Here we go again.
364 days after Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals stunned Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Kansas City to advance to Super Bowl 56, we will see the same two franchises and their elite quarterbacks take the field at Arrowhead in the AFC Championship Game.
After a statement victory over Buffalo in the divisional round, will Cincinnati continue its recent head-to-head dominance over Kansas City? Or will Andy Reid‘s team finally avenge its overtime defeat from last January?
Let’s dig into our Cincinnati vs Kansas City best bets and predictions for this AFC Championship Game rematch.
Bengals vs Chiefs Odds
The spread for this game has been all over the place this week, with both teams seeing time as short favorites. As of Friday afternoon, the Chiefs are one-point home favorites at Caesars Sportsbook.
The Over/Under currently sits at 47.5 total points, which feels a little low for two teams that both averaged over 26 points per game during the regular season.
Then again, Cincinnati’s defense has been superb over the last two months and Mahomes is dealing with a high ankle sprain, which he suffered in Kansas City’s divisional-round victory over Jacksonville.
Bengals vs Chiefs Implied Totals
Chiefs 24.25, Bengals 23.25
Oddsmakers expect this game to be close, with both teams scoring just over three touchdowns. This is a pretty safe estimation since the game that these two teams played last January went to overtime tied at 24.
Bengals vs Chiefs Pick of the Day
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Bengals vs Chiefs Prediction
Bengals 24, Chiefs 21
While this matchup has all the makings of a back-and-forth shootout on paper, I have some concerns about both offenses heading into Sunday’s game.
On the Kansas City side, it is certainly reasonable to question how effective Mahomes will be after being taken down awkwardly in the first quarter of the Chiefs’ 27-20 victory over the Jaguars. The star quarterback suffered a high ankle sprain and was able to return to the game in the second half; however, he was noticeably less mobile than usual.
That could be problematic against a Bengals defense that has played at a high level late in the season. Lou Anarumo‘s unit has held opponents under 20 points in five of Cincy’s last six games and just limited Josh Allen and the Bills to their lowest-scoring output of the season.
By forcing him to dink and dunk, the Bengals defense has given Mahomes fits for parts of the last three meetings between these teams (all Cincinnati victories), and these Chiefs seem to lack a consistent secondary threat outside of Travis Kelce.
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On the other side of the ball, I’m not so sure Cincinnati’s offensive-line problems have miraculously disappeared. The Bengals did well to mask their issues without guard Alex Cappa and tackle Jonah Williams against Buffalo by leaning on the run game and having Burrow get the ball out quickly.
However, there’s definitely a chance that the elements aided the offensive line on Sunday afternoon, and that Kansas City’s Chris Jones and Frank Clark can create some havoc on Burrow’s blind side.
The last three meetings between these teams have seen Cincinnati win by exactly three points. Given the way the Bengals have been playing over their 10-game win streak, I don’t see any reason to expect much of a different outcome this time around.
Bengals vs Chiefs Bet Tips
Here are a few Bengals vs Chiefs betting trends to consider before making your bets:
- Cincinnati was 12-4 against the spread during the regular season, while Kansas City had a 6-10-1 ATS mark.
- The Under was 9-6-1 in Bengals games and 9-8 in Chiefs games during the regular season.
- Cincy is 8-2 ATS on the road this campaign, including Sunday’s upset win in Buffalo.
Bengals vs Chiefs Best Bets
Bengals Moneyline (+100) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
It’s hard to watch what the Bengals did to the Bills on Sunday and not think it’s replicable. Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase seem to play their best football under the brightest lights and Cincinnati’s dynamic duo should have success against a K.C. defense that finished 20th in pass defense DVOA, per Football Outsiders.
Meanwhile, Cincy’s defense continues to play at an extremely high level and will potentially have the benefit of facing a less-than-100% Mahomes.
I was a bit wary of the Chiefs heading into the playoffs because they haven’t truly been tested since losing to the Bengals during the regular season, a game in which a healthy Mahomes completed 16-of-27 passes for 223 yards.
Zac Taylor‘s team has the better defense and special teams unit, and the Bengals won’t be scared of the occasion after winning in Kansas City last postseason. I think the visitors get it done once again Sunday.
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Under 47.5 Points (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER: 0.5 Units
This bet is particularly daunting since the last five meetings between these two teams have been played in the 50s or 60s. Still, I think both defenses have avenues to success in this matchup, with the injuries to Mahomes and the Cincy O-line providing opportunities for stops.
The Bengals have done well to take away the big play in their recent matchups with the Chiefs, so Kansas City should require some lengthy drives to put up points. That also should be the case for the Bengals if, as I expect, Burrow faces more pressure than he did in the divisional round.
I also wouldn’t be surprised to see both teams run the ball more in an effort to mitigate some of these concerns, which will help keep the clock moving.
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