Bettors saw a huge move in early AFC championship line betting ahead of Sunday’s game between the Bengals and Chiefs.
Since Sunday night’s opening number was published by SI Sportsbook, Cincinnati has gone from 1.5-point underdogs to 1.5-point road favorites. There are multiple reasons for the dramatic change, none bigger than the state of the Patrick Mahomesis an injured ankle.
The Bengalis and Bosses will face off in the AFC Championship game for the second year in a row. Last season, Cincinnati upset Kansas City 27-24 as a seven-point favorite on the road, earning money for bettors on the money line at +255 odds. The question for bettors this time around is: Can Mahomes play at an elite level despite the ankle injury?
Joe Burrow improved to 5-1 (83.3%) straight (SU) and against the spread (ATS) in playoff games following a 27-10 upset of Cincinnati on accounts last week in the divisional round as underdogs with six points on the road. The Bengals extended their winning streak to 10 games, cashing in for bettors at +220 moneyline odds and returning to Arrowhead to become AFC champions in back-to-back seasons.
The Bengals have posted an extremely winning 8-1-1 ATS mark for bettors during that 10-game winning streak. Burrow, who is 3-0 SU and ATS in three career games against Mahomes, will head to Arrowhead Stadium for the first time favored beat a player who will likely be headed for the league MVP title for the second time in his six-year career. The two clubs met once this season in Week 13, with Cincinnati coming away with a 27-24 victory as 2.5-point underdogs at home.
Kansas City, the No. 1 seed in the AFC, was able to defeat Jacksonville, the No. 4 seed in the AFC, 27-20 last Saturday. Andy Reid’s club finished as heavy favorites in the divisional round and again prevented punters from cashing in on the club’s 15th win of the season. Kansas City fell to a paltry 1-7-1 (12.5%) ATS at Arrowhead Stadium while falling to a disappointing 5-12-1 (29.4%) overall.
The Chiefs will be hosting their record fifth consecutive AFC title game in the NFL and head into the matchup with the Bengals riding a six-game winning streak while boasting an 11-1 record in their last 12 games. However, the Bengals are 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS in their last eight meetings against the Chiefs dating back to 2008.
Heading into the championship on sunday, the venerable money information from the vegas information helped the SI bets the community gets 9-4 on Player Suggestion bets and 6-1 on Week 18 Teaser Investments!
The information is up 6.6 points on the NFL playoffs, leaving us with a +12.65 points gain on the season in NFL betting here at Sports Illustrated.
Let’s dive into the AFC Championship!
Cincinnati Bengals vs Kansas City Chiefs AFC Championship Odds
- Distribution: Cincinnati -1.5 (-110) | Kansas City +1.5 (-110)
- Money line: YAH (-125) | KC (+105)
- Total: 46.5 – Over (-110) | Under (-110)
- Public (spread) betting rates: CIN 86% | KC 14%
- Game Information: January 29, 2023 | 6:30 PM ET | CBS
Bengals Straight-Up Record: 14-4
Bengals Against The Spread Record: 13-4-1
Chiefs Straight-Up Record: 15-3
Chiefs Against The Spread Record: 5-12-1
Bet on Bengals-Chiefs at SI Sportsbook
Odds and betting insights
Cincinnati Offense vs. Kansas City Defense
Burrow Flourishes against Chiefs
The Bengals finished the regular season with the league’s fifth-best passing attack (265 yards per game) and found a favorable matchup against a Chiefs defense that has surrendered a total of 38 touchdowns to quarterbacks this season.
After limiting Trevor Lawrence to one touchdown pass last week, Kansas City has allowed just multiple touchdown passes in three of its last eight games.
But will the club be able to slow down Burrow, who have dominated them in three matches over the past two seasons? The former Heisman winner thrived when facing Mahomes and the Chiefs, throwing for 982 yards and eight touchdowns while adding one rushing score in the three games.
– Mixon produces in divisional round
Joe Mixon broke out for his second 100-plus yard game of the season in the win over Buffalo. The versatile back, who entered the divisional round averaging just 38 yards per game in his previous four games, rushed for a career-high 105 yards while adding a touchdown.
Mixon rushed for 183 yards while hauling in 13 receptions for 68 yards in three career games against the Chiefs. The veteran didn’t clear the concussion protocol for the Week 13 game, opening the door for Samaje Perine to shine. The backup tailback rushed for 106 yards while grabbing six receptions for 49 yards.
