NFL 2022 Conference Championship Picks, Odds and Insights

FairwayJay is 4-0 on his NFL Side Picks in the 2022 Playoffs. That follows a 28-12 ATS season (70%) picking NFL underdogs.

NFL Conference Championship Betting Previews and Picks 

The greatest divisional round in NFL history was most exciting as all four games were decided on the final play. Three field goals as time expired in regulation allowed three underdogs to prevails in the Bengals, 49ers and Rams. Then the Chiefs and Bills played an overtime thriller after 25 points were scored in the final two minutes of regulation with multiple lead changes. You saw it, and so did millions of sports bettors wagering at the leading online sportsbooks. So many fans and bettors were going through the emotional roller coaster of the game and final minutes, along with in-play live betting. When Kansas City prevailed 42-36 with a touchdown in overtime and the Bills never getting a chance to respond, it cemented the AFC divisional round game as one of the best in NFL history. 

Our 2021 NFL season picking only underdogs was one for the ages finishing 28-12 ATS with 21 outright underdog winners for a 70.0% win rate. The 2022 NFL playoffs have proven profitable as well, although I've indicated a recommendation to reduced wagers when wagering on sides and totals with the lines even tighter last round. Just look at the final results and all games coming down to the wire and the point spreads essentially in doubt in the closing minutes. So there is some good fortune needed to win, but hopefully some of the analysis has helped you with your picks. 

Our NFL Wild Card Weekend produced a 5-1 result on side selections rating them Picks, Opinions and Leans, including 2-0 on Picks. We also chipped in a teaser leg winner, but our totals Picks were 0-1 and totals Picks, Opinions and Leans finished 0-3 with some close calls. Then in last weeks Divisional Round, we went 2-0 on Picks with winners on the Rams and Chiefs, and chipped-in a moneyline pick winner on the Rams as well. Divisional Round side selections on Picks, Opinions and Leans went 3-1 overall, and totals 1-0 with the Chiefs-Bills over Pick. Another winning weekend included two receiving yards props that both won and the prop bets are going to have a huge handle in the upcoming Super Bowl on Feb. 13, and prove popular again this weekend with Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow expected to put on another show in the AFC Championship Game. 

Fairway's Football Forecast 2021-22

NFL Playoff Picks - Sides (4-0 ATS)
NFL Playoff Picks, Opinions and Leans  - Sides every game (8-2 ATS)
NFL Playoff Picks - Totals (1-1 and overall 1-3 including Opinions and Leans)
NFL Regular Season - Sides, underdogs only (28-12 ATS, 70%)

The online sportsbooks make more adjustments on the prop numbers, along with the odds and totals of the games. The Chiefs-Bengals total is up a full point to 54.5 from most online sportsbooks opening total, although it actually opened 50.5 at the SuperBook in Las Vegas. You may recall when we had a winning pick on the Bengals over the Chiefs in Week 17, and added some totals bets in Cincinnati's 34-31 win - I bet over 49.5, and also recommend betting the Bengals over their team total points of 22 or 22.5

That total in Week 17 closed at 51, and now the AFC Championship total is up and more than 85% of the money is on the OVER at a number of top online sportsbooks. Check out the bonus offers and reduced juice sportsbooks as you continue your NFL Playoffs push towards more profits. 

Sunday, Jan. 30

Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs - 3:00 p.m ET on CBS
Line: Chiefs -7, Total 54.5 at BookMaker 

