The Divisional Round was even better than advertised. I had high hopes and Roger Goodell stepped up and delivered. Not only was it an incredible two days of high octane, nail biting football, but the MJQ boys delivered some winners for our precious readers. We went a combined 7-4 on our best of best bets which was the cherry on top of the actual games. We can only hope that this weekend will be equally as enjoyable, and I am confident it will be. Let’s ride.
Conference Championship Breakdowns
Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs – Sunday, 1/30 (3:00 PM EST)
Money Line: Chiefs (-350 odds)
Spread: Chiefs -7
Total: Under 55 Points
Projected Score: Chiefs 30, Bengals 20
Breakdown: Before I dive into this write up I wanted to take another moment to appreciate last weekend. Not only did I go 10-2 on my Spread/Total/ML picks across the four games (3-0 in best of best), but it was quite easily the greatest football weekend of my life (27 YO). And if not for an all-time-great Mahomes moment, driving the field in 2 plays/13 seconds…your boy would have gone 12-0 last week! Sheesh. Last week is now behind us and we move on to Conference Championship Weekend.
We start in Kansas City with what could be a fun game but I am predicting KC to win pretty handedly. Vegas seems to agree, with a seven point spread in a conference championship game, yuck. Cincy has been a delight to follow all year and I’ve enjoyed their success but I don’t think the Bengals are ready to win this big of a game quite yet. I think what would make me most nervous about picking Cincy is that offensive line. It’s tough to keep up with KCs scoring when you are constantly getting sacked and under pressure and settling for FGs. The Bengals kicked eight FGs over their two playoff games, many of which were in either the Red Zone. That just simply isn’t gonna cut it against KC and that’s why I like KC to cover the -7 and keep it under 55. For two of my best bets I’m following this exact thought process with a bet on KC -7 and KC/under teaser.
Money Line: Chiefs (-350 odds)
Spread: Bengals +7.5
Total: Over 51.5 Points
Projected Score: Chiefs 31, Bengals 24
Breakdown: Boy oh boy… What a QB matchup this weekend. Patrick Mahomes (arguably the best QB in the league and former NFL MVP) vs Joe Burrow (the savior of Athens, Ohio and very likely a future NFL MVP). This is probably the most difficult breakdown I’ve had to write for a few reasons.
For one, it feels like Vegas is all over this line. Depending on the sports book you utilize, the line has fluctuated between 7 and 7.5 all week which really doesn’t provide much value in either direction. Second, both of these QBs are playing absolutely electric football right now and Joe Burrow specifically really hasn’t played long enough to be able to gauge how great he truly is at the current moment. Mahomes is an NFL MVP and plays great at home in the postseason but Burrow has proven time and time again that he’s up to the task against any team, regardless of talent. It’s likely that Mahomes’ reign will continue at home… but we could be witnessing the emergence of the league’s next superstar in Burrow as well. Lastly, these two teams have had opposite expectations/paths to get to this point in the season. The Chiefs have been Super Bowl or bust ever since they won it all in 2020 but it’s felt like they’ve struggled all season to get to the AFC Championship and they’ve played down to the skill level of lesser opponents countless times throughout the season. The Bengals had little to no expectations coming into this season, play up to the skill of better opponents and have a knack for pulling out nail biters through late game heroics. So how do we decipher all of these concerns?
Mahomes has been absolutely lethal in home playoff games averaging over 35 points/game, over 315 passing yards/game and touting an overall record of 7-1… that stat line is enough for me to take the Chiefs outright. When it comes to the win/loss column in Conference Championship games, favorites of a TD or more are 35-6 straight up… don’t fight fate.
The Chiefs have hit the over in their last 7 games in a row, neither one of these defenses should be able to shut down the opposing offense, the Chiefs are averaging over 35 points/game over their last 5 games and the Bengals have only had 1 game decided by more than 1 possession since November. Expect points but also expect this Cinderella Bengals squad to make it a game (Cincinnati actually beat the Chiefs 34-31 only 4 weeks ago). Hammering the over and leaning towards the Bengals to make this one a game and keep it within 7.5 points.
