Bengals vs. Chiefs betting preview: Odds, trends and key stats for the AFC championship game
Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow will face off in the second consecutive postseason. Photo by Jeff Dean/AP.

The Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs meet in the AFC championship game for the second consecutive season.

Kansas City escaped the divisional round with a 27-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but an injury to Patrick Mahomes may loom large this upcoming Sunday. Cincinnati cruised past the Buffalo Bills with a 27-10 win, showing everyone that the team's more than capable of making another Super Bowl appearance.

Check out our Bengals vs. Chiefs betting preview for the AFC championship game on January 29.

Bengals vs. Chiefs betting preview

Check out the full Bengals vs. Chiefs AFC championship game odds. Click linked odds to add selection to your betslip.

MarketOdds
Bengals moneyline-139
Chiefs moneyline+115
Bengals -2.5-110
Chiefs +2.5-110
Over/Under 46.5Over (-112) or Under (-109)
Kelce to score a touchdown-108
Chase to score a touchdown-108

Odds as of 3:43 p.m. on 01/24/2023.

So we meet again

This will be the fourth meeting between Cincinnati and Kansas City over the past two seasons, and the second time they've faced off in the AFC title game.

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This is a matchup that historically favours the Bengals, as Joe Burrow and company have won all three previous meetings. All have been three-point contests, but all have gone the way of Cincy.

Their most recent battle was in Week 13 this season. Cincinnati trailed 24-17 entering the fourth quarter before scoring 10 unanswered points and winning 27-24. That was also the score of last year's AFC championship game, a contest Kansas City led 21-3.

Here's how Burrow and Mahomes have performed in their three head-to-head meetings.

PlayerPYDS/GPCMP%Y/ATDINT
Burrow327.372.2%9.181
Mahomes252.367.3%7.562
Stats via Pro Football Reference

Burrow clearly has the better numbers, but it's hard to give any QB the edge over Mahomes — even when he's dealing with an injury.

Injury review

Injuries are going to play a major factor on both sides. The biggest news story, of course, revolves around Mahomes' ankle.

The quarterback went down awkwardly midway through last weekend's playoff game against the Jaguars. He sat out briefly before returning later in the contest.

Mahomes' injury is a high-ankle sprain, and although it's fair to wonder how it'll impact him, his status for Sunday doesn't appear to be in much doubt. The ailment obviously won't impact his otherworldly arm talent, but his mobility will likely be severely compromised.

The Bengals dominated injury talk one week ago with three offensive linemen shelved. Alex Cappa, La'el Collins, and Jonah Williams all missed the team's most recent game against the Bills.

Although they were able to successfully navigate the issue in the divisional round, it's still a massive question mark moving forward.

Defence

Cincinnati didn't see an elite pass rusher in the divisional round. The Bills, who've been missing Von Miller since he tore his ACL in Week 12, don't have any proven players who can get after the quarterback. The Bengals will see one this week in Chris Jones, who will present plenty of problems.

Jones was a dominant force on the defensive line, tying for the fourth-most sacks in the NFL this season (15.5). He also tallied the second-most QB pressures (40), according to PlayerProfiler. He'll prove to be a matchup nightmare for a team with a compromised offensive line.

Cincinnati (ninth) grades out better than Kansas City (18th) in DVOA through the regular season and playoffs, according to Football Outsiders. Although it didn't burn them in the first meeting, the Bengals have struggled at covering tight ends. That could create a plus matchup for Travis Kelce.

The defence allowed the seventh-most yards per game (58.3) to tight ends this year, according to Yahoo Sports. Cincinnati did hold Kelce to just four receptions and 56 yards in the first meeting, but after K.C. fed the superstar tight end 17 targets in the divisional round, he'll likely be busier.

X-factor

If one player's going to turn this game on its side, it won't be Burrow or Mahomes. In fact, it won't be Kelce, Ja'Marr Chase, or any skill player from either of these stacked offences.

This game will ultimately come down to Jones and Frank Clark vs. Cincinnati's offensive line.

Taking Jones away requires some serious manpower, especially with a stout guard like Cappa out. Focusing on him while also dedicating attention to Clark off the edge with potentially both starting tackles out is a major brain teaser.

Clark's regular season numbers are nothing to behold, but it's becoming increasingly clear he's a big-time player. In Kansas City's two trips to the Super Bowl, he totalled eight sacks across six contests.

He showed some of that dynamism in the last week's game against Jacksonville, racking up a sack and three tackles, including two for a loss.

The Bengals kept Burrow upright last week, allowing only one sack for a loss of two yards. Buffalo failed to manufacture any pressure in the divisional round, but it'll be a different story against Kansas City.

AFC championship pick

Best Bet: Chiefs moneyline (+115)

Burrow leads the head-to-head 3-0 over Mahomes, but calling any of those victories convincing is a stretch.

Cincinnati's won all three by a combined total of nine points, essentially making this a coin-flip game. In a contest as evenly contested as this one figures to be, we'll gladly take the plus-money odds with the home team.

Winning four consecutive meetings in two seasons against the same team seems like a tall task, especially when three of those will be on the road.

Unlike the Bills, the Chiefs have players that can generate a legitimate pass rush while just sending four. If Cincinnati's backups on the offensive line aren't up to the challenge, it could be a long afternoon for Burrow.

Bet on Kansas City winning an entertaining matchup, and the squad's first against Burrow's Bengals.

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