The Denver Broncos find themselves slowly crawling out of the mud and right back into the thick of the AFC playoff race. Two straight wins on the road will do that for a team.
The coming matchup in Week 7 presents a whole new challenge in the reigning Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs. The betting world doesn't seem to believe those past two road wins mean the Broncos are ready to compete for the playoffs or against an elite opponent.
It's difficult to discern exactly who the Broncos are this season. Quarterback Drew Lock just returned from injury as did running back Phillip Lindsay. Denver's offense also should be getting back tight end Noah Fant and possibly rookie second-round wideout KJ Hamler.
All these reinforcements could lead to the Broncos really surprising the NFL again this week. It should come as no surprise that few around the league believe the Broncos can accomplish such a feat when they've been down for the past few years with little sign of life.
That's why last week’s win was such a huge moment, seeing the Broncos go on the road and beat a team that was so heavily favored in the New England Patriots.
Here are the current odds for Broncos-Chiefs according to SportsBetting.com.
ATS Betting Lines: Kansas City Chiefs -9.5
Moneyline: Broncos +380/Chiefs -455
Breaking it Down
ATS: It's not hard to see why the spread has been set at -9.5 in favor of the Chiefs. Football Outsiders' DVOA has the Chiefs ranked as the second-best offense and 10th-best defense in football. Kansas City has one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and a wide range of weapons that can put points up in a hurry.
Teams that have had success against the Chiefs have been able to run the football early and often. Kansas City struggles against the run but usually doesn’t have to worry about it because it builds big leads early, forcing teams into throwing almost every down.
The Broncos, on the other hand, have struggled to put up points and have been missing a lot of their weapons throughout the season. It'll be interesting to see which players will be available for the Broncos because that could play a major role in instilling the belief that Denver can cover the spread or not.
One reason to have hope in the Broncos is the fact that for the season, this team is 4-1 against the spread. The lone game they did not make it was against Tampa Bay a few weeks back with Jeff Driskel at QB. One reason to question the Broncos in this one is the fact that they're 0-6 in the last six home games against the Chiefs.
Over/Under: Here is the question you must ask yourself when looking at the over/under for this upcoming game; do you believe the Broncos will score more than 20 points against this Chiefs' defense on Sunday? The lowest offensive output of the season for the Chiefs was Week 2 against the L.A. Chargers where they scored 23 points.
Kansas City has scored 32 or more points in 3-of-6 games it has played. The Chiefs will put up some points in this one. Kansas City has gone under in four of their last five games in large part due to its defense holding opponents down, keeping the score from reaching the golden over/under number.
The Broncos have also lived in the under category as of late with 4-of-6 games. One final thing to keep in mind is the weather for this game. It's supposed to be cold with some snow flurries throughout. The weather could change before the game, but snow games usually lead to teams leaning on the rushing attack, resulting in lower-scoring affairs.
Moneyline: The Broncos are at +380 right now. That means if you were to bet on the Broncos, say $100, you'd end up walking away with $380 total. If you want a chance at making some big money this week, the moneyline bet is for you.
The Chiefs are at -455. That means that at the same $100 bet, a bettor would only win $22 if the Chiefs were to emerge victorious. It's a lot of risk for very little reward. Some bettors might seek a little more reward if they're of the opinion the Chiefs are going to win on Sunday.
The betting world is usually slow to believe in a team that has struggled for a long time and especially on that has started out the season struggling to win games. If the Broncos win on Sunday, they'll quickly go from being cast as weekly underdogs to seeing about a 50/50 split in becoming favorites moving forward.
The Chiefs are the litmus test that every team in the NFL is measuring itself by and a win would represent a big moment for the Broncos to change the opinion of many around the NFL, including the oddsmakers. Even after seeing the Broncos beat the Patriots this past Sunday, most considered it more a fluke than a sign of things to come.
Week 7 will determine how right or wrong that line of thinking is.