AFC Championship Game Pick & Predictions

AFC Championship Game Pick & Predictions

Darin Zank
Date: January 28, 3:00 pm
Location: M&T Bank Stadium

Betting Odds

Point Spread: KC +3.5 / Balt -3.5
Total: 44.5

The teams that have dominated the AFC for the last five seasons go head-to-head as the Ravens and Chiefs play for the AFC championship Sunday afternoon in Baltimore. The Chiefs are playing in the AFC title game for the sixth straight season, having won three of the past five. Meanwhile, the Ravens, for the first time since 2012, are back in the AFC championship game.

The hook on the spread might play a big part in the betting on this contest. Who do we like for our free NFL betting pick?

NFL Playoffs Betting Odds:

The championship week betting market opened with Baltimore at -3.5 for this AFC title contest, with an over/under of around 44.5. Both figures have been holding firm in the early betting action.

AFC Championship Game Betting Preview:

Kansas City reached this AFC championship game by outlasting the Bills in Buffalo in a divisional-round game last Sunday, winning 27-24. The Chiefs trailed the Bills 17-13 at halftime but took the lead for good with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. They then survived a late Buffalo missed field goal that would have tied it late.

Kansas City was out-gained by Buffalo 368-361 and lost time of possession by a 37:23 split. However, the Chiefs' defense came up big in the clutch, holding the Bills scoreless on three possessions after taking that final lead. Two weeks ago, KC beat Miami in a wild-card game 26-9.

Meanwhile, Baltimore reached this conference championship game by disposing of Houston in a divisional-round game last Saturday, winning 34-10. The Ravens, favored by 9.5 points, allowed the Texans to hang around for a 10-10 tie into halftime but won the second half 24-0 and covered. The Ravens out-gained Houston 352-213, out-rushed the Texans 229-38, and dominated time of possession with a 38:22 split. The only touchdown the Texans scored came on a punt return in the second quarter.

So Baltimore is back in the AFC championship game for the first time with QB Jackson. The Ravens used a 10-1 stretch this season to take control in the AFC. The only game they lost during that stretch was the one they gave away against Cleveland. Baltimore later sat its starters for its meaningless season finale against Pittsburgh and lost. The Ravens are 11-1 SU and 9-3 ATS over their last 12 games that meant something.

Baltimore has already played four games against division champions this season, the Texans, Lions, and 49ers. The Ravens won all four of those games by an average score of 33-11.

Common Opponents:

These teams played five common opponents this season, some twice, including the Bengals, Chargers, Dolphins, Lions, and Jaguars. Baltimore played those foes to 7-0 both SU and ATS, with an average yardage advantage of +116 yards per game, while Kansas City went 6-1 both SU and ATS with a +64 YPG advantage.

Chiefs-Ravens Recent History:

Kansas City beat Baltimore four meetings in a row from 2015 to 2020, but most recently, two seasons ago, the Ravens beat the Chiefs in a wild game, winning 36-35. Jackson threw one touchdown pass that day and ran for two more but also got picked off twice while Mahomes threw for three scores for KC.

NFL Betting Trends:

The Chiefs are 13-3 SU and 12-4 ATS in postseason games with Mahomes. The Chiefs are 3-0 SU this season as underdogs. The Ravens are 2-3, both SU and ATS, in postseason games with Jackson.

Totals Report:

The Unders played 12-5 in Chiefs games this season, which averaged 39 total points. The totals then split KC’s first two games in these playoffs, going under 43 against Miami and over 46 at Buffalo. The Unders played 9-8 in Ravens games this season, which averaged 45 points. Last week’s game against Houston sneaked over a total of 43.5 when Baltimore kicked an otherwise meaningless field goal with two minutes left. The Overs are 6-4 this postseason.

Kansas City vs. Baltimore Predictions

Kansas City gutted out a very tough road victory last weekend in Buffalo, while Baltimore had a relatively easy time with Houston. That means a lot heading into a game like this. Also, we expect the Ravens to win the ground battle here, as they’ve already done 14 times this season, which is always a good step toward covering a spread. Baltimore’s been great against good teams this season and played 50 YPG better against common foes. We like the Ravens, minus the points.

Free Pick: Take Baltimore -3.5
Get $60 Free Picks