The NFL Playoffs are reaching a crescendo with the final four teams set to play for a trip to the Super Bowl. The surprising Tennessee Titans (11-7) will play at the Kansas City Chiefs (13-4) on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. in the AFC Championship.
Kansas City is in the AFC Championship for the second straight year and is 3-5 in postseason games since Andy Reid took over as coach in 2013. The Chiefs lost, 37-31, to the Patriots in last year’s conference title game, but Patrick Mahomes is now 2-1 in the postseason after leading his team to an emphatic 51-31 win over Houston last Sunday.
Tennessee is in the AFC title game for the first time since 2002. The Titans fell to the Raiders that year and defeated the Jaguars in the 1999 AFC title game to earn one of the franchise’s two Super Bowl appearances.
Below, we’ll make our picks for moneyline, spread and over/under between between the Chiefs and Titans. We’ll also look for the game’s best prop bet at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. Actionable betting advice on each bet type will be provided as either a “pick” or a “lean”. Picks can be made at any point in the week based on the odds and lines at the time of publishing, matchup advantages or a perceived advantage over the sportsbooks. Leans are reserved in anticipation of the lines shifting toward a more desirable number as a result of public betting action.
While researching for your Titans at Chiefs picks, be sure to check out my AFC Championship Football Preview at TheLines. It breaks down the statistical and betting trends of both teams and highlights the key on-field matchups.
Titans at Chiefs picks: Point Spread
The Chiefs have been on an impressive role lately. After starting slowly in a Divisional Round matchup with Houston, they scored a TD on a playoff record 7 straight possessions en route to an impressive 51-31 win and cover.
Kansas City has now 7 straight games by an average of 16.9 PPG and the Chiefs average 29.2 PPG in 7 home starts with Mahomes under center this season. However, their last loss came in Week 10 at Tennessee.
The Titans earned a narrow 35-32 victory over the Chiefs thanks to 188 yards and 2 TDs from Derrick Henry and a nearly perfect QB Rating from Ryan Tannehill. They’re now 9-2-1 ATS since Tannehill took over at QB and are 7-3 ATS on the road this season.
Kansas City went 9-4-1 ATS when listed as a favorite this year and 5-3-1 ATS at home. The Chiefs allowed a whopping 5.4 YPC on the road and a more moderate 4.5 YPC at home. They’ve allowed 108 rushing YPG at a 4.2 YPC clip since their bye week and it’s no secret where their weakness lies, as teams are averaging 25.7 rush attempts per game in that span.
Henry has handled a whopping 64 carries at 5.8 YPC to rack up 377 rushing yards so far this postseason and is averaging 6.27 YPC with an absurd 1,273 yards over his last 8 games. The Chiefs will have an even tougher time stopping him if DL Chris Jones (calf) can’t go for a second straight week. KC would need to force the Titans to abandon the run by building a big lead early in order to cover this spread. It’s possible, but not necessarily projected as likely against a red-hot Titans team that continues to execute defensively in the red zone.
The Pick: Titans +7.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Titans at Chiefs picks: Moneyline
There is not much value to be had in betting the Chiefs moneyline on its own. The best option might be to parlay Chiefs (-335) with the 49ers (-315) moneyline to get a return of around 70 cents on the dollar. Again, it’s surprising to see the Chiefs favored more heavily than the Niners given how impressive the Titans have been this postseason. The Titans (+280 on DraftKings Sportsbook) are a longshot draw to win this game if they can control the pace and somehow contain Mahomes and company in the red zone. We still prefer taking the points or even teasing the Titans up to +10.5 or +13.5 where possible.
The Lean: Chiefs -335 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Texans at Chiefs picks: Over/Under
The total opened at 51.5 points and might get bet even higher after the Chiefs and Texans combined for 82 points, the second-highest total ever in the Divisional Round. But the sharp move might be to stick with the Under.
The Chiefs are 36-23-1 in terms of hitting the Under in road games under Reid. The Titans have gone under in both of their playoff games thanks to Henry milking the clock with his bruising running style. The Texans 24-0 lead was partially a fluke and KC is unlikely to score TDs so consistently against a Titans team that is top 10 in red zone defense compared to Houston’s bottom 10 unit.
The Lean: UNDER 51.5 (-110 DraftKings Sportsbook)
Texans at Chiefs Best Prop Bet
If you’re worried about the Chiefs covering a 7-point spread, simply take a close KC win at excellent odds. While the Chiefs are -330 on the moneyline, they’re +360 to win by 6 points or fewer on FanDuel Sportsbook. This bet can be hedged with a +440 bet on the Chiefs to win by 7 to 12 or +500 to win by 13 to 18. The Titans have played plenty of close games with Tannehill under center and are positioned to keep this game close by pounding the rock, setting up a potential late game-winning drive from Mahomes.
This article was originally published on Monday. Odds subject to change.