The Divisional round lived up to the billing – and then some. What is certain is that matchups featuring the likes of Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes II, and Joe Burrow will be there for us to enjoy for years to come. This weekend’s games can never live up to the drama we saw last week, but that doesn’t mean we can’t sit back and enjoy the ride.
Note that the over/unders are taken from VegasInsider.com
CINCINNATI at KANSAS CITY (-7) (Over/Under 51)
(Sunday, 3.05 pm ET, CBS)
The AFC is set up for some memorable playoff clashes over the coming decade, ladies and gentlemen. After the epic, almost unbelievable comeback by the Chiefs last week, they must now turn their focus to the upstart Bengals. Patrick Mahomes II spoke to Joe Burrow after the meeting of these teams just a few weeks ago, telling the Bengals passer that they would meet in the playoffs. That has come to pass, and it could be the start of a long and intriguing rivalry between these two signal-callers. After what the Chiefs pulled off against the Bills – and considering they are playing at home – they have all the momentum and confidence to toss aside any opponent.
The Bengals might have something to say about that, however. After all, the visitors have covered the spread in six straight games and have covered four straight as the visitor. Not to be outdone, the Chiefs have covered in five straight as the home team. Something, as they say, has got to give. Of all the countless angles we could come at this game, the one that stands out is how the Cincinnati offensive line can hold up in pass protection. Surrendering nine sacks is not a pattern they want to see repeated. Burrow doesn’t have the all-world talent of Josh Allen, but the savvy passer has more than enough in his locker to keep this interesting. Chiefs 31 Bengals 27.
Key statistic: The Chiefs have gone over the point total in seven straight games.
SAN FRANCISCO at LOS ANGELES RAMS (-3.5) (Over/Under 46.5)
(Saturday, 6.40 pm ET, FOX)
The narrative all week around this game, almost inevitably, is that the 49ers have beaten the Rams six straight times. At times, we can become overly absorbed and reliant on such streaks, but this one has some legs to it. San Francisco has a formula that works well. A couple of weeks ago, I compared them in this column to the 2007 New York Giants team that defied the odds to plow through the playoffs and knock off the previously unbeaten Patriots in the Super Bowl. While Kyle Shanahan’s team has a different cast of characters, their path could end up being the same. The result is anyone’s guess, but it largely comes down to the play of Jimmy Garoppolo. Just a few short months ago, he was as good as gone from the Bay Area; now, he finds himself on the brink of another Super Bowl. The thing to remember here is that the 49ers have absolutely no fear of their L.A. rivals, so the +3.5 is rather tempting.
Sean McVay has shown a regrettable tendency to clam up in the big moments, often inviting teams back into games when they should be dead and buried. If you like that trend to continue, the under seems like a strong move here; the Rams have gone below the total in five of the last six at SoFi. All the talent is there for McVay’s men to finally get over the hump. What’s more, they are hosting the game – but it remains to be seen how many 49ers fans will find their way into the stadium. Will it be a true home game at all? The route to victory for L.A. goes through their pass rush, a formidable unit that could turn Garoppolo to dust quickly. Could it be the little-known ‘seventh time is the charm’ game for the Rams? With the ‘team of destiny’ feel that the 49ers have, it is hard to know – but +3.5 is a smart play.
Key statistic: The 49ers have covered in four straight games as the underdog.
Pick: San Francisco
CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND PLAYS
As with the regular season format, this article will give out not only the Best Bets for the postseason but also a rating of each one on a 1-3 Star scale. The more stars, the bigger the emphasis on that side of the game.
* ONE STAR BETS *
- ANYTIME TOUCHDOWN SCORER (SINGLES):
- JOE MIXON – 5/6
- BYRON PRINGLE – 9/5
** TWO STAR BETS **
- PLAYER PROPS
- JOE BURROW AND PATRICK MAHOMES TO HAVE COMPLETION OF 38+ YARDS – 2/1
- COOPER KUPP TO HAVE 100+ RECEIVING YARDS AND 1+ TOUCHDOWNS – 2/1
*** THREE STAR BETS ***
- GAME / TOTAL POINTS DOUBLE
- LOS ANGELES TO WIN AND UNDER 54.5 – EVS
- AWAY TEAM TOTAL POINTS
- CINCINNATI OVER 23 POINTS – 4/5
PICK(S) OF THE WEEK: Cincinnati, San Francisco
Good luck this weekend!
Questions, suggestions, and comments are always welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org