Bengals vs. Chiefs: AFC Conference Championship betting odds, preview, and pick
A classic David-versus-Goliath matchup will play out in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday afternoon, as the underdog Cincinnati Bengals square off with the Kansas City Chiefs, who are hosting their unprecedented fourth straight conference championship clash.
With a berth into Super Bowl LVI on the line, let’s dig into the antepenultimate game of the NFL season and deliver our best bet.
Sun, January 30 2022, 8:05 PM
Burrow should fare better with Chiefs’ pass rush
If the Bengals want to advance to their first Super Bowl since 1989, they’ll have to keep Joe Burrow upright in the pocket. Burrow was sacked an astonishing nine times by the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round, yet he somehow managed to complete 75.7% of his passes for 348 yards, albeit with no touchdowns and an interception.
Fortunately for Burrow, the Chiefs own one of the least-intimidating pass rushes in the NFL, as they were 29th in sacks during the regular season (31). This unit has combined for only four sacks through two playoff games.
Kansas City’s stoppers kept Bills star wide-out Stefon Diggs (three receptions, seven yards) in check in the Divisional Round, which does not bode well for standout Bengals rookie Ja’Marr Chase. But seeing as the unheralded Gabriel Davis exploded for eight catches, 201 yards and four touchdowns against this unit, perhaps another perimeter talent will break through for Cincinnati.
Tee Higgins, who went for seven catches and 96 yards against Tennessee, could be that man. Perhaps it will be Tyler Boyd, who had a touchdown in four straight games prior to last Sunday.
Bettors shouldn’t sleep on emerging tight end C.J. Uzomah either, as he has 13 catches, 135 yards and a touchdown in these playoffs. No matter how you slice it, the Chiefs’ sixth-worst pass stoppers have their work cut out for them, especially if Tyrann Mathieu and Charvarius Ward are not at full strength.
Can Mahomes be stopped?
Patrick Mahomes has peaked at the right time this season, as he’s completed 75.9% of his passes through two playoff games, amassing 782 yards and eight touchdowns. His command of the field, especially in clutch time against Buffalo last Sunday, was poetry in motion.
The Bengals do not own an elite pass rush (12th with 42 sacks in the regular season), nor are they a great pass-stopping unit (26th). K.C. tight end Travis Kelce, in particular, could be in line for a big day. Cincinnati ranked in the bottom five in receptions, touchdowns, and yards allowed to tight ends this year.
Another 42-point performance by the Chiefs does not feel out of reach.
Bengals vs. Chiefs injury report
|Cincinnati Bengals||Kansas City Chiefs|
Cam Sample: Questionable (groin)
Tyrann Mathieu: Questionable (concussion)
Josh Tupou: Questionable (knee)
Germaine Pratt: Out (undisclosed)
Bengals and Chiefs betting trends
- The Bengals are 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall
- The Chiefs are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games following a straight-up win
- The Under is 10-1 in the Bengals’ last 11 games played in January
- The Over is 7-0 in the Chiefs’ last seven games overall
- The Under is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings between these two clubs
Expect a track meet
This one has the potential to turn into a track meet. The Chiefs’ playoff pedigree may put them over the top against a young Bengals squad, but the best bet here is the Over.
Score prediction: Chiefs 35, Bengals 31
Bengals vs. Chiefs pick powered by The Quant Edge
Our predictive engine is calling for the Chiefs to win and cover the spread.