The Kansas City Chiefs take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17. The Chiefs are coming off a comprehensive beatdown over the Pittsburgh Steelers while the Bengals are flush off rout of the Baltimore Ravens.
With these AFC rivals buoyed by winning performances in Week 16, they set up a fascinating showdown on Sunday that could turn into a veritable scoring fest between Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow. Predictably, the best sportsbooks favor Kansas City on the road and early betting trends seem to agree with oddsmakers.
The Chiefs clinched a sixth-straight AFC West title and they’re in pole position to clinch the No.1 seed in the conference. A win over Cincinnati would mark a significant step in the right direction.
Cincinnati however is sitting pretty at the top of the AFC North, poised to potentially win their first division title in over five years. The Bengals enter this game as the small home underdogs, but with odds that aren’t so large to suggest they have no shot in this game whatsoever, they’re bound to attract bets for the possible upset.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, January 02, 2022 – 01:00 PM EST at Paul Brown Stadium
NFL Betting Lines and Odds
The markets opened with the Chiefs -4, but within a couple of hours the line jumped up to 4.5 with multiple top-rated sportsbooks. Similarly, the game total opened at 48 points and ticked up by half a point within a few hours of markets going to press.
Considering both Mahomes and Burrow led their respective teams in blowout wins in Week 16 that combined for 77 points, both the point spread and total are likely to experience significant movement over the course of the week. The point spread could go either way but the total is only going to go up. It should crack 50 points before Sunday rolls in.
Chiefs on Top
Shorthanded the Chiefs might have been, but it was a non-issue as they romped to the 36-10 victory over the Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium. Travis Kelce, Nick Bolton, and Lucas Niang were amongst those that were absent on the day.
Mahomes went 23 of 30 for 258 yards and 3 touchdowns while the Chiefs’ defense turned in another solid performance and held the Steelers to a modest 303 yards of total offense.
They kept Ben Roethlisberger under constant pressure and cornerback Charvarius Ward was the beneficiary as he picked off a wildly off-target pass from the veteran quarterback.
On the heels of the victory, the Chiefs improved to a stellar 11-4-0 record on the season, clinching a sixth AFC West title in the process. The Chiefs are a game ahead of the Tennessee Titans (10-4-0) in the AFC race for the No.1 seed, which comes with a first-round bye and home advantage in the playoffs.
Bengals Riding High
The Bengals beat the Ravens soundly to break the tie at the top of the AFC North behind a 9-5 record. The division title is within their grasp, so too is a playoff spot.
The Bengals were ruthless in victory. Burrow went 37 of 46 for a franchise record of 525 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tee Higgins scampered for 194 yards on 12 receptions and scored 2 touchdowns. Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon combined for 155 yards and added another 2 touchdowns. Mixon also rushed for 65 yards and a score.
Cincinnati’s defense took advantage of the fact that the Ravens were fielding third-string quarterback Josh Johnson. Lamar Jackson was ruled out for this pivotal AFC North showdown while second-tier backup Tyler Huntley tested positive for Covid-19 and was also ruled out of the game.
Johnson, a 35-year-old veteran, had a tough day of it. He threw an interception and twice fumbled the ball. The Bengals held the Ravens to a paltry 39 rushing yards with Devonta Freeman accounting for 17 yards and a score. Baltimore’s receiving game saw more action with Mark Andrews putting up 125 of the 304 yards receiving, but they were outclassed by Cincinnati and simply couldn’t keep up with their rivals’ firepower.
NFL Predictions and Picks
The Chiefs and Bengals matchup has the potential to be one of the best games of the year. The firepower and weapons both Mahomes and Burrow have at their disposal suggest this game could be a veritable shootout between the league’s NextGen quarterbacks.
Thus, the over bet might be one of the first bets to consider for NFL picks. Bet the total now before it goes over 50 points.
In terms of the win and cover, there’s a lot to like about both these teams. The Chiefs are instinctively the better bet to win and cover. They have experience and that could be deciding as the pressure builds in the last few weeks of the season.
Conversely, beating the Chiefs would be a statement-making victory by the Bengals if they were to pull it off. It’s not impossible entirely, but it’s a big ask. Then again, Burrow did say it was their time now in his post-game presser.
NFL Pick: Chiefs -4.5 (-110) at DraftKings
NFL Pick: Over 49 (-110) at DraftKings