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Playoff best bets: SuperBook VP looks to improve on 3-0 ATS record

It’s normally not a good idea to bet against reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs, especially when they’re underdogs.

But Westgate SuperBook vice president and red-hot handicapper Jay Kornegay recommends doing just that in Sunday’s AFC championship game.

Presumed NFL MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are consensus 4-point home favorites over Kansas City after the line opened as low as 3.

Kornegay went 59-25-6 against the spread this season to win the Review-Journal NFL Challenge and is 3-0 ATS in the playoffs in this column for a 71.2 winning percentage after picking the Lions (-6½) in last week’s 31-23 win over the Buccaneers.

“I believe the Ravens are going to be able to sustain drives against the Chiefs. I’m not sure if the Ravens have any weaknesses. They can certainly run the ball and throw it when needed. But Jackson has just been so incredible over the second half of the season, and I would expect that to continue against the Chiefs,” he said. “I understand the Chiefs just beat the Bills in Buffalo, but the Bills were really beat up going into the game, especially defensively. It’s going to be a different story in Baltimore.

“I would think the Ravens will be able to cover that number. This season catches up to the Chiefs here. They just weren’t the Chiefs they were in past years.”

SuperBook vice president of risk Ed Salmons also picked a winner in this column last week on Kansas City, which beat Buffalo 27-24 as a 2½-point underdog.

He and fellow SuperBook oddsmaker Jeff Sherman jumped on the Ravens -3 on Monday.

“We both agree that if you can bet Baltimore -3, run to the window to bet them,” Salmons said. “Baltimore is a more complete team than Kansas City. You watch Kansas City, and there’s not a lot of stuff that scares you.

“That game in Buffalo was such a coin flip that they happened to win. I think their luck’s going to run out this week in Baltimore.”

Salmons said the Ravens -4 is still worth a bet.

“Three’s a no-brainer. Four is a little tough, but I think Baltimore’s going to win,” he said. “I’m not going to worry about the point spread. I think if Baltimore wins, they’ll cover. But obviously the lower number you can get, the better for betting.”

Sharp report

South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said Thursday there had been sharp action on both games.

“They laid 3 on the Ravens, then they took the 3½ on the Chiefs, and after that, we even got -3½ on the Ravens, so we’re up to 4 on the game, which most of the town is,” he said.

Caesars Sportsbook, Boyd Gaming and BetMGM were still at 3½ on Thursday. The consensus total was 44½, with Circa Sports at 44.

“The total opened 46, and they bet the under,” Andrews said. “Then they bet under 45, and I’m at 44½.”

The Chiefs went under in 13 of their 17 regular-season games before going over against the Bills.

“This Kansas City team is just not the team we’re used to scoring all those points,” Salmons said.

The 49ers are consensus 7-point home favorites (-120) over the Lions in the NFC title game. The line is always -110 at the South Point.

“The Niners opened 7. Bets came in on the Lions plus the 7, then we went to 6½. They laid the 6½ and now they’re laying the 7,” Andrews said. “I think we’ll be at 7½ before too long.”

The consensus total is 51½. Caesars was still at 51, while Circa and South Point were at 52.

“It opened 51½, and the first bets were on the under. Then, at 50½, they bet over that, over 51 and over 51½,” Andrews said. “It’s going to 52 as we speak.”

San Francisco barely survived last week with a 24-21 comeback win over Green Bay.

“They really should’ve lost that game,” Salmons said. “They were ripe to be beat. But usually when a team like that gets a second chance, they play their best game.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on X.

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