Conference Championship Sunday Best Bets: There’s No Place Like Home

Brandon Graham Philadelphia Eagles vs NY Giants
Brandon Graham #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts during the first half against the New York Giants in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mitchell Leff/Getty Images/AFP

The home team is the right NFL pick for both of Sunday’s Conference Championship games – and there’s more where that came from.

Thank goodness for the playoffs. These games are getting juicier the deeper we get into the postseason; we nailed both of the NFL picks in our Divisional Round Best Bets, taking the San Francisco 49ers -3.5 in their 19-12 win over Dallas, and Under 48 for the Giants-Eagles matchup that Philly won 38-7.

Even though we only have two games to work with in the Conference Championships, we’ve identified three straight bets that are worth investing in, thanks to the influx of recreational bettors into the marketplace. Let’s see if we can take some of their money.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Sunday, January 29, 2023 – 03:00 PM EST at Lincoln Financial Field

This NFC title matchup is actually the least tasty of this week’s threesome, but it’s still worth the standard single unit of your bankroll with the Eagles priced as 2.5-point home faves.

Why Switch Sides from San Francisco?

Because they’re not playing Dallas anymore. The Cowboys were a worthy opponent, but Philadelphia (15-3 SU, 9-9 ATS) will be a tougher nut to crack; while they aren’t quite as strong as Dallas on defense or special teams, the Eagles offense is much, much better, checking in at No. 3 overall on the DVOA charts at Football Outsiders.

You may have seen the trouble Cowboys QB Dak Prescott had on Sunday dealing with the imposing San Francisco front seven. Not only did Eagles QB Jalen Hurts out-perform Prescott this year, he also gets to play behind a much stouter offensive line, especially when it comes to run blocking – and Hurts (4.6 yards per carry) is Philly’s second-most productive runner behind RB Miles Sanders (4.9 yards per carry).

The change in venue from Santa Clara to Philadelphia should also help the Eagles beyond the obvious home-field advantage. The weather reports at press time call for mostly cloudy skies Sunday afternoon and temperatures in the mid-40s, which isn’t teeth-chattering by any means, but still closer to what the Eagles will be familiar with.

NFL Pick: Eagles -2.5 (-114) at SugarHouse

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, January 29, 2023 – 06:30 PM EST at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium

Our remaining football picks are from the AFC title game, which has seen some line movement since the Bengals opened as 1-point road dogs. They are now 1-point faves on the NFL odds board at most locations, enough to make Kansas City our preferred pick.

Is Patrick Mahomes Healthy?

Probably not. As you are no doubt aware, Mahomes suffered a high-ankle sprain during last Saturday’s win over Jacksonville, but he played the second half, and he’ll have that extra day to recover as much as possible for the Conference Championships.

Mahomes put in a full practice Wednesday and didn’t look out of sorts in the portion that was open to the media, so there’s no need to be too concerned if you’re betting on Kansas City (15-3 SU, 5-12-1 ATS). They also didn’t have to play during Wild Card Weekend, having earned the bye as the No. 1 seed in the AFC, so that should help everyone’s conditioning as well.

This bet ultimately depends on Mahomes and his right ankle, though. He’s the pilot of the top-ranked offense in the NFL, and will probably win MVP honors for the second time this year. Joe Burrow and the Bengals aren’t quite as good on offense at No. 4 overall, but they do have the superior defense and special teams, so consider making this another single-unit bet rather than unload the clip.

NFL Pick: Kansas City +1 (-105) at Bet365

Lastly, we have that 47-point total at Caesars, which looks plenty ripe enough for an Over bet in our estimation – maybe even for two betting units, although the Mahomes situation might make this worth a more prudent bet size.

What’s the Weather Like?

Chilly. Sunday’s forecast has partly cloudy skies at kick-off with temperatures somewhere in the high teens, which is perfect for our Over bet – because there isn’t any additional snow or heavy wind expected for game time. There might be a snow shower or two in the morning, but that’s probably it.

This works for our Over pick because recreational bettors tend to go ham with the Under when the weather is cold, blissfully unaware that it usually takes more than that to throw quarterbacks off their game. The consensus reports at OddsTrader show 63% of early bettors on the Over as we go to press; early money is sharp money, so bet accordingly.

NFL Pick: Over 47 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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