This weekend brings a pair of compelling matchups in the AFC and NFC Championship games as teams battle for a spot in the 2022 Super Bowl. We track the updated odds and lines for the Conference Championship games in the NFL playoffs.
The AFC Championship has the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Cincinnati Bengals. The Chiefs are in their third straight conference title game, while the Bengals are making their first AFC Championship appearance since the 1988 season. The point spread has remained steady throughout the week. In what is expected to be a high-scoring game, the total has increased by one.
The San Francisco 49ers travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams in the NFC Championship. They look to defeat the Rams for the third time this season. The spread has settled at 3.5 points and that extra half-point could make a difference. There might be less optimism in the scoring for the late game, with the total down a point from early in the week.
Here’s a look at the updated NFL odds and lines for the Conference Championship games, along with my picks (odds via FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale):
Updated NFL Odds, Lines, and Picks for Conference Championship Games
Bengals (12-7 SU, 12-7 ATS, 8-11 O/U) vs. Chiefs (14-5 SU, 10-9 ATS, 12-7 O/U)
Opening line: Chiefs -7
Current line: Chiefs -7
Opening total: 53.5
Current total: 54.5
The biggest issue facing the Bengals going into the AFC Championship Game is whether they can protect star second-year QB Joe Burrow. The Bengals were 31st in the league with a sack percentage of 9.54% in the regular season, and Burrow was sacked nine times in the Divisional Round by the Tennessee Titans. Some of that is on Burrow holding the ball too long; however, there are legitimate protection issues that the Bengals will need to address if they are going to keep up with the Chiefs. This is relevant because the Chiefs ranked third with a hurry percentage of 13.0%.
On the other side, the Chiefs are better at protecting QB Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is also more mobile and able to escape pressure. As a result, the Chiefs allowed a sack on 4.17% of drop-backs. The Bengals were 15th in hurrying opposing quarterbacks.
While that would seem to give the Chiefs an edge, it does not necessarily mean that they will cover a 7-point spread. In 11 home games this season, the Chiefs scored 104 points more than they allowed. The Bengals scored 77 more points than they allowed in nine road games, so it is still reasonable enough to like Cincinnati to keep it close.
SEE ALSO: Rams vs. 49ers Same-Game Parlay Picks
The most significant injury in question for this week is Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, who suffered a concussion against Buffalo. Mathieu missed practice on Wednesday so that puts his status into question.
When the line opened at seven, the question was whether it could come off that number. So far it has not, but there is a slight lean toward the Chiefs, at least on FanDuel, as the price for a 7-point spread has increased to -115 as 69% of the bets and 81% of the money is riding with the Chiefs.
Pick: Bengals +7 (★★★), Over 54.5 (★★★)
SEE ALSO: Bengals vs. Chiefs Picks
49ers (12-7 SU, 11-8 ATS, 8-11 O/U) vs. Rams (14-5 SU, 10-9 ATS, 10-8-1 O/U)
Opening line: Rams -3.5
Current line: Rams -3.5
Opening total: 46.5
Current total: 45.5
While the 49ers have pulled off a pair of road wins in the playoffs, there has been concern about the play of QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who has passed for 303 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions in road wins over the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. Can Jimmy G provide enough production to keep the 49ers winning? He does have weapons. Receiver Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle are both potential game-breakers, as is running back Elijah Mitchell.
The Rams offense has been more productive on the way to victories against the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Los Angeles coughed up a 27-3 lead against Tampa Bay before ultimately winning with a last-second field goal last week. The Rams have just one loss in their last eight games but that one loss was to the 49ers in Week 18, the second time that San Francisco defeated the Rams this season.
The line might be stuck on 3.5, which could provide an edge for the 49ers, but this is a hotly contested matchup. Fifty-one percent of the bets are on San Francisco while 53% of the money is on Los Angeles.
Pick: 49ers +3.5 (★★), Over 45.5 (★★★)
SEE ALSO: 49ers-Rams Picks
NFL Championship game odds from 1/27/2022 at 12:43 p.m. ET.