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Who will play the Super Bowl LVII on February 12 in Glendale, Arizona? According to experts in bookmakers and gamblers, any of the four conference finalists.
This Sunday’s bi-conference championship games feature some of the closest Las Vegas odds in history: Philadelphia Eagles comes in as a 2.5-point favorite over San Francisco 49ers in the final of the National Conference (NFC), which will be played from 3 pm Eastern / 12 pm Pacific (FOX). While Kansas City Chiefs trailed by just 1.5 points over Cincinnati Bengals in the deciding game of the American Conference (AFC), scheduled at 6:30 pm ET/3:30 PT (CBS).
It’s not just that those bet lines indicate how balanced the two games are, but actually, the two underdogs look like red-hot teams ready to battle it out for the Lombardi Trophy. The 49ers have won 12 straight games and have not known defeat since Oct. 23. The Bengals, for their part, have won 10 in a row and it should be remembered that they are the defending monarchs of their circuit.
That is, the two betting underdogs combine for 22 straight wins without a loss as of November. Amazing.
Before this, the question is then: Why are the Eagles and Chiefs favorites this Sunday?
The simple answer is that both were the best in their conferences this season – which allowed them to avoid a knockout round in the playoffs – and they will play at home with the support of their fans, which goes without saying, in both cases it is about places quite challenging, even hostile, to visitors.
The Eagles (15-3) vs. 49ers (15-4)
No team runs the ball like the Eagles this season in quantity and quality behind their monstrous offensive line. This applies when your star quarterback is healthy. They reached 135 rushing yards eleven times, including five 200-yard games, and are coming off 268 rushing against the NY Giants in the divisional playoff round.
If Philadelphia can control the line of scrimmage again they’ll be back in the Super Bowl, especially since running well allows them to shoot well.And wow, quarterback Jalen Hurts has taken advantage of it with his two biggest threats through the air: AJ Brown (1,496 yards, 11 TDs) and DeVonta Smith (1,196 yards, 7 TDs). Of course, the 49ers’ defense is No. 1 in the league and the one that punishes the opposition the most.
The big key for San Francisco will still be running well with consistency, and it looks like their star running back Christian McCaffrey is ready to perform despite a calf injury. A full performance from McCaffrey will be crucial because The last thing coach Kyle Shanahan should do is let sensation quarterback Brock Purdy have to throw frequently.. The rookie quarterback has gone 37 of 59 in the playoffs for 546 yards and 3 TDs and is undefeated in the NFL (7-0 as a starter), but getting into Lincoln Field, with those fans, against a defense that had 70 sacks And with a Super Bowl ticket on the line, that seems like too much.
The keys of Chiefs (15-3) vs. Bengals (14-4)
A year ago, the world of American football was shocked by the triumph of the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City to get the AFC title (27-24 in overtime). Then the Bengali team came within a couple of minutes of winning the Super Bowl against the Rams. It’s three straight games in which Joe Burrow has led Cincinnati over Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs, who suffered a severe ankle injury last week in a win against Jacksonville. And if the Bengals are going to repeat as conference champions they’re going to need to bother the man who is sure to be awarded MVP of 2022, making that sprained ankle take away the fire and improvisational skills that have set him apart.
The pressure will therefore be on the Chiefs’ offensive line, one of the best, to protect their leader against an excellent defense used to making timely plays.. Cincinnati could well be the betting favorite, arriving hotter and more complete than Kansas City, and if the Chiefs’ defense can’t stop the unwavering Burrow (5-1 in postseason, 68% completion rate), especially on his deliveries to Ja’Marr Chase, his attack may not have anything to keep up with this time around given Mahomes’ limitations.
Whoever wins on Sunday, the Super Bowl will be one hell of a matchup. The best four teams of the 2022 season will be on the field on this day of championships. All four have recently been to the Super Bowl, all have remarkable young quarterbacks — with varying levels of experience — but all four can run the ball and win games with their defenses.
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