Betting Advice For The NFL Conference Championship Round

Betting Advice For The NFL Conference Championship Round

Written by on January 25, 2023

The NFL is down to its Final Four as the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs will host the No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday and the No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles will welcome the No. 2 San Francisco 49ers in the NFC. Here are some betting trends for each game.

49ers at Eagles (-2.5, total 45.5)

These teams didn’t meet in the regular season. They did Week 2 of the 2021 season in Philadelphia and the 49ers won 17-11 as Jimmy Garoppolo threw for a score and rushed for one. Garoppolo finished 22 of 30 for 189 yards. Nick Bosa had two sacks and San Francisco’s stingy defense shut down Jalen Hurts, who completed just 12 of 23 passes for 190 yards. He ran for 82 yards, including a 1-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

While Hurts will be the Philly starter on Sunday, Jimmy G will not as rookie Brock Purdy remains under center for the Niners. Coach Kyle Shanahan said he’ll be “very surprised” if Garoppolo can return from his foot injury to serve as the backup to Purdy. He is the fifth rookie quarterback to reach a conference title game as a starter but the previous four all lost.

With a win over the Eagles, Purdy can join Los Angeles Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo (1979) and New York Giants quarterback Jeff Hostetler (1990) as the only quarterbacks to start a Super Bowl with five or fewer career regular-season games started. Purdy can become the sixth quarterback in NFL history to start a Super Bowl after starting five or fewer games in the same season.

In the Divisional Round 19-12 win over Dallas, Purdy completed 19 of 29 pass attempts for 214 yards, no touchdowns and no turnovers.  He narrowly avoided being intercepted on a few different occasions, mostly notably on a ball that was tipped at the line of scrimmage before going through a defender’s hands in the red zone. Purdy hasn’t faced a defense like Philadelphia’s unit — one that held teams to a league-low 5.5 net yards per pass attempt and 3,057 passing yards in the regular season.

Star running back Christian McCaffrey played through calf discomfort against Dallas. He was not on the field for the majority of the snaps near the end of the game — those went to Elijah Mitchell — though McCaffrey did appear on one key third down play. Overall, he rushed 10 times for 35 yards and had six catches for 22 yards on eight targets.

The Eagles trashed the Giants 38-7 to advance. Philadelphia set the tone on the opening drive of the game with an 8-play, 75-yard drive for a 7-0 lead. The defense dominated the Giants as the Eagles held the New York offense to just three first downs on their first six possessions.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts won his first career playoff game with a super-efficient outing, completing 16-of-24 pass attempts for 154 yards with three total touchdowns for a 112.2 passer rating. Hurts added another 34 yards on the ground. The Eagles’ offensive line welcomed back tackle Lane Johnson to the lineup after the All-Pro was sidelined with a groin injury and smashed on the ground, amassing 416 total yards and 268 yards on the ground, paced by Kenneth Gainwell’s 112-yard outing.

Purdy (23) vs Hurts (24) is the first QB matchup in the conference championship game or later in NFL history where both starting QBs are under 25 years old. The 49ers are on a 12-game winning streak and 7-0 when Purdy starts. The Eagles are 15-1 when Hurts starts this season.

Bengals at Chiefs (+2, total 47)

Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow looks to improve to 4-0 career against Patrick Mahomes as he beat the Chiefs late in the 2021 regular season, in last season’s AFC title game in Kansas City and earlier this regular season in Cincinnati. Burrow is the only QB to have beaten Mahomes three straight times. Burrow is 3-0 in his career in playoff road games. Cincinnati was 0-7 all-time in road playoff games before he arrived.

This is the seventh time since 1970 that teams will meet in back-to-back conference championship games. Cincinnati enters having won 10 in a row and Kansas City 11 of 12. The Chiefs host their fifth straight AFC title game, an NFL record (any conference).

The big question for this one is a high ankle sprain suffered by Mahomes in the Divisional Round win over Jacksonville. He’ll play but his mobility will be affected. Mahomes winced in pain throughout the second half against the Jaguars, struggled at times to get to stretch handoffs, and didn’t scramble unless necessary. The Chiefs altered their game plan after the injury, running fewer play-action plays down the stretch than usual.

Asked how this ankle sprain compares to the one Mahomes suffered in Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season, Coach Andy Reid gave a positive update. After suffering that sprain, Mahomes went on to throw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 2.

“I think this one isn’t quite as bad as that one,” Reid said. “They’re similar. (It’s) sore, but not quite the same.”

Mahomes, 27, has one Super Bowl. But having a second Super Bowl ring would further solidify his legacy. After winning his first in the 2019 season, Mahomes has lost to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl in 2020, and they lost to Joe Burrow and the Bengals in the AFC title game last season. Mahomes can pass Tom Brady for most playoff wins all-time by QB before turning 28 (currently has 9) and can pass Brady as youngest QB to reach 3 Super Bowls.

 
 

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