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NFL Picks Against the Spread for the Conference Championships – SBD Formula is 56-41-3

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in NFL Football

Jan 27, 2022 · 6:35 AM PST

Jimmy Garoppolo celebrates a victory
San Francisco 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo celebrates after an NFC divisional playoff NFL football game Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Green Bay, Wis. The 49ers won 13-10 to advance to the NFC Chasmpionship game. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
  • The 2021 NFL playoffs continue with the Conference Championships on Sunday, January 30th
  • The SBD Formula went 2-2 with its best bets against the spread during the Divisional Round
  • Read below for analysis on the Conference Championships, plus against the spread picks for every game based on the SBD Formula

After an outrageously profitable regular season, the SBD Formula has been treading water in the playoffs. It produced another .500 week last week (2-2), running its postseason total to 5-5 with its best bets against the spread.

Both of the SBD Formula’s hits during the Divisional Round came on road underdogs, and it’s backing both away ‘dogs this week in the Conference Championships.

Conference Championships Against the Spread Picks

Matchup Spread SBD Formula Pick
Cincinnati Bengals vs Kansas City Chiefs KC (-7) CIN (+7)
San Francisco 49ers vs LA Rams LAR (-3.5) SF (+3.5)

Odds as of Jan. 26th at DraftKings and FanDuel.

The SBD Formula’s betting card starts in KC, where the Chiefs are just a win away from their third consecutive trip to the Super Bowl.


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Bengals vs Chiefs Pick Against the Spread

Kansas City is currently a 7-point favorite over Cincinnati, in a rematch of their Week 17 meeting won by the Bengals. The SBD Formula isn’t a predicting another Bengals win in the AFC Championship Game, but it is expecting Cincinnati to cover.

The Bengals have beaten the spread in five straight outings coming in, including three times as an underdog. Their previous matchup was dominated by Ja’Marr Chase, as the rookie racked up three touchdowns.

KC’s secondary certainly looked vulnerable last week versus the Bills, and could be missing stud safety Tyrann Mathieu on Sunday. His potential loss would open up a massive opportunity for Chase and company, especially if the Chiefs to try blitz Joe Burrow.

The former number one overall pick was the highest graded QB against the blitz this season, averaging 3.41 yards more per attempt than when he wasn’t blitzed. Last week, the Titans blitzed him just 11 times and he completed 10 passes for 192 yards.

On the other side of the ball, the Bengals aren’t going to stop Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense, the best they can do is try to slow them down. Mahomes put up 378 yards and 3 TDs through the air against the Bills in the Divisional Round, and proved no lead is safe when he’s on the field.

Over his last seven games, Mahomes has averaged 319.5 passing yards per outing, and has posted 20 TD against just 2 INT.

KC is 7-1 against the spread over its past eight games versus winning teams. The lone time they didn’t cover, Week 17 against Cincinnati.

Pick: Cincinnati Bengals +7, 1 unit


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49ers vs Rams Pick Against the Spread

The SBD Formula is feeling a little bolder with its best bet for the NFC Championship Game. It’s not only predicting a cover for the underdog 49ers, but an outright victory over the Rams as well.

San Francisco is currently a 3.5-point underdog, which seems like a lot given their recent history with LA. The Niners have beaten the Rams six straight times, including an overtime victory in Week 18 that propelled San Fran into the playoffs.

The 49ers needed to stage a second half rally just to force OT, but you could argue they’ve been the better team in both of their victories over the Rams this season by a wide margin. They outgained LA in both meetings by a combined total of 241 yards.

They’ve held the Rams, the league’s eighth highest graded offense per DVOA, to less than 280 total yards in both matchups, and possessed the ball for an average of 12 minutes more per contest.

Offensively, their elite rushing attack ran circles around LA’s top-five defense. They rushed for a total of 291 yards in their two games, while Jimmy Garoppolo torched them over the middle of the field. Jimmy G completed 29-of-36 passes when targeting that area for 319 yards and 3 TD.

San Fran also did an incredible job of limiting Aaron Donald’s impact. The reigning defensive player of the year owns a 61.8 pass rushing grade versus the Niners this season per Pro Football Focus, compared to a 93.1 grade against every other team he’s faced.

On the other side of the ball, San Fran recognized that Matthew Stafford shreds against the blitz – apparently the Buccaneers didn’t get that memo, so the Niners rarely sent additional rushers in their two meetings. They blitzed on just 14% of Stafford’s drop backs, but were still able to generate a 41% pressure rate, and rack up seven sacks.

In the two games versus the Niners, Stafford threw more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (3).

It’s been mentioned a lot this week already but it’s worth repeating. San Francisco has been phenomenal as an underdog under Kyle Shanahan. They’re 4-1 against the spread this season when catching points, including 2-0 in the playoffs.

Garoppolo meanwhile, is 15-4 ATS as an underdog over his career, including 14-5 straight up. That’s the best record of any quarterback as an underdog in the Super Bowl era.

Pick: San Francisco 49ers +3.5, 1 unit

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