By the end of today, the Super Bowl 58 matchup will be set following the conclusion of the AFC and NFC Championship Games. With four very talented teams set to take the field today, we could be in for two incredibly tight games, but who will come out on top?
In our final NFL Conference Championship predictions and picks, our NFL betting experts give their top selections for this week’s games. Will they be backing the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, and San Francisco 49ers today?
Final NFL Conference Championship Predictions
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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens Predictions
Chiefs +140, Ravens -165
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.
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 one of the lines below teased by six points.
Pick: Chiefs +9.5 as part of a six-point teaser (Pick alone -260)
Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers Predictions
Lions +260, 49ers -320
Blewis: Jahmyr Gibbs had such a spectacular rookie season that he has people re-evaluating their arguments against drafting running backs in the first round. Against the Buccaneers, he ran for 74 yards on just nine carries, including a 31-yard touchdown.
After a terrific performance last week, Gibbs is well-positioned for another big game in this matchup against the 49ers’ defense.
While San Francisco allowed the third-fewest rushing yards during the regular season, this was mostly due to them having such big leads over their opponents, as the underlying metrics don’t support this unit having a stout run defense.
During the regular season, the 49ers’ run defense was 26th in EPA/play and 24th in success rate. Against Green Bay in a very close game, their struggles against the run were on full display, as Aaron Jones ran for 108 yards on just 18 carries, including a 53-yard run.
While Gibbs doesn’t have the same volume as Jones — David Montgomery is the clear lead back in Detroit — the rookie doesn’t need a ton of carries to go over his prop line of just 45.5 rushing yards.
MORE: NFL Playoff Bracket
Gibbs is one of the most explosive running backs in the NFL, with his 16 carries of 15+ yards during the regular season trailing only Christian McCaffrey.
I like Gibbs to surpass his rushing total, but my favorite player prop is for his longest rush to go over 14.5 yards — a line that he has hit in 15 of 19 games this season.
Pick: Jahmyr Gibbs longest rush over 14.5 yards (-135 at DraftKings)
Bearman: I said on Twitter/X on Saturday as the Niners snuck by the Packers that it was going to take me less than a second to take the Lions, and that’s exactly what I did.
The Lions might be the new kid on the block, but they have a veteran QB who has won an NFC title and tons of talent across the board. Are the 49ers better? Probably, but they should have lost to the Packers on Saturday night and are fortunate to move on.
The 49ers may very well win the Super Bowl, but I’m gladly taking the points here.
Pick: Lions +7 (+100 at ESPN BET)
Rolfe: The 49ers were far from convincing last week in their 24-21 victory over the Packers. They failed to cover and arguably should have lost. However, it is not uncommon for teams coming off a bye to struggle to impress. Per TruMedia, teams coming off their bye are 60-26 since 2000 but just 40-44-2 against the spread in that same time span.
That is basically what we saw last weekend when the 49ers and Ravens both won, but only the Ravens managed to cover out of the two. When you then step it forward a week, teams who had a bye in Wild Card Weekend are 28-14 straight up when playing at home in Conference Championship Weekend (22-20 ATS).
Additionally, teams coming off a bye who did not cover the week before are 8-4 straight up at home in Conference Championships but just 7-5 ATS.
What this means in terms of picking the game between the 49ers and Lions is not to read too much into the 49ers’ struggles to comprehensively beat the Packers.
That struggle is not unexpected. The numbers above demonstrate that the team that fails to cover at home in the Divisional Round then wins 66.7% of the time the following weekend. Yet, they only cover 58.3% of the time, while the under hit or pushed in 75% of those games.
What all of this data tells me is that the play here is to tease the 49ers down to the -2 region and the total up to either side of 57 and take the under. Neither team was entirely convincing last weekend, and I would rather take the team with a better depth of talent who is playing at home to win in that situation.
Pick: 49ers -2 and under 57.5 (-110 on ESPN BET)
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