Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:56 PM
TNF - Chiefs at Broncos
The Chiefs (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS) lost consecutive home games for the first time since 2015 after falling to the Texans last Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, 31-24 as 3 ½-point favorites. Kansas City jumped out to a commanding 17-3 lead after the first quarter, one week after being held to 13 points against Indianapolis. However, the Texans responded by outscoring the Chiefs, 20-0 in the second quarter to lead at halftime, 23-17.
Kansas City put up a total of seven points after the first quarter, as Deshaun Watson put Houston in front for good with a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. The Texans picked up 35 first downs in the win, while Houston rushed for 192 yards, including 116 from Carlos Hyde, who also scored his third touchdown of the season after getting traded by Kansas City in the preseason.
Patrick Mahomes was limited to 41 yards passing in the second half and finished with 273 yards through the air, his lowest total all season. The Chiefs’ quarterback still managed to throw three touchdowns passes, including two to Tyreek Hill, but Mahomes was intercepted for the first time in six games this season. The Chiefs’ rushing game is a huge concern as they compiled 36 yards in the loss to the Colts and picked up 53 yards against Houston.
The Broncos (2-4 SU, 3-3 ATS) started 0-4, but have won two straight games against the Chargers and Titans. (Side note: Kansas City and Los Angeles are both riding two-game losing streaks, while Oakland and Denver, who were expected to be non-factors in the AFC West, have each won two in a row). Denver blanked Tennessee, 16-0 for its first home victory of the season following a pair of heartbreaking losses in the final seconds to Chicago and Jacksonville on late field goals.
Denver pitched its first shutout since a 23-0 win over the Jets in Week 14 of the 2017 season, as the Broncos held the Titans to 204 yards and forced three Tennessee turnovers. The Broncos’ offense wasn’t stellar as they booted three field goals (including two from 48 and 53 yards), while the lone touchdown came from running back Phillip Lindsay.
Joe Flacco threw for only 177 yards and was intercepted once for Denver, who picked up its first home win since Week 12 against Pittsburgh last season. The Broncos have slumped to a 2-7 record in their last nine games at Empower Field at Mile High since edging the Raiders in Week 2 of 2018.
The Chiefs have excelled on the road since Mahomes took over as the starting quarterback to start the 2018 season. Kansas City owns an 8-3 record on the highway with the three losses coming to the Patriots, Rams, and Seahawks last season. The Chiefs allowed 43, 54, and 38 points in those losses, as Andy Reid’s team is 8-0 when giving up 37 points or less away from Arrowhead since 2018. The Chiefs failed to cash in their last opportunity as a road favorite at Detroit in Week 4 as 7 ½-point chalk in a 34-30 win.
HOW THE WEST WAS WON
Through six games this season, the Chiefs have faced only one AFC West opponent. Kansas City took care of Oakland in Week 2 on the road, as the Chiefs will next square off with a division foe after Thursday’s affair coming up in Week 11 at Los Angeles. The Chiefs have owned the division by putting together a 10-1 record in the past 11 contests against the AFC West. The last road loss for the Chiefs within the division came on a Thursday night at Oakland in 2017 in a last-second 31-30 setback as three-point favorites.
The Broncos are 1-1 within the AFC West this season, although this is the first home game against a division opponent. Denver owns an 0-4 ATS mark and 1-3 SU record in its past four home divisional games since 2017, but three of those games have decided by three points each.
The last time the Broncos beat the Chiefs, came back in 2015 at Arrowhead Stadium in an epic rally. Kansas City jumped out to a 14-0 lead before Peyton Manning led Denver on a pair of touchdown drives to even the game at 14-14. The Chiefs held a 24-17 advantage in the final minute before the Broncos tied the game at 24-24 on a Manning touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders. Nine seconds later, the Broncos recovered a Chiefs’ fumble and took it in for the game-winning score in a stunning 31-24 triumph as three-point underdogs.
Since that Thursday night debacle, the Chiefs have won seven consecutive meetings with the Broncos, including four straight wins in Denver. Kansas City has swept Denver in each of the past three seasons, while coming off a four-point road win and a seven-point home victory in 2018. Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 27-23 comeback win at Denver after Kansas City trailed, 23-13 in the fourth quarter. Kansas City scored two touchdowns in the final 6:27 of regulation, as Mahomes threw for 304 yards and a touchdown.
