The New York Giants visit Arrowhead Stadium tonight to close out the eighth week of National Football League action. The Giants picked up their second win last week while tonight’s hosts, the Kansas City Chiefs, lost their fourth game in seven decisions last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.
If you just knew that, you’d wonder why Kansas City is a double-digit favorite tonight.
The reason, of course, has nothing to do with this season and everything to do with what the Chiefs have accomplished over the prior three seasons. This is Patrick Mahomes fourth year as the Chiefs starting quarterback and in his first three campaigns in that role he has guided the Chiefs into the playoffs, twice advancing to the Super Bowl, and winning the Chiefs their first Vince Lombardi Trophy in 50 years with a triumph over the San Francisco 49ers to complete the 2019 season.
That is why the Chiefs are favored by 10½ points tonight.
What does that have to do with 2021?
Even in their Super Bowl campaign last season, Kansas City was a money burner for bettors while winning only one point spread decision over the final 11 games of the 2020 season. Their lone point spread victory gained against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game, a victory that sent Kansas City to their second straight Super Bowl which resulted in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This year, Kansas City has won money for their bettors only two times in seven decisions. Those two victories were against NFC East Division teams, the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington (until they have a new name) Redskins. Those two wins were both gained for the Chiefs on the road, while tonight they face an NFC East team for the third time. Are the Giants better than the Eagles or Redskins?
So should we lay the points and expect a third straight win and cover for the Chiefs against a team from the weakest division in football?
Okay. I guess. Maybe.
With the Giants coming off a win last Sunday over the Carolina Panthers, their first since a victory over the New Orleans Saints four weeks ago, one might suspect that New York is a longshot to win back-to-back games.
Here is the deal, the point spread tonight does not reflect how the Chiefs are playing this season and yet, to take the Giants, is to roll the dice that a team racked with injuries off a win can get it done again on the road. Also, the Giants win last week was gained as a home team underdog in a perfect motivational spot against a Panthers team that had lost three in a row.
New York is not in a good motivational spot here, in fact it is the Chiefs that are motivated to take advantage in their AFC West race where neither team leading them won yesterday. The Los Angeles Chargers were upset at home by the New England Patriots and the Division leading Las Vegas Raiders had a bye. The only AFC West team to win yesterday was the Denver Broncos, who the Chiefs can catch tonight with a victory while pulling to within one-and-one-half games of the division leading Raiders.
After the Chiefs lost last Sunday in Tennessee they landed in the AFC West cellar. Now, with recent results, they have a chance to climb back into striking distance of the division lead. Knocking off a champion is difficult to do, particularly one with as much talent as the Chiefs.
Kansas City has their problems, and I’m not interested in laying double-digits with a team with as many concerns on their offensive line as the Chiefs. But backing their opponent tonight at Arrowhead is akin to turning your back on Dracula before driving a stake into his heart.
In a game between two teams that opened this week in last place the home team has an edge but is not worth laying the points … or for that matter, taking ‘em with their opponent.