The AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens is one of the most enticing matchups we have seen in the playoffs this year. As the defending Super Bowl champions head into M&T Bank Stadium to face the No. 1 seed in the AFC, who will come out on top in what looks like a tight and tense battle?
In our Chiefs vs. Ravens predictions article, our NFL betting experts examine the current odds and betting lines to give their best bets for how they see the game in Baltimore playing out this weekend.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens Odds
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Chiefs +175, Ravens -210
Chiefs vs. Ravens Predictions and Expert Picks
Blewis: In the Chiefs’ 27-24 win over the Bills, they had their best offensive performance of the season by yards per play and EPA (expected points added) per play. Simply put, they were incredibly efficient, especially on early downs, as the Chiefs only had five third downs for the entire game.
But is this offensive performance by this version’s Chiefs sustainable? My answer is no, and especially not against this Ravens defense.
The Chiefs successfully attacked the middle of the field against a depleted Bills defense. After exploiting the Bills’ remaining healthy linebackers, the Chiefs will be going against a Ravens defense with two All-Pro players at the position and another one at safety. This is the strength of the Ravens’ defense, which was a top-five unit by DVOA, EPA, and success rate during the regular season.
Although this is the best Chiefs defense of the Mahomes era, the Ravens’ offense, led by Jackson, has scored 30+ points in four of their last five games, with each of them coming against other playoff teams.
Like Josh Allen on Sunday, who ran for 72 yards and two touchdowns, expect the Ravens to lean on Jackson in the running game.
Give me the better team and the points, especially at home.
Pick: Ravens -3.5 (-120 at FanDuel)
Bearman: I honestly don’t know who to take in this one. It’s hard to bet against the Chiefs and Mahomes, who proved they’re still a Super Bowl-caliber team in their win at Buffalo, but the Ravens look like the best team in the NFL right now.
MORE: NFL Playoff Bracket
What stands out to me in this matchup are the two outstanding defenses. Kansas City’s unit is much better than Houston’s, so after taking the over in the Ravens’ last matchup, we’re going to go in the other direction this time.
Pick: Under 44.5 (-115 at ESPN BET)
Rolfe: The Ravens took some time to get going on offense but were ultimately pretty impressive in their 34-10 victory over the Houston Texans. Meanwhile, the Chiefs did just enough to go into Highmark Stadium and beat the Bills in a tight game. However, heading on the road again in the AFC Championship Game is a different beast.
Per TruMedia, dating back to 2000, teams going on the road in the Conference Championship after playing on the road in the Divisional Round are 3-7 straight up and 5-5 against the spread. With the spread being Ravens -4, that provides an ample window for the Ravens to win but the Chiefs to cover.
If you want to give yourself more cushion, then take the Chiefs +10 in a teaser. For the second half of that teaser, you could either take the total down to 38.5 and take the over or pair it with a line from the other game teased by six points.
Pick: Chiefs +9.5 as part of a six-point teaser (Pick alone -260)
Katz: This line initially opened at 24.5 but dropped after news of Mark Andrews’ return. I’m not really sure Andrews affects Rashod Bateman in any way. It’s more likely any targets that go to Andrews come from Isaiah Likely’s share.
Bateman has been more involved recently, playing 65% of the snaps against the Houston Texans and 72% of the snaps in Week 17. Bateman’s snap share last week was significantly higher than Nelson Agholor’s or Odell Beckham Jr’s. He appears to have regained the WR2 role opposite Zay Flowers.
This is such a low number and one that Bateman can surpass on just two receptions.
Pick: Rashod Bateman Over 20.5 Receiving Yards (-110 at FanDuel)
Soppe: Let’s define a “strong” defense as one that ranks in the top 12 in scoring, passing, yards per attempt, and passing touchdown rate. In five of 11 career games as an underdog, Mahomes has faced five such defenses, and the Ravens will be number six. In those five games, he has been intercepted just once on 159 attempts.
As if that statistic wasn’t enough, we’ve traditionally gotten a slightly more conservative version of Mahomes in the playoffs, as his postseason aDOT is more than 8% lower than his regular-season number.
- Career INT rate on balls thrown 15+ yards: 3.6%
- Career INT rate on balls thrown less than 15 yards: 1.2%
Pick: Patrick Mahomes Under 0.5 Interceptions (+108 at FanDuel)
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