Barfield's Best Bets: Conference Championship

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Barfield's Best Bets: Conference Championship

GAME PICKS

Bengals at Chiefs

Bet – Chiefs moneyline + over 51.5 total points (+111, FanDuel Same Game Parlay)

Why? – Have been thinking of ways to get on Chiefs and this is probably the highest EV path. I actually lean towards the Bengals covering +7.5, but ultimately love the Chiefs to win here. Patrick Mahomes is going to absolutely tune up this Cincy secondary. The Bengals have predominantly played Cover 3 in the playoffs (40% of coverage snaps), and if they stick with that plan, they’re going to get shredded. Mahomes has completed 78% of his throws for 9.7 YPA and a 118.1 passer rating against Cover 3 over his last eight starts. Ultimately, betting against Joe Brrr is painful – but their offensive line woes are a major pause for concern here and keeping Burrow clean is the key to this game.

As for the total…

Chiefs games have gone over the total in six of their last 7 outings for an average of 60.4 total points scored in this span. KC is averaging a ridiculous 37.3 points scored per game over their last 7 games while their defense has given up 34, 24, and 36 points scored in three of their last 5 games against teams not quarterbacked by Ben Roethislisberger.

Bengals HC Zac Taylor and OC Brian Callahan have scrapped the need for “balance.” The Bengals were exactly 50% pass | 50% run on early-downs in the regular season, but have been much more aggressive as of late with a 64% early-down pass rate in Burrow’s last four starts. As a result, Burrow is averaging 39 pass attempts per game over his last four starts after averaging just 31.1 passes per game in Weeks 1-15. Cincinnati being more aggressive and throwing more is the main reason I like the over here.

PLAYER PROPS

AFC Championship Game

Joe Burrow

Bet – Over 286.5 passing yards (-114, BetRivers)

Why? – Has gone over this total in five of his last 7 games. Chiefs blitzed at the eighth-highest rate during the regular season (28.1%) and Burrow led all QBs in YPA vs. the blitz (10.4). We have Burrow projected for 295 yards.

Patrick Mahomes

Bet – Over 0.5 Rush TDs (+350, SuperBook)

Why? – Massive arbitrage on the juice. Mahomes’ anytime TD bet at FanDuel is +155, +175 at PointsBet, and +225 at DraftKings. Mahomes always runs more in the postseason and has five career rushing TDs in 10 postseason games. Leads the team in carries inside of the 10-yard line over their last four games (6).

Byron Pringle

Bet – Over 3.5 receptions (-105, Caesars)

Why? – Has five receptions and seven or more targets in 4 of his last 5 games. Has at least 3 catches in six-straight. Bengals have given up 5+ receptions to five different pass catchers over the last two weeks in the playoffs. We have Pringle projected for 4 receptions.

I also grabbed Pringle over 0.5 receiving TDs at SuperBook (+225). Great arbitrage on Pringle’s anytime TD juice which is +170 to +190 in most spots. Pringle is tied for the team lead in end zone targets (6) over the Chiefs last 10 games.

NFC Championship Game

Cam Akers

Bet – Under 63.5 rushing yards (-115, DraftKings)

Why? – San Francisco easily has the best run defense of the remaining teams as they finished the season second in FootballOutsiders Run Defense DVOA. The 49ers run defense has carried their success into the postseason as they’ve held Cowboys and Packers backs to just 3.17 YPC. Akers and the Rams run game was less than stellar last week (24 carries, 48 yards) and their run game was stuck in mud back in Week 18 when these two teams met (26 carries, 46 yards). We have Akers projected for 44 yards rushing.

Van Jefferson

Bet – Over 17.5-yard long reception (-110, Caesars)

Why? – Even with OBJ taking over as the No. 2 WR, Van Jefferson is still the main deep threat. Has a catch of 18+ yards in four-straight games and actually has a reception of 18+ yards in all but three games this season. Also leads the team in deep targets (20) since adding OBJ in Week 10. The 49ers ranked dead last in EPA/play and second from last in catch rate on targets of 15+ yards downfield during the regular season.

Deebo Samuel

Bet – Over 50.5 receiving yards (-118, FoxBet)

Why? – Deebo has to be a big part of the passing game if the 49ers are going to pull off another upset. If the 49ers lose, they’ll likely be throwing more from behind – which also benefits Deebo. Has 97 and 95 yards in two meetings vs. Rams this year. He’s been held under 45 yards in his last two games in the playoffs which has brought his yardage prop down, but he averaged 94.3 YPG in his final four games in the regular season.

I also put a piece on a longshot bet for Deebo to lead the Championship round in receiving yards at 12/1 on FanDuel. We know he has 150+ yards in his range of outcomes and 12/1 odds only imply an 8% chance of that happening. If we played these games 10 times, Deebo definitely leads all four teams in receiving at least once – maybe twice.

ROI THIS SEASON

– Game Picks +15.3% ROI (Overall: 31-27, 53.4% win rate)

– Player Props +9.9% ROI (Overall: 152-118, 56.3% win rate)

Graham Barfield blends data and film together to create some of the most unique content in the fantasy football industry. Barfield is FantasyPoints’ Director of Analytics and formerly worked for the NFL Network, Fantasy Guru, and Rotoworld.

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