Bengals vs. Chiefs Odds For AFC Championship Game: Kansas City Already Bet To A TD Favorite In NFL Playoffs
Getty Images. Pictured: Bengals QB Joe Burrow and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (left to right)
- We break down the latest NFL odds, including the spread and over/under, for the Bengals-Chiefs AFC Championship Game.
- Find expert projections, picks and how these teams made it to the AFC title game below.
Bengals vs. Chiefs Odds
When these teams met in Week 17, the Bengals won 34-31 on a last-second field goal at home. Now Joe Burrow and Co. will head to Arrowhead to take on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game of the 2022 NFL playoffs.
Find our Director of Predictive Analytics’ projected odds for this matchup, one analyst’s early pick on the spread, as well as a recap of each team’s season below.
Bengals vs. Chiefs Schedule
Bengals vs. Chiefs Projections
Our Director of Predictive Analytics, Sean Koerner, reveals his initial projections for the spread and over/under based on his model.
These are subject to change before kickoff, though, so be sure to check out our NFL PRO Projections — i.e. real-time consensus projections based on models of six experts (including Sean).
- Spread: Chiefs -7.5
- Total: 53
Bengals vs. Chiefs Predictions
Lean Bengals +7.5
Brandon Anderson: We get rematches in both conference championships — and both were played earlier this month.
The Bengals and Chiefs kicked off the new year in Week 17, and it was a wild one. The Chiefs did anything they wanted early, scoring three quick and easy touchdowns. But Ja’Marr Chase played the role Bills WR Gabriel Davis did in the Divisional Round, lighting up the Chiefs defense with an electric 11-catch, 266-yard, three-touchdown performance to keep the Bengals in the game.
Joe Burrow was an absolute monster at 0.61 Expected Points Added (EPA) per play — Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen were both at 0.51 in Sunday’s game, for reference — and the Bengals defense allowed only three second-half points as they came all the way back to win at home, 34–31.
It was one of those games in which the last team with the ball wins, and the Bengals held the ball for the final six minutes, walking it off with 0:00 on the clock. The offenses combined for 889 yards and never turned it over. And Cincinnati clinched its division in front of a rabid Jungle crowd.
The question is which half of that first meeting we should more learn from.
Early on, these looked like teams from two different weight classes, like the Bengals didn’t belong on the same field. The Chiefs led by 14 points three times in the first half, but the Bengals kept fighting back, and the Chiefs had no answer for Burrow and Chase. All game, Burrow threw 50/50 balls to his receivers in man coverage and trusted them to win, and all game long, they won.
Every time the Bengals needed a play down the stretch, Burrow gave his receivers a shot, and they answered.
The truth is that both halves are telling.
The Chiefs are the superior team, but you already know that. When they’re on, they’re unbeatable — even when Josh Allen scores two touchdowns in the final two minutes. There’s nothing any team can do about God-mode Patrick Mahomes.
It’s telling that the Bengals needed God-mode Burrow — plus a heap of penalty luck aided by home-field advantage — to barely eke out a win last time. But they did it, and the Chiefs defense had no answer late.
They did sack Burrow four times — remember, he got sacked nine times this past weekend — but it matters that the Chiefs couldn’t stop the pass, especially since Tyrann Mathieu is so key to this defense and is now in the concussion protocol. The late improvement defensively for the Chiefs came with Daniel Sorenson buried in the depth chart.
There’s little doubt the Chiefs are better. They’re far better offensively, and might even be better on defense at this point. The Bengals are reminiscent of the Atlanta Hawks or Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA — they made runs to the Conference Finals with good-not-great teams that lucked into favorable draws and made it further than expected.
The Bengals’ metrics are mostly average, and squeaking by average Titans and Raiders teams doesn’t change that. The Chiefs also have a massive coaching advantage with Andy Reid vs. Zac Taylor that shouldn’t be overlooked.
But that’s why this line is so high.
The Chiefs should win, but can they cover?
This line opened at -6.5, quickly climbed to -7, and now sits as high as -7.5 at some books (check real-time NFL odds here). The Chiefs are coming off an exhausting, emotional overtime win with 30 fewer hours of rest. And the absence of Bengals DT Larry Ogunjobi is less worrisome against a Chiefs offense that doesn’t run much while Mathieu’s absence looms large.
The Bengals have played in 11 one-score games this season. That is a whole lot of close games. The way they’ve passed the ball down the stretch, they’re never out of a game, and certainly not out the back door. And while Mahomes is awesome, he’s only 13-15-1 (46%) against the spread (ATS) as a favorite of more than a touchdown, so we can’t just blindly back him when the number is this high.
There’s certainly a version of this game in which the Chiefs run away with it. The Bengals offense ranks 29th in first quarter DVOA, per Football Outsiders, and the defense ranks 28th in second quarter DVOA. The offense ranks 25th on the road while the defense ranks 31st on first downs. And they’re still over-committed to their inefficient run game on early downs.
The Bengals could bury themselves early.
Conference championship favorites of more than a field goal are 15-8 (65%) ATS since 2004, and that includes 6-2 ATS (75%) for favorites that lost a previous matchup that season.
This late in the playoffs, the heavy favorite usually wins.
This line is a touch too high at -7.5, though. Under -7, I’d be tempted to ride with Pat. Past the key number, I have to follow the Bengals’ trend in one-score games and believe the back door will be open against a Chiefs secondary that sure didn’t look like it had any answers against the Bengals or Bills.
This pick is just a “lean” for now, but I’ll tentatively take the points and see if the Bengals can give us a game.
How Bengals Reached 2022 NFL Playoffs
- Divisional Round: Beat Titans, 19-16
- Wild Card Round: Beat Raiders, 26-19
- Regular Season: 10-7
Tommy Stokke: In Joe Burrow’s first full season as an NFL starter, he has looked exactly like the talent prognosticators had predicted he would be when he was the No. 1 overall pick out of LSU in 2020.
Burrow and former college teammate Ja’Marr Chase have put together one of the most explosive passing attacks in the NFL just two years after the Bengals finished 2-14.
This team hasn’t been the most consistent — losses to the Bears and Jets have indicated as much — but they’ve peaked at the right time.
How Chiefs Reached 2022 NFL Playoffs
- Divisional Round: Beat Bills, 42-36
- Wild Card Round: Beat Steelers, 42-21
- Regular Season: 12-5
Avery Yang: The Chiefs had some low lows this season, and there was a period in October when it felt they might even miss the playoffs. But they ripped off eight straight wins from November through December to lock down their sixth straight AFC West title.
Their defense — which caused them all sorts of strife early in the season — has looked much better, but is still their Achilles heel.
Kansas City is still a favorite to win the Super Bowl purely on account of Patrick Mahomes, who you can’t count out during the playoffs — especially against the shaky AFC.