The AFC Championship matchup we didn't get to see last year is upon us, as the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs head to Baltimore to square off with a Ravens team that looks just as unstoppable behind defending MVP Lamar Jackson. This is everyone's favorite pick to decide the AFC representative in the Super Bowl in January, and it's the Ravens who look the more impressive of the pair, with Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs having to work to beat the Chargers in overtime last week.
While Mahomes and Jackson are the main attractions, there are plenty of other stars on both sides of the ball for both teams in this one. Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has made an instant impact on a Chiefs offense that already featured Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews feature in the Baltimore passing game, while the Ravens lean on a multi-headed rushing attack that also includes their star QB. On defense, there's plenty of talent in the trenches, starting with Frank Clark, Chris Jones and Calais Campbell.
Below, we will get you caught up on the most intriguing betting angles to get you locked in before kickoff. All odds are via William Hill Sportsbook.
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Chiefs at Ravens (-3.5)
This line predictably opened as Ravens -3 but quickly shifted in favor of the home team, with the Ravens staying 3.5-point favorites for much of the week. The line dropped back to Ravens -3 for a brief time Saturday night as well.
The Ravens have covered in six straight as well as 11 of their last 12 matchups, posting an incredible +21.1 PPG margin during that stretch. Lamar Jackson is 4-0 ATS and SU as a starter on primetime during the regular season. But Patrick Mahomes has been an underdog just six times in his career, going 5-0-1 ATS in those games. The Chiefs won both previous meetings between these star quarterbacks but went 1-1 ATS in those matchups.
The pick: Chiefs +3.5. This one is simple: The Chiefs are undoubtedly one of the two best teams in the league, and you could make a case either one of these teams should be at No. 1. But with that being the case, why lay more than a field goal here? Let's make the smart play and take the points with Mahomes and Co.
Regular-season matchups don't get any better than Chiefs-Ravens, and R.J. White and host Will Brinson get you ready for the big game with all sorts of gambling advice on the Pick Six Podcast; listen in the player below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness fired into your eardrums.
Over/Under 54 points
The total here opened at 52 on Monday morning and was at 53.5 by lunchtime. It got to 54 on Wednesday then up to 54.5 by Saturday evening, though it was back to 54 by Sunday night.
The pick: Over 54. I'm not one for going Over on high totals very often, but these are two elite offenses that probably feel they need to stay aggressive for 60 minutes due to the talent on the other side of the field. The winner of this game could very well determine the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed -- the only one to get a first-round bye for the first time this year, remember -- so expect this to be a kitchen-sink game for both offenses.
O/U 26.5 completions
O/U 295.5 passing yards
O/U 1.5 passing TDs (Over -170)
O/U 0.5 interceptions (Over -115)
O/U 18.5 rushing yards
Will Mahomes throw an interception? He hasn't through two games this year despite playing a really good secondary last week. He threw just five in 484 attempts last year as well. The Ravens picked off both Baker Mayfield and Deshaun Watson once, but I think it'll be tougher for them to do it here, which makes paying -115 on no interceptions a solid value. Mahomes ran the ball just four times for nine yards in last year's meetings between these two teams, so the Under on his rushing yards seems like a solid play as well.
O/U 21.5 completions
O/U 31.5 pass attempts
O/U 249.5 passing yards
O/U 1.5 passing TDs (Over -150)
O/U 0.5 interceptions (Under -180)
O/U 11.5 rushing attempts
O/U 60.5 rushing yards
The Chiefs held Jackson to 46 yards on eight rushes in last year's matchup, opting instead to let the team's running backs have more room to roam in order to contain the dynamic QB. It's a formula I'd expect them to go back to, so I would lean Under on both rushing totals here. On the flip side, I expect the Ravens to attack in the passing game and I love taking the Over on Jackson's passing yards in what should be a shootout.
Other props to consider
Mark Ingram Under 12.5 rushing attempts (-125). The Ravens have employed a multiheaded rushing attack so far this year, with Ingram, Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins all receiving between nine and 19 carries through two games. Even with the Ravens comfortably ahead in both games this year, Ingram has topped out at 10 carries. I'll peg him to get to 8-12 here and we could see anyone leading the backfield in carries.
Mark Andrews Over 53.5 receiving yards. Andrews is the type of dynamic weapon that can pick this up on one play, and the Chiefs are coming off a game giving up 83 yards on six receptions to Hunter Henry. Expect the Ravens to try and exploit that same weakness after watching the tape all week.
Harrison Butker Over 2.5 extra points made (-105). Butker is one of the best kickers in the game, so are we saying that the Ravens are only going to hold the Chiefs to two touchdowns in this one? Kansas City's team total is 25.5 points, so that should tell you the opportunity will be there to hit three XPs for the Chiefs kicker. Yet the juice is to the Under on this prop. Feels like great value for us.