Things could get Purdy ugly for Niners

Spread fluctuating like crazy in Bengals-Chiefs has us thinking

The spread in the AFC Championship Game opened with Kansas City -1.5 before flipping over the Bengals -2.5 on Wednesday. After a week of practicing, the Chiefs are currently now back to being 1.5-point favorites.

Earlier in the week, we were leaning the Bengals’ way. Mahomes is hobbled and Cincinnati and Joe Burrow have just had Kansas City’s number the past two seasons, winning three straight matchups. However, the more we thought about it, the more we started liking the Chiefs to win this game.

Now, players hardly need more motivation to win in a situation like this, but we saw last week how the NFL selling tickets to a potential Bills-Chiefs AFC Championship Game seemed to tick off the Bengals. They came out with a fire and were quick to chirp the league for wanting to see Buffalo advance. We’ve now seen Kansas City briefly listed as a home dog in what is their fifth-straight AFC Championship appearance, and all week the talk has been that Burrow owns the Chiefs and that’s how it will always be.

Maybe we’re falling into the narrative, but Mahomes seems to be doing OK this week, and with an elite offensive line protecting him, we’re backing Kansas City.

Betting: Chiefs -1.5

In the news …

NBA All-Star starters announced — The NBA has announced the starters for this year’s All-Star Game, with the usual cast of characters littered throughout the rosters. LeBron James is starting his 19th straight All-Star Game, tying him with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most ever. The West starters are James, Zion Williamson, Nikola Jokic, Steph Curry and Luka Doncic. The East sports Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving and Donovan Mitchell.

Expect Aaron Rodgers to the Jets rumors to continue for some time — While we personally tire of the constant speculation that has come around Aaron Rodgers the last few offseasons, here we are piling on the media problem. With the Jets hiring of Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator, formerly seen failing with the Broncos and prior to that running the offense in Green Bay, Rodgers to New York rumors have picked up heavy steam. Now we’ve been here before – many thought Rodgers would be joining the Broncos and Hackett last summer — but there does appear to be some smoke from the Jets that they’re looking for a veteran QB to come in. New York has promising young pieces throughout the roster, and grabbing an established passer could make them a playoff team in 2023. We won’t mention it again until something becomes real, we promise.

Australian Open finals set — On the men’s side, the Australian Open Finals will consist of No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and No. 4 Novak Djokovic of Serbia. Djokovic (-475 to win) has dominated on the hardcourts here, winning nine Australian Opens since 2008. This will be Tsitsipas’ first appearance in the finals, and he’s a +350 underdog to bring home the win. The women’s finals will see No. 22 Elena Rybakina of Russia face off against No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus. This will be the first AO final for each, and Sabalenka is the slight -130 favorite.

Today’s Bark Bets is written by Griffin Carroll

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