It all comes down to this. Super Bowl LVI is right around the corner, and Championship Sunday will determine which of the final four NFL teams will advance for a chance at this year’s Lombardi Trophy. But who should you be backing in the AFC and NFC Championships? Can the Bengals actually upset the reigning AFC champion Chiefs in Kansas City? Can the Rams finally beat the 49ers to prove they are the class of the NFC? Either way, we’ve got must-see TV in the NFL on Sunday, and in celebration of the big games, we’ve got all the best bets, odds, picks and game props you could want and need:
How to watch AFC Championship
Date: Sunday, Jan. 30 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
Location: Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri)
TV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)
Odds: Chiefs -7, O/U 54.5
Bengals at Chiefs spread picks
Latest Odds: Kansas City Chiefs -7
SportsLine expert Larry Hartstein has been on fire as of late, boasting a 71-46-1 record in his last 118 NFL picks that has resulted in a profit of more than $1,800. He’s specifically had his finger on the pulse of the Kansas City Chiefs as he’s an astounding 24-8 in his last 32 picks involving the Chiefs, which has returned $1,500 to $100 bettors. For this game, we can tell you he’s leaning over on the point total, but to see the critical X factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread, you’ll have to head to SportsLine.
“It was in Week 17 that we saw the Bengals beat the Chiefs 34-31 in a classic offensive shootout that the Bengals won in the final seconds on a field goal by Evan McPherson. Sound familiar?
“The Bengals lit up the Chiefs’ defense that day, as Ja’Marr Chase caught 11 passes for 266 yards. The Bengals destroyed the Kansas City blitz. The Chiefs got pressure that day against Joe Burrow, sacking him three times with Chris Jones getting two of those. But Burrow has been outstanding against the blitz all season — Kansas City’s main style of defense — and he has especially been good when he empties the backfield. Coming off a nine-sack game last week against the Titans, that would seem risky this week. But that also leaves one-on-one situations outside for Chase and Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd in the slot.
“As for the Bengals’ defense, they limited Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to 11 catches for 65 yards and a touchdown in the last meeting. They would gladly take that again, but that’s unlikely. The Bengals have had issues against tight ends this season. The key will be the protection up front for the Chiefs in front of Mahomes. It was good last week against the Bills, but the Bengals have better edge rushers. The matchup featuring left tackle Orlando Brown vs. Trey Hendrickson will be the big one to watch. Brown didn’t play in the last game.
“This will be another game about the two quarterbacks. Both will have success throwing it and both will roll up big numbers. In the end, the Chiefs are the better team, but it will be close. It will go down to the wire, but Kansas City will be moving on.” — CBS Sports Senior NFL Analyst Pete Prisco on why he is taking the Bengals to cover, but the Chiefs to ultimately win the AFC. To see his NFC Championship pick, click here.
“I’ve picked against the Bengals this entire playoffs. They’ve proven me wrong each week (obviously.) Well … why stop now? Especially when the Chiefs have the greatest young QB the game has ever seen.” — CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones on why he is taking the Chiefs. To read his NFC Championship pick along with his latest insider notes, click here.
“This game feels like it has shootout written all over it. During the regular season, there were only seven teams in the NFL that surrendered more than 248 pass yards per game and two of those seven teams are playing in this game, and I think what I’m trying to say here is that Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes might both throw for 500 yards.
“Since I’m fully expecting both offenses to go wild on Sunday, my pick is basically coming down to which defense I think will play better and right now and I think that’s the Bengals. The Bengals are better against the run, they’re better at getting sacks and although the two secondaries are about even, the Chiefs are dealing with a big injury this week with Tyrann Mathieu’s concussion.
“Before this postseason started, the Bengals had gone 31 years without winning a playoff game and they ended that drought. They had never won a road playoff game in franchise history and they put an end to that. And now, they have a chance to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 33 years and the prediction here is that they get it done.” — CBS Sports NFL writer and Pick Six Podcast co-host John Breech on why he is picking the Bengals to upset the Chiefs.
Bengals at Chiefs total picks
“This number feels a bit too low considering how high-powered both of these offenses are. Back in Week 17, the Bengals and Chiefs combined for 65 points and that was in a game where Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill combined for just 65 yards receiving. Kansas City has dropped 42 points in back-to-back games this postseason and Cincinnati has plenty of weapons around Joe Burrow to turn this thing into a track meet if the Chiefs get rolling. The Over is also 7-0 in the Chiefs last seven games coming into the AFC Championship.” — CBS Sports NFL writer Tyler Sullivan on why he is going over the 54.5 total.
