Round 3 of the NFL Playoffs has a tough act to follow, but I’ve got the Conference Championship betting trends, analysis and predictions you need for Sunday’s big games.
Patrick Mahomes threw for 378 yards and 3 TDs, while rushing for another in Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills
Conference Championship Betting Trends
The NFL Playoffs have undergone several changes in the past few years. The goals for the league were twofold: Increase revenue and improve the product. The king already had its license to print money before widespread legalization of online sports betting, so that part was easy. But after a watered down Wild Card Round, there were skeptics that this year’s NFL Playoffs pool lacked punch. All of that was put to rest last weekend during the all-time closest Divisional Round since the merger.
The average margin of victory in Round 2 of the NFL Playoffs was 3.8 points
That’s the closest since 2006, when four Divisional games were decided by 4.5 points per game. In six Wild Card games, the average margin of victory was 17.2 points, and if early betting trends are any indication, the Conference Championship games will be a lot more like the Divisional Round.
Odds to Win the Super Bowl: Chiefs (+110), Rams (+210), Niners (+450), Bengals (+870)
Likelihood of Winning Super Bowl LVI (DVOA): Chiefs (42.9%), Rams (33.8%), Niners (16.1%), Bengals (7.2%)
Looking Back: In my off-season NFL betting tips, I rated the Rams and Chiefs at No. 2 and 3 respectively for preseason power rankings. Super Bowl odds then were Chiefs (+530) and Rams (+1370).
The Niners (+1200) were a respectable 13th, but the Bengals were No. 29 and their preseason odds to win it all were listed at +13100, although I did note that this team was headed in the right direction.
My record in the NFL Playoffs since 2016 is 92-66 (58%), for a bankroll gain of +$37,710. Get my premium picks for both Conference Championship games now!
Conference Championship Trends to Track
As I pointed out in my latest Instagram Reel, the straight up loser in the past 82 Conference Championship games has only covered the spread 10 times (12%). Essentially, if you’re going to bet the underdog, you should consider betting them on the moneyline.
Conference Championship Moneyline Odds: Bengals (+272), Niners (+160)
Totally Covered: Since league realignment in 2002, 38 Conference Championship games have resulted in 23 OVERS, 14 UNDERS and a push (62% OV).
Follow @WunderdogSports for more of my Conference Championship betting trends, plus free picks throughout the NFL Playoffs!
AFC Trends & Predictions
The Kansas City Chiefs scored 42 points in what was certainly one of the most exciting finishes you will ever see in the NFL Playoffs. 25 points were scored in the final two minutes (plus OT), and home field certainly played a role for the Chiefs, who have now covered six-straight games at home.
Cincinnati at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs -7 and O/U 54.5
KC’s ATS hot streak at Arrowhead started in Week 11 vs. the Cowboys. Five of six wins were by double-digits, and their average margin of victory is 16.4 PPG.
- Kansas City’s home record from Week 11 out, the past four seasons is 14-7 ATS (67%).
Andy Reid is the first head coach since the merger to bring two different teams to four consecutive Conference Championship games (Eagles 2001-04).
- Favorites with a high-powered offense that are averaging more than 450 yards per game over their past three are just 7-33 ATS (17%).
- In 15 Conference Championship games with a total greater than 47, the favorite is 9-6 ATS (60%) and the OVER is 10-5 (67%).
The Bengals are developing a swagger and they’ll be fun to watch next year, but there’s a chance this team has already reached its pinnacle after last week’s hard-fought win at Tennessee.
- My football computer prediction shows this game at 30.5 to 23.1 in favor of Kansas City.
Talented offenses off a win by three points or less are 85-59 ATS (59%), and this applies to both Cinci and the Niners. The Bengals are also 7-1-1 ATS vs. winning teams this season, and they are getting 56% of the bets in public consensus, so it’ll be interesting to see where this line goes. Keep a close eye on this side and total at my NFL odds tracker.
NFC Trends & Predictions
Move over Seattle, this is the new NFC West heavyweight battle, as these two meet for the third time this season. San Fran not only won the first two, but they are now 6-0 against the Rams since 2019.
San Francisco at Los Angeles
Line: Rams -3.5 and O/U 46
This marks the ninth time since realignment that divisional rivals met in the NFL Playoffs and one team held a 2-0 edge. The 0-2 team was 5-3 ATS and only one of eight games finished within a 3-point margin.
- In divisional rivalries, the playoff home faves are 9-14 ATS (39%), including two winners this season (Bills, Rams).
- NFC Conference Championship games have a 12-6-1 OVER (67%) record since 2002, including a recent 6-1 OVER trend.
- When the total is 46 points or more, the recent trend is 8-1 OVER, but only 3 of 9 games sailed OVER by more than a touchdown.
The Niners impressed all of us with their win in Dallas, and then last week used a big edge in special teams to steal one away at Lambeau. Road Teams off a win at road win at Green Bay are 11-6 UNDER (65%), including a 5-1 UNDER run for the six most recent.
- Dogs of more than +3 points with a winning record on the season are just 15-39 ATS (28%) following back-to-back road wins.
- Underdogs in this range are also just 9-31 ATS (22%) immediately after a game where both teams scored fewer than 14 points.
My computer prediction shows a slight edge to Los Angeles, 24.8 to 22.3, which is right inline with the total. The Rams have leaned UNDER at a 69% rate (18-8) when favored the past few years, but given their track record vs. San Fran, they won’t be leaving anything to chance. Especially with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake.