Bengals vs Chiefs Picks, Odds: AFC Championship Expert Predictions

Bengals vs Chiefs Picks, Odds: AFC Championship Expert Predictions article feature image

Pictured: Joe Burrow (left) and Patrick Mahomes.

  • Stuckey has made four Bengals vs Chiefs picks, all player props.
  • Kansas City is a 1.5-point favorite at most sportsbooks, with some listing K.C. -2.
  • Stuckey breaks down the Bengals vs Chiefs odds and reveals his picks below.

Bengals vs Chiefs Odds

Sunday, Jan. 29
6:30 p.m. ET
Bengals Odds
-104o / -118u
Chiefs Odds
-104o / -118u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Click here to skip to for Stuckey's picks

Well, this feels familiar, seeing Bengals vs. Chiefs odds on the board again in late January.

We're eyeing Bengals vs. Chiefs picks as the two teams meet in Kansas City with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line for the second straight season. Cincinnati, of course, pulled off the upset in the AFC Championship game last season.

That was one of three meetings between these teams, with the other two coming in the regular season in the Queen City. The Bengals swept all three straight-up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) with each victory coming by exactly three points.

What wasn’t familiar this week when looking for Bengals vs. Chiefs picks was seeing Patrick Mahomes listed as a playoff underdog, which was the case earlier this week (that has since changed). He has been favored in each of his first 12 career playoff games — a record for the Super Bowl era.

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In fact, Mahomes has only closed as a home underdog one previous time in his career — a loss to the Bills earlier this season. Overall, he's gone a ridiculous 7-1-1 ATS when closing as an underdog and is 17-6-1 ATS as either an underdog or a favorite of three or less.

However, betting on those trends would require you to fade Joe Burrow, who has gone a gaudy 20-5 ATS over his past 25 starts. That includes a current streak of 16-1 ATS against non-divisional opponents.

Burrow is also 19-7 ATS away from home in his career and — perhaps most impressive of all — has gone 15-2 SU in his past 17 meetings against opponents with winning records. The Bengals also hold a current streak of 22 consecutive games without losing by more than a field goal when Ja'Marr Chase starts. Insane stuff.

Joe Burrow is now 21-2 ATS in his past 23 starts against teams that aren’t or have never been the Cleveland Browns

— Stuckey (@Stuckey2) January 23, 2023

Both quarterbacks can't cover, so let's throw the trends out the window and try to figure out if Burrow and company will make it four straight wins and covers against the Chiefs over the past 13 months.

Or will the Chiefs exact revenge at home in their fifth straight AFC Championship Game appearance? Let's take a closer look at the matchup and then dive into how I'm approaching the game from a betting perspective, including my four favorite player prop picks.

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Bengals vs. Chiefs Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Bengals and Chiefs match up statistically:

Bengals vs. Chiefs DVOA (Regular season + Playoffs) Breakdown
Overall DVOA318
Pass DVOA617
Rush DVOA218
Overall DVOA19
Pass DVOA112
Rush DVOA1011

These teams feature two of the best offenses in large part due to arguably the best two quarterbacks in the NFL. However, there are certainly questions regarding both.

The biggest talking point of the week is Patrick Mahomes' health. He eventually returned to action after spraining his ankle against the Jaguars, but he was hobbled throughout the rest of the game, which obviously limited his mobility and impacted his throws to some extent.

So how healthy will Mahomes be? I'm not a doctor and your guess is as good as mine. I assume he won't be 100%. That will hamper his movement, which will likely cause a significant shift in the offensive game plan and play-calling.

Bet Cincinnati vs. Kansas City at FanDuel

It's worth noting that he did suffer a sprained ankle in the 2019 season opener against Jacksonville. He played through the pain, then started the following week against the Raiders, where he sparkled to the tune of 30-for-44 for 443 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has hinted that Mahomes appears healthier than he was ahead of that game, but I don't put too much stock into coach speak in the playoffs. Nobody will truly know how limited Mahomes will be — or potentially become with one bad hit — against a Cincinnati defense that has already shown a proclivity to slow him down in the second half of their meetings.

On the other side, Joe Burrow has to potentially deal with three missing offensive linemen. That didn't hurt the Bengals too much in the Divisional Round, but I believe a lot of that had to do with the snowy conditions in Buffalo, which make it very difficult on pass rushers.

It could be a different story this week, especially if Chris Jones and company can generate pressure. Can they get to Burrow five-plus times? That seems to be the magic number.

Burrow owns a gaudy 21-1 record over his past 30 games when sacked fewer than five times. However, when opposing defenses get to him at least five times, he's just 1-7.

How the Bengals' shorthanded offensive line holds up against a Chiefs defensive line that ranks third in adjusted sack rate will go a long way in determining how much success Cincinnati will have on offense. Burrow will likely cook (as usual) when he has time to take advantage of plus matchups on the outside.

Betting Picks

With a healthy Mahomes, I make this spread Chiefs -3.5. Without Mahomes, I make the spread Bengals -3.5. The line has moved from Kansas City as a short favorite to Cincinnati as much as a 2.5-point favorite. On Thursday, however, another line move has Kansas City as favorites again at -1.

That line assumes Mahomes won't have full mobility. I would have loved to get Kansas City +3, as I believe he will perform better than the market is implying at this moment. However, I'm not rushing to bet either side at under a field goal (I'd also bet Cincinnati +3) with the added uncertainty.