Best prop picks
SportsLine expert R.J. White has cashed huge twice in the world’s most prestigious football handicapping competition, the Las Vegas SuperContest. As we look towards this AFC Championship, White is among many SportsLine gurus that have locked in their players props. White expects running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire to go Over 37.5 rushing yards (+105), noting Kansas City’s ability to rush for 155 yards without him against the Bengals in Week 17. To read the rest of the experts player props for the AFC Championship, go check out SportsLine.
CBS Sports Senior Fantasy writer Dave Richard has a slew of prop picks for Championship Weekend. Below, you’ll find one his go-to props for Bengals-Chiefs. To read the rest of his props for the AFC Championship along with all of his NFC Championship selections, click here.
Joe Mixon over 30.5 receiving yds +100: “This line’s been on the rise, so lock it in as soon as you realize that you like it. Mixon’s role in the passing game has been on the rise — he’s collected at least five targets in each of his past four games and secured at least 28 receiving yards in each of them (40-plus in three of the four). Kansas City’s pass defense against running backs has ranked poorly all year but over the past three weeks specifically, they’ve seen running backs average 4.7 yards per target. That’s not exceptionally bad, but it does include matchups against teams like Denver and Buffalo who didn’t use their backs in the passing game that much. Judging by the recent track record, Mixon should be a big part of Cincy’s pass effort and should manage north of 30 yards.”
How to watch NFC Championship
Date: Sunday, Jan. 30 | Time: 6:40 p.m. ET
Location: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, CA)
TV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Odds: Rams -3.5, O/U 45.5
49ers at Rams spread picks
“49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and Rams coach Sean McVay are good friends who have worked together in their careers. But since becoming head coaches, Shanahan has gotten the better of McVay. He is 7-3 in 10 games against him, winning six straight, including two this year. In Week 18, the 49ers beat the Rams on the road to earn a spot in the playoffs. Here we are three weeks later, and they are back in the same building meeting for a chance to get to the Super Bowl.
“In the last meeting, the 49ers rallied from a 17-0 deficit to win the game, 27-24. The 49ers defensive line dominated the Rams offensive line in that game. In two games against the Rams, the 49ers have seven sacks and 21 pressures without doing a lot of blitzing, which is something Matthew Stafford has killed this season.
“The Rams love to run the ball in their zone scheme, but the 49ers have run it better in the two games, getting an average of 87.5 yards more per game on the ground. That’s where this game will be won. The team that runs it best will win. The 49ers need to run it take the pressure off Jimmy Garoppolo, while the Rams key their offense off that wide-zone scheme.
“As for attacking the 49ers defense, it’s simple. Block them against the pass and you will beat them. That’s something the Rams have not done. I don’t think they will do it here, either.
“The Rams are the star-studded team, but the 49ers are the more physical team. The last time a team won three games, including a conference title game on the road, against the same team in the same season came in 1999. That year, the Jacksonville Jaguars were the star-studded team, but it was the Tennessee Titans that were the more physical team. The Titans won the championship game to get to the Super Bowl on the Jaguars’ field. That will happen here as well. The 49ers will continue their run to a title with a tough, physical victory.”
— CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco is calling the upset this weekend in the NFC. To read his conference championship column, click here.
“The Rams under Sean McVay are winless against Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers. The 3.5-point spread for the 49ers makes me think Vegas wants us all on San Francisco. The Niners swept the regular season series. San Francisco is a bad matchup for the Rams because the L.A. defense is designed to snuff out superstars on the other side of the ball and punish questionable offensive lines.
“The 49ers have plenty of stars but no alpha the offense runs through. Deebo Samuel isn’t someone you can just put Jalen Ramsey on. Using Ramsey on George Kittle works pretty well with Ramsey playing more in the slot, but George Kittle is used in run blocking so much it’s not necessarily maximizing his skillset.
“My heart’s rooting for Stafford and my brain is sending off a Spidey Sense signal the Rams might be ready to break through. Maybe they get us the Chiefs-Rams Super Bowl we’ve been waiting on for a few years now. My wallet wants a 49ers-Bengals matchup and I picked just that before the playoffs. I can’t possibly lay down now.”
— CBS Sports’ Will Brinson had a tough time deciding between his heart and his mind on the NFC side of things. To read his picks column, click here.