– Chase continues to shine
Ja’Mar Chase, who has nine touchdowns in his last nine games, has been in top form since returning from a hip injury earlier this season. The star has 25 receptions for 417 yards and four touchdowns in three career games against the Chiefs. In six career playoff games, Chase has been dynamic, averaging 6.5 receptions, 85.5 receiving yards and recording three touchdowns. His Anytime Touchdown market with odds of -105 will be the primary target of punter tip bettors.
Kansas City Offense vs. Cincinnati Defense
– How healthy is Mahomes?
Mahomes leads the NFL’s best passing attack with an average of 297.8 yards per game, but will his injured ankle derail his normal tremendous production?
The star signal caller, who owns a 40-10 (80%) regular season and playoff record in his career at Arrowhead, will face the Bengals’ 23rd-ranked pass defense, allowing 229.1 passing yards on game. Mahomes was held to just 223 passing yards and one touchdown in the regular season game. However, he was able to add a three-yard rushing score on the ground.
The 2022 NFL MVP favorite has been sensational in the postseason, boasting a 9-3 record. He averaged 298 passing yards and 27.6 rushing yards while scoring 30 touchdowns and adding five rushing scores.
– Can Kansas City’s Run Game Lead the Way?
Kansas City’s 20th-ranked running game (115.9 yards per game) saw the duo of Isaiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon become an integral part of the crime.
Pacheco, who shined in his first career playoff game by rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown, had success in the opener against the Bengals, totaling 82 yards and a touchdown.
While the rookie has taken over on the ground, the veteran McKinnon has scored eight receiving touchdowns over his last seven games thanks to becoming one of Mahomes’ best weapons in the air attack. McKinnon racked up 51 yards on the ground while hauling in two receptions for nine yards and a touchdown in the opener.
The skilled back, who has zero receiving yards in his last two games, will need to showcase his pass-catching skills against a Bengals defense that is allowing 4.61 receptions per game to running backs.
– Which Kelce appears?
The Chiefs offense performs at its peak when Reid’s scheme relies heavily on it Travis Kelce. The star tight end, who led the Chiefs in targets (152), receptions (110), receiving yards (1,338) and touchdowns (12) during the regular season, was dominant last week against the Jaguars, grabbing a game-high 14 receptions for 98 yards and two the touchdown.
In the Week 13 meeting, Kelce had just four receptions for 56 yards. In five career games (including playoffs) against Cincinnati, the veteran is averaging just 64 receiving yards per game while finding the end zone just twice.
On the other hand, Kelce has been a postseason star averaging 86.8 receiving yards while catching 14 touchdowns in 16 playoff games. In four AFC title games, the league’s top tight end averaged 7.3 receptions while adding four touchdowns.
Proposition bettors will have to decide which Kelce will emerge: the one who had only modest results against the Bengals or the elite player who dominated the postseason?
Best bet Cincinnati vs Kansas City
Mahomes, who is 9-3 in playoff games, has been hearing all week how he’s never beaten Burrow in three games, and that will serve as an added motivating factor. Winning at an 80% clip at home combined with a 7-1-1 ATS record as an underdog has us investing in the plus odds offered on the money line.
With the entire world rooting for a red-hot Burrow against a slumping Mahomes, sportsbooks are heading into possibly their biggest liability of the NFL season. In this situation, it is often profitable to align yourself with the needs of the house while being against the huge public steam. Just maintaining that angle lands you a No. 1 seed, which is 8-1 SU at home this season.
BEST BET: Kansas City Moneyline (+105)
- Bengals are 10-0 SU and 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games
- Kansas City is 8-1 SU but just 1-7-1 ATS at home this season
- Cincinnati is 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings against the Chiefs
- Burrow is 3-0 SU and ATS in his career against Mahomes
- Burrow is 5-1 SU and ATS in six career playoff games
- Mahomes is 7-1-1 ATS in his career as an underdog
- Kansas City is 6-3 ATS in their last nine home playoff games
- The under is 6-1 in Kansas City’s last seven home games
- Under is 6-3-1 in Cincinnati’s 10 games this season
2022 Respected Money NFL at SI Betting: 43-36-1 ATS + Props +12.65 U
2021 Respected Money NFL at SI Betting: 33-27-1 ATS + Props +9.75 U
2021 Respected Money NFL at SI Betting: 53-44-1 ATS + Supports +14.22 U
2020 Respected Money NFL at SI Betting: 72-58-1 ATS (55%)