2022 NFL Conference Championship Game Odds & Early Picks: Will Dogs Bark in Bengals-Chiefs, 49ers-Rams?

2022 NFL Conference Championship Game Odds & Early Picks: Will Dogs Bark in Bengals-Chiefs, 49ers-Rams? article feature image

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Bengals QB Joe Burrow

According to everyone I follow on Twitter, we just witnessed the greatest weekend of professional football ever.

I’m widely known for my optimism, so I’m sure that the Conference Championships will be every bit as scintillating and competitive as the Divisional Round was.

Although I’m not a trends bettor, I find that using the Action Labs database (which goes back to 2003) helps me identify spots I should consider further when analyzing games.

Let’s take a look at a couple trends for the early spreads for this upcoming week. For the rest of my Conference Championships plays, check out the FTN Bet Tracker as well as my best bets article.

All lines are from the Action Network NFL Odds page.

Abbreviations: Against the spread (ATS), return on investment (ROI).

Bengals +7.5 at Chiefs

  • Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET Sunday
  • TV: CBS

This past weekend, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the league in both yards passing (378) and yards rushing (69). Nice.

But Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has been almost as good as Mahomes this year. Including the postseason, Burrow is No. 3 — behind only Aaron Rodgers (0.168) and Mahomes (0.161) in composite expected points added (EPA) and completion percentage over expectation (CPOE, 0.158, per RBs Don’t Matter).

On defense, the Bengals have had an edge over the Chiefs this year.

Defensive StatBengalsChiefs
Overall EPA11th (-0.016)24th (0.048)
Dropback EPA12th (0.018)23rd (0.101)
Rush EPA15th (-0.081)18th (-0.051)

Given that the Bengals already have a 34-31 victory over the Chiefs this season, they are live as underdogs, even on the road.

As a visitor, Burrow for his career is 9-5 ATS (23.3% ROI).

And this year the Bengals are 5-1 ATS (60.4% ROI) as road underdogs.

  • Action: Bengals +7.5 (-110) at BetMGM
  • Limit: +7 (-110)

49ers +3.5 at Rams

  • Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday
  • TV: FOX

It’s easy to act as if 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is a horrible player, but for the season he’s No. 8 in composite EPA + CPOE (0.124), right after Tom Brady (0.126) and right before Justin Herbert (0.123).

Much of his success can be attributed to head coach Kyle Shanahan’s scheme, but Garoppolo still needs to execute the scheme to produce the numbers he does.

And this year against the Rams, Garoppolo has been productive enough, passing for 498 yards and three touchdowns to two interceptions with an elite 74.5% completion rate and robust 9.2 adjusted yards per attempt-.

With their 31-10 onslaught of the Rams in Week 10 and a 27-24 come-from-behind overtime must-win victory over the Rams in Week 18, the 49ers seem to have a real edge over their division rivals.

For his career, Shanahan is 7-3 ATS (52% ROI) against Rams head coach Sean McVay, his former assistant coach.

And Shanahan with Garoppolo is 11-3 ATS (54.2%) as a road underdog.

  • Action: 49ers +3.5 (-110) at BetMGM
  • Limit: +3 (-110)

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