Bengals Chiefs free pickThe Bengals (12-7) rallied to take down the Chiefs (14-5) on a last second field goal 34-31 in Week 17, and each team averaged better than 7.0 yards per play on offense. We cashed in bets all around with the Bengals and totals on the game and team totals. But Kansas City played that game without both RB's that will be on the field for the AFC Championship, as Clyde Edwards-Helaire was out with a shoulder injury and Jerick McKinnon didn't play and has been a bigger part of the offense in the playoffs both running and receiving. Now the site moves to Arrowhead where the Chiefs have scored 42 points in each of their two playoff games this year, and finished the regular season with 36 and 48 points in wins over two other playoff teams. The Bengals will clearly need more than the four FGs kicker McPherson has provided in each of Cincinnati's two playoff wins to beat the Chiefs again. Cincinnati earned their first road Playoff win in franchise history last week at Tennessee, and first Playoff win in 30 years the week prior against the Raiders. The Bengals have turned the ball over just one time in their last six games. Quarterback Joe Burrow and WR Ja'Marr Chase are equal to Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill, and the Bengals dynamic duo showed their stripes in Week 17 with 446 passing yards and 4 TDs, with three of them going to Chase via his 266 receiving yards.Chiefs Bengals prediction I loved the over in the Week 17 meeting and the Bengals team total even more, and agree with this total move up in another projected shootout to decide the AFC Championship and representative in the Super Bowl.

Burrow passed for 348 yards last week despite getting sacked nine times in the 19-16 last second road win at Tennessee. The Chiefs went for 552 yards and 7.6 yards per play against the better Bills defense last week with 75 yards offense coming in overtime. Chances are the Bengals may be playing from behind as they did against the Chiefs in Week 17. The Cinderella season may well come to an end for Cincinnati against the more experienced Chiefs playing in their four straight conference championship game at home. Along with the clear coaching edge to the Chiefs, the weather looks fine in Kansas City in the 40s with light winds. It all sets up for another shootout with many flying footballs and offensive playmakers as the Chiefs game goes over the total for the eight straight contest during their 11-1 SU run, with the only loss to the Bengals. 

Pick: Over and Lean Bengals

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams - 6:30 p.m ET on FOX
Line: Rams -3.5, Total 45.5 at BetOnline

49ers Rams free pickThe 49ers (12-7) improbable run continues as they play the Rams (14-5) for the third time this season having beaten LA in both meetings and 6-0 SU/ATS run over their rivals from So. California. Both coaches have moved their teams forward this season with the 49ers moving up from last place in the NFC West and the Rams winning the West in QB Stafford's first year in Los Angeles. While there is much to like about the 49ers running game and defense, which includes a 291-116 rushing edge over the Rams in two meetings this season, it just seems like a very tall task to squeeze out one more win or close call following the grueling grind the Niners have been through down the stretch. It's affected the Niners with some key injuries entering the NFC Championship game to top OL Trent Williams, WR Deebo Samuel and Safety Tyrann Mathieu. They may all start and play, but not be 100% and San Francisco is now playing their 7th road game in 9 weeks and 4th consecutive as a traveler. The three recent SF road wins include the Week 18 game over the Rams by 3 points after trailing 17-0 at halftime and needing a victory to make the playoffs. Two playoff wins have followed by 6 and 3 points, with last week's 13-10 win at Green Bay coming despite no points provided by the 49ers offense in the bitter cold at Lambeau. LA Rams SF 49ers predictionThe Niners managed to win both playoff games despite well below offensive efficiency and QB Garoppolo throwing 2 INTs without a touchdown.

The Rams built a big lead last week 27-3 and nearly blew it again, before winning 30-27 over the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. But the Rams defense shut down QB Brady most the game, and the pass defense was strong the week prior in limiting QB Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense. Defensive dominator Aaron Donald will be a difference-maker again, while also pressuring Garoppolo, and the 49ers offense looks like they'll be slowed again this week. Los Angeles has the more potent players on offense and stronger quarterback with Matthew Stafford hitting WR Cooper Kupp for 183 yards and a TD last week and 18 receptions for 240 yards in two games against San Francisco this season. Offensive Tackle Andrew Whitworth returns after missing last weeks game (Knee/ankle), and Rams RB Cam Akers will have a bigger impact in this game, as long as he hangs onto the football after two fumbles last week nearly cost the Rams a victory in a game they dominated most the way. Now with home field and a chance to play in the Super Bowl at home in SoFi Stadium, look for the Rams to score at least 20 points for the 10th straight game and hold off the 49ers to advance to the Super Bowl.

Opinion: Rams

FairwayJay is a
 proven sports handicapperand he crushed it in the 2021 NFL season going 28-12 ATS (70.0%) on his underdog picks. FairwayJay chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Read more great insights from FairwayJay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay  

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