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NFL 2023-24 Playoffs: Conference Championships Betting Tips

January 28th 2024, 8:17pm, By: Ben Bridge

NFL Betting Tips

And then there were four! Just three games remaining in this NFL season, with both NFC and AFC Champions to be crowned on Monday morning. We kick things off in the AFC, as the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs head north to take on the Ravens in Baltimore. Then, to complete the Super Bowl contenders, the Detroit Lions head to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. Two tremendous matchups ahead, let’s dig into the handicap.

Below, we will dissect the matchups, previewing how we think things will play out, and give out our Best Bet. Make sure you are following BeforeYouBet, as we will have dedicated Match Previews for the entire post season, and it’s all for free!

PlayUp

NFL 2023-24 Playoffs: Conference Championships

Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens

M&T Bank Stadium, Monday 29th January, 7:00am (AEDT)

Last Week

The Chiefs played in what was the game of the season last week, as they took on the Bills in Buffalo. In a cracking contest, the Chiefs managed to scrape home 27-24, after the Bills’ kicker Tyler Bass missed a 44-yard field goal attempt with 1:47 remaining, to secure the win for the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes was deadly, throwing for 215 yards at a 73.9% clip, whilst managing two touchdowns. Isaiah Pacheco was solid again on the ground, rushing for 97 yards and a touchdown. The Chiefs played their best game of the season when they needed it most, begging the question, are the Chiefs back?

As for the Ravens, they played a tight first-half with the Texans at home in the Divisional Round, before motoring home in the second half with 24-straight points, closing the game out as 34-10 winners. Lamar Jackson was phenomenal in the second half, finishing with two touchdowns through the air, and two on the ground. The Ravens were dominant on the ground, rushing for 229 yards at 5.5 yards per carry. Given the Chiefs’ struggles against the run, the Ravens will no doubt be attempting a similar plan this week.

Injury Report

Kansas City Chiefs

Nazeeh Johnson (SAF) – OUT

Jerick McKinnon (RB) – OUT

Cam Jones (LB) – OUT

Jody Fortson (TE) – OUT

Joe Thuney (OG) – Doubtful

Kadarius Toney (WR) – Questionable

Isiah Pacheco (RB) – Questionable

L’Jarius Sneed (CB) – Questionable

Derrick Nnadi (NT) – Questionable

Willie Gay Jr. (LB) – Questionable

Mike Edwards (SAF) – Questionable

Baltimore Ravens

J.K. Dobbins / Keaton Mitchell (RB) – OUT

Daryl Worley / Damarion Williams / Trayvon Mullen (CB) – OUT

Tyus Bowser / Malik Hamm / David Ojabo (LB) – OUT

Andrew Vorhees (OG) – OUT

Rock Ya-Sin / Marlon Humphrey (CB) – Questionable

Tylan Wallace (WR) – Questionable

Del’Shawn Phillips (LB) – Questionable

Match Preview

The Chiefs and Ravens last met in week two of the 2021 NFL season, with the Ravens sneaking home 36-35 in Baltimore. Both quarterbacks were electric, and it’s something we could see again here this week. These QBs have faced off against one another on four occasions, with Mahomes holding a 3-1 head-to-head advantage over Lamar. Three of the four games also ended as one possession games, something I can also see happening again here.

The Ravens opened as 3.5-point favourites for this clash, with Baltimore money coming into the market throughout the week, to where they now sit as 4-point favourites. I agree with this move regarding what my numbers make the game, as I have the Ravens as solid 5-point favourites for this one. These numbers are based mainly off the regular season, and it’s easy for me to make up the difference, given it’s the Chiefs and Mahomes. At this time of the season, numbers are tight, and I don’t see any value in the handicap here.

As for the total, it opened 44.5, where the number remains. With these two quarterbacks pulling the strings, I would lean towards an over in this matchup. The concern with an over is a slow start, which is possible, given that both teams will look to get going on the ground, with both defenses struggling against the run. Added to this, the Chiefs are notorious this season for low scoring second halves. As a result, I’ll once again steer clear of this market.

So, it’s the money line where I will make a play. I don’t see value in taking the Chiefs at +4, and the main reason for this is I believe if this matchup is close, Mahomes will find a way to win. I can see two likely scenarios, and they are a tight Chiefs win, or a comfortable Ravens win, where the Chiefs don’t sniff covering. In this one, I’ll take the Chiefs and Mahomes. I’ll always take Mahomes in the playoffs as an underdog, until I’m proven otherwise.

Kansas City Chiefs to Win

$2.86 (1 Unit)

 

Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers

Levi’s Stadium, Monday 29th January, 10:30am (AEDT)

Last Week

The Lions were somehow involved in a tight contest with the Bucs last week, despite looking to have the game in control for the most part. Jared Goff was tremendous, throwing for 287 yards and two touchdowns. Jahmyr Gibbs continued his fantastic rookie season, rushing for 74 yards and a touchdown, whilst hauling in four passes for 40 yards. The Lions’ defense continued to struggle however, and with a trip west to one of, if not the best offense in the league in San Francisco, the Lions are going to have to fix this issue immediately.

Speaking of the 49ers, they looked to be gone last week against the Packers. The Packers led 21-14 heading into the final quarter, however Jordan Love threw two picks in the final 17 minutes of the contest, allowing Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey to win the game for the 49ers in the end. McCaffrey was once again terrific, rushing for 98 yards and two touchdowns, whilst making 30 yards through the air. Brock Purdy, however, struggled, and will need to be back to his best heading into this weekend’s matchup.

Injury Report

Detroit Lions

Emmanuel Moseley (DB) – OUT

James Mitchell / Brock Wright (TE) – OUT

Jerry Jacobs (CB) – OUT

Zonovan Knight (RB) – OUT

Jonah Jackson (OG) – Doubtful

Frank Ragnow (C) – Questionable

Kalif Raymond / Josh Reynolds (WR) – Questionable

Alex Anzalone (MLB) – Questionable

Sam LaPorta (TE) – Questionable

San Francisco 49ers

Nick Zakelj (OT) – OUT

Danny Gray (WR) – OUT

Ross Dwelley / Cameron Latu (TE) – OUT

Clelin Ferrell (DE) – OUT

Talanoa Hufanga (SAF) – OUT

Deebo Samuel (WR) – Questionable

Match Preview

These teams last met all the way back in week 1 of the 2021 NFL season. The 49ers flew out of the blocks, leading 31-10 at halftime. Jared Goff ended up throwing 51 times as the Lions chased the second half, but it wasn’t enough, as the 49ers ran out 41-33 winners. Jimmy Garoppolo started at quarterback for the 49ers, but it was Deebo Samuel who was the star, hauling in 9 catches for 189 yards.

The 49ers opened 6.5-point favourites in this matchup, but this number didn’t last. It quickly moved to 7, and the 49ers are now a cheap 7.5-point favourite at most books. I was quick to get on the 49ers at -6.5, believing it would move to the other side of 7, and with the number possibly going to 8, I may look to come back on the Lions and hope for a middle.

As for the total, it opened at the key number of 51, with over money coming in to push the total up to 51.5. It’s very easy to see why, with both these teams amongst the most explosive offensively all season, and both defenses showing some real flaws. I know we went with 49ers overs last week and it backfired, but with decent weather expected, I believe the 49ers will be able to score once again here. Purdy clearly struggles in the rain, and with no adverse weather of note expected, and Deebo Samuel also expected to play, I believe the 49ers can put on 35+ this week against a Lions defense that has struggled all season shutting teams down.

San Francisco 49ers (team total) over 29.5

$1.83 (1.5 Units)

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