While I believe Mahomes will still get his through the air, he may have a few errant throws that lead to turnovers. Those have plagued him periodically in the past when healthy, but the risk is even greater now, especially since he injured his plant foot. That adds even more variance and favors the Bengals.

From a total perspective, I have a strong lean to the over. Here are the scores of their three previous meetings:

  • 27-24
  • 27-24
  • 34-31

All three cleared at least 51 points, but we are getting a discount here due to the Mahomes uncertainty. All three games played out pretty similarly with the Chiefs blowing leads in each.

Earlier this season, Kansas City led 24-17 headed into the fourth quarter. In last year's regular season meeting, the Chiefs led 28-17 at half and 28-24 entering the final quarter. In the 2022 AFC Championship, the Chiefs led 21-10 at half before falling in overtime.

If you didn't pick up on the theme there, Kansas City blew second-half leads in all three games. So, what happened? Well, two things.

  1. Joe Burrow is damn good. And damn clutch.
  2. Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo is the best in the business when it comes to second-half adjustments.

Yes, Cincinnati has benefited from a very easy schedule of opposing quarterbacks due in large part to injuries, but you can't question what the Bengals have done against the top quarterbacks, especially in the second half of games. Look no further than last week's dominant effort.

In those three previous meetings, the Chiefs only mustered 20 total points after halftime. And the Bengals outscored them 26-6 in the fourth quarter and in overtime of those contests. That's an amazing feat against Mahomes and Reid.

There's a reason why Burrow is 33-14-1 (70.2%) against the second-half spread in his career. That includes a 14-4 mark this year and an insane 29-8-1 (78.4%) record over the past two seasons.

Again, I think Mahomes will be healthy enough to move the ball through the air, but I'm guessing, just like everyone else — and the game plan could change significantly depending on his level of mobility. The added risk of losing him during the game also makes the pregame total a pass for me. I may opt to play it live, so follow along on the Action App.

That said, I am targeting props that indirectly correlate with there being value in the over. Here are my four favorite:

Joe Burrow Over 17.5 Rushing Yards (FanDuel)

Burrow ran it nine times for 48 yards (46 after two kneel-downs) against the Chiefs earlier this season. He also had six attempts for 31 yards last week in Buffalo.

I expect Burrow to use his legs whenever needed in such a meaningful game, especially since he might be even under more pressure than usual against a team that can get to the quarterback.

Also, quarterbacks have had plenty of success rushing the ball against Kansas City this season. The Chiefs allowed the second-most rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks since their bye week with the following outputs given up (excluding kneels):

  • Malik Willis: 7 for 41
  • Trevor Lawrence: 4 for 26
  • Justin Herbert: 5 for 17
  • Bryce Perkins: 8 for 45
  • Joe Burrow: 9 for 48
  • Russell Wilson: 4 for 57
  • Davis Mills: 3 for 23
  • Geno Smith: 3 for 16
  • Russell Wilson: 4 for 27
  • Jarrett Stidham: 7 for 50
  • Trevor Lawrence: 3 for 26

Over those 11 games, opposing quarterbacks averaged 5.2 carries for 34.2 yards, and eclipsed 22 yards in nine of those 11 contests.

Pick: Joe Burrow Over 17.5 Rushing Yards

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Samaje Perine Over 16.5 Receiving Yards (-120, BetMGM)

I expect Perine to see a heavier workload than I believe the market is assuming due to the offensive line issues on the road. Perine is simply a much better pass blocker than Joe Mixon, which should lead to an increased snap count.

Perine has also been getting a majority of the snaps in the 2-minute drill, where he could easily pick this up on one or two completions against a Chiefs defense that ranks in the bottom five when it comes to covering opposing backs.

Last week, Perine finished with five catches for 31 yards. I expect a similar output.

Keep in mind, he had six catches (on seven targets) for 49 yards against the Chiefs earlier this season. Mixon didn't play in that game, but he did in last year's AFC Championship — a game in which Perine finished with three grabs (four targets) for 43 yards.

Pick: Samaje Perine Over 16.5 Receiving Yards

Joe Mixon Under 3.5 Receptions (-130, BetMGM)

This is obviously correlated with the prop above on Perine. As a result, both could easily go upside down if Burrow targets Mixon at a higher-than-expected rate and Mixon gets more snaps on passing downs than I'm anticipating.

If you're okay with that risk — as I am — then I think there's a ton of value in this number for the reasons I mentioned above.

Perine should get a higher frequency of snaps on third downs and in the two-minute drill, where backs can really pile up receptions and yards. Plus, Perine has had a higher route and target percentage when he's in the game.

Pick: Joe Mixon Under 3.5 Receptions

Patrick Mahomes Over 282.5 Passing Yards (BetRivers)

Even if Mahomes' injury leads to a few key turnovers that lead to good things for Cincinnati and under backers, I do believe he will rack up the yards through the air, as he does almost every week.

To me, we are getting value because of the Mahomes injury. However, if that favors the Bengals significantly, the Chiefs will likely be playing from behind in a favorable game state for passing yards. If the injury ends up not being a major factor, then you're getting this at a bargain price.

I just can't see the Chiefs having much success if they decide to just come out and run the ball against a very effective Cincinnati rush defense, especially with D.J. Reader on the field. I don't think we will get many Mahomes scrambles (if any at all), which takes away another avenue for yards.

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