NFL Championship Sunday is here! The narratives have been developed and now four teams vie for an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl -- only two will be lucky enough to move on. The Green Bay Packers play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Aaron Rodgers' first-ever NFC Championship game at Lambeau Field. The Kansas City Chiefs had uncertainty surrounding them this entire week until Patrick Mahomes was cleared from concussion protocol. With Mahomes set to play, they will look to repeat as AFC Champions against the white-hot Buffalo Bills.
Below, we're going to dive into all the different betting angles that this game has to offer. As well as picks surrounding the spread and total from our CBS Sports and SportsLine experts, you'll also get some of the inside scoop on our favorite prop bets for this exciting matchup to wrap up Championship Sunday. We'll start by breaking down the AFC Championship game, all of our expert's picks, and then move on to the NFC.
All NFL odds are via William Hill Sportsbook.
How to watch
Bills at Chiefs spread picks
"The Bills have been much better on defense since the midway point of the season. Coordinator Leslie Frazier has done a nice job. As for Buffalo's offense, Josh Allen didn't put up his usual gaudy numbers last week against the Ravens, but he made enough plays. It was a windy night. If the weather holds up here -- and Mahomes is in the game -- this could be a great shootout of two big-armed passers. Both defenses have improved since the Chiefs beat the Bills in Week 6, a game where Kansas City ran the football to win it. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 161 in Kansas City's 26-17 victory. This time around, I think it's more of an air game with both quarterbacks having good games. I picked the Chiefs to get to the Super Bowl before the season and I am sticking with that. But it will be close -- even with Mahomes." -- Pete Prisco on how Kansas City edges out a 31-30 win over Buffalo.
"Josh Allen has been playing at an MVP-level all year and I think he can outduel a banged-up Mahomes. I'm picking the Bills here and if they win, there's a 50% chance I'll jump through a flaming folding table in my backyard to celebrate their first Super Bowl appearance since 1993. My neighbors will probably call the police, but it's a risk I'm willing to take." -- John Breech on why he likes Buffalo by a field goal.
In his bold predictions piece for the divisional round, CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin has Bills receiver Stefon Diggs approaching 200 yards receiving in this game against the Chiefs. To read the rest of Cody's bold predictions (plus a prediction for this game), click here.
"I've been saying this for at least the entire second half of the season: Buffalo is one of the few teams in the AFC that can match the offensive firepower of the Chiefs. The emergence of Josh Allen gives the Bills the ability to match Patrick Mahomes and the Cheifs throw-for-throw, which makes this a particularly tough draw for the defending champs. ... When you have Mahomes possibly going at less than full speed, it only adds to the desire to lean towards Buffalo. After all, the Bills are the much hotter team coming into this AFC title game. They are 12-6 ATS on the season, while Kansas City is below .500 in that regard at 7-10 ATS." -- Tyler Sullivan explains why he likes Buffalo by a touchdown, 30-23.
SportsLine senior analyst and NFL expert Larry Hartstein has his finger of the pulse of the Chiefs, owning a 16-2 record against the spread in picks involving Kansas City. He nailed Cleveland +10 last week and now has made his determination as to which way he's leaning for the AFC Championship. To find out, you'll have to head over the SportsLine.
Bills at Chiefs total picks
"While I don't foresee points being hard to come by, I do pause slightly about this total going Over. While Patrick Mahomes is good to go for this game, if he is limited in any way, that brings the Chiefs ceiling for a big day on offense down. That's also not mentioning that Kansas City could lean on a rushing attack to try and beat Buffalo. Back in Week 6, Clyde Edwards-Helaire posted 161 yards rushing against this unit and Andy Reid could deploy a similar attack to help a hobbled Mahomes get through the game. The Under is also 9-8 for the Chiefs this season. As for the Bills, their offense is averaging 22 points per game through two playoff contests. While that's a small sample size, it's nearly 10 points below their regular-season average. " -- Tyler Sullivan on why he's leaning towards the Under with a projected total of 53.
Best prop picks
- Josh Allen first touchdown scorer (+900) -- SportsLine managing editor R.J. White (via Pick Six Podcast)
- Josh Allen last touchdown scorer (+900) -- SportsLine managing editor R.J. White (via Pick Six Podcast)
- John Brown total receiving yards: Over 52.5 yards (-115) -- CBS Sports' Dave Richard: "Brown's receiving Over was one of the bets I managed to get right last week. It helped that he had 11 targets, tied for his season-high. The hunch is that the Bills throw a bunch on the Chiefs (they barely run the ball anyway). Brown should have opportunities to pick up chunks of yardage. I honestly think this line is at least 10 yards too low. I also want to put it out here that Cole Beasley's receiving yardage prop is also of interest if it's around this number or less."
- Travis Kelce to score a TD and the Chiefs to win (+170) -- CBS Sports' Dave Richard: "The guy who has a dozen touchdowns this season finding the end zone in a game his team is favored? Why not invest in that combo? It seems economically better than taking Kelce's anytime TD prop at minus-125 and the Chiefs money line at minus-170 separately. The odds are slightly off from what a traditional parlay would pay (plus-186), but it feels about as safe as you can get. Or, if for some reason you're not thrilled with Kelce, you could do the same version of this wager with Tyreek Hill scoring, and it pays plus-175."
