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Jalen Hurts

NFL Best Bets

When there are only two games scheduled, there’s a good likelihood you won’t love either of them when it comes to placing action. That’s not entirely the case this week, as I like one of these games more than the other. The spread for the Bengals-Chiefs game has jumped back and forth and it’s a little scary to place a confident bet with the uncertainty surrounding Patrick Mahomes. It also makes betting on the over/under a little dicey. However, I do think there’s a clear choice in the 49ers-Eagles matchup, but judging by the public betting percentages, I’m in the minority on that one. In any case, there are two fantastic games that I’m really looking forward to watching, and that could truly go either way. No matter who wins, we will have a great Super Bowl matchup! 

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San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Brock Purdy will attempt to become the first rookie to start a Super Bowl when the 49ers face the Eagles in Philadelphia. Purdy showed his first signs of weakness against the Cowboys last week, failing to throw a touchdown for the first time in a game this season and only leading San Francisco to 19 points, their lowest output in any of his starts. Things won’t get any easier for Purdy against the top pass rush in the league. The Eagles lead the league in sacks and have given up the fewest passing yards this year. But, with the mighty offensive weapons at his disposal, Purdy only needs to hold onto the ball and rely on his playmakers to come through, as usual. 

For Philadelphia, MVP candidate Jalen Hurts will go against the top defense in DVOA. The 49ers also give up the fewest points in the NFL. The Eagles will have a tough time running the ball, as San Francisco only gives up 79 yards per game on the ground. However, their pass defense is exploitable, and AJ Brown presents matchup problems against the 49er’s cornerbacks. San Fran will try to slow down Philly’s pace and limit their offensive snaps. 

I’ve had the 49ers atop my power rankings for weeks, but this will be their toughest opponent since Purdy has been started. It’s entirely possible the rookie cracks under the pressure of the home crowd and the Eagles’ pass rush. Over 90% of the cash in on Philadelphia to cover, so the smart money doesn’t have faith in him. I think they’re underestimating the kid, though. Even in a subpar performance against Dallas last week, he didn’t commit any turnovers, and he was only sacked twice.

I think Purdy will continue to show poise under pressure and keep the game very close, maybe even squeaking out a victory. My model has the Eagles winning 24-23, with San Francisco covering the spread.

Kansas City Chiefs over Cincinnati Bengals

I grabbed this line when the Chiefs were +1.5, so it’s definitely riskier now that Kansas City is -1.5. I actually have them as a two point favorite with Patrick Mahomes healthy, and after watching video of him practicing this week, I’m confident his ankle won’t be too much of a factor. What stands out most to me in this game is the difference in each team’s yards per play. The Chiefs are averaging a full yard more play, at 6.4, than the Bengals. They’re also giving up fewer yards per play to their opponents. Cincinnati’s defense has been much improved over the last half of the season, and they did limit Mahomes to 223 yards passing with only one touchdown in their Week 13 matchup. The Bengals ran the ball 34 times that game, nine more than their season average, and held Kansas City to only 54 offensive plays, 10 fewer than their season average. Cincinnati’s game plan worked to perfection and gave Joe Burrow a third consecutive victory over Mahomes. 

However, the Chiefs have home field advantage this time, and Cincinnati’s defense has been far worse on the road. I don’t think you can shut Mahomes down twice in one season. I look for Kansas City to get Traive Kelce more involved in spite of his costly fumble in the earlier matchup against the Bengals. The Chiefs will look to speed up the pace of the game and keep pressure on Cincinnati’s defense. I think Andy Reid will have a counter to whatever the Bengals throw at them and Kansas City will sneak by in a highly competitive game.

Bet Suggestion: 6 Point Teaser

Considering I like the Eagles to win but not cover, I would suggest doing a 6-point teaser with both games. The Eagles +3.5, and the Chiefs +4.5. This way you’ll have the home team favorites with enough points to cover an upset field goal finish.

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