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Bengals vs. Chiefs Live Betting Strategies In AFC Championship for 2022 NFL Playoffs

Bengals vs. Chiefs Live Betting Strategies In AFC Championship for 2022 NFL Playoffs article feature image
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Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Ja’Marr Chase.

  • The action doesn't stop after kickoff. That's why our analyst details live betting strategies for Bengals-Chiefs.
  • Find what odds he's looking to bet during Sunday afternoon's AFC Championship Game below.

Bengals at Chiefs Odds

Spread Chiefs -7
Total 54.5
Time 3:05 p.m. ET
TV CBS
Pre-game odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

The red-hot Bengals take on the Chiefs for the AFC Championship on Sunday. This is a rematch of the Week 17 game that saw the Bengals come out victorious. That was the only game Kansas City has lost since Week 8, as its early-season kinks have all been sorted out down the stretch.

Both teams feature explosive passing offenses, leading to one of the higher totals of these playoffs.

This game is tricky to find live betting edges on for a few reasons. Neither team has strong pace splits based on the game flow, with the Chiefs playing at a top-10 rate whether leading or trailing and the Bengals playing at a bottom-10 rate in both scenarios.

Both defenses set up similarly, too, with better DVOA numbers against the run than the pass. (Though this is a bit misleading, as the Chiefs have been fairly strong in the second half of the season against the pass.)

Still, there are edges to be found based on how sportsbooks move their lines as the game plays out. Some books react more heavily than others to unexpected circumstances. Be sure to give yourself as many betting options as possible, as live lines tend to vary more significantly than pregame.

If the Chiefs Control the Game

With the Chiefs favored by roughly a touchdown, this is the likeliest scenario for how the AFC Championship Game plays out. Therefore, it’s also the one that would lead to the least drastic shifts in live lines since it’s what books are expecting to happen anyway.

That gives us less opportunity to pick off bad lines — particularly in terms of the spread and moneyline. However, we could see some swings to the total depending on what kind of lead the Chiefs have. A 14-7 first-quarter lead is a lot different than a 7-0 advantage.

Rather than try to react to the movement of the line, this is where we should be using the information edge we have by watching the game.

The Bengals offense has underwhelmed in the playoffs, averaging just 22.5 points after an explosive regular season. With the improvements to the Chiefs’ secondary, betting the under on the live total makes sense here if Cincinnati comes out slow — especially if the total jumps due to the Chiefs putting up points.

Kansas City scores more points in the first half of games (largely due to playing with a lead so frequently) and would have little motivation to attack aggressively from the front.

The ideal scenario is a total higher than the opening number of 54.5, but with the Chiefs up at least two scores.

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If the Bengals Keep it Close or Lead

This scenario is less likely, but potentially more profitable for us. We haven’t seen extended periods of the Chiefs trailing in quite some time, but we had brief samples last week in the Bills game.

Kansas City scored 10 points in only 1:05 of possession against a tough Bills defense. The Bengals defense is far worse and should give the Chiefs little trouble in crunch time.

If we see Kansas City sputter offensively early in the game, I’ll be looking to pounce on the over, especially at a lower number than the pregame line.

The Bengals threw the ball at one of the highest rates over expectation in the league down the stretch, and they know they’ll need to keep scoring points against the Chiefs to maintain a lead. I don’t think we see them try to run out the clock if in front, which should produce plenty of scoring on both sides of the ball.

What I’ll be Watching

It’s hard to envision a scenario in which the Chiefs struggle on offense early. They scored two first-quarter touchdowns against the Bengals in Week 17 and are the second-highest scoring team in the league in the first half of games.

Therefore, the Bengals’ offensive success is what I’ll be using to evaluate live bets. If they struggle early, it could be a sign of a rough game for them at Arrowhead Stadium.

Still, I also want to be faster than the books in believing the Bengals offense is a legitimate threat here. The total in this game is likely to be decided by Cincinnati, and that’s how I’ll be betting it.

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