Mile High Sports NFL Championship Round Betting Primer

The NFL playoffs are finally here, which means it is time to run the board in the latest NFL betting primer presented by SuperBook Sports.

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The overall goal of this primer is to paint a picture of the weekend NFL betting slate so you can dive into it with your head on straight. Sports betting is here, and if you are going to bet, you might as well get an edge, right?

All odds are courtesy of SuperBook Sports, and if you are looking for a place to watch and bet the games in person, head up to The Lodge Casino and check out the retail SuperBook sportsbook! Let’s get after it…

Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs: CIN +7.5, KC -7.5, o/u 54.5 

This is the first of two championship games as Joe Burrow and the Bengals head to Kansas City to take on the defending AFC champs. Both teams played in thrilling games during the divisional round and have plenty of momentum entering this contest. For Kansas City, this is their fourth straight AFC Championship game appearance. On the flip, the Bengals are riding high after knocking off the Las Vegas Raiders and Tennessee Titans in consecutive weeks. 

The spread is interesting to me, especially when you mix in the fact that Cincy beat the Bengals as a 3.5 home dog in Week 17 of the regular season. We have seen this number bounce up to 7.5 at times, so keep an eye out for any line movement with this game. This situation is nothing new for the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs, who have been the betting favorite in 34 consecutive games leading up to the 2022 championship game. This is the 13th straight playoff game where the Chiefs are the betting favorite, which is good for the longest active streak in the Super Bowl era. Mahomes is 7-3 ATS for his playoff career, and the Chiefs have covered in six consecutive home games and are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games against opponents with a winning record. Furthermore, Mahomes has lost just one time in 6 games against teams he lost to earlier in the season. 

The point? The Chiefs are damn good at winning and covering spreads at home. 

Now that brings us to the Bengals. The Chiefs started to put things together down the stretch of the regular season, winning nine of their final 10 games. The lone loss came against the Bengals in Week 17, where Joe Burrow and company escaped with a 34-31 victory. Burrow threw for over 450 yards and hurled four touchdown passes, three of which were caught by Ja’Marr Chase. It will be interesting to see how the Chiefs plan to slow down this Bengals’ offense.

With that, we have not seen an explosive performance from Cincy this postseason, yet they have managed to win games. I mean, Joe Burrow got sacked NINE TIMES last week against the No. 1 seed Titans, and they still managed to eke out a victory. Even when the going gets tough, the Bengals are a solid football team, and the play of Burrow is enough to lift the entire squad. Kansas City will undoubtedly spice up their defense for this one, but will it be enough?

The Titans and Raiders were able to get pressure on Burrow without blitzing a ton, and that worked to no avail. The Chiefs’ defensive line is probably the most suspect of the three teams Cincy has played during the playoffs. So long as the Bengals can limit the impact of Chris Jones, they should be able to provide Burrow with adequate time to find an open receiver and get the ball out. Even if Kansas City starts blitzing in an attempt to rattle Burrow, we know the young QB has the tenacity to stay in the pocket and make plays. Plus, blitzing means more one-on-one opportunities for Chase and other Bengals’ skill players. 

The Bengals are 5-1 ATS as a road dog this season, and they have covered in four consecutive road games. Additionally, this season, Cincinnati is 6-0 ATS and 5-1 when getting at least 3 points, per ESPN. 

I do worry that the Chiefs come out strong and overwhelm the Bengals early in the game. The Chiefs scored an average of 15.6 points during the first half of their home games this season, and we all know that when Mahome settles in, he’s off to the races. The Bengals cannot afford to get behind big in this one. Part of the reason Cincy is still playing is that the Bengals limited each of their first two opponents to under 20 points. Burrow can pile on the points, but that’s not a recipe for success against this Chiefs team, just ask the Buffalo Bills.

The Bengals lost just two games this season by 8+ points, and they are running hot following their impressive win last week. It’s also worth noting the Bengals have had about a full day’s worth of extra rest compared to the Chiefs entering this game, being that they last played on Saturday afternoon and Kansas City played on Sunday night.  There is also the emotional factor to this game. Will the Chiefs be locked in from the start after playing in an all-time classic last week?