How to watch
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Buccaneers at Packers spread picks
"This will be Tom Brady against Aaron Rodgers. It doesn't get any better than that. But this game will come down to Rodgers against the Tampa Bay defense more than anything else. That defense was outstanding last week against the Saints, locking down the receivers in man coverage and making it tough for Drew Brees. But that's going to be a bigger challenge against this Green Bay offense, especially the way Rodgers can make plays off schedule. Green Bay made the top-ranked Rams defense look ordinary last week. I think they will continue that here as well. Rodgers is playing the best football of his career. The Bucs were improved on offense last week because they ran the ball. That will have to play out in this one as well. They have to control the football. Brady will challenge down the field, but without the run game it might be a lot tougher against that Green Bay pass rush. In the end, I think Rodgers is playing too well. It will be close for a bit, but Green Bay will win by a touchdown to get to the Super Bowl." -- Pete Prisco on why he has Green Bay advancing to Super Bowl LV.
Our own "Super Stat Geek" R.J. White -- who is also SportsLine's hottest NFL expert -- claims he has a great read on this game. He's an incredible 43-11 on his last 54 Packers picks, so make sure to check out his pick on SportsLine, here.
"When these two teams played earlier this season, Aaron Rodgers had one of the worst games of his career. During the 38-10 loss, he threw just his third pick-six ever. It was also just the fourth game of his career where he threw multiple interceptions in a game where he was sacked four or more times. You can fool Aaron Rodgers once, but you cannot fool him twice. The Packers QB is playing at an MVP level and I think he out-duels Tom Brady here. Also, the kickoff temperature is expected to be 29 degrees and by principle, I cannot pick a Florida team to win in that kind of weather." -- John Breech on why he likes the Packers.
"I'm mostly fading the idea that the Buccaneers have Aaron Rodgers' number by predicting that the Packers will win and cover over Tampa Bay. Green Bay's Week 6 loss is naturally garnering a lot of attention this week as it was undoubtedly Rodgers' worst game of what is promised to be an MVP season. He completed just 46% of his passes for 160 yards and threw two interceptions (both resulting in eventual touchdowns). I just have a hard time believing that lightning will strike twice in that regard, especially with this latest game at Lambeau Field. If you take away that performance against the Bucs, Rodgers has completed 72% of his throws for an average of 277.2 yards passing to go along with 50 touchdowns to just three interceptions in every other game he's played this year (including playoffs). I am also throwing out Rodgers' 1-3 record in the conference championship with the knowledge that each of those games was played on the road. Even more so than most quarterbacks, Rodgers is dynamite at home.
As for the Buccaneers, while they have the offensive firepower to keep up with Rodgers' offense, I still have questions about their defense. During Super Wild-Card Weekend, they made Taylor Heinicke look like Steve Young, and beating the corpse of Drew Brees, who was unable to throw the deep ball, is hardly impressive. Rodgers is an entirely different animal, who is extremely motivated to get revenge on this unit." -- Tyler Sullivan on why he's picking the Packers.
"I'm going with the Packers. Green Bay has won seven straight games by seven or more points for the first time since 1997, and during that streak, Aaron Rodgers has recorded 24 total touchdowns and thrown just one interception. The Packers had no problem with the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round, defeating them 32-18. Rodgers and the offense tore apart the Rams' top-ranked defense, as they racked up 484 yards of total offense and 28 first downs. Both of those numbers are the most allowed by the Rams in a game all season. This offense has been on an absolute roll, and last week, the Packers scored 32 points on nine drives -- which averages out to 3.56 points per drive. They have now scored 3.09 points per drive this season, which is on pace to be the most in a single season since 2000.
Another reason I like the Packers is that I think Rodgers has been playing with a major chip on his shoulder. When detractors questioned if he would get along with first-year head coach Matt LaFleur, the Packers went 13-3 and made it all the way to the NFC Championship Game. Then, when detractors tabbed the Packers as a prime candidate to regress in 2020, they again went 13-3 and made it to the NFC championship. Additionally, Rodgers played what was objectively his worst game of the season against the Buccaneers, and you know that's also fresh in his mind." -- Jordan Dajani on why he's rolling with the Packers.
|Buccaneers at Packers (-3)|
"There might be snow, but without the wind it's not going to slow down (the Packers') offense. Green Bay scored 32 points with 484 yards vs. that top defense last week. Green Bay has now scored 30 points in seven of their last eight, 24-plus in the last 10 games. Tampa has scored 30 points in their last five and 24-plus in their last nine games. So this seems like a baseline of 48 and you only need an extra field goal to get to the 51 that we need there." -- R.J. White on the "Pick Six Podcast."
On this episode of the Pick Six NFL Podcast, Will Brinson is joined by Pete Prisco, R.J. White and Kenny White to break down the conference championships from a gambling perspective. Subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
"As for the total, the Packers have gone Over in six straight playoff games (50-plus total points scored in each game). The Over/Under has risen this week, but I'll still take it." -- Jordan Dajani on why he's taking the Over.
Top prop picks
Leonard Fournette Over 22.5 receiving yards (-115)
"Am I getting played here? Fournette has come down with at least 30 receiving yards in three of his past four including each of two playoff games. Something closer to 30.5 should be the line. Fournette definitely played in the passing-downs role last week with Ronald Jones back, checking in on 13 third downs and 12 second downs of 6-plus yards. By comparison, Jones played on one third down and three long second downs. Figure Fournette will remain in position to catch passes and put up some yardage against a Green Bay defense that's yielded 7.3 yards per catch to running backs over its past nine games." -- CBS Sports' Dave Richard.
Josh Allen last TD (+900) -- R.J. White on the "Pick Six Podcast."
Aaron Rodgers over pass TD 2.5 -- Will Brinson on the "Pick Six Podcast."
Davante Adams first TD +550 -- Will Brinson on the "Pick Six Podcast."