Just four teams remain in the hunt for the Vince Lombardi trophy for the NFL 2021-22 season! The AFC and NFC Conference Championship games will both be played on Monday (AEDT). As always, our NFL guru Tom Kelly has you covered with his best bets for each game below.
Taking the two underdogs in the 49ers & the Rams paid off nicely last weekend, with both advancing to the Conference Championships and set to play each other for a berth in the Super Bowl this weekend. No need to muck around, lets have a look at the games.
NFL Conference Championships Betting Tips
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs
Arrowhead Stadium, Monday 7:00am AEDT
It must have been super long odds for the Bengals to still be alive at this point of the season, but they’ve made it and they have every opportunity to make it to the big dance. That is of course on the back of the stunning development of Joe Burrow, who has not only overcome a horrific knee injury but made strides all year towards the free-wheeling QB who makes decisions with an efficiency that not many can match in the NFL. His pairing with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins has been immense in the second half of the season, and Tyler Boyd and C.J. Uzomah have also been getting involved impressively. Joe Mixon can’t be left out after staying mostly fit and becoming one of the premier RBs in the league also. While the defence and coaching still carry question marks, they’ve undoubtedly improved and have made this a well rounded team who have a chance to beat anybody.
The “anybody” this week is an in form Chiefs outfit, perhaps the scariest challenge int he NFL over the last few years. It’s almost impossible for the Bengals to limit the output of Mahomes, Hill & Kelce, who are all finding their best form when it matters. On top of that, Byron Pringle and Mecole Hardman in particular have looked settled in their roles as secondary receivers. The roles of RBs Edwards-Helaire, McKinnon and Williams has fluctuated in recent weeks, but McKinnon has stepped into the lead role in the playoffs and done well. However the roles shake out, the running game is in a strong place. Like the Bengals the defence is not the teams strength, but they at least know they’ll likely have plenty of points to defend.
While I fully expect a high-scoring game, Is struggle to see this game blowing out with the Bengals offense having more than enough talent to make up for their inexperience at this level. The Chiefs deserve to be favourites, but I like the Bengals chances of keeping it close and possibly getting an upset win.
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
SoFi Stadium, Monday 10:30am AEDT
The 49ers are on an extraordinary run, winning 6 of their last 7 games despite getting very little out of QB Jimmy Garroppolo. Playoff wins over the Cowboys and Packers have been built on incredibly strong defensive play and the rushing games of Eli Mitchell and Deebo Samuel. The likes of Kittle, Aiyuk and Deebo himself are struggling to have a big impact in the passing game with Garropolo not finding time or space. With the Rams moving the ball freely, they’ll likely need to get more out the passing game if they want to keep up.
The Rams looked like world beaters for 3 quarters while knocking the Buccs out last week, but the 4th quarter must have given them some jitters as they fumbled multiple times and almost coughed up a 24 point lead. Still, the team is in a great place. Matt Stafford is putting the ball wherever he wants, usually with route-running maestro Cooper Kupp but increasingly finding ways to get Odell Beckham and Tyler Higbee involved also. Cam Akers looks explosive and is handling a full workload in the running game, and the defence looks scarier than ever with Von Miller joining Aaron Donald as unstoppable pass rushers. Sony Michel and Van Jefferson are worth a mention as very capable backups. It’s hard to tell sometimes, but overall we have to believe that Sean McVay is also a very good coach.
We’ve got two very well coached team, with great defences and solid running games. The one key difference between the teams is the glaring gap between the QBs. Stafford and co can put a lot more points on the board than Garropolo is capable of, and for that reason I can’t see the 49ers continuing their run of upsets.