Week 7 NFL Predictions: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos
Had our first 0-2 Thursday night of the season in Week 6 as we recommended the New York Giants at +17 in New England and under the total of 43.5, but in our defense we thought Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram were both going to play for Big Blue and neither did. It's another reminder to never bet until the last minute if there are significant injury questions. The Giants frankly should have covered but allowed defensive and special teams touchdowns and were blanked in the second half.
This week, it's an AFC West matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos. The clubs looked like miles apart just a couple of weeks ago, and the Chiefs are in first and the Broncos last. However, Denver has won back-to-back games and the Chiefs have lost two straight, both coming at home. Other than the Patriots and Buffalo Bills, who just come off their bye, every single AFC team has at least two losses. Shoot, if the Chiefs are upset here and the Oakland Raiders win in Green Bay (doubtful), Jon Gruden's team will be in first place in the division. Who saw that coming this late into the season!?
At Bovada, the Chiefs are -325 favorites to win the West again with the Broncos at +1000. Kansas City has slipped to the +850 third-favorite, though, to win Super Bowl LIV . The New Orleans Saints (+700) have passed them with New England still comfortably favored at +250.
Chiefs at Broncos Betting Story Lines
I haven't seen the offshore books post odds yet, but a few of the Vegas sites have replaced Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes as the NFL MVP betting favorite with Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who frankly deserves to be favored with how good he has been. Mahomes has been pretty darn good too but just not otherworldly like usual at times this year because he has been battling an ankle problem.
On Sunday, the Chiefs were 31-24 losers to Houston. Mahomes had 273 yards and three touchdowns but also a pick, lost fumble and completed just 54.3 percent of his passes. It's the first time in his young career that Mahomes has had three straight games with a passer rating below 100, and the two lowest QBR marks of his career also have been the past two weeks. Finally, the Chiefs have had their two lowest-scoring games under Mahomes with the 24 points Sunday and just 13 the week before against the Colts. I've heard some scribes say the Chiefs should rest Mahomes in Week 7 to get him 100 percent. That's not happening. You don't just give away a game in the NFL. His backup is journeyman Matt Moore.
The Chiefs' time of possession of 20:12 vs. Houston was their lowest ever for a home game. The Texans chewed clock and kept Mahomes off the field by rushing for 192 yards. That K.C. defense is a problem still. There was one piece of good news against Houston and that was the return from injury for Pro Bowl receiver Tyreek Hill. He caught five passes for 80 yards and two scores.
Denver is two plays from being 4-2 instead of 2-4 as they lost two games on field goals as time expired. New coach Vic Fangio was known as one of the league's best defensive coordinators before getting his first head coaching gig, and that Broncos defense has really stiffened the past two weeks despite losing excellent linebacker Bradley Chubb to a season-ending injury. Denver blanked Tennessee 16-0 on Sunday and might have ended the Marcus Mariota era with the Titans. They had just 204 yards and had their QBs sacked seven times. The Broncos have held their past two opponents to 74 yards rushing combined.
Not that the Broncos did much more, putting up all of 270 yards, 11 first downs and going 2-for-14 on third-down conversions. Joe Flacco simply isn't the answer at quarterback. Top receiver Emmanuel Sanders left Sunday's win with a knee injury but it's apparently not serious. Still might keep him out in this quick turnaround.
Chiefs at Broncos Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes, Kansas City is a 3.5-point favorite (-110) with a total of 48.5. On the moneyline, the Chiefs are -190 and Broncos +165. On some alternate lines, K.C. is -3 (-135), -2.5 (-160), -7 (+155) and -7.5 (+170). The Chiefs are 2-1 against the spread on the road and 2-1 "over/under." The Broncos are 2-1 ATS and 1-2 O/U.
Kansas City is 14-4 ATS in its past 18 vs. the AFC West. It is 2-5-1 ATS in its past eight following a non-cover. The Broncos have covered five straight October games and are 10-2 ATS in their past 12 on Thursday. The over is 5-1 in the Chiefs' past six on Thursday. The under is 7-0-1 in the Broncos' previous eight vs. the division. Kansas City has covered five in a row in Denver. The over is 5-1-2 in the past eight meetings.
Chiefs at Broncos Betting Prediction
Mahomes is 3-0 against the Broncos and his first NFL start came against them in a meaningless Week 17 game to close the 2017 regular season when Andy Reid rested all his starters. I worry about Mahomes' mobility against that surging Broncos defense and all three of his wins in this series have been close. This one will be too. Take the 3.5 points and go under the total. Something like 24-23.
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