The Kansas City Chiefs are into the AFC Championship for a sixth straight season, but for the first time they’ll come into this one with several question marks after a tumultuous season which saw them finish 11-6.
Will their improved defense prove to be enough here to keep their Super Bowl title defense alive, or will they be overcome by Baltimore’s high-octane ground game?
Chiefs vs Ravens Odds
NFL odds used for this Kansas City vs Baltimore preview were found at DraftKings Sportsbook and are current as of Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 6 p.m. ET.
- Moneyline: Ravens (-185) • Chiefs (+154)
- Spread: Ravens -3.5 (-110) • Chiefs +3.5 (-110)
- Total Points: Over 44.5 (-108) • Under 44.5 (-112)
- Implied Score: Ravens 24, Chiefs 20.5
Chiefs vs Ravens Predictions
Score Pick: Chiefs 27, Ravens 20
Unlike years’ past, the Chiefs will enter the AFC Conference Championship with supreme confidence in their defense. Kansas City rebuilt this unit under coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, finishing the year in fourth place in total success rate, though most of its hard work was done in the secondary.
That presents a tough matchup against a Ravens team that loves to run the ball, and while they should have a good deal of success here – especially at home – there are certainly some worrying signs here for the favorites.
Baltimore allowed nearly seven yards per attempt in their last four regular season games, not counting its poor performance without its starters in Week 18 – and while things picked up against the Houston Texans last week you can’t compare that offense to the one Patrick Mahomes is running in Kansas City.
With a rushing defense which matches Kansas City’s when it comes to its poor standing in the regular season, both teams should be able to move the ball on the ground here. That will keep this one free from offensive fireworks, but I have to favor the Chiefs here as the team which can do more through the air against a secondary that – while great during the regular season – has been regressing over the last month or so.
Chiefs vs Ravens Best Bets & Props
Chiefs +3.5 (-105)
BetMGM • WAGER: 1 Unit
The Chiefs were exceptional through the air against Buffalo, albeit in a game where they ran the ball a good amount, but Buffalo – like Baltimore – has relied upon its secondary to get the job done on defense.
The Ravens ranked 28th in EPA per rush during the regular season, so this game on Sunday could be a carbon copy of Kansas City’s win in Buffalo last weekend.
Kansas City has notoriously been a tough team to lay points with over the years, but as underdogs this season it was a perfect 2-0 against the spread, and dating back to the 2020 season it has gone 5-2 ATS in these spots. Under Andy Reid, this team is a whopping 20-10-1 ATS as road underdogs, last failing to cover in 2018.
This should be a great spot to play a Chiefs team which has looked like a much more cohesive unit over the last five weeks of play, and an offense which has put up 7.5 yards per attempt when passing the ball and 5.1 yards per rush.
Baltimore’s defense should be in a real spot of bother, and that should allow the Chiefs’ defense to step up and at least cover the 3.5 points, if they don’t deliver an outright victory, making the Chiefs our NFL bet of the day.
Under 44.5 (-110)
Caesars Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit
While it may be wise to take a look at the Chiefs’ performance against the spread as underdogs through the years, looking at the performance of the total in these games will likely be a fruitless endeavor given Kansas City’s defense has always lagged behind its offense.
The Chiefs cashed the Under in 68.4% of their games this season, an impressive feat, and it was thanks to their third-place ranking in dropback EPA.
The Ravens are one of two teams to own a better mark in this category, and both teams are in the bottom half of the league when it comes to average success against the run.
This game should feature a heavily reliance on the ground game given that’s where both offenses will have their best chances to move the ball, and we also know the Chiefs have historically played at a painstakingly slow pace in playoff games.
Baltimore only came close to cashing the Over last week against Houston due to its offense running up the score against Houston – and the Texans gifting it some turnovers – and that is not a script that’s likely to repeat here.
This number is simply too high in a game featuring a Chiefs team which has cashed the Under in four of their last five contests and at a high rate this season. If you expect Kansas City to grab control of this game – which I do – the game should go under the total.
Isiah Pacheco Over 65.5 Rushing Yards (-120)
BetMGM Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit
The Ravens are just 16th in EPA and 22nd in success rate per rush, which leads me first to Isaiah Pacheco. He’s unquestionably been the guy in the Chiefs’ backfield during the playoffs, rushing 24 times against the Dolphins and 15 times against the Bills to Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s nine total carries.
Though the Ravens’ secondary has been a little off of late, the best way for Kansas City to attack them will be on the ground.
That will mean plenty of Pacheco, who has shattered this total in back-to-back weeks and enters this one going for 4.77 yards per carry in the playoffs after racking up 4.56 per tote in the regular season.
Chiefs vs Ravens Same Game Parlay
Chiefs vs Ravens SGP (+550)
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 0.5 Units
- Chiefs +3.5 (-110)
- Isaiah Pacheco Over 65.5 Rushing Yards (-110)
- Noah Gray Over 1.5 Receptions (+130)
It’s a big weekend, so that calls for a big parlay. While I’m pretty confident in this game going under the total, I’ll skip the under in this parlay and instead combined my love for the Chiefs in this spot with some guys who should shine in this contests.
Pacheco will do plenty of work on the ground, but through the air Mahomes will continue to look to tight end Noah Gray as we’ve seen him do in recent games.
He’s the only tertiary option on this Chiefs offense to receive consistent targets throughout the playoffs, with Mahomes throwing his way once against Miami for a 20-yard game and three times last week for 16 yards.
The Ravens allowed five catches on eight targets to Houston’s tight ends last week, and that continues a trend we saw at the end of the regular season with the likes of Duram Smythe, George Kittle, and Evan Engram finding success against this secondary to close the regular season.
A lot of the attention here will be on Travis Kelce, and that should allow Gray to continue on as one of Mahomes’ favorite targets on third downs and in the red zone.