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We have one of the best days of all of the NFL season this weekend: Conference Championship Sunday.
The Chiefs and Ravens square off in Baltimore at 3 pm ET followed by the Lions @ 49ers at 6:30 pm.
Let's see if we can pick up some more wins in our second-to-last NFL best bets article of the season.
As always, you can compare NFL lines and odds here to find the best deal for the championship games.
NFL Conference Championship Best Bets
Baltimore Ravens -3.5 vs. Kansas City Chiefs – 3:00 pm ET
The Ravens are rolling through their competition and firing on all cylinders. Their only loss in their last 8 games came in Week 18 when they rested their starters. Before that, they had only lost 3 other games all of which were one-score games.
Of the Ravens' 14 wins on the season so far, only one has been by 3 points or fewer, and only 4 of them were within one score.
The Ravens have truly been destroying the competition, with an average point differential of +12. Their mixture of dominant defense (best in the league in points allowed) and powerful offense (4th in the league in points scored) have made them the team to beat in the AFC.
If there were a team up to the task of beating the Ravens, it would typically be the Chiefs, but over the last 10 games of the regular season, they were a mediocre 5-5, and they haven't necessarily been dominant in the playoffs.
After the Chiefs survived below-zero temperatures against the warm-blooded and ill-equipped Dolphins in the Wild Card round, they took advantage of mistakes made by the Bills to get a narrow win last week in Buffalo.
The Chiefs will need to play much better to compete with the Ravens, who have been playing near-perfect football.
I am confident that the Ravens will be able to control this game and win by at least 4 points. A big reason for my optimism is because of how well the Ravens' defense matches up against the Chiefs' offense.
The strength of the Ravens' defense is clearly up the middle, with Patrick Queen and Roquan Smith at linebacker and up-and-coming superstar Kyle Hamilton at safety. With these elite defenders patrolling the middle of the field, the Ravens should be able to keep the Chiefs' top weapons (Travis Kelce, Isaiah Pacheco, and their slot receivers) in check.
The Ravens will force the Chiefs to throw the ball to the outside and will likely benefit from the Chiefs' lack of proper outside receiving talent. The Ravens should use this to their advantage and get a big win against Kansas City.
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Baltimore Ravens -3.5 vs. Kansas City Chiefs – 3:00 pm ET
The Ravens’ defense put up quite a performance last week, holding the Texans to just 10 points with the only TD for Houston coming on a special teams play. They held the Texans to just 213 yards and had a 15-minute advantage in time of possession.
Look for them to use that same formula to control the game against the Chiefs on Sunday afternoon.
The Chiefs have one of the best defenses in the league, allowing just 17.3 points per game, but they are only 18th against the rush, which will be problematic against the Ravens’ top-ranked rushing offense.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense won’t be able to work their magic when they are sitting on the bench as the Ravens keep running and controlling the clock.
The Chiefs will want to throw the ball, as they are only ranked 18th in the league rushing the ball, but that won’t be easy against a Ravens’ defense that ranks 6th against the pass.
It is a good spot for the Ravens as well. The Chiefs are playing another road game after winning a hard-fought game in Buffalo last week. The Ravens have the advantage of not having to travel, an extra day of rest, and more time off recently with their bye during the Wild Card round.
Look for the Ravens to take advantage of good matchups on both sides of the ball, covering the spread and advancing to Super Bowl LVIII.
Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers UNDER 51.5 – 6:30 pm ET
On the road this season, the Detroit Lions have scored 24.1 points per game and have allowed 24.7 points per game. The 49ers at home, meanwhile, have scored 26.9 points per game and allowed 19.3 points per game.
Averaging out these two teams' numbers leaves us with 25.8 points for the 49ers to 21.7 points for the Lions, for a total game score of 47.5 points—well short of the 51.5-point total that Vegas has predicted.
Both the Lions and 49ers have top 5 scoring offenses overall (the 49ers are 3rd best with 28.6 ppg and the Lions are 5th best with 27.2 ppg), but given the 49ers' defensive strength at home and the Lions offense's relative struggles on the road, this probably won't be a super high scoring game.
I expect the Lions' offense to be a lot less effective than they have been during the regular season due to the 49ers' great pass rush. The 49ers had 48 sacks this season (9th most in the NFL) and would likely have had more if they had Chase Young all year.
The Lions have a severe negative correlation between sacks given up and points scored. In their only 3 games where they scored less than 20 points, Jared Goff was sacked 10 times (3.3 sacks a game). For reference, Goff was sacked only 30 times during the regular season (less than 2 sacks a game). If the 49ers can continue their pass-rush dominance, they should be able to keep the Lions from scoring a lot.
The 49ers should also face troubles on offense, as it looks like they will be without Deebo Samuel for yet another week. Without Samuel, the typically dynamic 49ers’ offense has not looked all that dynamic, relying heavily on Christian McCaffrey and Brandon Aiyuk as their main sources of reliable production.
Without their full deck of cards on offense, you start to see some more errors and weaknesses in Brock Purdy's game. We saw this last week against the Packers, and I think we will see it again against the Lions this week.
Give me UNDER 51.5 in San Francisco.
San Francisco 49ers -7 vs. Detroit Lions – 6:30 pm ET
The Lions have won two playoff games at home despite being outgained by their opponents in each. They allowed over 400 yards in both games which won’t bode well for them against a 49ers’ offense that averages nearly 400 yards per game.
Look for the Lions’ good fortune to run out in San Francisco on Sunday night.
This is where the 49ers being an experienced playoff team will pay off against a team enjoying playoff success for the first time in decades.
The teams are relatively evenly matched on offense, but the edge has to go to the 49ers, who have the best player on the field in Christian McCaffrey. And while the Lions are strong against the run, McCaffrey has no problem catching the ball out of the backfield and making plays in the open field to beat you.
Defensively, the 49ers have the clear advantage, allowing just 17.5 points per game, compared to the Lions who give up 23.2 points per game.
The Lions' offense won’t be able to keep up against the 49ers' defense and won’t be able to rely on their defense for help the way they have been playing.
When it comes down to it, look for the 49ers’ defense to get a big turnover or two and make the extra plays needed to get the win and cover in the NFC Championship, advancing to the Super Bowl.