We break down the lines for this Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos.
After a dominant win over the Buffalo Bills, the Kansas City Chiefs have regained the momentum they created in the first quarter of the season. With Le’Veon Bell joining the team and the offensive line starting to figure things out, the Chiefs look like the contenders they are supposed to be.
This Sunday, they get to break the trend they have set this season with struggling against AFC West opponents when they match up against the Denver Broncos.
Last season, the Chiefs only allowed the Broncos to score 9 points combined in both of their matchups, while they ran up 53 points in those two matchups. Drew Lock was introduced to the frustrations that the “Landlord” Tyrann Mathieu can cause for quarterbacks. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes went from “Showtime” to “Snowtime.”
This Sunday, the divisional rivalry continues, and we break down the odds that have been placed for the game.
(Authors’ Note: Bet at your own risk. All odds provided by Fanduel Sportsbook.)
Spread: Chiefs by 7.5
The two times the Chiefs have not covered their end of the spread were both against divisional opponents. In both instances, the spread was much larger then the spread for this game, but neither the Raiders or Chargers are nearly as potentially dangerous as the Broncos are.
The Broncos might have a middling record at 2-3, but that mostly has to do with the abundance of injuries that have plagued the team. Drew Lock is back. Melvin Gordon is back. A.J. Bouye is back. Noah Fant is back. K.J. Hamler is back. This team is closing in on returning to 100 percent.
The Chiefs’ side of the injury report is much less optimistic. The Chiefs are without Sammy Watkins, Mitchell Schwartz, Alex Okafor, and breakout pass rusher Taco Charlton. This does not even account for the players already on the IR like L’Jarius Sneed, Khalen Saunders, Mike Danna, and Keleche Osmele. Against a team with a solid pass rush and heavy ground attack, the missing pieces on the offensive and defensive line are going to be specifically detrimental to the team’s success.
However, with Patrick Mahomes on the field, it does not matter who is or is not on the field. He can single-handedly win games no matter the injuries, score, circumstance, or weather.
Speaking of weather, according to the current forecast, it seem like snow game Mahomes may get an opportunity to shine, and based on history, that weighs heavily in the Chiefs favor.
Snow games also favors the team with the better running backs, which may also finally lean the Chiefs way. CEH may struggle in a serious snow game, having spent his college and high school years in Louisianna at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge and LSU also in Baton Rogue. Sure, some could argue that Mahomes should have had the same struggles, having spent his formative years in Texas, but he did not. Maybe Edwards-Helaire can follow in Mahomes footsteps there, but there are reasons to doubt it.
Le’veon Bell will not have the same struggles.
Having spent five seasons in Pittsburgh’s cold and then another season-plus in New York’s more miserable cold, Bell’s NFL experience with the snow is already deep enough. This does not even account for Bell’s experience at Michigan State and Groveport Madison High School (located in Ohio). HE will know exactly how to deal with the snow, making him a dangerous weapon in this matchup.
I am taking the Chiefs to cover the spread, but am seriously confident in that decision, mostly because this feels like it will be a sloppy, low-scoring affair that is determined by a touchdown. However with last year’s snow game in mind, and the fact that Bell is going to play like he has something to prove, I’m leaning towards a dominant Chiefs’ win.
That’s 23 points even each for the Broncos and Chiefs if you do not account for the spread. If you account for the spread, it is Denver 19 to Kansas City’s 26.5. That is essentially 20-28 when rounded to the next most likely score, and without the snow, that would be an easy call.
But with the snow, Drew Lock’s performance comes into question. Just two weeks removed from a shoulder injury and tossing to young targets across the offense, can he really keep up like the Broncos need?
I am taking the over, due largely to Mahomes ability to play well in the snow and his potential to take this one over and easily drop 30 on the Broncos.