The second game of the weekend should be a great one. Two of the best offenses in the NFL. Josh Allen vs. Patrick Mahomes. Andy Reid vs. his old defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. Let’s get rolling with this AFC Championship betting preview.
I urge you to take a look at a piece I published earlier this week, breaking down the offensive and defensive line matchups, along with receivers vs. corners. There’s some great numbers in there that tell a bigger story about how this game may transpire.
I’ll pull some analysis from that piece, as it helped me get a better gauge on how these teams match up.
Props and picks will be shared throughout the week on Twitter, so make sure you’re following, @griffybets. Let’s get to it!
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday 6:40 PM, CBS
Line: Chiefs -3
Forecast: 43 degrees, possibility of rain
#2 Buffalo (15-3 overall), (12-6 ATS)
#1 Kansas City (15-2 overall), (7-10 ATS)
Grades come from PFF, and DVOA rankings come from Football Outsiders.
Buffalo Passing Offense
Passing grade (4) vs. Chiefs Pass Coverage grade (13)
Passing DVOA (3) vs. Chiefs Pass Defense DVOA (16)
Net difference: +22
Buffalo Rushing Offense
Running grade (15) vs. Chiefs Rush Defense grade (23)
Rushing DVOA (22) vs. Chiefs Rush Defense DVOA (31)
Net difference: +17
Kansas City Passing Offense
Passing grade (5) vs. Bills Pass coverage grade (9)
Passing DVOA (2) vs. Bills Pass Defense DVOA (12)
Net difference: +14
Kansas City Rushing Offense
Running grade (10) vs. Bills Rush defense grade (29)
Rushing DVOA (13) vs. Bills Rush Defense DVOA (17)
Net difference: +23
AFC Championship Betting Preview: Thoughts on the Game
I cannot wait for this game. Patrick Mahomes has cleared his concussion protocol and should be good to go. Josh Allen has been an elite quarterback this year.
Let me bring it to the top: I’m riding the Bills on Sunday.
For my loyal readers, you know I bought myself a Bills Super Bowl ticket weeks ago, and while the smart move is to try hedging against my +800 future, I’m just letting it ride for another week.
The Bills defense is better than the Chiefs, and the offenses are comparable. Yes, Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce combine for a lethal combination. Yet, the Chiefs have underperformed the last two months, going 0-8-1 ATS since November 1.
One could see that and think the Chiefs are due for an offensive explosion. Maybe they are. It’s why I’m taking the over.
I just think the Bills are playing better. They have advantages in the trenches (read my matchup breakdown), and better cornerbacks that may be able to slow down Hill and these receivers.
It’s the Bills secondary that puts it over the edge for me. It’s the strength of their defense, which is convenient when you get Mahomes and this aerial attack. Mahomes may be slightly hobbled by his head/neck injury and the turf toe suffered against the Browns.
Give me the rising Allen to make his first Super Bowl.
- Bills +3
- Over 54
- 6-pt teaser: Bills +9, over 48 (-110)
Player Props to Target: Bills
If you read my matchup breakdown for this game, which you really should, one that stood out was the Buffalo offensive line vs. Kansas City’s defensive line.
The pass blocking unit favored Buffalo, but digging deeper, there’s actually a pretty significant advantage for the Chiefs interior defensive line against the Bills interior offensive line.
Chris Jones is one of the top DTs this year, and if he can generate pressure up the middle, it will move Allen out of the pocket at a higher frequency.
Unfortunately for Kansas City, I don’t think there are many quarterbacks better on the move than Allen – and if the pressure does leak through the middle, Allen will have the option to pick up yards with his legs, which he isn’t shy about.
Prop pick: Josh Allen OVER 33.5 rushing yards
Allen is the leading rusher in two postseason games for Buffalo. With a weak Chiefs run defense, I’d expect Brian Daboll to draw up some designed quarterback runs along with the added scrambling element.
Allen had 42 yards against the Chiefs back in Week 6 and I like him to hit this number in what could become a shootout.
Elsewhere on this offense, the clear advantage is in the passing game – which fits perfectly into the Bills strength.
Stefon Diggs has had a tremendous postseason thus far, averaging 117 yards per game. In fact, Diggs has gone over 100 yards in five of his last six games, and he only didn’t go over in Week 17 because he sat the second half.
Diggs has been a target machine and is clearly Josh Allen’s favorite weapon. I’ll be betting on the volume and opportunity here.
Prop pick: Stefon Diggs OVER 94.5 receiving yards
Player Props to Target: Chiefs
On paper it’s the run game that’s more advantageous for Kansas City, but unfortunately there remains uncertainty around the position.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire did not play last week, and it was Darrel Williams taking over as lead back with 13 carries to Le’Veon Bell’s two.
Both Bell and Edwards-Helaire are listed as questionable, though it appears CEH will be active.
How does the backfield look if he plays? The best game of his rookie season came against the Bills in Week 6 when he took 26 carries for 161 yards.
We’re going to have to wait and see here, with the uncertainty holding back sportsbooks from posting props. I’d prefer Williams. Bell has seemingly become an after-thought.
As I mentioned above, I’m expecting the over to hit. As such, I don’t think you can go wrong loading up one or both of the offensive stars in this passing game. Hill’s over is at a modest 77.5 yards.
I prefer Kelce, despite the higher line. The Bills defense has been generous to tight end performance this year, allowing the second-most yards in the NFL to the position.
Kelce leads this team in targets and will get his share.
Prop pick: Travis Kelce OVER 94.5 receiving yards
That will do it for this AFC Championship preview. Make sure you’re following on Twitter, @griffybets, for my latest. Thanks for reading, and good luck this weekend!