pass by the QB.
Mahomes will almost certainly play next week, but with his game so tied to his ability to scramble, improvise, buy time, and drive the football deep down the field. There is a question of how well he will be able to play on just one healthy leg.
The Bengals' situation at QB, couldn’t be more different. Joe Burrow is healthy and thriving as his team continues on its huge 10-game win streak. On this streak, Burrow has a 24-6 TD-to-interception ratio, a quarterback rating of nearly 100, and a completion percentage in the mid-60s.
Burrow has been really good, and so has the rest of the team. They’ve scored 283 points over the last ten games, (28.3 points per game) and the defense has held their opponents to just 185 points (18.5 points per game) for a point differential of nearly 10 points per game.
The Bengals couldn’t have asked for better circumstances going into the game (besides, maybe home-field advantage) and I think that is going to translate into a solid win, beating the spread of +1.5 points, but let’s not just talk about the point differential, let’s also talk about the total score.
There is no question that these two teams are offensive juggernauts, the Chiefs were first in the league in scoring during the regular season putting up 29.2 points per game, and the Bengals were seventh with 26.1.
Given that Pat Mahomes may be hobbled, the over/under is actually lower than I initially thought. It’s set at 47.5, and honestly, I think the over is a no-brainer. We know that Andy Reid is an offensive maestro, and I think he is fully capable of creating offensive opportunities even if Mahomes has to stay in the pocket.
Philadelphia Eagles –2.5 vs San Francisco 49ers – Sunday, 3 pm
The Philadelphia Eagles proved they are healthy again and firing on all cylinders with an impressive win over the Giants in the Divisional Round.
The 49ers pulled out a hard-fought win against Dallas in their Divisional Round matchup and now have to travel across the country on one less day of rest for this game.
The Eagles fans will be ready for San Francisco rookie QB Brock Purdy and look to rattle him early and often. The Eagles had a league best 70 sacks in the regular season and added 5 more last week against the Giants. So while Purdy has looked solid so far, this will be his biggest test between the Philadelphia defense and the Eagles fans in the stands.
These defenses are two of the best in the league, the 49ers are first in yards allowed, the Eagles are ranked 2nd.
While they are also ranked near each other in offensive stats, this is the one area where the Eagles do have a slight advantage. In addition to having a more seasoned QB in Jalen Hurts, the Eagles pass offense is ranked 9th in the league, while the 49ers pass defense is ranked 20th.
So the Eagles should have some success with weapons like Dallas Goedert, A.J. Brown, and DeVonta Smith. They also have quite a few weapons at RB to try and wear down the tough 49ers rush defense in addition to Jalen Hurts being able to make plays with his legs.
On the 49ers side, Christian McCaffrey is dealing with a calf injury and backup Elijah Mitchell has been dealing with a groin injury, although both are expected to play.
The line has been bet up to Eagles -3 a few times and each time it hits that number it immediately gets bet back down to Eagles -2.5. As long as it stays under -3 the Eagles are the play. They have a better QB and home field advantage against a rookie QB, which should be enough to get them to the Super Bowl.
Philadelphia Eagles –2.5 vs San Francisco 49ers & UNDER 46.5 – Sunday, 3 pm
Is Brock Purdy invincible? It sure has seemed that way the last eight weeks (the only eight games he’s actually played so far in the league) he has been nearly flawless, and according to his winning percentage, he actually is!
Is this winning streak by the 49ers only possible with Brock Purdy at QB? Probably not. He’s been great, and he’s certainly created plays and got things rolling, but the 49ers are a great team, and with the competition being so stiff at this stage in the playoffs plus given his lack of NFL experience, I could totally see Purdy being detrimental to his team this week.
Speaking of the competition, let’s switch gears to the Eagles. They were dominant last week against the upstart Giants in a blowout 38-7 win, in which they put up huge numbers and absolutely humiliated them.
What should be worrying the most for the 49ers beyond just the performance of their competition last week, is that it wasn’t like the Giants played all that bad. I’ve watched a lot of Giants games, and typically when we lose that badly it’s due to sloppy and undisciplined play. That wasn’t the case last week as the Giants only made a few mistakes early, and were simply overpowered.
Now, obviously, the 49ers have a much better roster than the Giants, but if they were hoping to beat the Eagles by fundamental offense and beat them with their defense as they did against the Cowboys, I don’t think that is happening.
The Eagles defense is too suffocating and their offense is too efficient for the 49ers to play anything like they did last week. They will need to make big plays and make them early and often in order to win. Given the Eagles stacked defense, I don’t think that will happen. The Eagles should win this game—they’re just too talented.
The only way for the 49ers to keep it close may just be to hope that their elite defense, which is the best in the league, can live up to their rank, and stifle Jalen Hurts completely keeping the score low.
I don’t think the 49ers are going to score a whole lot this week, and I expect them to bring the intensity on defense. This should be a low-scoring game, I’m going with the Eagles and the under in this one.
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