NFL Championship Weekend Sharp vs. Squares Report: Public Money Coming in on the Overs

by

January 28, 2022

The NFL may never live up to the hype again after the excitement from Divisional Weekend. All four games came down to the final drives to determine a winner, with three of the four underdogs claiming victory. Two of the public’s favorite teams were eliminated last week, leaving one of the most popular teams to champion the public the rest of the way.

Here’s our rundown of sharp vs. square action for Championship Weekend.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Spread: Chiefs -7.5
Action: 62% of bets, 35% of dollars wagered

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are the last big public draw heading into the final stretch of the NFL season. The Chiefs were on the winning end of a game for the ages last weekend and enter the AFC Championship as -7.5 chalk. They may be drawing most of the wagers, but more money is coming in on the underdog Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals enter the contest on a six-game winning streak against the spread, with four of those covers coming as underdogs. That’s part of a season-long trend in which the Bengals have covered the number in seven of ten games as dogs. Cinci’s pass defense has stepped up over their recent span, and they’ll need a similar performance on Sunday to limit Mahomes and cover the number. If this turns into a shootout, bettors might be surprised by what they see from Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. Whatever the case may be, sharp bettors are piling on the Bengals in anticipation that they keep things close.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams

Total: Over 45.5
Action: 55% of bets, 35% of dollars wagered

Overs could be the most common public play. Week after week, sport after sport, public bettors love getting in on the over action. That’s the case with both totals this weekend, as the square money pours in on the over and sharp dollars pounding the under.

The San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams have been defensively assertive over their recent span. The Niners have limited five of their past six opponents to 278 yards or fewer, with a six-game average of 268.3. LA has been less effective at preventing yards and more effective at turning the ball over, forcing eight turnovers over the past four weeks. The Rams have a good track record of staying under at home, going below the total in five of their previous six at SoFi Stadium. That brand of football suits the 49ers fine, as they’ve stayed under in six of their past seven overall. Sharp bettors may be onto something taking the under in the NFC Championship.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Total: Over 54.5
Action: 77% of bets, 35% of dollars wagered

There is an even more significant divide between sharp and square action on the total in the AFC Championship, with 77% of bettors taking the over representing just 35% of the money.

If this total holds steady, it will close as the highest of the postseason; however, sharp money could drag this down before kickoff. The Chiefs’ scoring efficiency has been through the roof, with Kansas City scoring on 13 of their 23 drives this postseason. Sharp bettors expect that to take a hit against a Bengals squad that has held five of their past six opponents to 21 points or fewer.

Sunday’s contest is a rematch of Week 17, when the Bengals knocked off the Chiefs 34-31, with the Bengals covering and the game going over the total. Sharp money seems to think that points will be harder to come by in this one.

All NFL game predictions and picks are courtesy of SportsGrid

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Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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