After an NFL wild card round that lived up to its name, the divisional round brought a bit more convention – all four games were decided by at least seven runs, and the only upset was courtesy of a team of Cincinnati that no one should go missing. January.
At this point, the Bengals find themselves once again as underdogs heading into this weekend’s AFC Championship game against the Chiefs, while the Eagles are slim favorites against the scorching 49ers in the NFC title game of sunday. Here are the first odds for each match from BetMGM and our initial read on both games:
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NFL Conference Championship Odds and Predictions
San Francisco 49ers (-3, 45.5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles
I’ve written extensively about the historic dominance of these 49ers during their 12-game winning streak and how they overtook the Eagles in the betting market after a strong postseason start. Still, I can’t help but feel like we jumped off the Philadelphia bandwagon too soon after Jalen Hurts’ shoulder injury, which doesn’t seem to bother him at all.
The Cowboys defense gave rookie Brock Purdy some trouble last week, limiting him to 214 yards and zero touchdowns for the first time in his young career while nearly catching him in a few critical errors. The problem for Dallas was an offense that couldn’t generate enough explosive plays and was plagued with two predictable Dak Prescott interceptions and questionable offensive play calls.
I don’t have those concerns with this Eagles offense and with Hurts, who had 38 total touchdowns on just six interceptions in 16 starts and played a sharp game Saturday. Philly’s offense has been the NFL’s most unsolvable headache all season, and while the Giants’ defense was more of a roadblock than a real test, this win still brought some peace. concerns about whether Hurts’ injury would rob us of what we expected. the regular season.
We haven’t seen the Niners deal with a rushing offense like the one they’ll see on Sunday, and we haven’t seen Purdy slice through a defense quite as good as this. You can make a compelling case for either side, but my first bent is on the host Eagles to extend their 8-1 home record under Hurts.
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Cincinnati Bengals (-1, 47) at Kansas City Chiefs
I was shocked when the Chiefs opened as 3-point favorites in some books for a host of reasons – namely that Patrick Mahomes looked like a shell of himself after suffering a sprained ankle during the Saturday’s win over the Jaguars.
That alone is enough to have serious doubts about Kansas City’s ability to win this game against a Bengals defense that baffled Josh Allen on Sunday and allowed the sixth-fewest points in the regular season (20.1 ppg) against a harsh schedule. That’s to say nothing of the fact that Cincinnati has beaten the Chiefs in three consecutive meetings and is playing like a team that can adapt to any challenge on both sides of the ball.
It’s a much bigger test than what Kansas City faced last week, and it’ll take everything Mahomes has in him to match Joe Burrow and Co. From what we saw last week, it may not be much, as the former MVP’s mobility has been seriously hampered and his trademark escape ability – the biggest fear for anyone clearing the Chiefs – has been undermined.
I would expect the Bengals to throw the kitchen sink on Mahomes and take out the easy outlets (i.e. Travis Kelce) who ultimately buried Jacksonville in the Divisional Round. What’s left is a game that favors Cincinnati in almost every way, and one we’ve already seen play out on this exact stage with a much healthier Mahomes. The Bengals are 21-5 ATS in their last 26 games and really should be favored in Sunday’s high-stakes rematch.