2018 Kansas City Chiefs Road Schedule Odds with Expert Picks and Predictions
I've never been a fan of quarterback Alex Smith. I Believe he can win you regular-season games because he generally doesn't lose them by turning the ball over. Smith is also the definition of a game manager and not good enough to win playoff contests.
All Smith did in 2017 was lead the NFL with a rating of 104.7, throwing for 4,042 yards, 26 touchdowns and five interceptions in a career season. Any team in the league would take those numbers for the coming season, including the likes of New England (Tom Brady), Green Bay (Aaron Rodgers), Atlanta (Matt Ryan) and whomever else you want to name.
The Chiefs won the AFC West for a second straight year and made the playoffs for a third straight. However, that's where you tend to see the ceiling of Smith, and to a lesser extent Coach Andy Reid. Kansas City was stunned at home by a vastly inferior Tennessee team in the Wild-Card Round, 22-21. The Chiefs, who still haven't won a home playoff game since January 1994, blew a 21-3 halftime lead. Smith was great before halftime and then went quiet after, like the rest of the offense.
It was likely that the Chiefs were going to move on from Smith this offseason regardless of that playoff result, although if Smith leads K.C. to the Super Bowl then maybe not. After all, the team traded way up in the first round of the 2017 draft to surprisingly select Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes at No. 10 overall. It's his team now with Smith traded to Washington for cornerback Kendall Fuller (pretty good player) and a 2018 third-round draft pick. K.C. also talked with Cleveland and Arizona about Smith, and the team saved $17 million in salary-cap space in 2018 by making the deal.
Still, a lot of head coaches don't have the stones to trade away a successful veteran quarterback to put his team in the hands of a talented-but-raw rookie (the Giants could have done the same thing this offseason with Eli Manning by trading him and taking a QB at No. 2 overall but didn't). Reid clearly feels pretty secure in his job. It will be an interesting season in Kansas City to see if this was the right call.
K.C. was 4-4 on the road last season, 4-4 against the spread and 5-3 "over/under." The Chiefs travel to three playoff teams from last year: Pittsburgh, New England and L.A. Rams. Overall, it's about as hard a road schedule as possible. The home slate is significantly easier. I project the Chiefs to go 2-6 on the road (not often a first-place team is only an early road favorite once) in a bit of a step back this year as Mahomes learns on the job. Odds listed for the home team.
Sept. 9 at Chargers (-3, 48): The Bolts were nearly a playoff team in 2017, and I believe they will be this year. K.C. is 8-2 in the series since Reid arrived, winning the past eight. It was 24-10 in L.A. in Week 3 last year. Smith threw for two first-quarter touchdowns, and Kareem Hunt had 172 yards rushing, including a 69-yard TD scamper. Key trend: Chiefs 5-5 ATS in past 10 as a dog at Chargers (all in San Diego).
Sept. 16 at Steelers (-7): The Chiefs have lost six of the past seven in this series and tend to have issues with Pittsburgh's physicality. K.C.'s first loss of 2017 was Week 5 at home vs. Pittsburgh, 19-13. The Chiefs had just 251 yards and 23:21 time of possession. Hunt managed 21 yards on nine carries. Key trend: Chiefs 0-6 SU & 1-5 ATS in past six as road dog in series.
Oct. 1 at Broncos (-1): Monday night. Kansas City has won three in a row in Denver, the past two on a field goal on the game's final play. It was 27-24 in a meaningless Week 17 game last year, with Harrison Butker hitting a 30-yarder as time expired. Mahomes got his only start of 2017 and threw for 284 yards and a pick. Key trend: Chiefs have covered past four as road dog in series.
Oct. 14 at Patriots (-7): Sunday night. Not the best time to play the Pats, not like there ever is, as the Chiefs will be facing two of the best and most physical defenses the previous two weeks in Denver and Jacksonville. Of course, Kansas City stunned the Pats in Foxboro, 42-27, in the 2017 Kickoff Game. Smith threw for four scores and Hunt rushed for 148 and a TD and caught two more scores. Key trend: Chiefs 3-3 ATS as road dog in series including playoffs.
Nov. 4 at Browns (+3): This is the only sure win on the road slate, and I actually think Cleveland will be much better this year. The man running the Browns now is former Chiefs GM John Dorsey, who was surprisingly fired around this time last year. He was the guy who made the bold move for Mahomes. Key trend: Chiefs 7-3 ATS in past 10 as road favorite (but 0-3 ATS in past three).
Nov. 19 at Rams (-4.5): Monday night in Mexico City and ahead of Kansas City's bye. The Chiefs traded Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams this offseason. It had nothing to do with Peters' talent but his attitude. This should be a wild offensive game. Key trend: Chiefs 4-6 ATS in past 10 before bye (any location).
Dec. 2 at Raiders (-2.5): Chiefs out of their bye. New Oakland coach Jon Gruden and Reid used to work together in Green Bay and are long-time friends. The Chiefs lost one of the most entertaining games of 2017 in Oakland in Week 7 on a Thursday night last year, 31-30. The Raiders scored on the final play (a few times). The Chiefs blew a 30-21 fourth-quarter lead. Smith threw for 342 yards and three scores, but the K.C. defense was awful. Key trend: Chiefs 7-3 ATS in past 10 as road dog in series.
Dec. 23 at Seahawks (-3): Sunday night. If Kansas City isn't the toughest place to play in the NFL, Seattle probably is. K.C. hasn't won there since 1981. The Chiefs will have extra time to prepare off a Thursday Week 15 game vs. the Chargers. Key trend: Chiefs 4-6 ATS in past 10 at NFC West foes.
Doc's Sports is offering $60 worth of member's picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc's Sports list of expert sports handicappers. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free .
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent NFL Handicapping
- AFC Championship Game Betting Picks: Best Props Bills at Chiefs
- NFC Championship Game Betting Predictions: Best Props Buccaneers at Packers
- NFL Divisional Round Betting Picks: Best Props Browns at Chiefs
- NFL Divisional Round Betting Predictions: Best Props Buccaneers at Saints
- NFL Divisional Round Betting Picks: Best Props for Ravens at Bills
- NFL Divisional Round Betting Predictions: Best Props Rams at Packers
- NFL Wild Card Betting Picks: Best Prop Bets Browns at Steelers
- NFL Wild Card Betting Picks: Best Prop Bets Ravens at Titans
- NFL Wild Card Betting Picks: Best Prop Bets Bears at Saints
- NFL Wild Card Betting Picks: Best Prop Bets Buccaneers at Football Team