Why Professionals Betting Against Patrick Mahomes In AFC Title Game

The Bengals are now favored at Arrowhead

by

January 24

How healthy is Patrick Mahomes?

That’s the million-dollar question heading into Sunday’s AFC Championship between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals. The Chiefs’ all-world quarterback suffered a high-ankle sprain over the weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars and his mobility was clearly hindered after returning in the second half to finish off Trevor Lawrence and the young Jags.

Mahomes claims he’ll be “good to go,” but the betting market is moving against him.

Las Vegas oddsmakers opened Kansas City as a 1.5-point favorite and the line moved to a pick ’em almost immediately. By Monday afternoon, Cincinnati was a small road favorite and the money has continued to run toward Joe Burrow and the Bengals into Tuesday morning. And Vegas sportsbooks Circa and SuperBook are currently as high as Bengals -2.5 at this very moment.

“I took everything I could get on Cincinnati as underdogs,” one professional bettor told NESN. “Getting two points on the opener was silly. We were able to take some +110 moneyline, too. Patrick Mahomes is obviously hurt. They can shoot him up all they want. If he’s stationary, the offense is way different.

“The Chiefs aren’t the same if Mahomes can’t improvise and hit those big broken plays.”

Legendary oddsmaker Kenny White has been making professional power ratings for four decades. In White’s system, Kansas City was rated one point higher than the Buffalo Bills heading into the Divisional Round. Let’s also remember Buffalo closed as a 6-point home favorite vs. Cincinnati.

So why is Kansas City a two-point home underdog against Cincy?

Because those in the know believe Mahomes ain’t right.

Respected bettors clearly aren’t buying that Mahomes is healthy and they’re willing to roll the dice on the white-hot Bengals, winners of 10 straight. Cincinnati (14-4 ATS) has also been a cash cow for bettors, covering nine of its last 10 games at the betting window.

“Whoever has the ball in their hands the longest is the most essential,” White told me. “The quarterback has the ball more than 60% of the time. That’s the most important guy on the field. Ratings for quarterbacks are three-and-a-half times higher than they are for regular players.

“A healthy quarterback is the most important thing in the NFL.”

The AFC Championship Game is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

Thumbnail photo via Marc Lebryk/USA TODAY Sports Images

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