“When these two teams have met in their second game each of the past three seasons, the Niners have won them each by a field goal as time expired. It’s uncanny. It’s hard to beat a good team three times, and I just don’t see it happening this weekend.”
“The Rams were swept by the 49ers in the regular season. There’s no way they go 0-3 against Jimmy Garoppolo, right? A team losing three times to one opponent in the same season hasn’t happened since 2017. Additionally, if L.A. loses on Sunday, it would be Sean McVay’s seventh-straight loss to Kyle Shanahan. The last time a head coach lost to an opposing head coach seven straight times was Marvin Lewis and his Bengals struggling against Mike Tomlin’s Steelers.
“San Francisco’s comeback against the Rams in Week 18 was incredible, but I don’t think that happens again. The 49ers’ postseason run has been impressive, but it certainly hans’t been perfect. They almost blew a lead to the Dallas Cowboys in the first round and needed a blocked punt touchdown to down the Green Bay Packers last weekend. Matthew Stafford hasn’t been in this situation before, but I think he’s ready for it. He threw for 366 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and orchestrated a game-winning drive. He’s not going to let this opportunity to play in the Super Bowl in his new home stadium slip through his fingers. His legacy is still being established.”
— CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani is taking the Rams to win and cover vs. the 49ers. To read his weekly column, click here.
Before you make any 49ers vs. Rams picks or any other NFL predictions, you need to see which side SportsLine NFL expert Micah Roberts is on. Roberts has worked in the Las Vegas sportsbook industry for 20-plus years, including a 13-year run as Station Casinos’ book director. He is 10-6 against the spread in his last 16 NFL picks, for a profit of $345. In addition, Roberts has gone an astounding 10-1 in his last 11 picks involving San Francisco.
We can tell you he’s leaning Under, but head on over to SportsLine to see his against the spread pick.
49ers at Rams total picks
“These two teams hit the Over/Under once apiece this year in their two meetings. If you recall how their matchup went earlier this month, the Rams jumped out to a 17-0 lead, and the 49ers had to score 14 unanswered in the third quarter to tie the game. I don’t think the Rams get off to that hot of a start this time around. The 49ers’ path to victory includes controlling tempo and establishing the run. Betting unders in Championship Weekend isn’t fun, but that’s where my lean is.”
— CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani gives his thoughts on the total in the NFC Championship game.
Before you make any 49ers vs. Rams picks, you need to check out the latest NFL predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model. The model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, is up over $7,500 for $100 players on top-rated NFL picks since its inception six-plus years ago. The model enters championship weekend in the 2021 NFL playoffs on an incredible 137-97 run on top-rated NFL picks that dates back to the 2017 season. Amazingly, it hasn’t missed a top-rated pick since Week 14 of the regular season. To see what it has to say about the total this Sunday, click here.
Deebo Samuel receiving yards: Over 52.5 (-115). Samuel hasn’t crossed this number in the playoffs yet, and has caught just three passes in each postseason game. Still, he’s San Francisco’s most talented weapon, and the 49ers will have to ride him if they want to outscore Stafford. Samuel caught four passes for 95 yards in Week 18 vs. the Rams, and then five passes for 97 yards and a touchdown in their first meeting. He has averaged 87.8 receiving yards per game this season, and has that big-play ability where he can get to this number on just a few catches.
Jimmy Garoppolo total interceptions: Over 0.5 (-140). Jimmy G has thrown an interception in each playoff game. Additionally, he threw two in both of the final regular-season games for a total of six interceptions thrown in his last four outings. Garoppolo’s last game where he didn’t throw an interception came Dec. 19 against the Atlanta Falcons, and he’s thrown at least one pick in 10 of 17 games played this year.
Matt Gay made extra points: Over 2.5 (+105). The 49ers haven’t had a team attempt or make three extra points against them in any game this postseason, which is a credit to their defense. But Gay has made at least three extra points in each of the last three games — including in Week 18 vs. the 49ers. He’s missed just one extra point all season.
Cam Akers to score a touchdown: (-104). Akers made a miraculous return after suffering a torn Achilles in July. He hasn’t scored a touchdown in three games played, but McVay will get him one in this important home game.
Kyle Juszczyk to score a touchdown: (+575). Juszczyk is one of the better players in the NFL even though he’s not a household name due to his position. Juszczyk has scored just two touchdowns all year, but has recorded two touches per game in each playoff contest. He caught two passes for 15 yards against the Cowboys and rushed two times for 14 yards against the Packers. This is obviously a flier, but when San Francisco gets in the red zone, look for him.