Arguably the single best day of the entire NFL campaign is here, football fans.
Championship weekend will take place Sunday with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traveling to the Green Bay Packers for the NFC showdown and the Kansas City Chiefs entertaining the Buffalo Bills for the AFC crown.
And it seems that we have the answer everyone (especially bettors) were looking for this weekend: Patrick Mahomes will play.
Mahomes will start behind center for the top-seeded Chiefs after exiting the AFC Divisional Round in the third quarter with concussion symptoms. Mahomes himself revealed he is out of the league’s concussion protocol. If the case were different, not only would football fans have been left with a sour taste in their mouths, but bettors would have seen quite the point-spread swing.
Anyway, here is a betting preview for Chiefs-Bills with lines via consensus data and props via DraftKings Sportsbook:
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5)
Despite the fact the 15-2 Chiefs had the best record in the NFL during the regular season, don’t let it fool you to thinking they were a money maker for those who rode them throughout. Kansas City was 7-9 against the spread during the regular season including at 3-5 clip at Arrowhead Stadium. The high-powered Chiefs offense also was a modest 8-8 against the total during the regular season, having 4-4 clips both at home and on the road. Notably, Kansas City is 0-8-1 ATS in their last nine games.
It is, however, more than fair to point out how the Chiefs were favored by a touchdown or more in 11 games this season. That’s a lot. Most recently, Kansas City failed to cover the 10-point spread in the AFC Divisional Round game against the Cleveland Browns, although some will relate that to the fact Mahomes left the game in the third quarter with the Chiefs appearing like they could cover. While Chad Henne did enough to help the Chiefs to advance, the veteran backup wasn’t able to do enough to beat the line.
Buffalo, on the other hand, has been more than profitable for Bills Mafia bettors. The 15-3 Bills were 11-5 ATS during the regular season with a 5-3 clip on the road. Buffalo beat the total in 11 of 16 games this year including six wins in eight road contests.
Most recently, the Bills bounced back against the line in the AFC Divisional Round against the Baltimore Ravens. Buffalo entered as 2.5-point favorites against Baltimore and claimed a 17-3 victory. The Bills, however, did not cover in their AFC Wild Card game against the Indianapolis Colts, entering as a 6.5-point favorite and pulling out a 27-24 home win. The Bills are 0-1-1 against the total this postseason, coming up well short of the 50-point threshold against the Ravens.
First-half line, total
Kansas City -2.5, 27.5
First touchdown scorer
Travis Kelce +700
Tyreek Hill +700
Stefon Diggs +850
Clyde Edwards-Helaire +1100
Josh Allen +1100
Derrell Williams +1500
Mecole Harden +1500
Devin Singletary +1500
John Brown +1500
Patrick Mahomes over/under 310.5
Josh Allen over/under 305.5
Devin Singletary over.under 39.5
Josh Allen over/under 33.5
Travis Kelce over/under 94.5
Stefon Diggs over/under 94.5
Tyreek Hill over/under 77.5
John Brown over/under 52.5
PICK: Buffalo +3.5
Mahomes is out of concussion protocol, but he was dealing with a separate foot/toe ailment prior to his third-quarter exit. Obviously, it won’t keep him out of the conference title game, but it does present questions to just how healthy the star signal-caller is. Will it impact Mahomes’ mobility in the pocket? Will it hinder his ability to move the chains with his legs on a third-and short conversion? Those questions go a long way into how the Chiefs will be able to move the ball, and ultimately win the game.
The Chiefs offense hasn’t looked as dominant as we’re used to recently. They converted just two of five red-zone opportunities against the Browns, a statistic they ranked 14th in the league during the regular season, and have thrown for 278 yards or less in three of their last four games.
Now, they’ll play against a Bills team who actually can keep up on that side of the ball. The Bills — headlined by Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs and a defense which allowed just three points to the red-hot Ravens — are playing their best football of the season.
We really wish we had the gall to go Bills money line, but will settle for Buffalo with the points.