Chiefs, Rams open as title game favorites

January 24, 2022

The Kansas City Chiefs opened as touchdown favorites over the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game, after a wild playoff weekend filled with dramatic upsets.

The Chiefs outlasted the Buffalo Bills in a back-and-forth thriller Sunday night to earn a spot in the AFC Championship Game for a fourth straight season. Caesars Sportsbook opened the Chiefs as 6.5-point favorites over the Bengals. The line quickly moved to Kansas City -7 at sportsbooks around the nation.

In the NFC Championship Game, the Rams opened as 3.5-point favorites over the San Francisco 49ers.

The Chiefs were the only favorite to survive the divisional round. Three underdogs – San Francisco, Cincinnati and the Los Angeles Rams – pulled outright upsets. It’s only the third time in the Super Bowl era that there has been three outright betting upsets in the divisional round, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

The Bills nearly made it four outright upsets, something that’s never happened in the division round during the Super Bowl era. Buffalo took a 36-33 lead over Kansas City with 13 seconds to play – only to have Patrick Mahomes move the Chiefs into field-goal position with quick passes to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Harrison Butker made a 48-yard kick to force overtime, and Mahomes connected with Kelce for the winning touchdown on the opening drive of overtime.

“I admit I thought the game was over,” John Murray, executive director of the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, told ESPN. “We had our admin team start setting up a Bengals-Bills AFC title game. Stunning. We were planning on Bills -7.5 versus the Bengals.”

Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading for Caesars Sportsbook, said he would’ve given the Chiefs 10-1 odds to win the game when they started their drive from their 25-line down three with 13 seconds to play.

“I know it’s Mahomes, but 13 seconds,” Pullen said. “It had to be 10-1, maybe higher.”

Sunday’s NFC divisional game also featured a thrilling ending. The SuperBook opened betting on a 49ers-Rams NFC Championship Game after Los Angeles took a 27-3 lead over the Buccaneers in the third quarter. The sportsbook eventually was forced to halt betting on a 49ers-Rams matchup, as the Buccaneers mounted a rally.

Down 27-3, Tampa Bay was 25-1 odds to win the game. The Buccaneers tied the score 27-27 with 42 seconds left in the game, but Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford hit Cooper Kupp on a 44-yard completion down to the Tampa Bay 12-yard line. Kicker Matt Gay connected from 30 yards, sending the Rams to the NFC Championship Game, where they’ll face a 49ers team that’s beaten them six straight times.

“That was about as wild of a playoff game as I could ever remember watching in the book,” Murray said. “At least until the very next game.”

The Chiefs enter championship week as the consensus favorites to win the Super Bowl. Kansas City is +130 to win the Super Bowl at Caesars Sportsbook, followed by the Rams at +210, the 49ers at +450 and the Bengals at +750.

Reference-www.espn.com