NFL Conference Round Sunday Preview: Chiefs vs. Ravens, 49ers vs. Lions Odds

The road to Super Bowl LVII culminates in the Conference Championship round Sunday when the favoured San Francisco 49ers host the Detroit Lions and the Baltimore Ravens host the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.

The 49ers, who play at 6:30 p.m. ET, remain the favourites to win it all at a slim +140 in outright odds while the Ravens, who kick off at 2 p.m. ET, are the second choice at +180. Kansas City is +425 to repeat while the upstart Lions are a long +800 to win their first-ever Super Bowl.

Bet on Chiefs vs. Ravens

KC +4.0
BAL -4.0

Unlike in some post-seasons, the lines don’t anticipate any blowouts, with San Francisco 7.5 points and Baltimore favoured by four.

Chiefs vs. Ravens odds

Chiefs Moneyline Odds+175
Ravens Moneyline Odds-210
Spread oddsRavens -4.0 (-110)
Over/Under44.5 points (over -110, under -110)
Time/DateJan. 28, 3:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: CTV/TSN

All odds courtesy of

About the Chiefs (13-6 SU, 11-8 ATS, 6-13 o/u) and Ravens (14-4 SU, 12-7 ATS, 8-10 o/u)

Whether it’s fair or unfair – and the answer, undoubtedly, is the latter – this game will come to define, at least for now, the legacy of Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson. That’s because, despite his brilliant play in the regular season (and he’s a prohibitive favourite to win his second league MVP award), he went into last week’s game vs. the Houston Texans with a 1-3 record in the postseason.

And this week, the comparison is right there for everyone to see: he’s matched up against another Hall of Fame-bound young quarterback, but this one – the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes – already has two Super Bowl rings. Among the beauties of this game is it will be the first-ever playoff matchup between two sub-30 quarterbacks who already have MVPs to their names.

Jackson quieted some of the noise about his playoff limitations last week when he became the first QB since at least 1948 to pick up two touchdowns passing, two touchdowns running, 100 yards rushing and a 100 passer rating in the same game.

The Baltimore coaches deserve some of the credit for adjusting the game plan in that game, as Jackson got the ball out of his hand more than a second faster, on average, in the second half, allowing the Ravens’ offensive line to provide him enough protection. The Ravens get the benefit of an important added weapon after tight end Mark Andrews was activated from injured reserve for this game after missing time with a knee injury.

Mahomes’ legacy would only be further burnished with an upset victory here, particularly since it would be novel in coming on the road. In six seasons as the Chiefs’ starter, he has been to the AFC championship six times. One more win and he would have his fourth Super Bowl appearance.

And despite all that, the over-under total is six points lower in this game than in the other one. That’s because the defences are the strengths of these teams. Baltimore’s unit, which disguises its coverages and pass rushes brilliantly, finished first in DVOA, while the Chiefs were seventh. Both defences looked more than stout last week vs. excellent opposing quarterbacks.

Baltimore held presumptive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud to under 200 yards passing – and an average of just 5.3 yards per completion – while the Chiefs turned Josh Allen into a dump-down machine. He averaged 4.8 yards per completion.

Lions vs. 49ers odds

Lions Moneyline Odds+280
49ers Moneyline Odds-360
Spread odds49ers -7.5 (-110)
Over/Under52.0 points (over -110, under -110)
Time/DateJan. 28, 6:30 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: CTV/TSN

All odds courtesy of

About the Lions (14-5 SU, 13-6 ATS, 12-7 o/u) and 49ers (13-5 SU, 9-9 ATS, 9-8-1 o/u)

This game features an up-and-coming program against a perennially elite team that just hasn’t quite been able to get over the final hurdle. The 49ers are playing in their third NFC Championship game in three years – and fifth since 2013 – while trying to snap a two-game losing streak to reach their first Super Bowl since 2020.

The Lions hadn’t been to the playoffs since 2016 before this season and hadn’t won a playoff game since 1991.

Looming over the game is how effective receiver Deebo Samuel, who was limited in practice Thursday after missing Wednesday’s, will be. He was ruled eligible for the game and just his presence in the lineup has made the 49ers a far more explosive offence, allowing quarterback Brock Purdy to keep defences guessing as he distributes the ball to an array of weapons that include Samuel, fellow wideout Brandon Aiyuk and the best running back in the NFL, Christian McCaffrey.

