NFL Conference Championship Bet Now, Bet Later: Bet Bengals While You Can

The Cincinnati Bengals thumped the Buffalo Bills on the road and now punched a ticket against the Kansas City Chiefs. With the Bengals opening as 3-point dogs, you need to jump on this number ASAP.

Last Updated: Jan 22, 2023 11:06 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

And then there were four. 

The NFL odds is down to a pair of conference championship games with a ticket to Arizona on the line. The pressure on the field matches the pressure at the sportsbooks, with bookies and bettors going head-to-head in the NFL odds just three more times this season. It's enough to make you cry.

If you’re out to be the “champ” this Championship Sunday, you need to get the best of the number to back up your bets. I help you do just that, sizing up the best spreads and totals to bet now and which lines you’ll want to bet later.

Conference Championship bet now, bet later picks

Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Cincinnati’s impressive road win in snowy Buffalo, Patrick Mahomes’ bum ankle, and the Bengals’ history of handling the Chiefs are going to have this line on the move early. If you like Cincinnati to cover the spread, bet the Bengals now as field goal pups.

Cincinnati’s offense looked unstoppable in Buffalo Sunday afternoon, rolling to 412 yards and 27 points. The Chiefs, on the other hand, had a couple of uneasy moments in a wire-to-wire win over Jacksonville on Saturday, most notably Mahomes’ suffering what is being reported as a high ankle sprain early in the game.

While he did return to finish the fight and says he’ll be on the field in the AFC title game, bettors may be hesitant on the home team and will instead look to the Bengals’ success against Kansas City in recent meetings.

Cincinnati knocked off KC 27-24 as a 2.5-point home underdog back in Week 13 and, of course, defeated the Chiefs by that very same score in overtime as a 7-point pup at Arrowhead in last year’s AFC Championship Game. The Bengals also beat Mahomes & Co. at home in Week 17 of last season, edging Kansas City 34-31 as 3.5-point underdogs.

The 49ers survived a grinder of a game vs. Dallas at home, but now venture to the East Coast to play the No. 1 seed in the NFC. This trip to Philadelphia is just the third time the 49ers have played away from home since Week 12 and just its third “true” road game since October 30. 

At offshores, the spread hit the board at Eagles -2.5 with the vig pumped to -115 for the favorite, indicating that books are bracing for money on the home side.

Mainstream books opened Eagles -2, which I’m projecting to come up to a field goal considering the QB mismatch and Philadelphia’s two-way dominance over the Giants in the Divisional Round.

If you’re grabbing for gold with San Francisco, wait this spread out and make sure you get the road underdog at a field goal for the NFC Championship. 

You have two of the most run-heavy playbooks in the NFL and two of the elite stop units in the league butting heads in the City of Brotherly Love for the NFC Championship. Smells like Under to me.

Philadelphia, which ranks out No. 4 in EPA allowed per play, stymied the Giants to only 227 yards and a lonely touchdown in the NFC Divisional Round. The Eagles have a nasty front seven and a secondary that protects against the big play, keeping everything in front of it. 

The Niners’ defense slowed down the Cowboys’ high-powered attack in their Divisional matchup Sunday night and the rushing game ground out first downs and chewed up clock, with an offensive approach that ranks dead last in pace with 30.23 seconds per play. 

The Eagles' defense is susceptible to the run, so San Francisco could absolutely control time and possession and not allow Jalen Hurts and Philly’s offense much time with the football. 

The trip to Philly is also a rare road spot for San Francisco, which has played away from Santa Clara only twice since Week 12. We saw Dallas’ defense have success in slowing down the 49ers and young Brock Purdy will be stepping into the lion’s den in Lincoln Financial Field. 

The first books to open this total had it hiked as high as 51.5 points in the seconds after Cincinnati’s stellar offensive effort against the Bills in the Divisional Round. Then other books hit the board with the Over/Under as low as 48.5 points for the AFC Championship Game. The number continued to slide down to as low as 47 points in the minutes after going live.

If we look at the last three meetings between the Bengals and Chiefs we have closing totals of 51 (Over), 53 (Under), and 54.5 (Under) points. Obviously, Mahomes ankle injury is the anchor on this number right now as well as a very impressive showing from the Bengals' defense in the Divisional Round (and the Chiefs' stop unit is no slouch either). 

As we progress through the week, I expect to see little activity from Mahomes and the Chiefs coaching staff to be pretty coy about his progress. Add to that some pending cold weather for KC (extended forecast calling for “feels like” temperatures of six degrees, but clear with light winds on Sunday night), and those totals could continue to fall.

Some offshore operators are already at 47 points — a key number in NFL Over/Under betting. If you really want to get the best of the total, see if this dips to 47 across the industry and if you see a 46.5-point total, you'll want to grab the Over.

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