Chiefs vs Ravens AFC Championship Predictions, Picks, Odds: Jackson Quiets Remaining Doubters

Even though he's surging toward his second NFL MVP honor, Lamar Jackson still has something to prove. He gets his best test against the Chiefs this Sunday and our betting picks expect the Ravens QB to rise to the challenge and then some.

Jan 28, 2024 • 13:04 ET • 4 min read
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Do you need to be lucky to be good or be good to be lucky?

We’ll find out which side of that statement the Kansas City Chiefs sit on when they visit the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game on Championship Sunday.

Many believe Kansas City is lucky to be back in the conference title game for a sixth straight postseason, having defeated two injury-riddled rosters in Miami and Buffalo and benefiting from a late missed field goal in its Divisional Round win over the Bills.

Baltimore, which has been one of the unluckiest franchises in recent years due to injuries, is finally healthy and looking strong after crushing Houston in its Divisional Round matchup. That’s why the NFL odds currently have the home side laying -3.5 points for the AFC title game.

I dissect the spread and Over/Under for the AFC Championship Game and give my best NFL picks and predictions for Chiefs vs. Ravens on Sunday, January 28.

We've also got a deeper dive into Chiefs vs. Ravens weather to further assist your wagers and more great bets in our Lamar Jackson prop picks.

Chiefs vs Ravens odds

Chiefs vs Ravens predictions

Lamar Jackson is going to win his second NFL MVP award, which puts him alongside some elite company. Yet, despite that inevitable honor, some folks don’t want to give Lamar his flowers.

The AFC Championship Game seems like as good a proving ground as any, especially with another multi-time MVP under center for the Kansas City Chiefs

Wrestling legend Ric Flair infamously said, "If you want to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man," and Patrick Mahomes is currently "The Man." Outshining Mahomes is a tall task, but Lamar has been stepping up to the challenge all season.

The Baltimore Ravens have risen to the occasion against many of the top teams in the NFL this season, "Iverson Stepping" over the fifth-hardest schedule in the land with wins against playoff teams like Houston (twice), Cleveland, Detroit, Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Jackson was stellar in those outings, blowing up rival stop units with his dual-threat talents. 

For those who don’t think Lamar is a "passing QB," consider that in those seven circled games versus postseason qualifiers, he completed almost 71% of his attempts for an average of more than 250 passing yards with 17 touchdown connections — an average of 2.4 TD passes per game.

Jackson, who has 26 total touchdown passes, has collected 13 of those scores over his last five games, including two TD throws in the Divisional Round squash of Houston. He topped his passing TD total of 1.5 O/U against the Texans (Over +100) and has the same total with an even better return for the AFC title game.

FanDuel is offering the Over 1.5 touchdown passes from Jackson at +144 odds.

I get why the Over is priced higher than last week. The Chiefs present a tougher overall defensive test than Houston and sit second (tied with the Texans) in passing TDs allowed per game at only 1.1. Kansas City has been stout in the red zone, allowing the 10th-lowest TD rate, but could be missing key cogs at each level on Sunday.

Furthermore, the Chiefs defense is dependent on disrupting rival QBs with Steve Spagnuolo’s blitz-heavy schemes (fifth-highest blitz rate). Jackson, conversely, has faced the third-lowest pressure rate and sits among the best QBs under duress — just behind Mahomes in terms of PFF grading under pressure.

What’s not being factored into Jackson’s touchdown pass total is the probable return of tight end Mark Andrews. He’s been sidelined since Week 11 with an ankle injury but was a full participant in practice last week before sitting out the Divisional Round, keeping the AFC Championship as his target date. 

Andrews had eight touchdown catches before going down and led the Ravens in receiving TDs the previous two seasons. He’s Jackson’s top target and adds a reliable red zone option for the Ravens’ QB, especially when you consider Lamar has still been lighting up the scoreboard without Andrews in action.

Player projections for the AFC title game have Jackson’s touchdown forecast between 1.5 and 1.6 but no models are calling for fewer TDs and my number sits at 1.75 TD passes, given his current form and tendency to step up as a passer in the biggest games.

My best bet: Lamar Jackson Over 1.5 passing touchdowns (+144 at FanDuel) 50% live boost available
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.

Chiefs vs Ravens same-game parlay

Ravens moneyline

Lamar Jackson Over 1.5 passing touchdowns

Patrick Mahomes Over 1.5 passing touchdowns

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The Ravens have risen to the occasion against the league’s top teams all season and defend their home field for a ticket to the Super Bowl.

Jackson is clicking right now with 13 TD passes in his last five games. He’ll also have favorite target TE Mark Andrews back in the mix.

