Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs (14-5 SU, 10-9 ATS) are favored to advance to their third straight Super Bowl, opening as touchdown favorites over the Bengals (12-7, 12-7) in the AFC championship game. However, Cincinnati is 6-0 ATS in its last six games, including a 34-31 win over KC earlier this month.
Bengals Vs Chiefs Odds & Analysis
Oddsmakers made the Chiefs a full touchdown favorite when they opened the AFC championship game betting line, 3.5 points more than what KC was favored by when it visited Cincinnati on January 2. The Bengals won that game outright and also won last week in Tennessee as 4-point dogs, moving to 6-0 ATS this season when catching a field goal or more.
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Bengals Defense, Special Teams Supporting Burrow
Joe Burrow will get plenty of attention this week in most Bengals vs Chiefs prediction articles, but the bigger key to Cincinnati’s 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS run over its last six games may have been the play of the Bengals defense. Cincy’s stop unit set up the game-winning field goal in last week’s 19-16 win at Tennessee by intercepting Ryan Tannehill near midfield, one of three Bengals picks in the contest.
Cincinnati has now allowed 21 points or less in regulation time in six of its last seven games and eight of 10. The defense helped Burrow and the offense overcome a playoff-record nine sacks allowed, exposing a Cincy offensive line that has been an issue all year. Coach Zach Taylor took some of the blame after the game, saying he needs to call plays that allow Burrow to get the ball out quicker.
Rookie kicker Evan McPherson also came up huge, hitting all four of his field-goal attempts, two of them from 50-plus yards. McPherson is now 8-for-8 in the postseason, although the Bengals don’t want to settle for field goals too often this week against the high-scoring Chiefs.
Chiefs’ Explosive Offense, Leaky Defense Making KC A Great OVER Bet
It took awhile for Kansas City’s offense to get going this year, but now the attack looks as good as it ever has with Mahomes under center. Last week’s wild 42-36 overtime win over Buffalo was the second straight game in which KC hung 42 points on an opponent, and Denver is the only team to hold the Chiefs under 31 points in their last seven games.
Mahomes dominated the headlines last week after driving the Chiefs 44 yards in 10 seconds for the tying field goal at the end of regulation, but don’t sleep on KC’s running game. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 60 yards on seven carries and Jerick McKinnon added 78 total yards on 15 touches as the Chiefs finished with 182 rushing yards.
Defensively, things aren’t as pretty right now for KC, especially if star defensive back Tyrann Mathieu can’t play against Cincinnati after leaving last week’s game with a concussion. The Chiefs secondary allowed Gabriel Davis to set an NFL playoff record with four receiving touchdowns and gave up 329 yards through the air on the night. Kansas City’s last eight games have seen an average of 60.4 points scored, with seven of them going OVER.
Bengals vs Chiefs Pick & Insights
Bengals: Keys To Cover
As well as Cincinnati’s defense is playing lately, the Bengals will need to generate turnovers once again if they’re going to hang tough with Kansas City. Better protection of Burrow and improved efficiency in the red zone are other keys to Cincinnati being the winning Bengals vs Chiefs prediction.
Chiefs: Keys To Cover
Mahomes is on fire and shouldn’t have much difficulty dicing up a Cincinnati secondary that ranked 26th this season against the pass. In order to cover this touchdown margin, however, KC needs better play from its own defensive backs, especially if Mathieu isn’t able to suit up.
Odds Shark’s Computer Bengals Vs Chiefs Prediction: Chiefs -7
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Odds Shark Staff Thu, May 12, 1:37pm