It’s a chalk final four in the NFL playoffs, and in the AFC Championship Game the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs are 3-point favorites over the No. 2 New England Patriots. The winner likely would be a short underdog against either the New Orleans Saints or Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Rather amazingly, it’s the first time Kansas City has hosted an AFC title game – not like that franchise hasn’t had success in the past. This also could be an official changing of the guard in terms of the biggest star quarterback in the NFL. That has been the Patriots’ Tom Brady for years, but the 41-year-old could be set to cede that title to 23-year-old Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes.
In his first season as the starter, Mahomes became just the second quarterback ever to have a season in which he threw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. The other was Brady’s former rival, the retired Peyton Manning. Brady has had a 5,000-yard season and a 50-TD season, but never at once. Brady is also a three-time regular-season MVP, an award Mahomes is all but a lock to win the night before the Super Bowl.
In the Divisional Round, the Chiefs had little trouble beating the red-hot Indianapolis Colts to end a six-game home playoff losing streak, but Kansas City is still just 2-11 straight up and ATS in its past 13 postseason games. Then again, Mahomes is 1-0 SU and ATS.
This is the record eighth straight conference title game for New England, and the road team has won just one of the previous 12 AFC title tilts overall. The last time the Patriots were on the road for a trip to the Super Bowl, they lost at Manning’s Denver Broncos following the 2015 season. Brady has been a betting favorite in an incredible 67 straight games, including playoffs, the longest streak in the Super Bowl era. That’s going to end.
The total for Sunday’s game is currently 55.5 but that has dropped during the week and could continue to because it’s expected to be bitterly cold in Kansas City on Sunday night. New England has won seven of the past 10 in this series, including a 43-40 thriller in Foxborough in Week 6. The total has gone over in the previous four Patriots-Chiefs meetings.