The NFL’s final four teams were also the league’s four highest-scoring offenses. The AFC Championship features number one (Kansas City, 35.3 points per game) versus number four (New England, 27.3 points per game). Given that, we can expect a high-scoring game. Can we expect enough scoring to go over the total? Let’s examine the case for each side and make a pick.
Related: NFL Betting Guide
Patriots vs. Chiefs: Over/Under 54.5
The Case for the Over
When these teams first met in Week 6, the over/under was 59.5. That was the highest over/under of the year for the Patriots and the second-highest for the Chiefs. The game went over with a total of 83 points. That game, along with last week’s win over the Chargers, were the only games in which the Patriots scored more than 40 points.
In 17 total games this year, the Chiefs went over 10 times with one push. That happened despite 13 games with an over/under of 51.5 or more. Kansas City’s three highest over/unders of the year were at the Rams (63.5), at the Patriots (59.5) and vs. the Bengals (56). In the first two, the over won comfortably. The under won by one point against Cincinnati as the Chiefs won 45-10.
The Patriots tend to score a ton of points in the playoffs. In 12 playoff games since 2014, the Patriots have failed to score 28 points twice. One came against Denver in the AFC Championship three years ago, when the eventual champion Broncos had one of the most dominant defenses of all time. The second was last season’s AFC Championship against Jacksonville, who had the league’s second-best scoring defense (16.8 points per game). The Chiefs had the league’s 24th-ranked scoring defense this season, allowing 26.3 points per game.
The Case for the Under
A glance at the line movement shows a ton of money coming in on the under. Opening totals were as high as 58 but that has steadily dropped as the week has gone by. The fact that so many people jumped on the under early in the week is worth noting.
The Chiefs handled the wintry mix in Kansas City on Saturday, though the Colts’ fifth-ranked scoring offense fell apart, leading to a comfortable under. Though the forecast doesn’t call for precipitation this Sunday, it does call for extreme cold. At the moment, the high is 15 degrees and the low is six degrees. It’s the sort of weather that could negatively impact both offenses.
Patriot games went under 65 percent of the time this year. Including last week’s game against the Chargers, which went over, the Patriots have gone under in eight of their last 10 games.
The Patriots had four games this season with an over/under higher than 54.5 (at Detroit, vs. Kansas City, vs. Green Bay, at Pittsburgh). Three went under, though the one over was against Kansas City. In the three games that went under, the average total points scored were 37.
Finally, five of Kansas City’s six unders (and their one push) came at home. The Chiefs typically did their part, though, while their opponents failed to contribute much to the total. The Patriot offense is less likely to be shut down.
The Bet: Over
The Chiefs scored at will against pretty much everyone this year and the Patriots have one of the best postseason scoring offenses of all time. In their first meeting, the Chiefs and Patriots combined for 53 points before the end of the third quarter. The fact that the total keeps dropping works in the over’s favor as well. The cold could be a factor and anything can happen (like when C.J. Anderson had the most rushing yards in a game that featured Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott) but the most significant trends point to the over this week.
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