The Cincinnati Bengals secured their spot in the AFC Championship for the second year in a row with a 27-10 win over the Bills in Buffalo amidst heavy snowfall. They’ll head to Kansas City next as they face the Chiefs for the second year in a row in this game.
This marks Kansas City’s fifth consecutive appearance in the conference championship game. They grabbed a 27-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday in the Divisional round to advance. In last year’s AFC Championship, the Bengals beat the Chiefs in overtime, 27-24.
The Chiefs open as slight favorites, although the line has already seen early movement from Chiefs -3. Here’s our pick for the 2023 AFC Championship Game, which will kick off on Sunday, January 29.
Opening point spread: Chiefs -1.5
Opening point total: 48.5
Opening moneyline: Chiefs -125, Bengals +105
Early pick ATS: Bengals +1.5
Could the Bengals reach back-to-back Super Bowls? There seems to be plenty lining up in their favor — Joe Burrow has never lost to Patrick Mahomes, for one, and the Bengals already beat the Chiefs earlier this season, winning 27-24. But perhaps the more significant factor is Mahomes’ ankle injury that he sustained in the Divisional round against the Jaguars and chose to play through.
He has a high-ankle sprain that saw him hopping around the field as he led the Chiefs to a win — not an injury that is easy to play with, but one that Mahomes will insist on fighting through as they face the Bengals.
One week out, we’re taking the Bengals to cover. Keep an eye on how the line moves this week.