Whoever said that a tiger can't change its stripes wasn't privy to the transformative power Joe Burrow would bring to the Cincinnati Bengals. After 31 consecutive years of zero playoff victories, the Bengals hold a 5-1 postseason record in Burrow's first two full seasons.
If bettors had any doubts about Cincinnati's chances of pushing that to 7-1 to lift the Lombardi Trophy this season, Sunday's dominating 27-10 upset of the Buffalo Bills erased them. Since the completion of the divisional round, 41% of the money wagered at BetMGM on which team will win the Super Bowl is on the Bengals.
Welcome to the jungle
Public confidence continues to grow on the Bengals heading into the AFC championship game. They drew 82% of moneyline bets versus the Bills and are garnering 85% of moneyline wagers against the Kansas City Chiefs. Burrow has won all three of his matchups versus Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in his career, besting them by a field goal each time.
The two teams met in last year's AFC championship, which saw Kansas City jump out to a 21-3 lead late in the first half. Five of the next six scores belonged to Cincinnati as Lou Anarumo's defense began dropping eight defenders into coverage to stifle Mahomes. Kansas City's lone score in the second half was a 44-yard field goal as time expired to send the contest into overtime. Mahomes' second interception of the game came three plays into the extra frame, setting up a walk-off field goal from noted music lover Evan McPherson to punch Cincinnati's Super Bowl ticket.
Cincinnati will be catching a bit of a break in this year's AFC championship rematch. Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain that sidelined him for the majority of the second quarter in Saturday's divisional round victory over the Jaguars. It's expected that he'll play, but his mobility will be hindered by the injury.
If the Bengals advance to their second Super Bowl in as many seasons, they'll face one of the most complete and powerful teams in the NFL — whether that's the San Francisco 49ers or the Philadelphia Eagles. San Francisco ranks second in overall DVOA, sixth in offensive DVOA and first in defensive DVOA. Philly ranks third, third, and sixth in those respective categories, while the Bengals come in at fifth, fourth and 11th.
Cincinnati owns the second-shortest odds of winning the Super Bowl (+260).
Stats provided by Pro Football Reference, StatMuse, and Football Outsiders.