AFC and NFC Championship Game early best bets

It’s time to talk title games! The AFC and NFC championships are up for grabs this weekend with a wonderful matchup in each game after we had three very good, and one not so good, games this past weekend to set the final four.

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Chiefs at Ravens (-3.5 -102), Total 44.5

The AFC title game features two of the best quarterbacks and defenses in the conference. The lookahead was Ravens -3 and opened Ravens -3.5. Money immediately came in on the Chiefs and pushed the game back to Ravens -3, but now we’ve seen some Ravens money moving the line back to where it opened. This should toggle between 3 and 3.5 until game time, so make sure you get the better number on the team you like.

Both of these offenses will be facing the most difficult test they have seen in the playoffs. Kansas City has been much more efficient on the offensive side of the ball the last two weeks, but Miami and Buffalo were far from full strength on defense. The Baltimore linebackers pose a significant test for this Chiefs offense. If Kansas City is not able to establish the run, the Chiefs’ offensive woes are likely to rear their head again.

The Ravens will try to establish the run to set up the play-action pass game, but the Chiefs can overload the box and force the Ravens’ wide receivers to make plays against one of the best secondaries in the league. While the Chiefs have struggled against the run at times this season, their adjustments in the second half against the Bills showed they can stop a very similar Ravens offense.

I project that both defenses will have success on Sunday. My numbers made the game Ravens -2 and the total 43. In a close, low-scoring game, I’ve got more faith that Patrick Mahomes can make the plays needed down the stretch to prevail.

The Bets: Chiefs +3.5, under 44.5

Lions at 49ers (-7), Total 51

All eyes will be on Deebo Samuel and the weather leading into this Sunday night tilt. We have seen this offense four times now without Samuel, and the offense has been clunky at best in each of those games. He brings another dimension to the offense with his playmaking after the catch and his ability to run the football. Without him, secondaries can key on fellow wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, and no other receiver can replace the run aspect that Deebo brings. My concern is if he plays, you simply do not know how long or how much you will get from him.

Purdy struggled mightily in the rain against the Packers, but the forecast for this Sunday evening in Santa Clara looks better … for now. Purdy’s problem was two-fold as his accuracy was severely affected, but more concerning was his confidence. He was clearly uncomfortable. He switched from a glove to no glove midgame and was seen wiping his throwing hand midplay. Goff is not immune to the weather either. He has struggled in rain and colder weather.

I made this game 49ers -8 with a total of 52, but I have not run to the window to bet either side. Information will be key leading up to this game, specifically Samuel’s health. The 49ers would have a massive edge with him in the game against a porous Lions defense. If the weather holds off and Deebo plays, I would be a San Fran backer, but without that information, I will pass for now.

The Bet: Pass for now