Two early Conference Championship Round NFL lines I like

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

January 23, 2022 09:33 PM
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The best weekend ever in the NFL Playoffs finished out with maybe the best game of all-time. The Divisional Round did not disappoint and made up for what was a rather tame Wild-Card Weekend. It will be virtually impossible for the Conference Championship Round to live up to last week’s action, but berths in Super Bowl LVI are on the line.

This week will be dripping with storylines, but may be light on line movement. Here is a look at the two lines and the early leans I’ve got for the games.

Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs (-7, 53.5)

A lot of people referred to the Bills vs. Chiefs matchup as the AFC Championship Game. Maybe they’re right, as the Chiefs are a touchdown favorite against Joe Burrow and the Bengals. Cincinnati went on the road and beat the No. 1 seed last week, as the Titans mustered just 16 points. The Bengals have only allowed 35 points in two postseason games, but this high-powered Chiefs offense is a much different beast.

The Chiefs outlasted the Bills, but gave up 36 points in the process. Gabriel Davis had eight catches for 201 yards and four touchdowns, so you have to assume that Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins were watching with great enthusiasm as they’ll look to have big games of their own.

It is interesting that the Bills and Chiefs total closed 54 and this total opened 53.5. The Bengals offense is solid, but it isn’t on Buffalo’s level in a lot of metrics and categories. Cincinnati defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo has put together two solid game-plans thus far. The total shot up on this game right after the line opened, but I think 53.5 is a little bit too high and the 51 opener was more like it.

Pick: Under 53.5

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (-3.5, 46.5)

Division rivals meeting in the playoffs means that we have two data points from the season to look at and a pretty significant sample size of recent games. The 49ers have won six in a row, including a road win in Week 18 over the Rams as a 3-point underdog. The Rams were actually -3.5 in San Francisco in Week 10 and lost 31-10.

The 49ers won without an offensive touchdown last week and won 20-17 over the Cowboys in the Wild-Card Game, so their offense has struggled. Both coaches have struggled, too. Kyle Shanahan was thoroughly criticized for his performance in the Wild-Card Game and Sean McVay coached arguably the worst second half of all-time against the Bucs to blow a 27-3 lead before winning on a last-second field goal.

My initial starting point would be to look at the under, as 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has put together two exceptional game-plans to shut down a couple of extremely good quarterbacks with a lot of weapons. Also, the Rams only had 5.1 yards per play in the game at Levi’s Stadium, in which they trailed by double digits throughout and threw 42 times against just 10 rushing attempts, and just 4.1 yards per play in Week 18.

The 49ers offense hasn’t been stellar in the postseason and Jimmy Garoppolo is still hurt. I think we’re looking at a low-scoring game with a lot of familiarity between the teams.

Pick: Under 46.5

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