Before we talk about the NFL Conference Championships, let’s pour one out to the season. There are only two days of NFL football left before it goes on a hiatus. Enjoy it, and more importantly, bet it (responsibly).
NFL Conference Championship Best Bets
49ers +2.5 vs. Eagles
If you had doubts about the health of Jalen Hurts, those quickly disappeared last week against the Giants. Hurts was a man possessed in the first half, leading the Eagles offense to touchdowns on four of their first five possessions. The Eagles offensive line is the best unit in football, especially with Lane Johnson back in the lineup. Johnson and Jason Kelce have not given up a sack since Week 6 of the 2021 season. It’s 2023! Philly’s defensive line is also a top 3 unit in football after registering 70 (!) sacks in the regular season. Plus, Get Up had a stat this morning – Philly’s 3rd-down sack percentage is 18.2%. The league average is 9.6 %.
All signs point to Philly, but I’m siding with San Francisco’s all-star roster with a rookie QB. Last week was Brock Purdy’s worst start of his career with 214 yards passing and a QBR of 87.4. Yet, he didn’t turn the ball over and made the necessary plays to win against a stout Cowboys defense. The 49ers defense is ranked first overall in DVOA. I also prefer the 49ers playmakers (non QB) – CMC, Deebo, Kittle, Aiyuk – over the Eagles skill guys – AJB, Sanders, DeVonta, Goedert. When push comes to shove, I trust Kyle Shanahan, even with his clock management deficienes, more than Nick Sirianni. Shanny is 7-1 ATS in the playoffs. Hopefully, it’s 8-1 after Sunday.
Bengals +1.5 vs. Chiefs
Is Joe Burrow “him?” He might be! Since his historic season in 2019, Burrow has shown up in big game after big game. In six playoff games, Burrow has thrown for over 1500 yards with eight touchdowns, two interceptions, and a passer rating of 98.4. Cincy’s confidence is skyhigh, considering they’ve beaten the Chiefs in three-straight games, including last year’s AFC Championship. In those three wins, the Bengals have outscored the Chiefs 47-20 in the second half. Lou Anarumo’s ability to adjust the Cincy defense in the second half has been the difference.
All that being said, this game comes down to Patrick Mahomes and his ankle. Mahomes has been tremendous in 12 playoff games – 3500 yards, 30 touchdowns, seven interceptions, and a passer rating of 106.2. However, the high ankle sprain scares me. Mahomes will be shot up with god knows what in his ankle to play on Sunday. I’m sure he’ll be effective at times, but the typical recovery for this injury is 4-6 weeks. He’s playing on this ankle 8 days after the injury. I don’t trust his ankle to hold up. Therefore, Cincy gets to their second-straight Super Bowl.
NFL Conference Championship Teaser
6 POINTS: 49ers +2.5>+8.5, Bengals +1.5>+7.5
The teasers have not been kind to me this postseason. I can’t say that I’m thrilled to be trusting two underdogs to cover the tease. However, I’m expecting two close games, which is perfect for a teaser.
Bets of the Week: 17-14-1
Underdog of the Week: 8-8
Teaser of the Week: 9-7
Bets of the Week: 4-2
Teaser of the Week: 0-1
Bets of the Week: 2-2
Teaser of the Week: 0-1