How have the Kansas City Chiefs performed for bettors in AFC Championship Games?
The New England Patriots competed in eight consecutive AFC Championship games from 2012 through 2019. It’s one of the most impressive runs in recent NFL history. The Kansas City Chiefs aren’t quite at that level yet, but they have a dominant run of their own. On Sunday, the Chiefs will play the AFC Championship Game for the fifth consecutive year. It’s the second straight season they’ve faced the Cincinnati Bengals for a shot at the Super Bowl.
Although line movement has been wild all week for this game, Kansas City is currently a 1-point favorite against the Bengals. If that continues through kickoff, it will be the fifth straight AFC championship game the Chiefs should win. Let’s take a look at how the Chiefs have fared at this point from a betting perspective over the past few seasons.
Chiefs were favored in every game
Not only have the Kansas City Chiefs made it to the AFC championship game five straight seasons, but they’ve also been favored to advance to the Super Bowl in all five games. That underscores the dominance of the partnership between Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.
However, the Chiefs have only won 2-2 in their last four AFC Championship games, both straight and against the spread. If you’re an offense fan, the Chiefs are a welcome sight in the AFC championship game. Overs are 3-1 and every game has shown at least 51 points. Let’s take a look back at all four games.
2019: Chiefs vs. Patriots
The Kansas City Chiefs hosted Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the 2019 AFC Championship Game. The Chiefs were a 3-point home favorite with 50 points total.
New England took a 14-0 lead at halftime before the Chiefs responded in the second half. In the first game of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs scored to cut New England’s lead to 17-14. This started an absolutely wild back and forth in football.
Damien Williams scored a touchdown to give Kansas City a 28-24 lead with just two minutes left. On the subsequent drive from New England, Charvarius Ward intercepted Brady, but the game was canceled because Dee Ford lined up in the neutral zone. That probably would have sealed the win and coverage for the Chiefs, but Brady took advantage of the error. Rex Burkhead scored to give New England a 31-28 lead with 39 seconds left.
The Chiefs weren’t done, however, as Mahomes quickly put them within field goal range and Harrison Butker sent the game into overtime with a 39-yarder. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, the Patriots won the toss and Rex Burkhead scored the winning touchdown. New England caused quite the stir as a 3-point underdog, with the game flying over totals as the teams combined for a total of 68 points.
2020: Chiefs vs Titans
In January 2020, the Chiefs were again the home favorite in the AFC Championship Game. This time they hit a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans. The total for the game was set at 51.5 points.
Tennessee took an early 10-0 lead thanks to a field goal from Greg Joseph and a touchdown from Derrick Henry. Once again, the Chiefs had to play from behind in the AFC Championship Game.
Mahomes and Kansas City responded immediately with a touchdown on Tyreek Hill, but the Titans pulled out their bag of tricks on their next drive when Ryan Tannehill threw a touchdown pass to an offensive lineman to regain a 10-point lead. However, Kansas City came back before halftime. Hill scored his second touchdown of the game and Mahomes added a quick touchdown to give Kansas City a 21-17 lead at halftime.
Over Bettors and Chiefs Backers had to sweat through a scoreless third quarter, but the fourth quarter was good for them. Damien Williams and Sammy Watkins went 35-17 midway through the fourth quarter to open an 18-point lead. Anthony Firkser scored a late touchdown to make the final score more flattering for Tennessee, but the Chiefs tied as 7-point favorites and the game again went over the total.
2021: Chiefs vs. Bills
For all the gossip we’ve heard about the Chiefs and Buffalo Bills in recent years, they’ve only met once in the AFC championship game. As of January 2021, the Chiefs were 3-point home favorites with a total of 53.5 points.
For the third straight season, the Chiefs got off to a slow start. A field goal by Tyler Bass and a touchdown by Dawson Knox gave Buffalo a 9-0 lead after Bass missed the extra point. However, Kansas City hit back again. Mecole Hardman, Tyreek Hill and Clyde Edwards-Helaire touchdowns gave Kansas City a 21-9 lead. Buffalo added a field goal just before halftime to make it 21:12.
In the third quarter, teams traded field goals before Travis Kelce scored twice and received a touchdown to open a 38-15 scoreline in Kansas City’s favour. Buffalo scored nine points late, but it wasn’t nearly enough, although it cashed the over for bettors. Kansas City won 38-24, easily covering as a 3-point favorite and overcoming the total again.
2022: Chiefs vs. Bengal
The most relevant game this coming weekend is the latest AFC league game. Kansas City was home to the Cincinnati Bengals and they were big favorites. Cincinnati was a 7-point underdog. Oddsmakers were expecting plenty of points, with the total coming in at 54.5 points.
This time it was the Chiefs who got off to a brilliant start. Hill, Kelce and Hardman all scored touchdowns in the first half to open a 21-3 lead. Near the end of the first half, Joe Burrow threw a screen pass to Samaje Perine, who went 41 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 21-10. It looked like Kansas City would score before halftime, but Tyreek Hill was tackled just short of the goal line with five seconds left and the Chiefs left the points on the board.
Evan McPherson cut the lead by 11 to eight. After an interception from Mahomes, Burrow found Ja’Marr Chase for a touchdown. A successful two-point conversion to Trent Taylor ended the game. A little over six minutes from time, McPherson kicked a 52-yarder to give Cincinnati their first lead. Mahomes and the Chiefs drove late to the five-yard line, and it looked like they’d hit a late touchdown to win it. However, Mahomes was sacked twice, forcing Butker to send the game into overtime with a field goal.
Kansas City won the overtime toss but couldn’t take advantage of it as Mahomes was picked up by Vonn Bell. A few games later, McPherson won the game for the Bengals. Cincinnati won straight away as a 7-point underdog and the game ended with just 51 points, meaning the underdog was the right side for the first time.
From a spread and/or game outcome perspective, there isn’t much to gain. The Chiefs are 2-2 both direct and against the spread. However, as I look back at the Chiefs’ history in the AFC championship game, I have two key takeaways.
All four games have made notable comebacks. Kansas City erased a 14-point deficit to force an overtime against New England. They overcame a 10-point deficit against Tennessee and a 9-point deficit against Buffalo to come back and win. Last year they lost in the first half despite an 18-point lead. That would make me look at live betting on this game if either team has a big lead. It seems like there have been massive momentum shifts in every game they’ve played up to this point. There is an opportunity to earn money through live betting.
Also, those AFC championship games have shown points. In the last four games there were 68, 59, 62 and 51 points. The total for Sunday’s game is just 47.5 points. Sure, the under-hit when these teams met last year, but that total was a touchdown higher than this year. It looks like Patrick Mahomes is making good progress from his ankle injury in training.
All three encounters between the Chiefs and the Bengals in the last 13 months have yielded at least 51 points. This is a buy low spot on the over. Sure, it’s a risk because of Mahomes’ injury, but the guy’s a beast and I wouldn’t be at all shocked if I banged him out with a compromised leg.