All in all, this is a game that I expect the Chiefs to win, but I am looking towards the Bengals this week ATS. It just feels like too many points for a team that has some real momentum and a belief in their ability. They already beat the Chiefs once this season, and they have the matchup advantage versus their defense. I’ll take my chances with the Bengals catching a touchdown. 

San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams: SF +3.5, LAR -3.5, o/u 46

Will Sean McVay get the job done? The Rams and 49ers will meet for the third time this season with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Remember, the Super Bowl is at SoFi Stadium this season, which means the Rams can play in the big game at home if they get the job done Sunday evening. The 49ers are undefeated against the Rams since 2019, although they were the betting underdog in each of those contests. Since they started coaching in the same division, Kyle Shanahan has owned McVay, posting a 7-3 record in their 10 meetings.

The Shanahan-led 49ers have been one of the best teams to bet as an underdog, posting a 27-18 clip ATS, including an 18-10 record ATS as road dogs. Even with all the doubters, Jimmy G has been a cash cow as a dog, owning a 14-5 record SU, which is the best mark by any starting QB during the Super Bowl era. Weird, isn’t it? 

With that said, this is a lousy spot historically for the No. 6 seed 49ers. Per ESPN, No. 6 seeds are 2-5 ATS in conference championship games. Furthermore, the 49ers are getting ready to play their 4th consecutive road game…  peep these nuggets from the worldwide leader

San Francisco is playing on the road for the fourth consecutive week. In the last 35 seasons, teams playing at least four straight games on the road are 2-7 straight up and 1-6-1 ATS, including 0-6 in the playoffs (0-5-1 ATS). The last team to win four straight games, all on the road was Kansas City in 1966. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no team has won four straight games, all on the road, without a bye in between since 1961.

This is the Rams game to lose. Lucky number 7 for McVay? Across the board, the Rams are the better team, and while the 49ers have had their number, Los Angeles has to break through eventually. It’s worth noting it will feel like 49ers’ home game given the proximity between Los Angeles and San Francisco, which could hurt the Rams. 

Once again, this comes down to the play of Matthew Stafford. Last week, Los Angeles turned the ball over four times, but Stafford was dynamite, throwing for 366 yards and two touchdowns with NO interceptions. If Stafford can protect the ball, and the Rams limit their fumbles, that will put them in the driver’s seat to win this game. Both squads are familiar with each other, so it will be interesting to see how the Rams plan to slow down the electric 49ers’ offense. Trent Williams is hobbled by an injury, so Aaron Donald and Von Miller are primed to wreak havoc on Jimmy G. 

So on the 49ers… what they have done this postseason is nothing short of remarkable, but ask yourself this… have the 49ers been dominant or the beneficiaries of poor play from their opponent? The answer is probably somewhere in the middle. There is no denying the 49ers’ success is a direct result of their preparation. Still, the Dallas Cowboys committed 14 turnovers, and the Green Bay Packers had the worst special teams unit in the league, which ultimately caught up to them. Good for the 49ers for taking advantage of the situations put in front of them, but they won last week without finding the endzone on offense. Now, they are going up against a Rams team that is sure to be out for blood. 

Shanahan always appears to be one step ahead of McVay. Can he do it again? Or will the star power for the Rams punch their ticket to the big game? I like the Rams in this one, but the hook could be a real killer. This could be a close game with some lead changes that is decided by a field goal or less. If that’s the case, there are sure to be some prime live betting opportunities for both sides, but especially the Rams, who are the -175 favorite on the moneyline. I like the Rams to beat the 49ers and punch their ticket to the Super Bowl. 

*****

That’s all for the betting primer! Be sure to check out the Football Friday Show above. What a great slate of games with plenty of different betting angles. I would like to note that in researching the games for this primer stats, trends and data were pulled from a variety of outlets, including ESPN, Covers and The Action Network. These are all great resources for sports bettors, and I highly recommend you do your homework before placing a bet. Enjoy the games, everyone and happy betting! 

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