Mahomes won’t go down without a fight. He and Travis Kelce are back on track and he’s trusting his other receivers more.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Chiefs vs Ravens spread and Over/Under analysis

Look-ahead lines for this AFC title pairing listed Baltimore as a 3.5-point favorite before the Divisional Round games were finished last weekend. And once the Chiefs escaped Orchard Park with a 27-24 victory Sunday night, oddsmakers opened the official spread at that same spot.

However, we did see some shops go lower with Baltimore -3 and that option stuck around for the first 24 hours of action. As of Tuesday morning, those field goal spreads are gone and the market consensus is Ravens -3.5. According to Covers Consensus, 53% of picks are taking the points with the road underdog.

Kansas City is a live pup for sure, considering the Chiefs are 9-5 straight up and 10-3-1 against the spread as underdogs since Mahomes took over as QB1 back in 2018. That record includes an 8-0-1 ATS mark as a road dog.

This spread may not be done moving, though. We’ve seen the price on Ravens -3.5 slide from plus-money to as high as -108 at mainstream books. There are notable injuries to Kansas City’s defense as well as the offensive line, and the updated status of those players will be reflected in the line movement.

What we do know is that Baltimore is the toughest defensive test the Chiefs have faced in a long time. Kansas City was able to pick apart banged-up stop units versus the Dolphins and Bills in the opening two playoff games, which may skew its results.

The Ravens have ranked among the defensive elite all season, sitting No. 2 in EPA allowed per play and No. 1 in Defensive DVOA at FTN. Baltimore topped the NFL with 60 sacks in the regular season despite blitzing at the eighth-lowest rate, which is a testament to its pass coverage taking away opponents’ first options and forcing QBs to need more time in the pocket to go through progressions. It should be noted that Kansas City’s standout guard, Joe Thuney, is questionable for Sunday with a pec injury.

The Ravens allowed a league-low 5.2 yards per pass attempt while checking rival passers to a completion percentage of just 60.42%. Baltimore has been able to bottle up several good quarterbacks this season (74.5 — lowest passer rating allowed) and takes on the best of the best on Sunday.

Mahomes and the Kansas City offense haven’t played up to their lofty standards in 2023-24 but seem to be getting their groove back at the best time. The Chiefs scored 27 points against the Bills last weekend and should have had more if not for a goal-line fumble in the second half. 

Red zone offense has been a sore spot for the Chiefs during the playoff run. Kansas City is just 4-for-10 inside its foes’ 20-yard line the past two games, converted for touchdowns on just over 52% of RZ possessions on the year, and now faces a Ravens RZ defense that allows TDs on only 40.82% of attempts — the second-lowest mark in the league.

The Chiefs will need all the points they can get considering those potential defensive gaps and the versatility of this Ravens offense. The Chiefs could be without starters DL Derrick Nnadi, LB Willie Gay, and S Mike Edwards.

Baltimore brings a ton to the table, and it all starts with QB Lamar Jackson. The threat of the run from Jackson terrifies defensive coordinators and the Ravens play off that fear with RPO sets to find space in the passing game. 

Overall, the Baltimore playbook is rooted in the run. No team in the league rushes at the rate of the Ravens (51%) who pick up an average of five yards per carry. That grinding ground game opens options for Jackson to throw and keeps opposing pass rushes honest.

The Chiefs blitz at the seventh-highest rate and finished second to only Baltimore in terms of total sacks in the regular season (57). However, the Ravens offensive line sits No. 9 in pass block win rate at ESPN, leaving Jackson to feel the third-lowest pressure rate. He also rates out as the second-best QB at PFF when under pressure.

The Over/Under total for the AFC Championship Game opened as high as 45.5 points and has settled in at 44.5 as of Tuesday morning. There are some books as low as 44 O/U and some as high as 45 O/U. Covers Consensus shows 74% of early picks on the Over. 

Kansas City was one of the best Under bets all season, with a very strong defense and an underperforming offense leading to a 6-13 O/U record. However, the Chiefs are 5-4 O/U on the road, including going Over the closing total of 46 points in Orchard Park last Sunday.

Baltimore is 8-9-1 Over/Under with a 5-4-1 O/U inside M&T Bank Stadium. The 34-10 win over the Texans in the Divisional Round pushed with the closing total of 44 points last Saturday. 

The extended forecast for Baltimore does call for rain throughout Sunday’s 3 p.m. ET kickoff with wind gusts up to 21 mph early on but calming in the second half. Game-time temperatures will "feel like" the mid-40s.

Chiefs vs Ravens betting trend to know

The Ravens have cashed in for moneyline bettors in 12 of their last 15 games (+10.05 units/35% ROI) and sit between -180 and -200 to win outright in the AFC Championship. Find more NFL betting trends for Chiefs vs. Ravens.

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Chiefs vs Ravens game info

Location: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
Date: Sunday, January 28, 2024
Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. ET
Opening odds: Ravens -3.5, 44.5

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