Are the Chiefs blossoming for bettors as an NFL version of LSU?
Through the latter stages of the college football season, LSU reached a level of on-field play that may never have been seen before in college football. Exquisite, virtually unstoppable execution led by star quarterback Joe Burrow. Aggressive play calling. A defense that had learned how to disrupt opponents and get stops. And, a string of victories that crushed market expectations as “experts” behind the counter and sharps kept insisting that the public was overreacting to blowout scores.
LSU’s gravy train for backers didn’t stop until the season ended.
Kansas City is less extreme, but has been consistently cashing tickets since mid-November. The Chiefs have won seven straight games, going 6-0-1 against the spread. They won at New England by a touchdown in a double-digit cover. They steamrolled the Texans last week 51-7 in the final 40 minutes after digging an early hole.
Great execution featuring an elite quarterback? Check. Aggressive play calling? Check. A defense that figured things out? Check. Strength of schedule is a potential red flag. Kansas City isn’t crushing consecutive powers the way LSU did. But, the Chiefs are only facing a wild-card team Sunday, one that was outgained in its first two playoff victories.
Nobody would be shocked if Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs run the table, just as Burrow and LSU did.
Normally in this spot, we’d post the stat box we’ve been using this postseason. But, both teams are playing better in recent weeks than their full-season rankings would imply. Kansas City is superior across the board, but Tennessee has proven its playoff legitimacy.
- The case for Kansas City: The explosive Chiefs are much better rested. If Tennessee’s defense loses its legs, this will be a rout. Tennessee and Houston are comparable in team quality. Kansas City gained 7.6 yards per play on offense versus Houston, and scored touchdowns on seven of eight red zone opportunities.
- The case for Tennessee: The Titans hope to hang tough by continuing the run-heavy game plan that has positioned them for upsets. He hasn’t been needed yet, but Ryan Tannehill is capable of coming through the back door with garbage-time passing if his team is down 10-14 points in the final minutes.
Betting through the week has shown Kansas City’s support at -7, which flips to Tennessee at +7¹/₂. Sharps are traditionally ’dog lovers in big TV games, but they will take Kansas City -1¹/₂ in two-team, six-point teasers with San Francisco in the NFC title game. “Basic strategy” for teasers is to take every opportunity to cross both key numbers of 3 and 7 in one fell swoop. Sharps and squares alike will love the Sunday combo of KC -1¹/₂ and SF -1¹/₂ .
While it’s generally true that recreational bettors fall in love too easily with favorites, sports betting history has seen many great teams peak in the playoffs. Bettors must determine if Kansas City will be next on that list.