Tuley's Takes on NFL conference championships

January 25, 2022 07:56 PM

Many people are calling the NFL divisional round of the playoffs the best weekend of football games ever, with all four games decided on the final play, and we’re certainly not going to argue here in the Tuley’s Takes home office.

We hit with our two best bets on Saturday with the Bengals and 49ers not only covering but winning outright as 3.5- and 6-point road underdogs. On Sunday, we weren’t as confident with the Rams and Bills, so we made our best bet a two-team, 6-point teaser with the Rams + 9 and the Bills + 7.5 and that won too. The Rams pulled an upset and the Bills had one in their grasp after a touchdown with 13 seconds to play only to allow the Chiefs to get in position to kick a field goal to force OT and then win it with a TD on the opening drive in one of the best games of all time.

Dogs were 3-1 SU and ATS in the divisional round with Over/Unders splitting 2-2. After favorites went 5-1 SU and ATS in the wild-card round, favorites lead 6-4 SU and ATS overall while Unders also lead 6-4.

Now let’s break down the AFC and NFC championship games. I know regular readers are going to assume I’ll be on both dogs, but I really do believe they’re the right side when taking the spreads into account.

Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs (-7, O/U 54)

This line opened between Chiefs -6.5 and -7.5 on Sunday night and quickly settled at -7. I missed the + 7.5, but I’m waiting to bet the Bengals as it could come back as we’re seeing some books go to Chiefs -7 -115 and it’s not even midweek. Before Sunday’s game, I saw advance lines of Chiefs -4 and -4.5 vs. the Bengals, and that’s where I put the number and I didn’t see anything in the Chiefs’ 42-36 overtime win against the Bills to change my line. Of course, everyone was amazed with Patrick Mahomes and the K.C. offense coming through in the clutch and pulling out an amazing victory. I suspect that’s why so many people are jumping back on the Chiefs bandwagon. However, what caught my attention was that the Chiefs defense was sieve-like throughout the game. Granted, a lot of the credit goes to Josh Allen and the Bills offense, but I have no doubt the Bengals’ trio of quarterback Joe Burrow, running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and the rest of the supporting cast will have similar success and keep the Bengals in the game until the end. Another thing a lot of people seem to be forgetting is that the Bengals just beat the Chiefs 34-31 as 3.5-point home underdogs in Week 17 when the Chiefs were still trying for the No. 1 seed. That has to count for something. I would be happy getting just over a field goal, so getting a full touchdown is added value and if we get the hook at + 7.5 that would make it the best bet of the weekend.

Best Bet: Bengals + 7 (but hoping for + 7.5 later in the week).

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (-3.5 + 100, O/U 46)

This line opened Rams -4 in Las Vegas the Westgate SuperBook and locals giant Stations Casinos but -3.5 at most other books. After dipping to Rams -3 -120 at several books, the line has mostly settled at Rams -3.5 + 100 (even money) with the 49ers + 3.5 but most books charging additional juice at -120. I made this line only Rams -1 based on all the stats from the entire season, however, I’m not so sure the right team is favored. Just like the Bengals being an underdog despite beating the Chiefs in their prior meeting, the 49ers swept the Rams 31-10 in San Francisco and 27-24 in L.A. and, in fact, have won the last six meetings. They have the Rams’ number just like they had the Packers’ and Aaron Rodgers’ numbers. Granted, the 49ers rallied to beat the Packers 13-10 without an offensive touchdown in snowy Green Bay, but that won’t be a problem at SoFi Stadium. The Rams’ Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp are getting all the accolades while tons of people continue to knock 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Yet the Rams’ offensive average of 28.4 points per game is barely better than the 49ers’ 28 points per game. The 49ers are also more explosive with wide receiver Deebo Samuel pulling double duty running the ball out of the backfield, which also leads to single coverage for tight end George Kittle and the other San Francisco receivers. The 49ers defense is also playing well, but this simply comes back to those recent head-to-head victories by the 49ers to know they can win this game or at worst lose by a field goal.

Best Bet: 49ers + 3.5.

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