Bengals vs. Chiefs Odds, Picks, Predictions For NFL Playoffs: How To Bet Sunday’s AFC Championship Game

Bengals vs. Chiefs Odds, Picks, Predictions For NFL Playoffs: How To Bet Sunday’s AFC Championship Game article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Bengals QB Joe Burrow and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (left to right)

  • The Bengals have already proven once this season they are more than worthy adversaries to the Chiefs.
  • But do Joe Burrow and Co. have enough firepower to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Chiefs offense?
  • Our expert thinks so. Find his case for betting the Bengals to cover the AFC Championship spread based on the latest odds below.

Bengals vs. Chiefs Odds

SpreadChiefs -7
Over/Under54.5 (-115/-105)
Time3 p.m. ET
Updated odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

The Bengals were able to escape their nail-biting matchup with the Titans as a last-second field goal sealed their 19-16 victory. Not to downplay what it took for the Bengals to get to this point, but if they hope to take down the back-to-back AFC champs, they need to play better. Allowing nine sacks and settling for field goals won’t cut it against a team capable of scoring in 13 seconds.

As for the Chiefs, they must be feeling pretty invincible right about now. After arguably the most exciting two minutes of football, their offense looks to be as deadly as ever. They are still two games away from their ultimate goal of earning another Super Bowl ring though. Keeping that ego in check as they work through those last two games could be a challenge.

This month has come full circle as we started with Chiefs vs. Bengals in Week 17 and now end with it in the AFC Championship Game. Let’s take a deep dive and see if Cincinnati has what it takes to pull the upset or even cover.

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Bengals vs. Chiefs Injury Report

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Bengals vs. Chiefs Matchup

Bengals OffenseDVOA RankChiefs Defense
Bengals DefenseDVOA RankChiefs Offense
Football Outsiders' DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team's success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.

Bengals Should Let Burrow Cook

The tale of the Cincinnati Bengals this year would be much different if not for Joe Burrow’s transition from good to great. For most of the year, we saw Zac Taylor play it safe and rely on his run game and defense. Then came the back-to-back weeks at the end of the season against the Ravens and Chiefs. Taylor handed the ball to Burrow as the second-year quarterback dominated those games, resulting in 971 passing yards and eight touchdowns.

In the AFC title game, Taylor will need to let his quarterback cook once more. In their last two playoff games, the Bengals played conservatively. They pulled ahead, ran the ball and accepted field goals over touchdowns. We have seen Patrick Mahomes overcome a 24-0 deficit in the playoffs, and last week showed little time remaining is inconsequential for Mahomes.

If the Bengals are going to succeed in throwing, their offensive line has their work cut out. Per PFF, the Bengals' center and right side of the line all graded in the bottom seven at their positions. Last week we saw those nine sacks be a detriment to the Bengals. Against an offense as good as the Chiefs, you can not allow those plays to stop drives or force field goals instead of touchdowns.

Defensively, the burden will be heavily on Cincinnati to stop Kansas City in the red zone. The Chiefs broke within scoring range on nine of their 11 drives against Buffalo. However, Buffalo was able to hold them to field goal attempts on four of those drives. That was the difference between being out of it and having a puncher's chance.

Chiefs Offense Must Keep Egos In Check

After their performance against Buffalo, it's safe to say this Chiefs offense should not be doubted. The theory was playing man coverage with two high safeties stalled Kansas City because it wasn't patient. Now, in the playoffs, Mahomes has calmed and gladly takes what the defense gives him. His 5.1 air yards per pass attempt in the playoffs is lower than any singular game this year, per Pro Football Reference. Playing the short game has not stunted the offense either as it has scored 42 points in each game.

On top of their success, the Chiefs will likely be returning Darrell Williams at running back. Williams is not a running back to brag about starting, but he does have a well-rounded game. Last week we saw Jerick McKinnon excel as a pass-catcher but struggle as a runner and vice-versa for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Having Williams provides a back that can play both roles, making the offense less predictable.

While so much can go right for this team, it will need to keep its egos in check. Earlier this year when the offense struggled, carelessness and turnovers became a problem. Kansas City had seven straight games with a turnover — in six of those, it had multiple turnovers. As explosive as its offense is, recovering from a 14-point swing because of a turnover is still difficult.

Defensively, the Chiefs are set for a good matchup where their strength is the opponents' weakness. Up front the Chiefs have two excellent pass rushers in Chris Jones and Melvin Ingram. Last week the player leading the Titans pass rush was Jeffery Simmons, who recorded three of their nine sacks. Simmons lines up in the same spot as Jones and does not measure up to what he can bring. The defensive front will need to have that pressure in order to cover up for their weak secondary.

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Bengals vs. Chiefs Predictions

The first matchup between these teams came down to a goal-line stand to determine the winner. The Bengals were the ones to walk away on top as they ran 10 plays from within the 10-yard line to ensure the Chiefs never got the ball back.

The difference-maker in that game was Ja’Marr Chase who got everything he wanted, gaining 266 yards and scoring three touchdowns. The good news for Cincinnati is even if the Chiefs switch their game plan and focus on Chase, they have other weapons. In the middle of the year, we saw Tee Higgins have a stretch of unstoppable play. Even beyond their top-two options, the Bengals still have Tyler Boyd who is an excellent third option. All they need to do is keep their quarterback upright and they will have no problem scoring.

With two offenses capable of lighting up the scoreboard, the question is which defense will make the one or two stops to flip the game. While the Bengals defense has played better in recent games, it is hard to not trust the Chiefs more. Kansas City’s front has elite-level talent against one of the worst lines in the NFL. The Bengals defense has played well recently, but Mahomes showed how he can flip a sack into a big play against the Bills. As talented as Burrow is, he lacks that skillset.

The Bengals defense may not be the one to make the big play, but their offense is good enough to keep it close. Even if the deficit is more than one score, Cincinnati will have no problem covering the huge spread. With one more offseason, the Bengals will be able to shore up their weak points and push for the Super Bowl. Until then though, seven points is too much for an offense with elite talent. Back them to cover the massive spread.

Pick: Bengals +7.5 | Bet to: +7

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