The NFC and AFC Championship Games both feature the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds facing off, but the NFC title game has a much wider spread than the AFC game.
The San Francisco 49ers find themselves as seven-point favorites against the Detroit Lions while the Baltimore Ravens are just 3.5-point favorites against the Kansas City Chiefs.
I have a spread pick for both games, and this is a bounce-back week after a tough showing in the divisional round.
- Wild Card Weekend Record: 1-3
- Season Record: 143-135-4
For more NFL Championship Week picks, check out our NFL betting analyst Iain MacMillan’s best bet for every game on the slate here!
This week, I’m leaning with the underdogs in both games. Let’s break down why:
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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens Spread Pick
- Pick: Chiefs +3.5
There is no denying Patrick Mahomes’ success as an underdog, and he showed he can not only cover — but win as well — as an underdog on the road in the playoffs against the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round.
Now, Mahomes is a 3.5-point dog against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game — a game he’s been a part of in six straight seasons.
While the Ravens have the second best record against the spread in the NFL this season, it’s hard to justify fading Mahomes, who is 9-1-1 ATS as a dog in his career (he’s also 8-3 SU in those games).
Baltimore won easily in the divisional round, but this is a much tougher matchup that features the two best scoring defenses in the NFL this season.
Kansas City’s run defense (allowing 4.5 yards per carry) is my biggest concern against a run-heavy Baltimore offense, but the Chiefs also have a massive experience advantage in this matchup.
That matters, especially since Lamar Jackson hasn’t been the most successful postseason quarterback in his career.
I’ll gladly take the points with Mahomes and company in what should be one of the best games of the NFL season.
Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers Spread Pick
- Pick: Lions +7
Don’t sleep on this Detroit team on Sunday night, even though the Lions’ defense isn’t a great unit — especially against the pass.
Since 2021 when Dan Campbell took over as Detroit’s head coach, the team is 21-10 against the spread as an underdog, including a 2-1 mark ATS this season.
After failing to cover in the divisional round, the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan have slipped to 3-6 against the spread as home favorites in the 2023 season.
Overall, Shanahan is 20-22-1 ATS as a home favorite in his head coaching career.
The Lions allowed the sixth most passing yards in the NFL this season and the third most net yards per pass attempt. However, the team had the third best run defense in terms of yards per carry allowed (3.7) in the regular season.
If you’re Detroit, wouldn’t you rather force Brock Purdy to beat you?
Outside of the final drive against Green Bay, Purdy struggled in the divisional round.
Plus, Deebo Samuel’s status for this game is up in the air. San Fran is just 8-9 straight up without the star wideout since he’s been drafted.
San Francisco could still win this game, but I love Detroit to cover.
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Find Peter Dewey's betting record here.