The Kansas City Chiefs will host the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game on Saturday, and if the total is any indication, we could be looking at a shootout.
The over/under as of Friday afternoon is set at 54.5 and climbing, which is unsurprising given the two explosive offenses and question marks on both defensive units. The Chiefs had the NFL’s best offense, at least by yards per play, and Cincinnati ranked eighth in the league, a fraction behind a Buffalo team that gave the Chiefs all it had in an overtime shootout a week ago.
So, if we’re expecting a high-scoring game, that makes the prop bet market even more intriguing. Lots of production could mean lots of overs, but just how inflated are some of the numbers?
Let’s dig into a few prop bets we’ve got our eyes on for the AFC Championship Game. Odds are via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Joe Mixon OVER 3.5 receptions (-165)
The juice maybe makes this one slightly less valuable, but it does seem like a worthwhile wager given Mixon’s role in the Bengals offense. Only Najee Harris and Jonathan Taylor had more total touches than Mixon this season among running backs, and while most of those touches came on handoffs, Mixon showed he could handle the ball in the passing game. When the Bengals beat the Chiefs in Week 17, Mixon caught seven of eight targets for 40 yards. Only three teams allowed more receptions to running backs than the Chiefs, who saw their opponents target running backs in the passing game nearly eight times per game. If Kansas City does the smart thing and overcommits to slowing down Ja’Marr Chase, it likely means more opportunity for everyone else, including Mixon. The running back could have even more value as a pass-catcher if and when the Bengals fall behind and have to sling it around to catch up.
Tyreek Hill UNDER 78.5 receiving yards (-115)
Whether the Bengals have the defensive personnel to take away the Chiefs’ big-play passing attack remains to be seen; Cincinnati ranked 25th in explosive play pass defense. But you have to believe it will be a focal point, and they did do a solid job in the first game, at least with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, who combined for just 65 yards on 17 targets. Teams really could do damage against the Bengals in the middle of the field, with opposing QBs posting a 135 passer rating on deep balls to the middle and 95 on the short passes to the middle. On the outside, though, they did well enough, limiting opposing QBs to sub-80 passer rating on deep balls to the outside, which is where Hill typically does most of his damage. It also wouldn’t be shocking to see the Chiefs actually have some success on the ground in this one, further reducing the need or reliance for the deep ball to Hill.
Largest lead of the game UNDER 16.5 (-115)
A lot of this depends on how you see this game playing out. If you like the Bengals getting the seven points, this is certainly worth a look. Obviously, it’s possible the Chiefs just completely run away with this game. There’s even a very clear path for Kansas City to build a big lead early before Cincinnati creeps back in. However, the Bengals did rank 11th in first-half scoring (Kansas City was second, to be fair), and they were impressively stingy on the road in the first half, allowing just 7.4 first-half points in road games. What does that even matter to this bet? If Cincinnati can hang around in the first half, that obviously makes it a lot easier to keep this close throughout. And given the Bengals’ offensive ability, they feel likely to score early, and one touchdown goes a long way in keeping it from getting out of hand. And on the other side, the Bengals opening up some sort of huge lead seems unlikely, for obvious reasons.