San Francisco 49ers @ LA Rams – Sunday, 1/30 (6:30 PM EST)
Money Line: Rams (-170 odds)
Spread: Rams -3
Total: Under 47 Points
Projected Score: Rams 23, 49ers 17
Breakdown: Well, well, well…our resident Rams fan (me) is back on the hot seat having to pick his team to win yet another game to get to the Super Bowl. Admittedly, I’m way too nervous about this game considering the Rams are favored to win. All week I’ve heard media personalities from Big Cat to Bill Simmons to Ryen Russillo gas up these Niners. If you hadn’t looked at the spread you would think SF is favored by a TD+. However, I think it’s time for Sean McVay to free himself from the shackles of Kyle Shanahan and secure a massive win to give the Rams a home Super Bowl in SoFi on Feb 13th. Do I think Stafford will play a perfect game? No. Do I think the Rams will cruise to a blow out? No. But I think they will do enough to stop the run and force Jimmy to beat them, which should translate to ~7 point victory. I am keeping this spread out of my best bets but I love the under.
Money Line: Rams (-170 odds)
Spread: 49ers +3.5
Total: Over 45.5 Points
Projected Score: Rams 27, 49ers 24
Breakdown: Definitely hedging my predictions a bit this week for 49ers/Rams. While I think it’s finally time for Sean McVay to overcome the massive obstacle that has been Shanahan throughout his career, it’s hard to ignore the matchups on both sides of the ball in this one. The 49ers have proven time and time again that they are capable of running the ball on the Rams and I don’t expect anything different in the NFC Championship (if it’s not broken, why fix it?). The Rams have a solid run defense but San Francisco has been their Achilles heel all year long, running the ball almost 50% of their plays and rushing for almost 300 yards per game both times they’ve squared up this season. The 49ers are not scared to fight this out in the trenches and until LA proves they can match up… San Francisco should be able to control the tempo of the game.
The 49ers pass rush is filthy… plain and simple. They averaged over 3 sacks/game in the regular season, 5 sacks/game over the last 3 weeks and ~4 sacks/game against the Rams specifically. They should be able to get home against Stafford, especially against his banged up offensive line).
I’m rolling with the 49ers spread based solely off of historical performance and matchups on both sides of the ball but I’m predicting the Rams to pull off a close one and become the second team in a row to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. I liked the under in this game before it fell to 45.5 so I decided to throw a more realistic under into a parlay to be safe. Fun fact, despite the 49ers having one of the best pass rush defenses in the league… Stafford has the second highest passer rating in the NFL when under pressure (probably thanks to playing in Detroit for so long).
Q’s Best Bets (28-29 Overall)
Bengals @ Chiefs: Total Points Over 51.5
49ers @ Rams: 49ers Total Sacks Over 1.5 (-150 odds)
49ers @ Rams: Total Sacks Over 3.5 (-150 odds)
49ers @ Rams: Elijah Mitchell Over 16.5 Rush Attempts (-120 odds)
3 Way Parlay: Chiefs Money Line, Rams +10.5, Elijah Mitchell 40+ Rushing Yards (-135 odds)
4 Way Parlay: Chiefs +10.5, Chiefs/Bengals Total Points Over 43, 49ers +14.5, Rams/49ers Total Points Under 59 (-130 odds)
DPJ’s Best Bets (32-22 Overall)
Bengals @ Chiefs: Chiefs -7
49ers @ Rams: Total Points Under 47
2 Way Parlay: Chiefs (EVEN), Chiefs/Bengals Total Points Under 62 (-130 odds)
Risky Business (24-46 Overall)
49ers @ Rams: Elijah Mitchell Anytime TD Scorer (+120 odds)
49ers @ Rams: Nick Bosa Sack (+120 odds)
49ers @ Rams: Odell Beckham Jr. Anytime TD Scorer (+150 odds)
2 Team Parlay: Rams Money Line, Chiefs Money Line (+110 odds)
Disclaimer: SidehustlebetsMJQ.com is not an online gambling operator or a gambling site of any kind. Our insights about sports/sports betting are purely for entertainment purposes only.