Due to the unfortunate event that took place in the week 17 matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, the Kansas City Chiefs were more or less afforded the top seed in the AFC by default. They took advantage of the gift from the football gods by holding serve in the Division Round after disposing of a pesky prowl of Jacksonville Jaguars by a 27-20 final count. In the process, Andy Reid’s troops failed to cover the closing NFL odds for the twelfth time to date! The betting line likely won’t come into play in this AFC Title Game showdown with Joe Burrow and the Bengals, but what about the supposed high ankle sprain Patrick Mahomes suffered in the first half of last week’s game? The Chiefs could be in trouble if it does!
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Date and Time: Sunday, January 29, 2023 at 6:30 PM EST
Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
TV Coverage: CBS
PointsBet Sportsbook opened this grudge match up with the Chiefs laying 2-points at home with the total lined at 49.5. Due to Mahomes’ ankle injury, the betting market bolted to the betting window to throw their money down on the visitors which saw the Bengals get as high as 1.5-point favorites. But since video surfaced of No. 15 partaking in practice on Wednesday, the number to beat moved back in favor of Kansas City. As it stands, the home team is a 1.5-point favorite even though 73 percent of the bets and 70 percent of the money is riding the ‘Natti. A constant stream of under money has flowed in pushing the number to beat down to 47.5 with 52 percent of the wagers and 60 percent of the handle in favor of the line move. Many look to be of the belief Mahomes fails to play a full 60.
The Bengals haven’t gone down in defeat since getting embarrassed by the AFC North rival Cleveland Browns on Halloween night in front of a nationally televised audience. That finds Zac Taylor’s squad entering this tilt winners of 10 straight after getting by the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills in their first two playoff matchups. After having some issues with Tyler Huntley in the wild-card round, Lou Anarumo’s defense played a lock down brand of ball in last week’s decided 27-10 outright win and cover as 6-point dogs to the BillsMafia.
In getting a balanced offensive attack that saw Burrow throw for 242 yards and a 2:0 TD/INT ratio with Joe Mixon rumbling for 105 yards and a score, Buffalo simply had no answer with the defense on lockdown. Cincinnati held the Chiefs to 349 yards of combined offense in the week 13 dustup, but still found itself trailing by a touchdown heading into the fourth quarter. The Bengals scored the game’s final 10 points to pull out the win, but will likely need to hang a crooked number to get out of Arrowhead alive for the second straight year with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
Kansas City Chiefs
Is it possible the Chiefs are paying for all the luck the football gods granted them over the course of the regular season at the worst possible time? I think it’s certainly reasonable to come to that conclusion. Even so, Reid and Steve Spagnuolo found a way to get this team into the title game even with their star quarterback noticeably ailing. The triumph amounted to the team’s fourth straight since dropping that game to the Bengals in Paul Brown Stadium. Believe it or not, but Kansas City has managed just one cover of the closing point spread at home to date, and failed to deliver the lone time it caught points in front of the hometown faithful after dropping a 24-20 decision to the Bills in week 6.
None of that will mean anything in the grand scheme of things heading into this ultimate grudge match with Joey Brrr and the Bengals. Cincinnati pulled off one of the bigger shockers in AFC title game history last season when it battled back from a 21-10 halftime deficit to score the 27-24 overtime win as touchdown underdogs. That loss is one the Arrowhead faithful won’t soon forget with the ultimate goal of erasing it from the memory bank on Sunday. For that to occur, the Chiefs would be best served taking advantage of a run defense ranked No. 14 in DVOA so as to lighten up the pressure and coverage downfield to allow No. 15 to go about his business.
I think Championship Weekend goes out in style with Burrow and Mahomes putting on a show NFL bettors won’t soon forget. If Kansas City is comfortable marching Mahomes under center, I’m comfortable attacking this game from a handicapping perspective with the belief the Chiefs offense will be run by its star quarterback for the full 60.
It’s tough to get back to the Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons. I applaud the Bengals for even putting themselves in a position to be here. However, Kansas City isn’t the place I’m comfortable fading the Chiefs with the franchise having lost a grand total of four home games over the course of the last two seasons. It’s also playing with three-game revenge! Someway, somehow – Kansas City wins this game in an epic back-and-forth offensive spectacle that sends most everyone home happy. The water coolers will be buzzing come Monday!
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