2022 NFL Conference Championship Picks

San Francisco 49ers (15-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (15-3)

The 49ers are underdogs in this game by 2.5 points, but they are the significantly better team in terms of weighted DVOA (+43.9% vs. +26.3%). The Eagles had key injury absences down the stretch that led to their slow finish and they have since gotten much healthier, but the 49ers had even more injury problems early in the season and still finished the year with a higher non-weighted DVOA (+30.9% vs. +27.7%). The Eagles enter this game with a SIC Score that is about six points above their season average, while the 49ers have a SIC Score that is about two points above their season average. 

The 49ers have also played much better on offense since inserting Christian McCaffrey and Brock Purdy into their starting lineup, leading to them being the hottest team in the league by far, on a 12-game winning streak, with just 4 games decided by fewer than 10 points. We’re getting great value with them as 2.5-point underdogs, as they should be favored by at least a field goal in this game, even on the road. The Eagles have a talented roster, but the 49ers are on another level and are a great bet both against the spread and on the money line at +130.

San Francisco 49ers 27 Philadelphia Eagles 24 Upset Pick +130

Pick against the spread: San Francisco +2.5

Confidence: High

Cincinnati Bengals (14-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (15-3)

These two teams are identical in weighted DVOA at +32.4% and this line, which favors the Chiefs at home by 1.5 points, reflects these two teams being even. With that in mind, injuries will likely be the deciding factor in who covers this spread. A look at the injury report would suggest the Chiefs have the significant edge in that department, as they don’t have any key players who are expected not to play, while the Bengals will be missing arguably their three best offensive linemen. In terms of SIC score, the Chiefs have a significant edge (91.7 vs. 83.8).

However, while the Chiefs won’t be missing any key players, how effective star quarterback Patrick Mahomes will be is a significant question in this game as he plays through an ankle injury that cost him part of last week’s game and limited him upon his return. Reports out of practice were good this week and, if he’s close to full strength, the Chiefs should be favored by significantly more than 1.5 points in this game against a banged up Bengals team, but it’s hard to be confident enough in an injured Mahomes for them to be worth betting this week. The Chiefs seem like the better side, but only for pick ‘em purposes.

Kansas City Chiefs 30 Cincinnati Bengals 27

Pick against the spread: Kansas City -1.5

Confidence: Low

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