Chiefs vs Bengals Spread, Picks, Player Props: AFC Championship
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Burrow.
- Chiefs vs. Bengals odds have Kansas City as a 2-point favorite at bet365.
- Our analysts have cases for both sides of the AFC Championship Game and a variety of prop picks.
- Check out our favorite Chiefs vs. Bengals picks below.
Chiefs vs Bengals Odds
|Chiefs Odds||+2 (-110)|
|Bengals Odds||-2 (-110)|
|Moneyline||-130 / +110|
|Over/Under||48 (-110 / -110)|
|Time||Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via bet365.|
We’re back where we were at this stage last year, staring down Chiefs vs Bengals odds ahead of the AFC Championship Game.
When it comes to making picks, our staff has you covered. We have two ways to back Cincinnati, as well as a variety of Chiefs vs Bengals player props.
Check out our favorite Chiefs vs Bengals picks for the AFC Championship Game below.
Chiefs vs Bengals Picks
Case for the Bengals
Two of our experts are backing Cincinnati in the AFC Championship Game. After scouring Bengals odds, here are two ways to back the reigning AFC champions.
John LanFranca: One of the many reasons I picked the Bengals to win the Super Bowl prior to the playoffs is the fact their offensive personnel matched up well with both the Bills and Chiefs. Neither Buffalo or Kansas City have the players in the secondary to slow down the best receiving corps in football.
The Chiefs’ pass defense relies heavily on creating pressure in order to limit opponents. While this sounds obvious, the Chiefs have surrendered the highest completion percentage in the NFL this season on attempts they failed to get pressure.
In three meetings with the Bengals since the beginning of 2021, Joe Burrow has averaged over nine yards per attempt when he is kept clean versus the Chiefs defense. Steve Spagnuolo will have to bring extra defenders to ensure Burrow does not play in a comfortable pocket all game – that does not bode well for a secondary allowing a hearty 8.4 yards per attempt to boundary wide receivers (per Sharp Football).
Without the help of a game-changing turnover by his defense, a limited Patrick Mahomes just has too tall of task. The Bengals now have the health advantage, the better defense and the matchup advantage. Cincinnati will advance to the Super Bowl for the second straight season.
I’d play the Bengals all the way to -2.5.
Brandon Anderson: I hate to bet against Mahomes, but the matchup compels me, so I’ll play something of a hedge — Bengals 2H +1.5.
Cincinnati has been awesome in the second half, 23-4 ATS (85%) over its last 27 games. That includes a perfect 6-0 ATS in postseason games and 3-0 against the Chiefs. Somehow, some way, Anarumo consistently finds answers against Mahomes.
Maybe the Chiefs come out with their hair on fire, defending home field while Mahomes attacks early at his healthiest. I won’t be surprised if the Chiefs lead at the half. But Mahomes should wear down as the game goes on, and I expect Anarumo to throw a lot of looks early and adjust his coverage as he sees what works.
Normally, I’d be dying to back Mahomes at home as a short favorite or dog. He’s 17-6-1 ATS (74%) as anything shorter than a 3.5-point favorite, though he’s only 3-2 in that spot in the playoffs and has lost all seven failed covers outright, most recently to Bengals in December.
It would also be criminal to talk up Anarumo and the Bengals coaching so much without mentioning Andy Reid and all his experience. But Reid and his staff haven’t had answers for Cincinnati. Reid is an ugly 3-6 straight up in Conference Championship games, all but one as a favorite.
If you like the Chiefs, I think you have to like the over. A bet on Kansas City is a bet on Mahomes being healthy enough to put up his usual points, because it’s not like the Chiefs will stop the Bengals offense. If you like the Bengals, you probably lean under for the same reason, betting against the Chiefs offense.
If you agree the AFC Championship Game will be low scoring, there’s another sneaky way to play this game.
Many books allow you to bet on the highest scoring team of the weekend, with Bengals at +300 and Chiefs at +240. That can be a clever way to play the moneyline if the Eagles and 49ers end up in the teens or low 20s. If you like the Bengals, getting them at such a long number against the worst defense left is a gem.
Pick: Bengals 2H +1.5
Case for the Chiefs
We have one expert on the Chiefs. Anthony Dabbundo lays out why he’s not buying Cincinnati to make another Super Bowl.
Anthony Dabbundo: It’s important to realize just how much of a market correction this is. The Chiefs closed as 2.5-point favorites in Cincinnati this season. They laid 7.5 at home in last year’s AFC Championship game.
When the Bills closed as two-point favorites at Cincinnati in the canceled regular season game, they ended up being six point home favorites in the playoffs. By that math, the Chiefs should be clearly favored by more than a field goal, even if you bump Cincinnati for the dominant win against Buffalo.
Now, Kansas City is barely a favorite at all.
The Bengals’ win in Buffalo comes with a huge caveat — the game was played in snow. Both teams had to bear the conditions and Cincinnati deserves credit for handling it better, but the Bengals’ biggest weakness — their offensive line — couldn’t get exposed by the Bills’ poor pass rush. The snow massively helps the offense because life as a pass rusher is significantly more difficult in those conditions.
Cincinnati won’t have that benefit in Kansas City and it’ll once again be without three starters along the front. The Bengals struggled massively in one playoff game and played great in the other. It seems the sentiment around them is much higher now than it was after the fluke win against the Ravens.
I’ve lost betting against the Bengals a few times this year, but never have they received the current market respect they’re getting off one game in the snow and injury uncertainty for Mahomes.
