The AFC Championship Game will feature a showdown between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs, marking back-to-back years in which these two teams face each other with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. But with a key injury for one team at the most important position, it remains to be seen as to which team has the edge in this well-balanced matchup.
The Bengals are listed as 1-point road favorites over at DraftKings Sportsbook.
ATS Pick: Bengals -1
Cincinnati is 13-5 overall ATS this spread compared to Kansas City’s 6-11-1 record. The Bengals' success has carried over on the road, where they are 8-2 ATS, whereas the Chiefs are just 4-5 themselves. While Kansas City has arguably one of the most prolific scoring offenses in the league, history has shown they have struggled to put away their opponents by a sizable margin.
A likely factor is their 15th-ranked scoring defense which gives up 21.6 PPG to their opponents, which could prove to be a troubling sign as they welcome in a red-hot Bengals team.
Cincinnati is 8-2 ATS through their last 10 games, and in their lone two games that didn’t cover, which coincidentally were both against the Ravens, were by an average of 0.5 points. In what is truly a pick ‘em game between these two teams, it’s hard not to side with both the hotter team as well as the healthier roster. It remains to be seen whether Mecole Hardman can return to give Kansas City some added depth on the outside, and it’s still worth being wary of whether Mahomes’ ankle injury proves troublesome. Cincinnati's key playmakers on offense should be clear of the injury report.
The Bengals are riding significant momentum heading into Sunday night and with the healthier quarterback under center, roll with Cincinnati to edge out Kansas City in back-to-back AFC Championship games.