The Chiefs covered six straight games in the series before the Broncos cashed at Arrowhead Stadium last October in a 30-23 setback as 8 ½-point underdogs. Denver picked up the cover on a field goal in the final two minutes after trailing by 16 points to start the fourth quarter. Mahomes tossed four touchdowns in that victory, but the Broncos rushed for 189 yards, including 95 from Lindsay.
Last Thursday’s outcome between the Giants and Patriots pushed the ‘over’ streak to three in a row in the midweek spot. Oddsmakers sent out an opening number of 50 between Denver and Kansas City this week and the early money has moved the number down to 49 as of Wednesday evening.
Chris David of VegasInsider.com offered up his total thoughts and the opening matchup of Week 7.
“The ‘under’ has been a solid investment (19-10, 65%) in divisional games this season and that includes a 3-1 mark in Week 6. I agree with the first action and I believe that if Denver wants to win this game, it’s going to have to control the clock and keep the Kansas City offense off the field. Houston executed that game-plan perfectly last week and it converted touchdowns. The Broncos offense isn’t on the same level as the Texan, but breaking 20 points against the defense of the Chiefs seems possible,” said David.
“Even though the ‘under’ went 2-0 in last year’s regular season meetings, the two outcomes saw combined scores of 50 and 53 posted. Kansas City averaged 28. 5 PPG in those games and that’s been a common theme during its current seven-game winning streak over Denver. The Chiefs offense certainly isn’t clicking on all cylinders this season, largely due to injuries on both the outside and in the trenches. The Broncos defense plays better at home and it could easily be 3-0 at Mile High instead of 2-1, with both losses coming by two points.”
David added, “Including last week’s 16-0 shutout win over the Titans, Denver has watched the ‘under’ go 9-1 in its last 10 games at home. Bettors leaning low will likely take that trend into consideration but we’d be remiss not to mention the 11-2 ‘over’ run for the Chiefs on the road. Last season, Kansas City dominated Oakland 35-3 in Wek 17 and I mention that game because the victory was preceded by back-to-back losses. Despite key injuries and playing on the road, I believe the Chiefs defense will step up against a pedestrian Broncos attack and avoid their third straight loss here. My lean would be to the Broncos Team Total Under (23 ½).”
VegasInsider.com NFL expert Joe Nelson weighs in on this matchup, “Kansas City’s defense remains highly vulnerable particularly on the ground but Lindsay and Royce Freeman haven’t had big breakthrough games yet for Denver with the team averaging 116 rushing yards per game on just 4.3 yards per carry.”
As far as bringing in the former Ravens’ quarterback, Nelson notes Flacco has turned into a game manager, “The acquisition of Flacco was mostly panned by NFL observers, but he has been a competent option for the offense even with an interception in now five straight games. Flacco has had a lighter workload in the wins the past two weeks with 14 and 18 completions and against a Chiefs defense that is 30th against the run it will be expected that the Broncos will keep the ball on the ground often.”
PLAYER PROPS – According to Westgate Superbook
Total Gross Passing Yards – Patrick Mahomes (KC)
Over 318 ½ (-110)
Under 318 ½ (-110)
Total Touchdown Passes – Patrick Mahomes (KC)
Over 2 (-130)
Under 2 (+110)
Total Receiving Yards – Travis Kelce (KC)
Over 74 ½ (-110)
Under 74 ½ (-110)
Will Travis Kelce (KC) score a touchdown?
Total Receiving Yards – Tyreek Hill (KC)
Over 75 ½ (-110)
Under 75 ½ (-110)
Total Completions – Joe Flacco (DEN)
Over 20 ½ (-110)
Under 20 ½ (-110)
Total Touchdown Passes – Joe Flacco (DEN)
Over 1 ½ (+145)
Under 1 ½ (-170)
Total Rushing Yards – Phillip Lindsay (DEN)
Over 70 ½ (-110)
Under 70 ½ (-110)
Kansas City opened up as 4 ½-point favorites at the Westgate Superbook, but that number has dipped to -3 at most spots. The total has also gone down from the opener of 50 down to 48, which is the lowest number for the Chiefs this season.
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