NFL Conference Championship Sunday props, odds: Bettors crushing under Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes passing yards vs. Bengals
It has been fascinating to watch the early betting patterns for Sunday's AFC Championship Game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs. K.C. opened as around a 2-point home favorite but is now as high as a 2.5-point underdog at some books. Some money bet on the Chiefs has brought them down to their current +1.5 price. The game's big storyline is of course the high-ankle sprain suffered by Patrick Mahomes in the Divisional Round, and that is causing bettors to fade him big time on a passing prop at BetMGM.
Cincinnati, incidentally, is the 10th playoff team to open as an underdog and become a favorite since 2003. The previous nine went 3-6 against the spread. Kansas City had been favored in 14 consecutive postseason games, which includes all of Mahomes' playoff starts as well as the team's final two postseason games with Alex Smith as the starting quarterback.
The most-wagered prop for either of Sunday's game at BetMGM (as of this writing) is Mahomes Under 273.5 passing yards at -110, with 68% of the money leaning that way.
Mahomes led the NFL with a career-high 5,250 yards during the regular season, which is 309.9 yards per game. He wasn't dealing with an ankle injury in those outings, however, and was held to 223 yards in a 27-24 loss in Cincinnati on Dec. 4. Mahomes threw for only 195 yards in the Divisional Round win over Jacksonville and missed a bit of time tending to the injury.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Mahomes will do everything in practice Wednesday and that Reid may need to hold Mahomes back for his own good at times.
The surefire NFL MVP was named a finalist for that award along with Bengals counterpart Joe Burrow, Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts, Buffalo's Josh Allen and Minnesota's Justin Jefferson. Mahomes received 49 of the 50 first-place votes for the AP's All-Pro team, which is usually a good indication of what will happen with the MVP balloting.
Mahomes now has led the Chiefs to five consecutive conference championship games. Since the 1970 merger, the only other QBs to start five straight conference title games are Tom Brady (five from 2003-07 and eight from 2011-18) and Ken Stabler (five from 1973-77). Mahomes is the first to accomplish the feat prior to his 28th birthday.
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