Monday Night Football Picks: New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs Odds
by Alan Matthews - 9/26/2014
The first four Thursday night games of the NFL season have been duds, with each a blowout. Thankfully, all three Monday night games (OK, I'm not counting the early one in the Week 1 doubleheader) have been very entertaining and down to the wire. Let's hope that continues this week as New England visits Kansas City. It could be the start of a wild 24 hours in that town with the Royals likely to play in the AL Wild-Card Game on Tuesday night.
You know how some teams are often overvalued either on daily lines or futures just because of the name on the front of the uniform? I'm talking about the Yankees or Lakers or Red Wings or Notre Dame football, etc. That's my only explanation for why the Patriots are currently the +425 second-favorites at 5Dimes in the AFC behind Denver. Have the oddsmakers not seen this team play this year? There's no way that New England should be ahead of Cincinnati (+475). Or San Diego (+650).
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As for Kansas City, I was not a big fan entering this year. The Chiefs flopped in 2013 after starting 9-0, and I felt pretty good in my pick of about a 6-10 record this season when the Chiefs opened with a home blowout loss to Tennessee and followed with a 24-17 defeat at Denver. However, K.C. saved its season with a 34-15 blowout win at Miami in Week 3. So now I'm not sure what the Chiefs are. They have that ugly loss against a bad Titans squad but a very competitive defeat against a Super Bowl favorite (on the road) and then a blowout of a struggling Dolphins team. The Chiefs are +6000 to win the AFC.
Patriots at Chiefs Betting Story Lines
What has been unusual so far is that the defense has been better than the offense for New England. The defense wasn't great in allowing 23 unanswered points in a Week 1 33-20 loss in Miami. However, in Week 2 it held the Vikings to seven points, 217 total yards and forced four turnovers. Last week, the Patriots held the Raiders to nine points and 241 total yards. That's all fine and good, but the Vikings (especially without Adrian Peterson) and Raiders are two of the worst offenses in football. No surprise then that the Pats are No. 1 against the pass when facing Ryan Tannehill, Matt Cassel and Derek Carr.
As for Tom Brady, about the best I can say about him is he remains the best quarterback in his division, which isn't saying much. But he's not close to a Top 5 guy any longer. He threw 56 times against the Dolphins and completed only 29 for 249 yards. He didn't do much in the second half. At least the Patriots topped 300 yards of offense in that one. They haven't since. Against the Vikings, Brady was just 14-of-21 for 149 yards, although you could argue that New England didn't need him to do much. Oakland doesn't have a good defense, and it held New England to 297 yards last Sunday. Brady threw for 234. He is 24th in yards and 23rd in QB rating. It's not all on him. The offensive line has struggled and clearly misses the traded Logan Mankins. Rob Gronkowski still doesn't look 100 percent, and Brady has no good receivers other than Julian Edelman, and he's just an underneath guy. Danny Amendola has been a huge bust.
The best offensive player on the Chiefs is clearly running back Jamaal Charles, yet Kansas City's lone win came with him sidelined as Knile Davis rushed 32 times for 132 yards and a TD last week. It looks like Charles will play Monday. In reality, every NFL team goes as its QB goes. Alex Smith wasn't great the first two weeks but was excellent against Miami, completing 19-of-25 passes for three touchdowns. He is still dinking-and-dunking like always. Smith has a weaker group of guys to throw to than Brady does, so Charles will certainly help in that regard. Smith also had appeared to have found a new dump-off target out of the backfield in Joe McKnight as he had two TD catches last week. He is now out for the season with an Achilles' injury, however. This will be the dink-and-dunkiest game of Week 4. You may not see a pass go more than 15 yards in the air.
The Kansas City defense will be missing one of its key guys in safety Eric Berry as he has a high-ankle sprain. He hasn't officially been ruled out as of this writing, but it would be a minor miracle if he plays. The team lost Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson in Week 1. With fellow linebacker Joe Mays still out, the Chiefs have two players who have 15 total career starts in the middle of their defense. They would be inside linebackers Josh Mauga and James-Michael Johnson. Thus, the Pats could be run-heavy as K.C. struggled against the ground game in Weeks 1 and 3. The Chiefs rank 23rd against the run. The Patriots rank 22nd in the league with 105 rushing yards per game.
New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs Monday Night Football Week 4 Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes, the Patriots are three-point favorites (-125) with a total of 44.5. New England is -185 on the moneyline and Kansas City at +160. Both the spread and total have generally dropped a half point at most books. The Patriots are 2-1 against the spread (1-1 on road) and 1-2 "over/under" (1-1 on road. The Chiefs are 2-1 ATS (0-1 at home) and 1-2 O/U (0-1 at home).
New England is 5-1 ATS in its past six Monday games. The Pats are 2-7 ATS in their past nine on the road. Kansas City has failed to cover its past six at home. It is 3-7 ATS in its past 10 against teams with a winning record. The over is 8-2 in New England's past 10 road games against teams with a losing home record. The over is 6-2 in the Patriots' past eight after allowing less than 15 points in their last game. The under is 5-0 in K.C.'s past five on Monday. The under is 4-0 in the past four meetings, but these teams haven't met since 2011.
New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs Monday Night Football Picks and Betting Predictions
Brady is usually very good on Monday night. He has 42 TD passes in 18 MNF games, tied for third all time. The record is 74 by Dan Marino. Brady has won 13 of those 18, and the Patriots are 3-0 against the Chiefs on MNF. That matters little to me. I simply don't think New England is that good. Kansas City is a bit better than I thought, presumably getting Charles back and at home in front of one of the NFL's best crowds. I believe the Chiefs win outright, but take 3.5 points if you can find that number. That's the line at some books, and you can get it at -120 on 5Dimes' alternate line. Also go under.
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