Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills: AFC Championship Prediction, Preview, Picks & Odds - 1/29/2023
by Chuck Sommers
AFC Championship Game
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Where to watch: CBS
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: PK; CIN -115, KC -105; O/U 47
FanDuel: PK; CIN -116, KC -102; O/U 47.5
BetMGM: PK; CIN -120, KC +100; O/U 47
Caesars: PK; CIN -120, KC +100; O/U 47
Bengals: 12-4 (No. 3 seed)
Chiefs: 14-3 (No. 1 seed)
And then there were four! What a postseason this has been in the NFL with two big games to go. And as has been the case all year in the NFL, our champion handicappers are cleaning up shop this postseason. You have Tom Stryker going 4-0-0 in the last week, while Vegas Writer has also been great by winning five of his six picks. Even Nelly's Sports, when he's been picking NFL, has gone 2-0-0 in the last week. What will these two games hold? Four of the best teams all year long for the right to go to the Super Bowl. You want to win big? Make sure you're locked in with what our champion handicappers at bigal.com are doing!
Bengals - Chiefs preview, analysis and prediction
Bengals: won 27-10 at Bills in Divisional Round
Chiefs: won 27-20 vs. Jaguars in Divisional Round
Did we just transport back to last year? It almost seems like destiny at this point, but one thing’s for certain: You better get those refunds going because the Cincinnati Bengals are one win away from getting back to the Super Bowl for a second straight year. There will be no neutral-site game, there will be just a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs, in Arrowhead on Sunday.
Much like last year, the storyline for this year’s game is the quarterback. Because last year was the Bengals of, “we’re happy to be here and we’re just thrilled we have a chance.” This year’s Bengals are the “we are not to be messed with and we are the best team in this conference.”
Because what Joe Burrow did Sunday in Buffalo was incredible. It wasn’t the flashy numbers, it wasn’t the highlight reel plays. It was the best pure signal caller in the league getting it done every which way, and leading his team to as impressive a victory over the Bills as you can imagine. Burrow threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns in the pouring snow in Orchard Park, did not turn the ball over, en route to a 27-10 win over Buffalo.
Joe Mixon controlled the ground game with 105 yards and a touchdown, and Ja’Marr Chase reeled in 61 yards and a touchdown to pace the Bengals’ offense. Cincinnati’s defense neutralized Josh Allen to just 265 yards, an interception, and sacked him one time. The home team, with all that snow, couldn’t get anything done.
“It’s going to be a fun one,” Burrow said, who is now one win away from making the Super Bowl twice in his three-year career. “Two of the top guys in the league, two of the top teams in the league, great defenses, great overall teams, great coaches.”
The line ultimately went up to 6 as the week progressed, probably with the weather, but it was that extra half point that made this cover even more that successful. It was the Bengals’ first cover in the last three games and completely eradicated any problem after the two Ravens games.
The Bengals have been just as great against the spread —13-4-1 — to their full-on 14-4 record this season. Though I think Bengals fans are quite annoyed they won’t get a neutral-site title game out of this considering they went through the same situation that the Bills went through in terms of competitive playing field. The Bengals just keep laughing at the NFL.
But the Chiefs are still the class of the conference, for now, and they escaped with a 27-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars last week that secured a fifth straight conference title appearance. The game, and the valiant effort from the Jaguars, is not important here. What is important is Kansas City escaped this week because Patrick Mahomes is now dealing with what could be a high-ankle sprain that absolutely hinders why this line is as low as it is.
Even on one leg, Mahomes was still brilliant. He was held to 195 yards, but threw two touchdowns — one of them on one leg — and didn’t turn the ball over, nor was sacked, while the running game averaged close to 5 yards per carry.
“It’s a credit to the team I have around me, the coaches around me and the organization in general,” Mahomes said. “We try to do whatever we can to be in this position, to get to the AFC championship game and find a way to the Super Bowl.”
The Chiefs have been great all year, but they haven’t been reliable against the spread, going 2-7 on the books in their last nine. Of course they didn’t cover when the line closed at 10 before the game started. This is as close to a pick-em as there can be, but Mahomes’ ankle over the week will test how this line looks.
The Bengals have beaten the Chiefs three straight times, including their meeting in Cincinnati this year. I haven’t picked against Burrow all year. With the uncertainty involving Mahomes, I’m not starting now. Bengals 31, Chiefs 27
Bengals are 14-5 ATS this season.
Bengals are 41-24 against AFC West teams since 1992.
Bengals are 11-3 ATS off a road win over the last 2 seasons.
Chiefs are 2-11 ATS against conference opponents this season.
Chiefs are 36-19 ATS after failing to cover in 5 or 6 of their last 7 since 1992.
Chiefs are 12-15 ATS after 6 straight wins since 1992.
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About the Author:
Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.