The Bengals have been one of the few teams in recent years to have the Chiefs' number, including Cincinnati winning the AFC championship game at Arrowhead Stadium last season. The two teams will meet again in the AFC championship game after the Bengals knocked off the Buffalo Bills in an AFC divisional playoff game Sunday. The Chiefs, who were looking at a neutral-site AFC championship game if the Bills had won, are a 1.5-point home favorite at BetMGM.
The Chiefs won but didn't cover in the divisional round against the Jacksonville Jaguars. They won 27-20 as a 9.5-point favorite. That's nothing unusual for the Chiefs; they were the No. 1 seed in the AFC but 5-11-1 against the spread, one of the worst records against the spread in the NFL.
The Bengals were 12-3-1 against the spread in the regular season, the second-best ATS record in the NFL. They didn't cover the spread in the wild-card round against the Baltimore Ravens, but they won and then easily covered as a six-point underdog in the win over the Bills.
One of the big storylines for the AFC championship game will be Patrick Mahomes' health. He suffered a sprained right ankle and played through the pain in the second half Saturday. Reports have said it's a high ankle sprain, which is often an injury that can linger.
The Bengals' history against the Chiefs and Mahomes' injury status adds intrigue to a great AFC championship game. Despite those factors, oddsmakers still prefer the Chiefs, at least in the opening line. Just not by a lot.