Connect with us



Kelce scores twice

Adrian Kraus / Associated Press

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) scores a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter of an NFL AFC division playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024, in Orchard Park, N.Y.

I introduced seven categories at the start of the season as part of this year’s Sunday Sweats column and cautioned that not all of them would necessarily be covered on a weekly basis.

Then I proceeded to cover them all of them every week of the NFL regardless.

There’s no reason to stop now.

There might be only two games on Sunday for conference championship weekend but I’m still going to stick to the format in full. It’s going to take some creativity and a few of the bets might be more of a straight gamble than what usually appears in the column, but I’ve found edges and built up a big bottom line all year.

That allows me to take some risks in my quest to keep winning in the Sunday Sweats in the same vein I’ve done all season.

Read below for the conference championship edition of the Sunday Sweats column with bets in each of the usual seven categories. Lines are the best currently available at publication time in Las Vegas with the sports book noted. Plays from other betting columns will be linked and tracked here at the bottom of the page.

Tasty Total (15-5, $1,802): Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens under 44.5 (Circa Sports)

Click to enlarge photo

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) is tackled by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith (18) during the first half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022.

$220 to win $200

Patrick Mahomes is the best player in the world, and Lamar Jackson is bound to collect his second career MVP trophy next week in Las Vegas, but those factors are weighing too heavily in this line. These are both defense-led teams. And they’ll be playing in defensive-leaning conditions as a wave of wind and rain is now in the forecast Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. If Baltimore gets up early — and as the favorite, that’s likely to occur — this could fall way under as it will be content to keep the ball on the ground and drain the clock. More likely, the game is close and both defenses refuse give up big plays. The winner could be decided by long drawn-out drives that serve as under bettors’ best friends. I made this total over/under 43.5 before the weather update — not leaving a huge amount of value but enough for a bet in this category.   

Two-(Or Three-) Team Teaser (8-12, -$870): San Francisco 49ers -1 & Over 45 at -125 (Caesars/William Hill)

$187.50 to win $150

Never tease totals in the NFL, but if you must — and I feel like I must to fulfill this category — then tease them in a correlated situation. Higher-scoring games are always more beneficial to the favorite, and I think that’s especially true in the NFC Championship Game. It’s much more likely the 49ers win a high-scoring game than a low-scoring game. The Lions’ defense is mediocre at best, and the 49ers’ is only slightly better. Teasing this down to 45 makes me only need a slightly higher-scoring game than average as teams are producing a mean of 43.5 points per game this year. Given both these teams’ firepower and a clean weather forecast — it’s projected to be 70 degrees without any wind in Santa Clara, Calif. — they should be able to get there.

Moneyline Parlay (7-13, $1,539.87): Providence Friars, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics at +341 (STN Sports)

Click to enlarge photo

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) brings the ball upcourt against the Boston Celtics during the first half of Game 2 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals in Boston, Friday, May 19, 2023.

$150 to win $511.48

There are not enough football options for the moneyline parlay, and I’ll have plenty of exposure elsewhere on both games, so let’s switch to basketball. Saturday’s all-day marathon of hoops could help bolster the bankroll for the penultimate NFL Sunday of the year. Let’s start in the morning where -850 may look steep but isn’t enough for Providence’s grudge match against Georgetown and former coach Ed Cooley. The Friars are beaten-up but still a lot more talented than the Hoyas, and they’ll have one of the most raucous crowds of the year in college basketball at Amica Mutual Pavilion. Switching to the NBA, these are great spots for both of the Eastern Conference finalists from last season. The Heat are finally healthy, and though they’ve underachieved in two games with him so far, should be more potent offensively with recent trade acquisition Terry Rozier. Buy low on the Heat while simultaneously selling high on the host Knicks, an improved team but not a true contender in the East. The Celtics on the other hand catch the Los Angeles Clippers at the perfect time — on a back-to-back after playing in Toronto Friday night. This could be an NBA Finals preview as the Clippers are playing exceptionally but they’re one of the oldest teams in the league and not set up to hit their peak on back-to-back nights.

