First things first.
The NFL Divisional Round picks against the spread did not go as planned last week, but we can claim one small victory, as we finally got on the board last week with our Bengals pick against the Bills.
Now, with upward momentum, we head into Conference Championship Sunday. Unlike previous weeks on these articles, in addition to picks agains the spread, we will also be including NFL player prop picks for the two conference championship games as well. Since our picks against the spread haven’t helped you out so far this postseason, let’s see if we can help you make money in other various ways.
After 20 weeks of the NFL season, 32 teams have been whittled down to just four: the San Francisco 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Kansas City Chiefs are the only teams still standing. Two of these four teams will be playing for a Super Bowl soon, with one of them, the Bengals, looking to get back to the big game for the second year in a row.
Before we get into our picks, here are some interesting betting trends for the conference championship matchups:
Firstly, there have only been four previous rookie quarterbacks to start a conference championship game. They are a combined 0-4 with an opportunity to send their team to the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie Shaun King lost the 1999 NFC Title Game to the Rams 11-6; a young Steelers rookie named Ben Roethlisberger lost his conference championship debut in 2004 to the New England Patriots; Joe Flacco lost to Roethlisberger’s Steelers 23-14 in the 2008 AFC Title Game; and former USC QB Mark Sanchez lost to the Colts 30-17 when he was a rookie with the New York Jets in the 2009 AFC Championship Game.
Niners’ QB Brock Purdy will become the fifth rookie to start a conference championship this Sunday, and is hoping to become the first to win and send his team to the Super Bowl. The 49ers are on a 12-game winning streak and are 10-2 ATS. The Eagles (prior to their blowout win against the Giants) have been 4-7 ATS in their last 11 games. Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals are trying to go 4-0 against the Chiefs over the last two NFL seasons. They have won 10 games in a row and have the second-best record ATS at 13-5. Additionally, the Bengals are on an incredible 23-3 ATS, whereas their opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, have the 29th-best record ATS at 6-11-1 and are only 3-7 ATS at “Burrowhead” (we mean Arrowhead) this season.
Without further ado, here are our picks and player props for the NFC and AFC Championship Games:
49ers vs Eagles (-2.5) Over/Under: 46.5
These well-coached and evenly-matched teams are the two best in the NFC. Both have top-tier defenses, solid receivers, and very stout running games. The biggest advantage is leaning toward the Eagles and having Jalen Hurts, who was the MVP before his sprained shoulder injury late in the season. Though a very tough call to make (aren’t they all), we will go with the Niners on this one. Brock “Mr. Irrelevant” Purdy has consistently proven all doubters and skeptics wrong, and remains undefeated since taking over for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. Impressively, the Niners have averaged nearly 33 points a game since Purdy has been at the helm. One of the biggest reasons why the Niners are on a 12-game winning streak is due to the trade for Christian “CMC” McCaffrey. Since being traded to the Niners, McCaffrey stands as a major catalyst and has racked up 1,341 scrimmage yards, the most in the NFL during his time. We think the Niners’ defense, led by the Defensive-Player-of-the-Year favorite Nick Bosa, will have an excellent game plan for the Eagles offense and capitalize on their ability to get to the quarterback. We also trust Brock Purdy well enough not to turn the ball over and continue leading this high-powered offense. As far as the O/U’s go for this one, the Eagles are the home team and have gone over in seven of the last ten home games. The Niners are 6-2 with the over this year.
Our pick: Niners +2.5 and over 46.5
Player Props for Niners Eagles:
Here are some of the bets we at The Sporting Tribune recommend to take for the Niners/Eagles:
George Kittle Over 46.5 Receiving Yards (-114)
Dallas Goedert Over 45.5 Receiving Yards (-114)
Kenneth Gainwell Over 11.5 Rushing Yards (-114)
AJ Brown Anytime Touchdown Score (+155)
Deebo Samuel Anytime Touchdown Score (+170)
Bengals vs Chiefs (-1.5) Over/Under: 48
There has been a trend with the Bengals dominating the Chiefs, and we expect that trend to continue on Sunday with a Bengals win at Arrowhead earning them a return trip to the Super Bowl. Joe Burrow is on fire, evidenced by his 13-straight winning streak throughout December and January. The Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase is the hottest wide receiver from the perimeter of late, with nine touchdowns over his last nine games. The Chiefs’ secondary is very weak on the back end, as they have allowed the most touchdowns in the league this year. Another subplot of this game to look out for is the high ankle sprain suffered by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in their AFC Divisional Round victory over the Jaguars. His ankle injury is something to monitor, but knowing Mahomes, his will to win will surpass his pain. Still, he didn’t complete a pass outside the pocket after the injury occurred last Saturday. Mahomes’ style of play is based solely on using his legs to his advantage and making big-time plays on the run. Without his explosiveness, Mahomes may be relegated to becoming just a pocket passer. Even if he was 100% healthy, we still think the Bengals on paper are just a better team. Basically, the Bengals have been 23-3 ATS, and the Chiefs have been 3-7 at home ATS. For the O/U on this one, we expect the Bengals trend of going under to continue.
Our pick: Bengals +1.5 and under 48.
Player Props for Bengals Chiefs:
Here are some of the bets we at The Sporting Tribune recommend taking for the Bengals/Chiefs:
Joe Burrow Over 25.5 Completions (-132)
Joe Burrow Over 277.5 Passing Yards (-114)
Tyler Boyd Over 31.5 Receiving Yards (-114)
Isaiah Pacheco Over 48.5 Rushing Yards (-114)