NFL championship weekend betting lines: Who are the early favorites?
The NFL divisional round did not disappoint and made up for what was a rather tame wild-card weekend. It will be virtually impossible for the championship weekend to live up to Sunday’s action, but Super Bowl LVI berths are on the line.
This week will be dripping with storylines, but might be light on line movement. Here’s a look at the two lines and the early leans for both title games.
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs (-7, 53½)
A lot of people referred to the Bills vs. Chiefs matchup as the unofficial AFC championship game. Maybe they’re right, as the Chiefs are a touchdown favorite against Joe Burrow and the Bengals. Cincinnati went on the road and beat the No. 1 seed, as the Titans mustered just 16 points. The Bengals have allowed only 35 points in two postseason games, but the high-powered Chiefs offense is a much different beast.
The Chiefs outlasted the Bills, but gave up 36 points. Gabriel Davis had eight catches for 201 yards and four touchdowns, so you’d to assume that Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins were watching with great enthusiasm as they look to have big games.
After the Rams had blown a 24-point lead, quarterback Matthew Stafford leads final drive with two big passes to Cooper Kupp and Matt Gay kicks deciding field goal on final play.
It is interesting the Bills and Chiefs total closed at 54 and this total opened at 53½. The Bengals offense is solid, but it isn’t on Buffalo’s level in a lot of metrics and categories. Cincinnati defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo has put together two solid game-plans thus far. The total on this game shot up right after the line opened, but I think 53½ is a little bit too high and the 51 opener was more like it.
Pick: Under 53½
San Francisco 49ers at Rams (-3½, 46½)
Division rivals meeting in the playoffs means we have two data points from the season to look at and a significant sample size of recent games. The 49ers have won six in a row against the Rams, including a road win in Week 18 as a three-point underdog. The Rams were actually -3½ in San Francisco in Week 10 and lost 31-10.
The 49ers won without an offensive touchdown Saturday against the Packers and won 20-17 over the Cowboys in the wild card, so their offense has struggled. Both coaches have struggled, too. Niners coach Kyle Shanahan was thoroughly criticized for his performance in the wild card and Sean McVay coached a bad second half against the Bucs to blow a 27-3 lead before winning on a last-second field goal.
Cooper Kupp, arguably the Rams’ MVP all season, came up big against the Buccaneers with two receptions in the last minute to set up the game-winning field goal.
My initial starting point would be to look at the under, as 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has put together two exceptional game plans to shut down a couple of extremely good quarterbacks with a lot of weapons. Also, the Rams only had 5.1 yards per play in the game at Levi’s Stadium, in which they trailed by double digits throughout and threw 42 times against just 10 rushing attempts, and just 4.1 yards per play in Week 18.
The 49ers’ offense hasn’t been stellar in the postseason and Jimmy Garoppolo is still hurt. I think we’re looking at a low-scoring game with a lot of familiarity between the teams.
Pick: Under 46½
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