Player Prop (23-14, $1,942): Travis Kelce under 64.5 receiving yards (SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas)

$220 to win $200

Kelce has looked back to his old form in the playoffs with a pair of 70-plus yard games and two touchdowns in last week’s win at the Bills. I’m not fully buying the renaissance. Both Miami and Buffalo were extremely banged up on defense, and particularly with players in the middle of the field who pitch in covering tight ends. Baltimore has no such handicap. The Ravens are virtually at full strength on defense and have been outstanding all year both against tight ends and in the middle of the field. The SuperBook’s line on Kelce is two yards higher than anywhere else on town, so rush to the app or the counter now to bet this off-market price before it moves.

Click to enlarge photo

Las Vegas Raiders place-kicker Daniel Carlson (2) kicks an extra point during the second half against the Detroit Lions, Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, in Detroit.

Lookahead Line (9-8, $110): Potential Super Bowl matchup — Kansas City Chiefs -3 vs. Detroit Lions (SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas)

$330 to win $300

I don’t really expect the Chiefs to be playing in Super Bowl 58 at Allegiant Stadium in two weeks. I really don’t expect the Lions to be playing there either. So, the most likely result for this wager is a refund. But if the improbable happens and both underdogs pull off the upsets this weekend, I can’t fathom the Chiefs not being at least a 3.5-point favorite going into their fourth Super Bowl with Mahomes. Yes, the Lions beat the Chiefs earlier in the year but that was in the first game of the season and they were playing without Kelce. The lines on all the other potential matchups look closer to where they would ultimately settle, but this one is short.

Future Finding (2-12, -$500): San Francisco 49ers to score the most points in conference championship weekend at +120 (South Point)

Click to enlarge photo

San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) celebrates a run during the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023.

$200 to win $240

They probably don’t deserve to be a giant odds-on favorite, but I don’t see how the 49ers aren’t at least a minus-price to score the most points this weekend. We’ve already covered why I think the Chiefs vs. Ravens game will be lower-scoring and the Lions vs. 49ers matchup will be higher-scoring, so arriving at this conclusion was natural. The Ravens were the winner in this market a week ago — at odds of mostly around +450 — by beating the Texans 34-10  and could threaten again but the Chiefs’ defense is a big step-up in competition. The 49ers are the only side facing a below-average defense in the Lions’ stop unit, and if they’re half the team most thought they were in the midseason, they should score at least 28 points on Sunday.     

Nonfootball Play (12-8, $2,004): BYU -7 vs. Texas (Caesars/William Hill)

$220 to win $200

The Marriott Center is one of the toughest venues to travel to in college basketball — especially coming off another road game earlier in the week. Texas lit up Oklahoma 75-60 as 4-point underdogs on Tuesday at the Lloyd Noble Center, but everything went right for the Longhorns in that game. That rarely happens in back-to-back contests. BYU has been the far better team on the year anyway and is now in a desperate position having lost two straight Big 12 games. Both teams play at a quick pace and will get plenty of possessions in, meaning the -7 price isn’t as big as it may look. I think the Cougars should be laying nine points in this spot.

Sunday Sweats season so far: 75-73, $5,498.87

2024 Weekend betting column year to date: 10-9, $720.87

Weekend betting column all-time: 667-709-11, $31,016.87

Previous pending wagers: Philadelphia Eagles to win Super Bowl 58 at 9-to-1 ($300 to win $2,700); Nolan Smith to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year at 20-to-1 ($100 to win $2,000); Kansas to win 2024 NCAA Tournament at 14-to-1 ($200 to win $2,800); Buffalo Bills at 10-to-1 to win Super Bowl 58 ($100 to win $1,000); Lamar Jackson to win NFL MVP ($150 to win $2,700); Edmonton Oilers to win 2024 Stanley Cup Final at 12-to-1 ($250 to win $3,000); Anthony Richardson to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at 9-to-1 ($200 to win $1,800); Zay Flowers to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at 30-to-1 ($65 to win $1,950); Cleveland Cavaliers to win Central division at 3-to-1 ($300 to win $900); Victor Wembanyama to win NBA Rookie of the Year at +125 ($400 to win $500); AJ Brown to win Offensive Player of the Year at 18-to-1 ($100 to win $1,800); Rudy Gobert to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year at 5-to-1 ($300 to win $1,500); Tyreek Hill to win Offensive Player of the Year at Even money ($500 to win $500); South Carolina women’s basketball to win NCAA Tournament at +450 ($400 to win $1,800); Super Bowl Matchup: San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens at +330 ($200 to win $660); Brock Purdy to lead the NFL playoffs in passing yards at +450 ($150 to win $675)

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or

Article written by #LasVegasSun