Expert NFL Betting Picks: New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs
Two pretty clear storylines for the AFC Championship Game in the late window on Sunday: It's going to be freaking cold in Kansas City, which hosts the AFC title tilt for the first time ever, and it could be a changing of the guard in terms of the top quarterback/biggest star in the NFL and his replacement.
Of course, the latter we are speaking of 41-year-old Tom Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history with all those Super Bowl rings and regular-season and SB MVP Awards. Hard to imagine anyone ever matches Brady's career resume. However, the clear biggest star of this season and Brady heir apparent was Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes - he has become so popular that the Chiefs have become a very "public" team in terms of betting action. To think, many questioned the Chiefs last winter for dumping the successful Alex Smith to open the job for Mahomes. He's your lock MVP.
As for the weather … yikes. We aren't likely talking quite Ice Bowl cold, but an "arctic blast" could hit the area on Sunday. I'm not sure that favors one team over the other like it would if, say, the Chiefs were hosting the warm-weather Rams or dome Saints.
At 5Dimes , the Chiefs are +265 Super Bowl second-favorites with the Patriots third at +360. Kansas City is currently +1 vs. both the Rams (that total is a whopping 63.5) and Saints. New England is +1 vs. the Saints and +1.5 vs. the Rams, which I don't understand. That the Patriots or Chiefs win the Super Bowl is +100 vs. Rams or Saints at -120. You can even bet on either of these teams losing the Super Bowl: Chiefs +183, Patriots +304.
Patriots at Chiefs Betting Story Lines
While I took the Patriots -2.5 last week against the Chargers, I noted I would have picked the Bolts in L.A. or a neutral site as I thought it had the better roster. That might be true, but they didn't have the better quarterback. Brady was terrific in reaching his eighth straight AFC title game - no other teams have reached more than five in a row in the AFC - in completing 33 of 44 for 343 yards and a score in the 41-28 win to improve to 8-0 in his career against Philip Rivers. Rookie Sony Michel also was great with 129 yards and three scores on 24 carries. Julian Edelman (nine catches, 151 yards) and James White (15 catches, 97 yards) also had big games.
That's all fine. However, I think the Chargers were a bit gassed having to play an early game on the East Coast yet again. The cold weather also worked against them. And you still have to have some concern if you are a Pats fan about Rob Gronkowski, as he was a non-factor again. This week, Brady's streak of being a betting favorite ends after 67 straight weeks, including playoffs, a record in the Super Bowl era. He last wasn't on Sept. 20, 2015, in Buffalo. The Pats won that 40-32.
Meanwhile, Mahomes is the only first-time playoff QB to win this postseason after Mitchell Trubisky, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson all lost in the Wild Card round. The Chiefs really were never threatened in beating the red-hot Colts 31-13. Mahomes was just OK, throwing for 278 yards and no scores, but he wasn't asked to do much as the Chiefs rushed for 180 yards and four scores. Kareem Hunt who? Damian Williams continues to shine as he had 129 yards and a TD on 25 carries. Mahomes did rush for a score.
The Kansas City defense was statistically lousy during the regular season, but actually very good at home. That was on display again as the Chiefs held the Colts to 266 yards and sacked Andrew Luck three times - he had gone down just three times all season.
The Chiefs could get reinforcements for this one. K.C. activated guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif off the injured reserve list and waived safety Ron Parker. Duvernay-Tardif could return to the starting position on the right side that he lost when he broke his leg and tore ankle ligaments in October vs. the Jaguars. The release of Parker could be a sign that star safety Eric Berry will be available to play after sitting out again last week.
Patriots at Chiefs Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes, Kansas City is a 2.5-point favorite (-130) with a total of 55.5. On the moneyline, the Chiefs are -155 and Patriots +135. Some alternate lines: Chiefs -3 (-105), -3.5 (+120), -7 (+187), -7.5 (+207). New England is 10-7 against the spread (3-5 on road) and 6-11 "over/under" (3-5 on road). Kansas City is 10-6-1 ATS (5-4 at home) and 10-6-1 O/U (3-5-1 at home).
The Patriots are 5-1 ATS in their past six vs. the AFC. They are 2-7 ATS in their past nine AFC title games. The Chiefs are 13-5 ATS in their previous 18 vs. the AFC. They are 2-5-1 ATS in their past eight overall and 2-9 ATS in their previous 11 playoff games. The under is 8-2 in New England's past 10 overall. It's 4-0 in Kansas City's past four home playoff games. The Pats are 2-5 ATS in the past seven meetings.
Patriots at Chiefs Betting Prediction
Like in the NFC, this is a regular-season rematch, and like in the NFC the home team won the first meeting: New England 43, Kansas City 40 on a Sunday night in Week 6. Fabulous back-and-forth game with 946 yards of offense and the game-winning 28-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski as time expired. Both Brady and Mahomes were excellent, although Mahomes was picked twice. Tyreek Hill was unstoppable. So, largely, were Hunt and Michel.
Kansas City is just 2-11 ATS and SU in its past 13 playoff games, but Mahomes is 1-0 SU & ATS. The Pats weren't good on the road this season. Give the 2.5 points and go under. Saints-Chiefs Super Bowl.
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