Multiple Factors to Consider for Sunday’s AFC Championship

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AFC Championship

For the first time in 25 years, the Bills won a playoff game.  In fact, they won TWO playoff matchups.  Buffalo has advanced to Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.  Defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City will host the Bills.  On the whole, the Chiefs have the most talented offense in the NFL.  Kansas City was the AFC’s top seed based on its 14-2 record.  But the Chiefs’ on-field success did not translate into NFL betting profits.  A combination of excess public popularity and doing just enough to get by put KC in the red.  Sunday’s game has much to consider.

2020 AFC Championship Game 

NFL Betting:  Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs

When:  Sunday, January 24, 2021, 6:40 p.m. ET

Where:  Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

TV:  CBS

CashBet Odds:  Buffalo Bills +3 at Kansas City Chiefs -3, Total 53

Sunday’s AFC Championship Game Betting Odds Offer Lesson In Line-Making

Specifically, the betting line is not based on “what Las Vegas thinks.”  That overused phrase has no bearing on reality.  Instead, the odds set at US Sportsbooksare based on public perception.  The betting line is based on what YOU think.  The oddsmakers want to draw betting action equally to both sides.  Then the sportsbooks will collect their 10-percent commission.  Correlate the related terms “juice” and “vig.”  As a result, the guys making the line take the temperature of the public.  And then set the price accordingly.

Kansas City is a 3-point favorite based on playing at home as a defending Super Bowl bettingchampion.  The price would be a couple of points higher if Patrick Mahomes weren’t injured.  Last Sunday,Mahomes suffered a possible but unconfirmed concussion.  His status is questionable.  If he were 100-percent healthy, betting action would be more towards the Chiefs.  Thus, the three-point spread leads to some gambling strategy.

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Some gamblers will take the Chiefs “on the come,” assuming Mahomes will be fine.  By betting Kansas City, now these gamblers are getting a price break.  Those who wait on confirmation of Mahomes’ status will pay full retail once he’s cleared.  Of course, the same principles go the other way.  Buffalo backers may wait until Mahomes’ playing status is confirmed.  If Mahomes plays, Buffalo will get an extra point or two on the spread.  Conversely, if Mahomes is out, Buffalo’s price will be higher.

The Coaches – A Proven Champion vs. Emerging Leader

Kansas City coach Andy Reid is one of the game’s great offensive minds.  His winning percentage at Kansas City is .711.  Since taking over in 2013, Reid’s Chiefs missed the playoffs just once.  Reid’s partnership with Mahomes has made for NFL Betting domination.

Buffalo coach Sean McDermott took over the Bills in 2017 and has produced three playoff seasons. McDermott has methodically improved the team every season.  Although he was a defensive assistant, his Bills have a prolific offense that fits today’s game.

The Quarterbacks – Impact Player vs. Rising Star

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the NFL’s ultimate impact player. Also, Mahomes has a well-earned reputation for being a comeback artist.  Last season Mahomes brought the Chiefs from behind in all three playoff games.  His fourth-quarter rally over San Francisco in the Super Bowl is the stuff of legends at US Sportsbooks.  There is no quarterback in the NFL that worries defenses more in the clutch.  Consider that enemy defenses are most-terrified of Mahomes when his team trails in the fourth quarter.  Mahomes wins games both on the ground as well as the air.

Three years ago, Josh Allen arrived at Buffalo from Wyoming.  Allen was the Bills’ first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.  Fans were skeptical of this Cowboy from the Mountain West.  Now they see the wisdom of the selection.  Allen was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2020.  This year Allen made a massive breakthrough.  He threw for 4544 yards, 37 touchdowns, and just ten interceptions.  Buffalo’s future is nothing but up with Allen under center.

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The Receivers – Kansas City’s Extra Weapon

Namely, Stefon Diggs became Allen’s favorite target in 2020.  Diggs arrived this year from Minnesota and had a career campaign.  Diggs caught 127 passes for 1535 yards and eight touchdowns.  Time and again, when Allen needed a play Diggs delivered.  Yet as good as Diggs was for the Bills, the Chiefs have two go-to receivers.

Tight end Travis Kelce is a six-time Pro Bowler and three-time First-Team All-Pro.  To illuminate, Kelce is one of the most dominant tight ends in NFL history.  And he is only getting better.  Concurrently Kelce had career-bests in four categories this season.  Those were 105 catches, 1416 yards, 13.5 yards per catch, and 11 touchdowns.

And then there is wide receiver Tyreek Hill.  Hill is a three-time First-Team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler.  This year Hill caught a career-high 87 passes for 1276 yards.  Also, his 15 touchdowns were a career-best.

The Defenses – Is Buffalo Ready to Step Up?

Both the Bills and the Chiefs use a bend but don’t break approach defensively.   Kansas City ranked a solid 10th for points allowed.  Comparable was Buffalo’s ranking of 16th in that category.  Last week the Bills suffocated the Baltimore Ravens offense in a 17-3 win. In comparison, the Chiefs were clutch in a 22-17 win over the Browns with Mahomes sidelined.  When the season was on the line in the 4thquarter, the Chiefs held.

Bills vs. Chiefs Betting Factors and Value

Of great concern is the Chiefs’ lack of wagering value in the season’s second half.  Kansas City finished 14-2 straight up.  Yet was only 7-9 against the spread.  Too much casual money bet Kansas City’s prices up too high.  And the Chiefs would often wait until the end of games to clinch their wins.

By contrast, the Bills are the hottest team on the board. Buffalo has covered nine of their last ten games.

Matchup Keys to the Sunday’s AFC Championship Game

On the whole, the AFC Championship Game is dead even.  Mahomes health and clutch defense will be the deciding factors.

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