The conference championship round of the NFL playoffs is finally here! The San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles face off at 3 pm ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app this Sunday, while the Cincinnati Bengals travel to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs at 6 :30 pm ET.
Will Patrick Mahomes get his first win against Joe Burrow? Can Kyle Shanahan make his second Super Bowl in just six seasons as a head coach? Will Jalen Hurts lead the Eagles back to the big show for the first time since the 2017 season? With so many intriguing storylines in each game, this is a weekend that should be one to remember.
Looking ahead, FOX Sports looked into how teams against the spread (ATS) and straight (SU) have performed in various situations in the conference championship round. We’ve also looked at a number of team and player specific notes that should help give you a potential betting edge this Sunday. Let’s dive into the best betting trends and the notes that stood out.
Mohammed a dog?
While that line has changed several times since the weekend of the divisional round, FOX Bet currently has the Chiefs as one-point underdogs against the Bengals despite the game taking place at Arrowhead Stadium. This is the first time in Patrick Mahomes’ entire career that he is an underdog in the postseason. Much of the line movement has to do with the ankle injury the former MVP suffered against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it’s still a surprise. Especially considering how dominant the signal caller has been since being drafted by Kansas City.
Here’s an overview of how Mahomes has performed in various situations throughout his career, both against the spread (ATS) and straight up (SU):
- Mahomes’ biggest underdog spread was 4.5 points on the road in a Week 2 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018; The Chiefs won 42-37
- Mahomes is 7-1-1 ATS and 6-3 SU as a career underdog starter, with the Over hitting in six of those games.
- Mahomes has only been an underdog at home just once, being a 2.5-point underdog against the Bills in Week 6 this season; Kansas City didn’t cover and lost outright (Low blow)
- Mahomes is 24-24 ATS and 39-9 SU as a home starter, with the Under hitting in 26 of those games (regular season and playoffs)
- Mahomes is 6-4 ATS and 8-2 SU as a home starter in the playoffs, with the Over hitting in six of those games.
- Mahomes has faced Joe Burrow three times in his career, losing all three contests (including the playoffs); the only other quarterback to give Mahomes more losses is Tom Brady, who did it in six games.
Brock Purdy faces his biggest test against the Eagles defense and crowd
Colin Cowherd predicts how Purdy will perform against a tough team and crowd.
Brock Purdy is looking to make history
While Mahomes has been dominating the headlines with his injury status, let’s not forget the incredible run Brock Purdy has had since taking over for the 49ers as the full-time starter.
Here’s a quick rundown of the records he can break with a win against the Eagles on Sunday:
- He would be the first rookie quarterback to reach the Super Bowl
- He would break the record for most wins in a single postseason by a rookie quarterback
- He would tie the record for most career postseason wins by a quarterback drafted in the seventh round
- He would be the first rookie quarterback to win a conference championship game
That last note is something to note, as four other rookie quarterbacks before him failed to make it to the conference title game, with Mark Sanchez (2009), Joe Flacco (2008), Ben Roethlisberger (2004 ) and Shaun King ( 1999) all losing in this situation. Those four combined for four passing touchdowns and nine interceptions.
It’s worth noting that Purdy is 6-1 ATS (85.7%) and only one of two signal-callers to win each of their first seven starts since the 1970 merger (Roethlisberger won 13 straight in 2004 ). And while this might come as a surprise, rookie quarterbacks went an astounding 23-9 ATS (71.9%) and 21-11 SU (65.6%) this season (including the playoffs).
Since taking over in Week 14, he leads the entire league in quarterback wins (seven), passing yards per attempt (9.0), passer rating (116.0) and ranks second in touchdowns passed in this period (14). San Francisco is also in the midst of a 12-game winning streak, the second-longest in franchise history. While history may not be on Purdy’s side, he could be the first rookie to do so in the conference title game.
Kyle Shanahan is the dominant ATS in the playoffs
FOX Bet currently has Purdy and the 49ers as 2.5-point underdogs on the road, but coach Kyle Shanahan’s elite coaching could be enough to get the job done. He is tied with Doug Pederson for the best coverage rate of any manager all-time in the playoffs, with a minimum of five playoff games coached. Both are 7-1 ATS (87.5%), meaning Shanahan has a chance to move into sole possession of the top coverage rate if he covers (or wins) against the Eagles. SU is also 6-2 (75%) in the postseason, with its only losses coming in last year’s NFC title game and the Super Bowl in 2020.
Including the playoffs, Shanahan is 29-20 ATS (59.1%) and 21-28 SU (42.9%) as an underdog in his head coaching career.
No. 1 fight ATS, Overs hit
The top seed in the conference championship round has a strong winning record no matter what time frame you consider. As seen below, when looking at spans of 10 seasons, the lowest winning percentage for a 1 seed in this round is 69.6% going back to the 1990 season. If you go back just to the last 12 seasons (since 2010), the win rate increases to 75%. However, the one-seed has barely covered the spread since the 2000 season, just eclipsing the 50% mark.
From the data below, the strongest trend is the frequency with which the Over comes. In every 10-season span, he dominates the Over. Going back to the 1990 season, the Over has hit in 28 of 46 conference title games with just one drive — a 62.2 percent hit rate.
- Since 2010, the 1 seed is 9-7 ATS (56.3%) and 12-4 SU (75%) in the conference championship round, with the Over hitting in nine of those games (one push)
- Since 2000, the top seed is 16-14 ATS (53.3%) and 22-8 SU (73.3%) in the conference championship round, with the Over hit in 18 these games (a push)
- Since 1990, the 1 seed is 24-22 ATS (52.2%) and 32-14 SU (69.6%) in the conference championship round, with the Over in 28 of those games (a push)
- Since 1980, 1-seeds are 36-26 ATS (58.1%) 45-17 SU (72.6%) in the conference championship round; Over/under data is only available for 53 of those games, over 31 of them (a push)
The No. 3 seed struggles historically
While the Bengals may currently be the favorite, history is not on their side as a 3 seed. In the Super Bowl era, the 3-seed is 7-9 ATS (43.8%) and 4-12 SU (25%) in the conference championship game. The only four teams to reach the Super Bowl as a 3 seed are the 1979 Rams, the 1987 Washington team, the 2003 Carolina Panthers and the 2006 Indianapolis Colts. To be fair, the playoffs expanded to 10 teams in 1978 and 12 in 1990, so to account for this, we also examined the performance of 3-seeds in the divisional round. The results were similar, going 26-35-2 ATS (42.6%) and 16-47 SU (25.4%) in the Super Bowl era.
Looking at more recent time periods, 3-seeds have gone 5-2 ATS (71.4%) and 2-5 SU (28.6%) in the conference title game since 2000 .The two teams that won in this period are mentioned above (2003). Panthers, 2006 Colts).
So are you ready to place some bets on the NFL conference championship? Head over to Bet FOX now for all your bets!
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