Cincinnati Bengals Vs. Kansas City Chiefs Betting Odds
These teams met in Week 17 when Cincinnati earned a massive home win to clinch the AFC North. Patrick Mahomes did it again with an incredible victory in one of the most exciting football games I’ve ever seen. Joe Burrow, meanwhile, hung tough despite being sacked a whopping nine times and did enough to earn the Bengals another playoff win. Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase were outstanding that day with historic performances, and they will have to perform at an elite level for the Bengals to upset the Chiefs this week. Both offenses are capable of exploding with points in a matter of moments, so this should be fun. Regardless of who wins this game, it should be exhilarating to watch, and I’m thrilled to see which of these two teams will move onto the Super Bowl.
Cincinnati Bengals: DE Cameron Sample (groin) Q. DT Josh Tupou (knee – MCL) Q
Kansas City Chiefs: S Tyrann Mathieu (concussion) Q, CB Rashad Fenton (back) Q, RB Darrel Williams (toe) Q
Cincinnati Bengals Betting Odds
Joe Burrow has led the Bengals to five straight wins, including the franchise’s first two playoff wins in 31 years. He ended the regular season on an absurd two-week stretch with eight touchdowns and almost 1,000 yards, a historic production level. Burrow’s volume hasn’t been elite in the playoffs, but he’s done an excellent job of maintaining a high level of offensive production despite constant pressure. He’s managed these games at a high level, and that has been all that has been required as their defense has done a decent job of keeping them in the games.
Veteran offensive tackle Riley Reiff hit the Injured Reserve before the postseason, and his absence has hurt considerably. However, the Bengals already allowed 55 sacks during the regular season, the third-most in the NFL, even with Reiff in the lineup. Burrow was sacked nine times last week, and the Chiefs have the talent to put pressure on him again this week. Isaiah Prince, the team’s replacement starting tackle, has struggled mightily as the starter. Jonah Williams has been solid at left tackle, but the interior of the offensive line has struggled, and Chris Jones could wreak havoc this week.
Zac Taylor has to find a way to create easier opportunities for Burrow to quickly get rid of the ball. Of course, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins are elite downfield talents who are a constant threat to take the ball to the house. However, the key to this game could very well be Tyler Boyd, C.J. Uzomah, and Joe Mixon in the short passing game. Mixon finished with six catches for 51 yards against the Titans, and Uzomah finished with seven catches for 71 yards, and I’d expect them to both be heavily involved again this week.
Defensively, the Bengals are much improved from last season, but there are still some holes to be exploited. A.J. Brown finished with five catches for 142 yards and a touchdown against them last week, and it’s easy to see Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce come through with some big plays against them. Trey Hendrickson has been a massive addition with a team-leading 14 sacks in the regular season, while Chidobe Awuzie has been a consistent coverage cornerback who will be called upon to help against Hill this week. However, the Bengals allowed the Chiefs to score 28 points in the first half of their meeting earlier this year, and they have to be better on defense this week.
Kansas City Chiefs Betting Odds
For the first time all season, the Chiefs looked like they were back at their offensive peak again on Sunday against the Bills. Patrick Mahomes has thrown for 782 yards and eight touchdowns to just one interception so far in the playoffs, and he’s played the best football he has all season. Mahomes even got in on the rushing game on Sunday with seven carries for 69 yards and a score. He came through in the clutch against Buffalo to get his team in field goal range with just 13 seconds remaining in the game, and then he pulled through with a touchdown on the first drive of overtime. With Mahomes rolling, the Chiefs are incredibly dangerous, and it’s why they are the Super Bowl favorites.
With Mahomes surging, both Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce had incredible games against the Bills. Hill finished with 11 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown, while Kelce had eight catches for 96 yards and a score. The two combined for just 11 catches for 65 yards against Cincinnati earlier this year, and it’s tough to imagine they will both be that quiet again. Jerick McKinnon has also emerged as a real playmaker for Kansas City with 220 yards from scrimmage in the postseason. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams are healthier now, but McKinnon seems to be the team’s preferred running back. With Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle also playing well, the Chiefs have playmakers all over the field.
The Chiefs worked hard to improve their offensive line over the offseason, but the loss of Lucas Niang right before the playoffs started hurt the line’s production. Still, Mahomes was only sacked twice against Buffalo, even with their much-improved pass rush. Orlando Brown and Joe Thuney have been crucial veteran additions, while rookies Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith have been far more productive than anyone could have predicted. The Chiefs’ defense has also improved throughout the season, and I’m looking for Chris Jones and Melvin Ingram to make a significant impact against the Bengals’ weak offensive line. However, if Tyrann Mathieu cannot play this week, their secondary could give up a ton of huge plays like they did last week.
Cincinnati Bengals Vs. Kansas City Chiefs Picks & Prediction
The Chiefs are rolling right now, and the only thing that stands in between them and the Super Bowl is a young, overachieving Bengals’ team. They can’t overlook Cincinnati, especially since they beat them earlier this season. Still, they should be able to win this game fairly easily. The Chiefs had a 28-17 halftime lead over the Bengals on the road earlier this season, but they took their foot off the gas in the second half, and ended up with a whopping ten penalties. They’ve rarely been penalized in the postseason, and their increased efficiency should help them surge to a win this week. So long as their defense can put consistent pressure on Burrow and assuming Tyrann Mathieu returns, I don’t see the Bengals doing enough on offense to keep up.
I was surprised to see that the Chiefs were favored by seven points when I first saw the line for this game, but the more I dug into it, the more I realized that it’s the right line. I also think this game sets up brilliantly for a teaser opportunity, as you can run a 6-point teaser to get the Chiefs at -1 or a 7-point teaser to get the Chiefs’ ML and parlay it with your favored team in the Rams-49ers game. I also love the 7-point teaser with the Chiefs ML and the over in this game.
My Predictions: Chiefs win 38-27, Chiefs cover, over 54 points
Best Bet: Chiefs -7 or 7-point teaser: Chiefs ML and over 47 points