AFC Championship Game Picks: Why Bengals Can Cover vs. Chiefs

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Ja'Marr Chase #1 of the Bengals makes a 18-yard catch for a touchdown over Charvarius Ward #35 of the Chiefs in Week 17. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

We’re fresh off the greatest playoff weekend in NFL history. All four of the NFL Divisional Round games were nail-biters. The best stars in the league showed up on the grand stage and the NFL world loved every second of it. Bettors also cashed in with the right plays and we look to keep that going.

The AFC Conference Championship Game features the upstart Cincinnati Bengals and the veteran Kansas City Chiefs. This is a rematch of a Week 17 thriller where the Bengals won 34-31. 

We’ll break down the NFL odds and the best picks as we preview this game. The Bengals and Chiefs might be able to produce another instant classic. Hopefully, the matchup is as profitable as it is entertaining.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, January 30, 2022 – 03:00 PM EST at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium

Another Shootout

While the Bengals won 19-16 against the top-seeded Tennessee Titans on Saturday, the AFC Conference Championship will surely more resemble Kansas City's 42-36 win. It's dangerous to put too much stock into the first game in most instances. But the previous 34-31 shootout featured key ingredients that are a safe bet to be featured again.

The Chiefs surrendered 266 yards and three scores to Ja'Marr Chase in Week 17, and then 201 yards and four scores to Gabriel Davis. Their game plan of shutting Stefon Diggs down worked, but the stress of devoting bodies to the former All-Pro caused other communication breakdowns. Cincinnati has even better second and third options than the Bills.

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Joe Burrow, though not as athletic as Josh Allen, is every bit as good as Allen as a passer. He will shred the Chiefs' secondary enough to score with the Chiefs. And we all know how effectively Patrick Mahomes can move the ball.

Both defenses are respectful, but these playoffs have shown the power of creative playmakers. The best-case scenario is either team can string together a turnover or two and convert with points on the subsequent drive. Kansas City has the slight edge with their ability to rush the passer and force interceptions with their secondary.

The Inevitable

Patrick Mahomes is inevitable. This goes beyond his insane 13-second drive that led to a tying field goal at the end of regulation against Buffalo. With an elite offensive line and resurgent pair of running backs at his disposal, Mahomes has reached his full form. 

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Cincinnati has the ability to pull the upset, though, and this large seven-point line is a great opportunity to get value. The Bengals are tough, athletic, and consistently play above their individual talent level. The Chiefs have mostly shed their tendency to play down to foes but it's not a game they can afford multiple self-inflicted turnovers. 

The Pick

It's possible Trey Hendrickson, Vonn Bell, Mike Hilton, or Sam Hubbard have a strip-sack or scoop and score, but it's actually necessary for Cincinnati to win outright. Otherwise, this will be a shootout they will lose. The talent, coaching experience and playing experience all show the Chiefs as a better bet to win.

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But it's Cincinnati, with a seven-point line, that has the value. And, for our NFL picks, we'll take the over every time with these two superstar quarterbacks. 

NFL Pick: Bengals +7 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Bengals +7 (-110)
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NFL Pick: Over 54.5 (-110) at BetOnline

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Over 54.5 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.