Now this was a fun football weekend.
The 2022 NFL Playoff Divisional Round helped make up for a lackluster wildcard weekend with a four-game display that was, arguably, the best week of playoff action in NFL history. The four games were decided by a score on the final game. The only favorite to win and advance, the Chiefs, needed a miracle 13-second drive from Patrick Mahomes to tie the game. On top of that, three underdogs won outright to set up some intriguing matchups in the AFC and NFC championships.
Bettors will now be treated to a clash of two of the AFC side’s best young quarterbacks in the group while the NFC side will feature a divisional rivalry between two of the league’s best young offensive coaches.
These games should be competitive, but what do players think? Every team except the Chiefs lacks key experience in at least one area, which could make this round as unpredictable as the last. As such, the point spreads for each game will need to be watched as the lines move and the odds change based on the latest news and injury updates.
Speaking of injuries, all NFL teams are stoned this time of the season, but some are more so than others. For example, the 49ers are dealing with injuries to their top two offensive players, receiver Deebo Samuel and left tackle Trent Williams. If either cannot adapt, it will impact the spread. Elsewhere, the looming threat of COVID still lurks, but as long as players are asymptomatic they won’t need to be tested – even if not vaccinated – as part of post-season COVID protocol of the NFL.
For more expert NFL predictions, check out Sporting News’ straight and against the spread picks for the Bengals vs. Chiefs and 49ers vs. Rams games.
MORE: Predictions for AFC and NFC Championship games
NFL odds for conference championship games
Below are the latest NFL odds for AFC and NFC Championship games, including point spreads, money lines and over-under totals for each game, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. .
Last update: Saturday January 29.
NFL Conference Championship Game Point Spreads
|Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs||KC-7|
|San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams||LAR-3.5|
NFL Conference Championship Game Silver Lines
|Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs||CCI +270|
|San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams||SF +146|
NFL Over/Under Conference Championship Game
|Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs||54.5|
|San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams||46.5|
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Best NFL Bets for Conference Championship Games
49ers (+3.5) at Rams
Both Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay joined the NFC West as head coaches in 2017. During that time, Shanahan enjoyed a distinct advantage over McVay, even when McVay had the top team.
Shanahan’s record against McVay is 7-3, and Los Angeles’ last victory came at the end of the 2018 season when Nick Mullens started at quarterback for a stoned 49ers team. Since then, the 49ers have won six straight games against the Rams. Four were by one possession, but the 49ers still won each time.
The 49ers just beat the Rams in Week 18, coming back from 17 to beat them in the final week of the season. So even if they go to bed early, they’ve proven they can come back. Their defense also performed well, as the unit just held Aaron Rodgers’ Packers to 10 points and allowed an average of 16.3 points per game over their last seven. If they can upset Matthew Stafford, who has been prone to interceptions this year, they should definitely cover that gap – if not, win outright.
49ers Moneyline (+146)
If you’re a bit more daring, going for the 49ers moneyline isn’t a bad bet. He’s about 1.5 to 1 and, as mentioned, Shanahan has outplayed McVay in recent years. That includes this season, in which the 49ers have beaten the Rams 58-34 in the previous two meetings.
SN’s Vinnie Iyer also predicts a 49ers upset this week. This game is more of a coin-flip than most realize, so if you’re looking for good value in conference championship games, roll with San Francisco.
IYER’S PICKS: Bengals vs. Chiefs | 49ers vs Rams
Bengals (+7) at Chiefs
Another underdog? You bet. The Bengals may struggle to beat the Chiefs for the second time this season, but they can certainly cover against a team they beat 34-31 in Week 17.
Cincinnati has faced just three opponents who rank in the top 10 on Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, which “breaks down the entire season game by game, comparing each game’s success to the league average based on a number of variables, including downs, distance, location on the pitch, current scoring gap, quarterback and opponent quality.” They’re 1-2 in those contests, but they’ve kept every game close and both losses have come in overtime.
Below is a look at each of their three games against the top 10 DVOA teams:
|The week||Opponent||DVOA Ranking||Results|
|5||Packers||9th||L, 25-22 (OT)|
|14||49ers||6th||L, 26-23 (OT)|
These previous results bode well for Cincinnati keeping it close. As they showed in Week 17, they can compete with Kansas City. It has the makings of another close offensive battle that could come down to final practice. As such, the Bengals look like a good pick as touchdown underdogs.
Bengals at Chiefs OVER 54.5
That number is high, so it may scare some people off, especially since the Bengals struggled to move the ball against the Titans with Joe Burrow under pressure. That said, over bets have been a safe bet with the Chiefs lately. They’ve gone over seven games in a row and done it fairly easily most of the time.
In six of their last seven games, the Chiefs and their opponents have gone over bets by at least 7.5 points. The only time they didn’t was in Week 16, when they went over by 1.5 in a game in which the Steelers scored just 10 points. On average, the Chiefs’ games have reached the top by an average margin of 11.4 points since their 48-9 victory over the Raiders in Week 14.
That makes betting mouth-watering, especially considering the Bengals have averaged 27.6 points per game against playoff teams and both teams scored over 30 when they last met in Week 17.