The Kansas City Chiefs host the Denver Broncos tonight to conclude the Sunday schedule of Week 13 National Football League action. The week still has two more days to go, with a pair of Monday contests tomorrow and the Dallas Cowboys visiting the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday night.
The Sunday night game features the defending Super Bowl Champion and perhaps best team in the league this season, the Kansas City Chiefs, against a struggling Denver Broncos squad. The Broncos would certainly fall in the bottom quarter of NFL teams based both on record and prospects.
Okay, easy, right? Take the Chiefs and enjoy an evening of Patrick Mahomes lighting up the Broncos defense.
Of course, you can have two bites at that apple from a wagering standpoint. First, you can lay the 13 points and hope the Chiefs do what only 37% of teams over the past ten years have done, win while favored between 13 and 13½ points at home. Or, you can take the “sure thing” and play the moneyline, which calls for making a wager on the Chiefs winning straight-up and requiring a wager amount of 960 to win 100.
What one do you want?
Didn’t you want the Chiefs?
Well, if you don’t take the better team, then there are a couple options with the Broncos. First, a money line wager of 100 on Denver will pay 570, a hefty return for a longshot play that has won six times the last 35 times a nearly two-touchdown underdog has been on the road. For the record, that is 17% winners, which computes to a profit of 520 over the past ten seasons. If one would have laid the 940, expecting a “for sure” profit of 100, that wager would have lost 2,840 on the same 35 games since 2011.
If you simply do the math, the Broncos are the percentage play tonight while considering them a typical road team getting nearly two touchdowns on the point spread. They win with the big spread 63% of the time, and earn enough straight-up wins to show a profit on the moneyline.
Of course, those numbers don’t take into consideration what we are dealing with tonight, namely the best team in the NFL with a quarterback who in his first four seasons has already established himself as one destined for the Hall of Fame.
Are there any other reasons to take Broncos, or an overriding factor to back the favorite.
On the Broncos side is the pattern the Kansas City Chiefs are riding into this contest. They are 10 and 1 on the season, their only loss a home setback to the Las Vegas Raiders eight weeks ago. Now, while the Chiefs have won six straight games, it is worth noting that they have not covered the point spread in any of their three most recent victories.
Edging the Carlina Panthers by two points while favored by ten; downing the Raiders on the road by four points while giving eight on the spread; winning last week in Tampa by three points over the Buccaneers while giving 3½ on the line.
Why is this significant?
Because, a team that is in a win but not cover mode is more likely to lose a game straight-up before scoring another lopsided victory.
So, what does that leave us with tonight?
A bunch of numbers that favor the Broncos and make a wager on the home team a very high risk proposition. But, with the Chiefs, we get a team beginning their stretch drive for home field advantage in the American Football Conference playoffs while meeting a division opponent they have beaten eight straight times with the three most recent victories coming by margins of 24, 20, and 27 points.
Broncos quarterback Drew Lock is returning to the state where he played his college ball, but the homecoming does not appear destined to roll out the welcome mat.
Can’t back the Chiefs in this spot, and not interested in bucking the best team in the league with a struggling Broncos squad.