Verdict: I’m willing to pay to find out how healthy Mahomes is. If he were healthy, this line would be -3 at a minimum. I never thought we’d get Mahomes in a contrarian home underdog spot in the AFC Championship Game, but that’s exactly the case here. I like the Chiefs at -2 or better.
Pick: Chiefs -1.5
Chiefs vs Bengals Player Props
We have overs, unders, a future and a touchdown scorer. Dig in.
Cody Goggin: Last year, the story of the AFC Championship Game was the Chiefs crumbling in the second half. This was largely due to their inability to run the ball effectively when they needed to, leading to Cincinnati being able to come back and win.
Part of the reason for this was that Cincinnati was dropping eight to nine defenders in coverage for the entire second half and leaving light boxes for the Chiefs, but they still couldn’t get it done. Now Kansas City has a bruising back named Isiah Pacheco who has added this dimension to its offense.
With the likely approach that Cincinnati will take towards stopping Patrick Mahomes through the air, as well as Mahomes’’ ankle injury, the Chiefs will need to be successful on the ground. I would expect them to have a heavier than normal volume of rushes, resulting in extra carries for both Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon.
In the first matchup between these teams this season, Pacheco had 14 carries for 66 yards and a touchdown. You’ll see varying numbers on his rushing prop this week, but the consensus line seems to be around 48.5 rushing yards. This is a mark that Pacheco has exceeded in nine of his last ten games, including last week’s 95-yard performance against Jacksonville.
Taking into account the Bengals’ likely gameplan for defending the Chiefs, Mahomes’ injury, and Pacheco’s recent production, this line is much too low. Pacheco will likely get around 15 carries in this game, depending on the game script, and have plenty of opportunities to break off a big one or two.
If the Chiefs end up with a lead, expect Pacheco to see even more work as he tries to finish what they couldn’t last year.
John LanFranca: It’s worth noting this line is a full five yards lower at PointsBet than other books. With that said, I would play this prop up to 36.5.
The Chiefs receiver who led the team in targets last week behind Travis Kelce is propped in the 30s, that alone makes this number playable. Toney is targeted on over 30% of his routes run, with over 40% of his targets coming behind the line of scrimmage. In this game, he will undoubtedly be a major part of the offensive gameplan once again.
Andy Reid will be scheming plays to get the ball out of Patrick Mahomes’ hands as quickly as possible. Reid is a mastermind at getting the football to his playmakers in space, as displayed by the Chiefs leading the NFL in yards after catch this season.
It will be crucial in this game to protect Mahomes, all the while creating opportunities for explosive plays. The Bengals limited Kelce to only 56 yards on six targets back in Week 13, thus it will likely be up to other playmakers on this team to keep the Chiefs offense rolling — Toney is the guy to make it happen.
I’d play this over up to 36.5 receiving yards.
Tony Sartori: Burrow has not thrown a pick in his last three games, a trend that is likely to continue against a team he has owned. In three career appearances against the Chiefs, he averages north of 300 passing yards per game and has thrown eight touchdowns compared to just one interception.
Kansas City’s biggest weakness is its pass defense, which finished the regular season ranked just 21st in pass DVOA. On the other hand, Burrow and the Bengals’ pass offense finished the regular season in the top 10 in pass DVOA.
Burrow’s biggest strength is his accuracy, which is key to Cincy’s chances on Sunday. Protecting the football will be priority No. 1, because every possession either needs to end in points or pinning KC deep in their own end due to how easily Mahomes and his offense can score.
Brandon Anderson: Mixon enters Championship Sunday at 134 right now, 10 yards behind McCaffrey. Both trail Travis Etienne (171), but they should pass him this weekend.
With McCaffrey banged up and splitting touches with Elijah Mitchell, I project Mixon to finish the weekend with a slight lead on CMC, both just above 200. Miles Sanders and Isaiah Pacheco are next in the running around 150-160 by Sunday night.
That’s where game theory comes into play. If Cincinnati wins, Mixon becomes a big favorite. He’s the one workhorse back left and should be ahead of McCaffrey or Sanders. Even if the Bengals lose, Mixon could still hit if he cracks 200.
An Eagles-Chiefs Super Bowl could see two RBs needing 50+ yards to pass him, still giving Mixon a potential path to win. Only a 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl — with McCaffrey still going and Mixon done — is a sure loss.
These lines are sharp, and these teams are great. Sometimes, you have to get a little creative and play some longer angles with everything on the line.
Blake Krass: No matter what level of health Patrick Mahomes is at, he will look to Travis Kelce.
Kelce has been Mahomes’ go-to guy over the last three seasons, particularly in the playoffs. In seven playoff games since 2021, Kelce is averaging 9.1 receptions, 108.1 yards and 1.1 TDs per game. That includes 10 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown in this AFC Championship Game against the Bengals a year ago.
Kelce has had eight or more catches and scored at least one touchdown in all but one of those games. He’s had at least 95 yards in all of them. If Mahomes is banged up, I think he will look at Kelce even more. Last week, Kelce had an insane 14 catches with two touchdowns with a lot of that action coming after Mahomes sustained the injury.
I expect Andy Reid to keep things simple and get Mahomes going to his favorite target. Additionally, in the Bengals’ two playoff games thus far, the opposing tight end has been their foe’s leading receiver (Dawson Know and Mark Andrews).
I am betting on a Travis Kelce anytime TD (-105) and would play it to -125. I am also playing Kelce to have over 6.5 receptions (-148) and would bet that to -160.
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