What has made the 49ers such massive Super Bowl favourites all season is their balance. They also have a defence filled with All-Pro selections that ranked third in the NFL in scoring defence, holding opponents to an average of 17.5 points per game. The defence saved the day against brilliant young Green Bay quarterback Jordan Love, with linebacker Dre Greenlaw picking off Love for his second interception with less than a minute remaining.

Detroit may be able to match the Niners’ play-making abilities, as QB Jared Goff’s unit finished one spot ahead of San Francisco in total offence, averaging 362.2 yards a game to S.F.’s 356. But the defensive side is a question mark, as the Lions finished 20th in passing defence and 20th in pass defence.

On the other hand, this could be a team of destiny, as the Lions beat a very hot Los Angeles Rams team in the first game and then got an extremely efficient game from Goff last week to knock off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, covering the six-point spread in the process, 31-23.

Bet on 49ers vs. Lions

SF -7.5
DET +7.5

Key Injuries

  • The Chiefs are without All-Pro OG Joe Thuney (pec), while it appears LB Willie Gay (neck) could go, which would be important since he serves as the spy for the defence and will be in charge of keeping track of Jackson when he runs. CB L’Jarius Sneed (calf) has been limited in practice but should go, as should RB Isiah Pacheco (toe).
  • Baltimore is hoping to welcome back Andrews (ankle), who returned from injured reserve and expects CB Marlon Humphrey (calf) to go, as well. CB Rock Ya-Sin, WR Tylan Wallace (knee) and LB Del-Shawn Phillips are listed as questionable.
  • The Lions and 49ers are in good shape when it comes to injuries, though Samuel’s status will prove crucial. Detroit OG Jonah Jackson (knee) will miss the game after getting injured last week and WR Kalif Raymond (knee) remains out, but TE Jake LaPorta (knee) and C Frank Ragnow (toe/ankle/knee) are expected to play.
  • Aside from Samuel, the 49ers took DT Kalia Davis (ankle) off injured reserve Wednesday and expect LB Alex Anzalone (shoulder/ribs) to play Sunday.


The Baltimore forecast is calling for moderate rain, with moderate winds of about 19 km/h from the Northeast, but relatively warm temperatures peaking at about 9 C.

The forecast in Santa Clara is more favourable, with temperatures of about 15 C at kickoff and clear skies with light winds at about 6 km/h.

  • As of late in the week, the sharp bettors and public were relatively well-aligned in their betting appetite, with a strong lean toward the road underdogs. The Chiefs had taken 64% of the action and 74% of the money in the early game and the Lions had taken 68% of the bets and 71% of the money in the late game.
  • Mahomes is 8-3 straight-up as an underdog, the best record of any QB in the Super Bowl era with a minimum of 10 starts.
  • The 49ers were favoured in all 17 of their regular-season games and favoured to win the Super Bowl entering the playoffs. It was the fifth time the 49ers have pulled that off. The rest of the NFL collectively has accomplished it five times.
  • The Lions were 22-to-1 to win it all entering the playoffs. If they pull it off, they would be the biggest underdog to win the Super Bowl since the 2011 New York Giants, who also were 22-to-1.
  • Keep in mind that opposing QBs have averaged 27.2 pass attempts per game vs. the Chiefs, the fewest in the NFL. Jackson’s pass attempts are listed at 29.5 (at -105) in this one.
  • With their excellent safeties, the Ravens’ defence has given up just a 65.7% Adjusted Completion Rate, fifth-best in the NFL. Mahomes is projected in the odds to complete 24.5 passes at -115.
  • Brock Purdy’s longest pass completions last week were a pair of 32-yard completions to tight end George Kittle and the 49ers will look for some shots this week as well. Detroit’s secondary was 31st in the NFL in yards allowed per completion (11.3). The line is set with that in mind, however, as Purdy’s longest completion is locked in at 40.5 (at -115).

Wagers to consider

  • The formula seems pretty clear for the Ravens vs. a Chiefs’ defence under coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who loves his blitzes and pre-snap movement. The response is to run the ball effectively, something the Ravens have been able to do effectively all season. Consider overs on any prospective ball carriers, but especially Jackson himself (66.5 yards at -115). Quarterbacks tend to run more in the post-season anyway with the elevated stakes and this one sets up for a few explosive Jackson scrambles or designed runs.
  • The total (52) has crept up all week in the 49ers-Lions game, but Detroit isn’t as explosive outdoors as it is in its comfy dome. While the weather will be nice, the conditions won’t be quite as ideal for a shootout and, if Samuel is limited, the 49ers won’t be as explosive as they normally are. Considering taking the under.