FOX sports betting analyst
NFL Championship Sunday is upon us.
Our best bets are 43-43-1, and I’m pulling three plays over the weekend. This space is also not the place for a million picks or to talk about five teams. These are my favorite games.
Let’s get down to business, with odds courtesy of FOX Bet.
Joe Burrow is undefeated against Patrick Mahomes, what would another win mean for the Bengals QB?
Nick Wright, Kevin Wildes and Chris Broussard discuss Patrick Mahomes’ return to Kansas City Chiefs practice days after suffering a high ankle sprain.
Cincinnati Bengals (14-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (15-3), 6:30 pm ET Sunday, CBS
The betting line won’t stand still on this one.
Kansas City opened as a 2-point favorite on Sunday night, and respected bettors immediately took Cincinnati to a 2- and 2.5-point favorite. This line always felt a little wonky considering Cincinnati closed out +6 to Buffalo, but Cincinnati was favored in Kansas City.
Sources close to the Chiefs are telling me Patrick Mahomes’ high ankle sprain isn’t as bad as thought, which explains why other pro bettors shot KC from +2 to -1.
It has been a real battle between the sharpshooters on both sides.
The elephant in the room is that Kansas City has the worst defense of the four teams left in the postseason. Their defensive line is far from elite and Joe Burrow has eaten this secondary for lunch multiple times. So the Chiefs have the weakest defense and sickest quarterback. Hmmm.
I also refuse to go against it my +750 Bengals future.
COLLECT: Bengals (+1.5 at FOX Bet) to lose by less than 1.5 points (or win outright)
Why Nick Wright is going with Brock Purdy and the 49ers
There have only been four rookie quarterbacks who have ever played in a conference championship game and combined to go 0-4.
San Francisco 49ers (15-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-15), 3 pm ET Sunday, FOX and FOX Sports app
I already gave you three reasons to bet on the Niners.
They’re certainly no strangers to this stage, and it’s their third NFC Championship appearance in the past four seasons. When healthy, San Francisco is the improving crop of the conference and boy, are they healthy.
Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk highlight a deep and talented group of playmakers and rookie quarterback Brock Purdy has a rock star offensive line that gives him plenty of time to follow his progressions. And the Niners use so many different formations that defenses rarely know what’s coming next.
Philadelphia was very impressive on Saturday against New York [a 38-7 Eagles victory] but San Francisco is a brave step in the competition. People won’t be too happy with me in the city of brotherly love, but I think the Niners are the most complete team.
COLLECT: 49ers (+2.5 at FOX Bet) to lose by less than 2.5 points (or win outright)
I expect San Francisco’s defense to keep Hurts in the pocket.
Everyone knows the NFL MVP finalist is at his best when he’s moving around the booth. Designed runs and broken plays have been a staple in Hurts’ breakout season, and you have to believe the Niners’ D will aim to make him one-dimensional.
They have an excellent pass rusher in All-Pro Nick Bosa and possess what I believe is the best linebacking core in the NFL. And it is extremely difficult to run in DeMeco Ryans group [88 yards allowed per game] because their linemen are strong in the trenches and their defenders cover a lot of space.
There’s a very solid chance that Hurts throws the ball around 35 times, maybe more if Philadelphia gets there late, and I think San Francisco’s pressure will force Hurts to make a bad decision at some point in the game.
Only one is needed.
COLLECT: Jalen Hurts to throw an interception (+105 at FOX Bet)
Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He will probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.
FOX Sports Top Stories:
Download the FOX Super 6 app for a chance to win thousands of dollars on the biggest sporting events every week! Just choose your picks and you could win the grand prize. Download and play today!
Get more from the National Football League Follow your favorites for information on games, news and more