The Cincinnati Bengals are now favored to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2023 AFC Championship Game, according to the latest betting odds. Patrick Mahomes' injury and the recent history between the two teams have moved the line dramatically toward Joe Burrow and the road team.

After opening as short favorites, the Chiefs are two-point home underdogs at DraftKings Sportsbook. Kansas City has +105 odds to win straight up. The Bengals are -125 favorites. The total for the AFC Championship Game is 47.

Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain in Kansas City's 27-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional playoffs. The Chiefs quarterback missed most of the second quarter before returning in the second half and gutting out the victory.

Burrow was the best quarterback in the divisional round, leading the Bengals to a 27-10 road win over the Buffalo Bills. Cincinnati's star thoroughly outplayed Josh Allen, improving his record to 4-0 against the AFC's top quarterbacks.

The Bengals have owned the Chiefs in the span of just 12 months. Since January of last year, Cincinnati is 3-0 against Kansas City, including a win at Arrowhead Stadium in last season's AFC Championship Game.

Mahomes was healthy for all three of those matchups. On Sunday, he's not expected to be full strength. Why would the Chiefs beat the Bengals this time?

A closer look at the recent history between rivals shows just how close Kansas City is to being 3-0 against Cincinnati. The Chiefs had a fourth-quarter lead in all three games, and the Bengals won each contest by exactly three points.

The first of the three meetings took place in Cincinnati in Week 17 of the 2021 season. The Chiefs took a 28-17 lead into halftime, though the deficit was quickly cut to four points when Ja'Marr Chase hauled in a 69-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter. With the score tied at 31-31 and just over six minutes left, Burrow engineered a game-winning drive that ended with an Evan McPherson field goal as time expired to give the Bengals a 34-31 victory.

When the teams had a rematch in the AFC Championship Game four weeks later, it looked like the Chiefs would get the last laugh. Kansas City was up by as much as 21-3 in the second quarter. The Chiefs missed their chance to end the game early by surrendering a 41-yard touchdown pass to Samaje Perine with 65 seconds left in the first half and failing to score from the one-yard line on the final play of the second quarter. Cincinnati's defense stymied Mahomes in the second half, allowing the Bengals to force overtime and kick a game-winning field goal off of the quarterback's second interception for a 27-24 victory.

In Week 13 of the 2022 regular season, the Bengals beat the Chiefs 27-24, once again. There was no late field goal or any scoring in the game's final 8:54, but Cincinnati did overcome a seven-point deficit to start the fourth quarter. Mahomes finished with just 223 passing yards. Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker missed a 55-yard field goal with 3:24 left that would have tied the game.

In the three wins against the Chiefs, Burrow has 982 passing yards, eight touchdowns and one interception. Mahomes has 757 passing yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. Cincinnati has scored at least 27 points in each contest. Kansas City has never failed to reach the 24-point mark.

All of that suggests that the AFC Championship should be another close, high-scoring affair. Mahomes' ankle injury could alter those plans, but there's evidence to suggest that the quarterback can still be incredibly productive.

Mahomes still finished with 195 yards, two touchdowns and a 112.5 passer rating in three quarters against Jacksonville. According to Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, Mahomes suffered a worse high ankle sprain in the 2019 season opener. One week after getting hurt three and a half years ago, Mahomes threw for 443 yards and four touchdowns in a 28-10 blowout over the Raiders.

It won't be at all surprising if the Bengals beat the Chiefs by a field goal for a fourth straight time. Picking Kansas City against the spread in that scenario would be a losing bet. Putting the Chiefs in a teaser, however, would protect against a close defeat.

A teaser allows bettors to combine two bets into one, while adding six points to each side. Because the Chiefs are two-point underdogs and the total is 47, a six-point teaser moving the line up to eight points and the total down to 41 points might be the safest bet.

Even if Mahomes and the Chiefs don't pull out a victory, they'll score enough points to make Sunday's game another competitive matchup between two elite quarterbacks.

Best Bet: Chiefs +8, Over 41 teaser

Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs Getty Images | Patrick Smith