The Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals are set to duke it out today in just a few hours in the AFC Championship game with the winner punching their ticket to Los Angeles for Super Bowl LVI. The Bengals find themselves knocking on the door of a Super Bowl berth after upsetting the No. 1 seeded Titans in the divisional round. Meanwhile, the Chiefs come into their fourth consecutive conference title game after a matchup for the ages against the Bills that wasn’t decided until overtime. Will this AFC Championship match that excitement? We’re about to find out.
In this space, we’ll specifically be looking at the different betting angles that this matchup has on deck for us. Below, you’ll read picks from both CBS Sports and SportsLine experts on this game, as well as a handful of player props that catch our eye.
Which picks can you make with confidence during Championship Sunday? Visit SportsLine, as their incredible model simulates every NFL game 10,000 times and is up over $7,500 for $100 players on top-rated NFL picks since its inception six-plus years ago. Amazingly, it hasn’t missed a top-rated pick since Week 14 of the regular season.
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
How to watch
Date: Sunday, Jan. 30 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
Location: Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri)
TV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)
Odds: Chiefs -7, O/U 54.5
Bengals at Chiefs spread picks
Latest Odds: Kansas City Chiefs -7
SportsLine expert Larry Hartstein has been on fire as of late, boasting a 71-46-1 record in his last 118 NFL picks that has resulted in a profit of more than $1,800. He’s specifically had his finger on the pulse of the Kansas City Chiefs as he’s an astounding 24-8 in his last 32 picks involving the Chiefs, which has returned $1,500 to $100 bettors. For this game, we can tell you he’s leaning over on the point total, but to see the critical X factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread, you’ll have to head to SportsLine.
“It was in Week 17 that we saw the Bengals beat the Chiefs 34-31 in a classic offensive shootout that the Bengals won in the final seconds on a field goal by Evan McPherson. Sound familiar?
“The Bengals lit up the Chiefs’ defense that day, as Ja’Marr Chase caught 11 passes for 266 yards. The Bengals destroyed the Kansas City blitz. The Chiefs got pressure that day against Joe Burrow, sacking him three times with Chris Jones getting two of those. But Burrow has been outstanding against the blitz all season — Kansas City’s main style of defense — and he has especially been good when he empties the backfield. Coming off a nine-sack game last week against the Titans, that would seem risky this week. But that also leaves one-on-one situations outside for Chase and Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd in the slot.
“As for the Bengals’ defense, they limited Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to 11 catches for 65 yards and a touchdown in the last meeting. They would gladly take that again, but that’s unlikely. The Bengals have had issues against tight ends this season. The key will be the protection up front for the Chiefs in front of Mahomes. It was good last week against the Bills, but the Bengals have better edge rushers. The matchup featuring left tackle Orlando Brown vs. Trey Hendrickson will be the big one to watch. Brown didn’t play in the last game.
“This will be another game about the two quarterbacks. Both will have success throwing it and both will roll up big numbers. In the end, the Chiefs are the better team, but it will be close. It will go down to the wire, but Kansas City will be moving on.” — CBS Sports Senior NFL Analyst Pete Prisco on why he is taking the Bengals to cover, but the Chiefs to ultimately win the AFC. To see his NFC Championship pick, click here.
“I’ve picked against the Bengals this entire playoffs. They’ve proven me wrong each week (obviously.) Well … why stop now? Especially when the Chiefs have the greatest young QB the game has ever seen.” — CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones on why he is taking the Chiefs. To read his NFC Championship pick along with his latest insider notes, click here.
“This game feels like it has shootout written all over it. During the regular season, there were only seven teams in the NFL that surrendered more than 248 pass yards per game and two of those seven teams are playing in this game, and I think what I’m trying to say here is that Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes might both throw for 500 yards.
“Since I’m fully expecting both offenses to go wild on Sunday, my pick is basically coming down to which defense I think will play better and right now and I think that’s the Bengals. The Bengals are better against the run, they’re better at getting sacks and although the two secondaries are about even, the Chiefs are dealing with a big injury this week with Tyrann Mathieu’s concussion.
“Before this postseason started, the Bengals had gone 31 years without winning a playoff game and they ended that drought. They had never won a road playoff game in franchise history and they put an end to that. And now, they have a chance to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 33 years and the prediction here is that they get it done.” — CBS Sports NFL writer and Pick Six Podcast co-host John Breech on why he is picking the Bengals to upset the Chiefs.
Bengals at Chiefs total picks
“This number feels a bit too low considering how high-powered both of these offenses are. Back in Week 17, the Bengals and Chiefs combined for 65 points and that was in a game where Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill combined for just 65 yards receiving. Kansas City has dropped 42 points in back-to-back games this postseason and Cincinnati has plenty of weapons around Joe Burrow to turn this thing into a track meet if the Chiefs get rolling. The Over is also 7-0 in the Chiefs last seven games coming into the AFC Championship.” — CBS Sports NFL writer Tyler Sullivan on why he is going over the 54.5 total.
Best prop picks
SportsLine expert R.J. White has cashed huge twice in the world’s most prestigious football handicapping competition, the Las Vegas SuperContest. As we look towards this AFC Championship, White is among many SportsLine gurus that have locked in their players props. White expects running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire to go Over 37.5 rushing yards (+105), noting Kansas City’s ability to rush for 155 yards without him against the Bengals in Week 17. To read the rest of the experts player props for the AFC Championship, go check out SportsLine.
CBS Sports Senior Fantasy writer Dave Richard has a slew of prop picks for Championship Weekend. Below, you’ll find one his go-to props for Bengals-Chiefs. To read the rest of his props for the AFC Championship along with all of his NFC Championship selections, click here.
Joe Mixon over 30.5 receiving yds +100: “This line’s been on the rise, so lock it in as soon as you realize that you like it. Mixon’s role in the passing game has been on the rise — he’s collected at least five targets in each of his past four games and secured at least 28 receiving yards in each of them (40-plus in three of the four). Kansas City’s pass defense against running backs has ranked poorly all year but over the past three weeks specifically, they’ve seen running backs average 4.7 yards per target. That’s not exceptionally bad, but it does include matchups against teams like Denver and Buffalo who didn’t use their backs in the passing game that much. Judging by the recent track record, Mixon should be a big part of Cincy’s pass effort and should manage north of 30 yards.”