It’s championship weekend in the NFL, and there’s a whole lot of betting opportunity. We have three free picks for both conference championship games right here. We wouldn’t put a dollar on the matchups until you read our expert opinion on it!
Over/under 47 points: Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs
|Over 47 points||-110||-110|
|Under 47 points||-110||-110|
We begin the AFC, which is a rematch of last year’s game which was won by the Bengals in overtime. We’ll cover who wins the rematch later, but first, let’s examine the Cincy-KC over/under of 47 points.
Given the quarterbacks in this game, that over/under might seem a tad low from the best NFL betting sites. However, there’s a reason: Patrick Mahomes is injured — and no one is quite sure how much so. It is believed he has a high ankle sprain. Mahomes has already said his intention is to play, but at what cost is the bigger question?
If we could quote the great modern-day philosopher, Drake, then “like a sprained ankle, boy, I ain't nothin' to play with.” No, but seriously, the injury limits one of the traits that makes Mahomes arguably the best thrower in the NFL today — his mobility. It's that same mobility that allows him to buy time for his receivers that, all too often, become chunk plays for the Chiefs. With a hobbled ankle, that becomes less realistic versus Cincy.
Not only that, but this Bengals' defense deserves some serious credit. Perhaps the next-best quarterback in the league is Josh Allen, who was stifled last weekend by Cincinnati’s smothering defense. Allen’s stat line was a paltry 11-of-17 for 111 yards passing. On the ground, a specialty of Allen too, he scrambled for only 26 yards. That one-sided performance should give you plenty of reason to believe the Bengals can be a nightmare for a gimpy-legged Mahomes.
So yes, we’re betting the under here. Expect Mahomes to be held in check, and even for the Bengals' own high-octane offense, it won’t be easy scoring at will on the road. Points will be at a premium in this one!\
Moneyline: Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs
Bookmakers have set the Bengals-Chiefs moneyline at dead-even odds. Things could change during the week — especially if news about Mahomes injury surfaces — but for now, we’re making predictions based on this being a pick ‘em game.
We won’t even lead you on, we’re picking Cincinnati to win straight up and book a second straight trip to the Super Bowl. Why? Well, it’s not just the Mahomes injury. No, no, no, the Bengals just have the Chiefs' number even when Mahomes is at 100-percent capacity. In three meetings in the past two seasons, Cincinnati has won every single time. The most recent game was in December, which Cincy pulled out 27-24 at home.
We’ve already harped on the Bengals defense, but now it’s worth circling back on Burrow. If you want to win in January, he’ll need to make the two or three extra plays to will his team — which he’s more than capable of doing, as seen in last year’s run. “Joe Cool”, as he’s affectionately called, has a level of clutchness to him that makes a road win here very possible.
Against The Spread: San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles
Zero surprises here as the top two NFC teams do battle. Philly won eight games in a row to start the season, while San Francisco is currently on a 12-game winning streak. The spread is uber close, but the home-field Eagles are getting the slight edge over the 49ers:
|Philadelphia spread (-3)||-110||-110|
|San Francisco spread (+3)||-110||-110|
Like the previous game, one of the quarterbacks isn’t 100 percent healthy in this one. Jalen Hurts has a sprained shoulder. He’s playing, but Hurts isn’t nearly as explosive with the injury. Last weekend, he threw only 24 times for 154 yards. No, the Eagles didn’t need a big performance from him to advance, but they might against the 49ers. They are the league’s best defense, allowing just 6.4 yards per pass attempt and a league-low 3.4 yards per carry.
We’re picking the Niners here. Playing in its three conference title games of the past four years, this team is experienced and expertly coached, which will prove to be the difference. We think San Fran likely wins outright, but covers the spread at a minimum.
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