NFL Betting: Championship Weekend Best Picks and Advice

During the NFL season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will break down every single point spread using lines as of Thursday morning. Here are his thoughts on Championship Weekend.

Note: Nate will discuss all of his NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast that drops every Wednesday and Friday. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.

Bengals at Chiefs (-7): There were early line moves for both the side and total of this game when the odds opened on Sunday night after the Chiefs’ overtime win over the Bills. The Chiefs were installed as a 6.5-point favorite, but it didn’t take long for that to move to a full touchdown. The total opened as low as 50.5 and got bet up to 54.5.

These two teams played in Week 17 and Cincinnati won the game 34-31. The Chiefs closed as a 3.5-point favorite in Cincinnati with a total of 51. It was an odd game with the Chiefs scoring 28 first-half points and leading 28-17 at the break. Then the Bengals mounted a huge comeback behind Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase to clinch the AFC North.

Considering those factors, it’s no surprise the over got hammered early for Sunday’s rematch. One big concern for the Bengals is their offensive line that gave up nine sacks to the Titans last week. If the Bengals are playing from behind, the Chiefs’ pass rush should be setup for success in obvious passing situations with a raucous home crowd behind them.

If I had to bet on this game, the Chiefs are the only way I could look. I would never bet on the Bengals because I haven’t been impressed with them in their two postseason wins.

49ers at Rams (-3.5): These two teams played in Week 18 and the Rams had a chance to eliminate their division rivals from the playoffs. The Rams got up to a 17-0 lead and it was looking bleak for the 49ers before two second-half comebacks led to a 27-24 overtime win for San Francisco. It was the sixth-straight win for the 49ers over the Rams, as Kyle Shanahan continued his success against his friend Sean McVay.

Three weeks later, these two teams are meeting in the NFC Championship Game in the same stadium. Both teams won on walk-off field goals on the road last week and both are guaranteed to not have to leave the state of California for the rest of the season with the Super Bowl also being played at SoFi Stadium.

While the Rams were crushing the Buccaneers on Sunday, the line for this game opened Rams -4 in anticipation the Rams would roll to victory. However, conservative play-calling and careless fumbles gave the Buccaneers a lifeline and the game was tied in the final minute before the Rams’ game-winning field goal. The Rams’ failure to win comfortably probably led to this line re-opening Rams -3 or -3.5, depending on the sportsbook. Rams -3.5 has been the prevailing number for most of the week with the total down from 47 to 46.

On Sunday night, I bet 49ers +3.5. I’ve bet on them in their previous two playoff games and with the number over a field goal, I wanted to make sure to lock in +3.5 before the point spread moved toward 49ers +3 later in the week. However, I am concerned about the 49ers’ injury situation, specifically QB Jimmy Garoppolo, LT Trent Williams and WR Deebo Samuel. Garoppolo is clearly playing injured, and the other two players were hobbling off the field at times late in the game at Green Bay on Saturday.

But there’s a lot to like about the 49ers in this matchup, and there’s a reason the 49ers have recently dominated in this series. Just like against the Cowboys and Packers, the matchup for the 49ers’ rushing game is a positive against a Rams defense that has a weakness stopping the run. The 49ers’ defense is coming off a strong outing against the Packers, and they have the pass rush to give a lot of teams trouble. San Francisco had five sacks in their last matchup against the Rams.

Although this will be the fourth-straight high-leverage road game for the 49ers, they have one more day of rest than the Rams. Not to mention, the 49ers will have a large portion of the fan support in Los Angeles on Sunday, so the Rams’ home-field advantage is negated. I have the 49ers winning this game outright and returning to the same stadium in two weeks for the Super Bowl.