Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (+4.5)
Mon. 10/1, 8:15 p.m. EST
Five things you need to know before betting on Kansas City-Denver:
1. In addition to being one of the NFL’s three unbeaten teams through the season’s first three weeks, the Chiefs are also one of four squads (along with the Rams, Dolphins and Browns) that compiled a 3-0 record against the spread over the first three weeks. Denver, meanwhile, is one of three NFL teams (along with the 49ers and Texans) that entered Week 4 still looking for its first ATS win. The Broncos come into this one with an abysmal 2-12-1 ATS record over their past 15 games dating back to last season, and their lone ATS win in seven home games over the past 360 days was against a Jets team that was forced to play Bryce Petty after starting quarterback Josh McCown was knocked from the game with a broken hand. The Chiefs are 12-6 against the spread on the road since the start of the 2016 season.
2. Kansas City is averaging a league-best 39.3 points per game with consistently high totals of 38, 42 and 38 points. The Chiefs have committed only one turnover all season, and they were one of only two teams (along with the Rams) to have converted at least 50% of their third-down attempts through the season’s first three weeks. The 4-0 record (both straight up and against the spread) of Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes as a starting quarterback includes road wins in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles (against the Chargers) and Denver. The game against the Broncos was in 17-degree temperatures in the 2017 season finale, a game Kansas City won despite resting most of its start skill-position players in preparation for the playoffs. (The Chiefs outscored the Broncos 27-10 when Mahomes was actually in the game—Denver scored 14 points after third-stringer Tyler Bray took over as Kansas City’s quarterback.) Mahomes completed 63% of his throws for 284 yards in Denver, and he now faces a Broncos defense that has allowed 240 or more passing yards in all three games this season, and that’s despite not having faced any of the 13 quarterbacks who entered Week 4 with a passer rating of better than 95.0 (Mahomes leads the NFL with a passer rating of 137.4).
3. Kansas City’s defense has allowed an average of 8.0 yards per pass attempt, which ranks 25th in the NFL, while facing the Chargers’ Philip Rivers, the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger and the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo. The Chiefs are 11-1 against the spread since the start of the 2016 season, however, when coming off a game in which they allowed 400 or more total yards. Since the start of 2009, road teams that average at least 265 passing yards per game are 29-6-2 against the spread when a) coming off back-to-back games in which they allowed an average of seven or more yards per pass attempt and b) facing an opponent that’s allowing an average of between 230 and 265 passing yards per game.
4. Denver has failed to force a turnover in either of its past two games, and the Broncos come into this one having gone 0-6 against the spread since the start of last season when coming off back-to-back games with a negative turnover margin. While the Chiefs are 15-6 against the spread as a road favorite of seven points or fewer under head coach Andy Reid, the Broncos are 0-8 against the spread under Vance Joseph when facing an opponent that’s allowing an average of 235 passing yards per game.
5. Had officials gotten the call right on Raiders tight end Jared Cook being down by contact short of the goal line with 16 seconds remaining in what would turn out to be a 31-30 win for Oakland over Kansas City last October, the Chiefs would be putting an 18-game win streak against AFC West opponents on the line in Denver on Sunday. As it stands, Kansas City has a 14-4 ATS mark versus divisional opponents to go along with its 17-1 straight-up record over that time frame, which includes an 11-1 record (both straight up and against the spread) against AFC West opponents over the past two calendar years, the lone loss being the aforementioned game in Oakland. The Broncos, meanwhile, are 7-10 straight up and 4-12-1 against the spread over their past 17 games against AFC West foes. That stretch includes five straight losses (both straight-up and against the spread) to Kansas City, which has beaten Denver in those five games by an average score of 30 to 19.
Pick: Kansas City -4.5
Confidence Level: Extremely High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)