Total Talk – Championship Round
We're down to the NFL's version of the Final Four. In last weekend's Divisional Round games, we saw the UNDER cash in the early games, and the OVER cash in the late games. So far in 10 total playoff games, the UNDER has hit in six of the total games.
The biggest injury news comes from Kansas City. Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu (concussion) remains in the league's concussion protocol after leaving the Divisional Round game in the first half against the Buffalo Bills. Head coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that the veteran defensive back is doing well and has a chance to play in what would be his third consecutive AFC Championship Game. He was injured in Sunday's game after taking friendly fire from the knee of one of his teammates.
The good news for the Chiefs is that RBs Clyde Edwards-Helaire(shoulder) and Darrel Williams (toe) were full participants in practice Wednesday, as were WRs Mecole Hardman (hip) and Tyreek Hill (heel). CB Charvarius Ward, who left Sunday's game against the Bills with a neck ailment, is also good to go.
For the Bengals, QB Joe Burrow (knee) and WR Tee Higgins (thumb) were each able to practice in full on Wednesday, and no other notable players appear to be in doubt for Sunday.
49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo (thumb) was able to practice in full. He continues to play through a couple of injuries, but the good news is that he is no longer listed on the report with his shoulder ailment.
RBs Elijah Mitchell (knee) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) were unable to practice, and T Trent Williams (ankle) was sidelined as well.
For the Rams, veteran T Andrew Whitworth (knee) was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, as was S Taylor Rapp (concussion). WR Van Jefferson (knee) didn't practice, either, nor did OL Joe Noteboom (chest). There aren't a ton of key players on the shelf for the Rams right now, but if Noteboom and Whitworth were to be sidelined, that's bad news for protection of QB Matthew Stafford.
SUNDAY'S CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
Cincinnati at Kansas City (Sunday, 3:00 p.m. ET, CBS): The Bengals have averaged 22.5 PPG so far in this playoffs, while allowing 17.5 PPG. They're coming off a 19-16 road victory against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Round game, and they have hit the UNDER in each of the two games to date.
Cincinnati host Kansas City in Week 17, outlasting the Chiefs by a 34-31 score as the OVER connected. Burrow threw for 415 yards and four touchdowns, while WR Ja'Marr Chase went bonkers with 11 receptions, 266 yards and three touchdowns on 12 targets.
The Chiefs scored 42 points in each of the two playoff games so far, topping the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-21 in the wild-card rond, while outlasting the Buffalo Bills in a classic AFC Divisional Round game, 42-36 in overtime. The OVER has cashed in each of the playoff games, and each of the past seven contests dating back to Week 14.
In that Week 17 matchup in Cincinnati, QB Patrick Mahomes passed for 259 yards and two touchdowns, while Williams rushed for 88 yards and two scores in place of the injured Edwards-Helaire. The Bengals did a good job limiting the damage of the big bombers for the Chiefs, as Hill managed just 40 yards on six grabs, while TE Travis Kelce posted five grabs for 25 yards and a score. That's all well and good, but this game is in GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, so it's a totally different ball game.
This total opened at 53.5 at most shops, rose briefly to 55 on Wednesday, before settling in at 54.5 at a majority of books as of Thursday morning. Expect additional movement leading up to kickoff on Sunday.
San Francisco at L.A. Rams (Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET, FOX): The San Francisco are looking to pull off the road hat trick, picking up a 23-17 win in the wild-card round in Dallas, as well as a 13-10 victory in the NFC Divisional Round game in Green Bay, hitting the UNDER in each game. That's 18.0 PPG on offense, and 13.5 PPG allowed on defense in two playoff games. The UNDER is 6-1 in the past seven games overall for the 49ers, too, dating back to Week 14. The only OVER during that run is a 27-24 overtime victory over these Rams at SoFi Stadium in the regular-season finale.
The Rams won a wild game at Tampa Bay in the NFC Divisional Round, blowing a 27-6 lead, before bouncing back for a last-second field goal to recover just in time. Los Angeles won 30-27 as the OVER comfortably connected after the UNDER cashed in the wild-card game against the Arizona Cardinals.
As mentioned above, the OVER hit in Week 18 at home against San Francisco, while these teams combined for 41 points and an UNDER result in Week 10 at San Francisco.
Looking at the trends, the UNDER has connected in six straight against winning teams, while going 6-1 in the past seven as a road underdog.
For the Rams, the UNDER is an impressive 17-4 in the past 21 games as a home favorite, while going 26-10-1 in the past 37 overall as a favorite. The UNDER is 19-7 in the past 26 home games overall, too.
Two-Team Total Teaser (+7, -130)
- Over 47.5 Cincinnati at Kansas City
- Under 53.5 San Francisco at L.A. Rams
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