AFC Championship – Who Is Playing In It And Winning It?

January 11, 2021

Theoretically, the teams with the best records will win in the playoffs. In the AFC, that would mean the Kansas City Chiefs are going to win the AFC Championship.

They had the best record in the regular season and are the No. 1 seed in the AFC, after all.

However, being the No. 1 seed is not all it is cracked up to be sometimes. Yes, they won more games than anyone else in their conference. But what a team accomplished in the regular season mean nothing in the playoffs.

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Besides, history has been good but not too good to the No. 1 seeds in the AFC. Since the 12-team format was introduced back in 1990, the No.1 seed in the AFC went on to win the AFC Championship game just 13 times.

Many of those teams were like the Chiefs. They appeared to be unstoppable during the regular season. But someone figured out how to stop over half of them. What’s to say that isn’t going to happen to the Chiefs?

But before we can figure out who will win the AFC, we need to figure out who is going to make it to the AFC Championship game.

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Who Will Make the AFC Championship Game?

At this point in the season, there are not going to be too many options. With only four teams from the AFC remaining, there are only so many possible combinations. BetMGM has posted odds for each potential matchup:

  • Who will reach the final?
    • Kansas City Chiefs-Buffalo Bill     +105
    • Kansas City Chiefs-Baltimore Ravens        +165
    • Buffalo Bills-Cleveland Browns                    +725
    • Baltimore Ravens-Cleveland Browns        +950

According to those odds, there is a 50 percent chance that the AFC Championship Game will be between the Chiefs and Bills. The Chiefs are a 10-point favorite to beat the Cleveland Browns this weekend in the divisional round.

With a moneyline of -500, oddsmakers are giving the Chiefs an 83.33 percent chance of winning. So, while the Browns may be able to pull off a miracle, it looks like the Chiefs will move on to the AFC title game?

But who will they play? Will it be the Buffalo Bills or the Baltimore Ravens? The Bills-Ravens game is expected to be much closer than the Chiefs-Browns game. Buffalo is favored by just 2.5 points.

So, that means it is going to be a close game. When that is the case, anyone can win.

While the Ravens and Bills did not play this year, they did play last year during the regular season. Neither offense looked great in what would end up being a 24-17 Ravens win.

But the Bills have a much better offense this year than last. Josh Allen had an MVP-caliber season with the help of the team’s prized free-agent acquisition, Stefon Diggs.

This season, they had the No. 2 offense in the league (total yards and points). Last year they ranked 24th in yards and 23rd in points.

As for Baltimore, their offense and defense are not as good as their 2019 units, but they are still good. However, the Ravens did need a five-game winning streak to make the playoffs.

Of those five games, only one was against another playoff team (Cleveland).

So – How Should You Bet?

Betting Play: Split whatever you plan to bet and put half on the Chiefs-Bills and half on the Chiefs-Ravens to play in the AFC Championship game. As for who will win the AFC Championship, the Chiefs (-125) are the safe bet.
But no one would fault you for taking the Buffalo Bills (+290).

As exciting as watching underdogs overcome the odds and beat the favorite, it is hard to see the Browns beating the Chiefs. However, it is easy to see Cleveland jump out to an early lead before going stagnant on offense for the second and third quarters.

That will be when the Chiefs will take advantage of every single miscue by the Browns and blow the game wide open. So, that means it will have to be one of the two Chiefs options. But will they face the Bills or the Ravens?

That is a hard question to answer. Josh Allen has had the Bills offense roaring, but the big-play ability of Lamar Jackson is hard to game plan for. Buffalo’s best hope is to get out to force the Ravens to have to throw by getting out to an early lead.

If they can, then the Bills will win. But if the Ravens can keep the game close, then the edge goes to Baltimore.

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