NFL Playoffs: 3 must-bet props for Conference Championship weekend


We had all hoped this week would be another Buffalo Bills’ playoff matchup, but the Cincinnati Bengals came in and stomped what certainly appeared to be a drained, flat Bills’ team. You can find all kinds of post-mortem evaluations of that game by Cover 1’s excellent team elsewhere on the site, but we won’t reopen those wounds here.

What we will open is our wallets – to fit in all the cash. Getting back to winning in the Divisional Round felt so much better after how lousy the Wild Card Round went, which is a weird divergence from how we reacted to the Bills’ results in those two rounds. The game was hurtful, but we did get free money with the Q1 Total Points over, and Josh Allen’s completions over. Gabriel Davis fell short, but that was the least of our problems in that game.

In the coming weeks, we’ll take a look at overall performance on props by type (I have a suspicion those Gabe Davis receptions props won’t look good for the year) to see if we can learn anything to refine and improve the system. This year went really well, but we’re humble and our wallets are hungry, so we can always get better. Til then, let’s get that analysis money.

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First Things First

Here are a few rules to keep your betting a fun, enjoyable hobby.

  1. Never bet more than you can afford to lose.
  2. Don’t chase a bet.
  3. Don’t bet on what you don’t understand
  4. Check the other sportsbooks’ lines
  5. See Rule #1.

If you think you might have a gambling problem, please contact any of these agencies for help.

National Council on Problem Gambling: 1-800-522-4700.
Gambling Anonymous National Hotline: (888) GA-HELPS (888-424-3577)
Gambling Assistance Hotline: (800) 522-4700

Lastly, these are recommendations, not guarantees. Act accordingly.

Game Script?

No game script this week since we’re not deep-diving the Bills.

DVOA Matchup (from Football Outsiders)

Cincinnati vs Kansas City

San Francisco vs Philadelphia

Injury Reports

As always, remember to check the inactives before game time.

Last updated: 1/28/23 7:30 am

AJ Brown Receptions

o u
Bet US 4.5 -165 +135
CSR 4.5 -163 +118
DK 4.5 -165 +135
FD 4.5 -180 +134
MGM 4.5 -160 +125

The 49ers have been one of the best run defense teams all season. They are top 5 for the season in (all stats from SIS unless otherwise noted)

  • Yds/Att (3.4, 1st)
  • Yds/Gm (77.7, 2nd)
  • YAC/Att (2.1, 1st)
  • EPA/Att (-.14, 1st)
  • Pts Saved/Play (.462, 1st)
  • Broken/Missed Tackle (7.5%, 5th)

They have tapered off a little in the last month – in some of those categories they are only top 10 now. In other words, as great as the Eagles’ running game has been this year, watch for them to have a harder time running the ball than at any other point this season.

To Nick Sirianni’s credit, he has proven himself an adaptable coach who looks to put his players in a position to take advantage of their strengths. He should be smart enough to not run stubbornly into the 49ers’ brick wall over and over and over again. Enter AJ Brown and the Eagles’ effective passing game.

The 49ers’ pass D is also outstanding overall, but they are a little less spectacular against passes completed from 5 to 15 air yards, which just happens to be the range where Brown was 2nd in the league in targets (87, 3 behind DK Metcalf) and 3rd in receptions. All four of the teams in play this Sunday are exceptional, and the trick is to try and find the mismatches each unit will try to utilize. AJ Brown is a matchup headache that Philly should highlight.

Plus this from Ryan McCrystal at Sharp Football Analysis:

According to TruMedia, Philly has played six games in which its running backs were contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage on at least 50% of their carries 一 we’ll use this sample size to represent games in which the Eagles run game was bottled up.

In those six games, Brown averaged 6.3 receptions per game. In his other 12 games, he averaged 4.6 receptions.

Recommendation: o4.5 rec, 0.5u at MGM. The vig is so heavy on this, I’d rather they move the line to 5.5 and offer -120, which I’d still take, but the Alt Receptions lines I’ve seen are terrible.

Semaje Perine Receptions

o u
Bet US 2.5 -110 -120
CSR 2.5 -108 -127
DK 2.5 -105 -130
FD 2.5 +102 -136

The world will not shut up about how the Bengals have beaten the Chiefs in their last three matchups, in Week 1 and the AFC Championship Game in 2021, and Week 12 in 2022. Respectively, Perine had 1, 3, and 6 catches in those games, but RB Joe Mixon missed the Week 12 contest.

Even if Perine’s snap count is lower than it was in that matchup, he should still reach this line because of how Cincy uses him and how susceptible KC is to RBs in the passing game. In his last 9 games, Perine has averaged 3.89 targets. There are admittedly three games in that stretch where he only hauled in 1 pass each, but he had at least 3 receptions in each of the rest. And with an offensive line that still has injury replacements, and Perine is an important contributor to their quick passing game.

The Chiefs have surrendered the 6th most completions to running backs over the last 5 weeks (4 games), and they are middle of the pack in completion percentage and Yds/Gm. Those numbers are significant improvements over their season-long performance, where they are bottom 5 in EPA/Play, receptions allowed, yards allowed, yds/gm, and completion percentage.

Recommendation: o2.5 at FD, 0.5u

CIN vs KC First Quarter Total Points

o u
Bet US 9.5 -110 -120
DK 9.5 -110 -110
FD 9.5 -118 -104
MGM 9.5 -110 -110

Both offenses in this game excel with their opening scripts, and much like Buffalo last week, the Bengals could get an early lead against a defense that is not at its best in Q1. Steve Spagnulo’s unit isn’t outstanding at any particular point in a game by DVOA, but they especially struggle in Q1, where they rank 23rd on the year.

Recommendation: o9.5 at -110, 0.5u


After this weekend, this article will take a week off to prep for the Super Bowl and then bring three final props for the big game to close out our first season. In the offseason, we’ll look at what we can learn from how we did this year, and we’ll also spend some time on fundamental betting strategies and key principles we all should know.

Obviously, we all wish the Bills were playing this week and beyond, but there is still free money out there to help assuage our grief, and I intend on getting some.

Regular season record: 31-17

Playoff record: 2-4

You can find Chris on Twitter (@lowbuffa), getting dirty in #MafiaGardens, or watching football. Go Bills!