Betting takeaways for NFL title games: 49ers thriving as underdogs

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101 shares, 162 points

The NFL playoffs are now whittled down to the final four teams. The divisional-round action left us with a Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs matchup in the AFC Championship Game and a San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams matchup in the NFC Championship Game. Both of these games are rematches from earlier in the season, with the NFC West showdown being the third time the two teams will see each other this season. Here’s how I rank the final four teams in my power rankings.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (+130)

This needs little explanation. Most people believed the team that emerged victorious from the epic Hagler/Hearns show put on by Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen at Arrowhead Stadium would be the favorite to win the Super Bowl. Mahomes is the most dangerous man in the sport. It also helps that the Chiefs have the “easiest” matchup of the four teams remaining.

2. San Francisco 49ers (+450)

The 49ers continue to win football games with a QB who is clearly not elite … but just keeps getting the job done. We all have heard ad nauseam about San Francisco’s dominance of the Rams heading into the NFC Championship Game. The 49ers have six straight wins against them, including four straight as the outright underdog — which is where Kyle Shanahan thrives the most.

3. Los Angeles Rams (+210)

The approach by the Rams to go all-in on elite-level established stars appears to be paying off. Matthew Stafford has been the best QB in the NFC this postseason by a pretty wide margin. Von Miller has teamed with Aaron Donald to form a dominant duo rushing the passer and defending the run. Odell Beckham Jr. has capably filled in for the injured Robert Woods to provide Stafford another dynamic receiver to pair with Cooper Kupp. The only problem for the Rams is their opponent in the NFC Championship Game.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (+750)

Does anyone think the Bengals can actually go into Arrowhead and knock Mahomes out of the playoffs? Where would that outcome rank on the all-time playoff upset list? Top three? Top five? I’m sure, however, this is exactly how Joe Burrow prefers it. The Bengals have nothing to lose, an unflappable QB and the talent to go point for point with any team in the league — including Kansas City. Don’t forget the Bengals beat the Chiefs just a few weeks ago in a wild shootout, although that game was in Cincinnati, and of course, not for a trip to the Super Bowl. If the Bengals win this game, it’s hard to imagine the amount of shock it would elicit around the sports world. But that’s why we play the games, right?

Source: ESPN

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