Chiefs vs. Broncos Odds & Picks: Can Patrick Mahomes & Co. Bounce Back?
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes
- Can the Kansas City Chiefs snap their losing streak with a win over the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football?
- Our staff breaks down the betting odds, compare the spread to Sean Koerner's projections and make an over/under pick.
Chiefs at Broncos Odds & Picks
- Odds: Chiefs -3
- Over/Under: 48.5
- Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: FOX, NFL Network
Odds as of Wednesday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
The Kansas City Chiefs carry a two-game losing streak into their AFC West showdown with the Denver Broncos.
Patrick Mahomes and Co. are favored, but the market has moved against them since opening, betting them down from 4.5- to 3-point favorites. Should you follow the line movement?
Our analysts break down every angle of this Thursday Night Football, complete with Sean Koerner’s projected odds as well as staff picks on the spread and over/under.
Thursday Night Football Injury Report
Which team is healthier? Broncos
Emmanuel Sanders (knee) returned to full practice on Tuesday, so he should be ready to go. Cornerback Bryce Callahan (foot), who is still recovering from foot surgery, was ruled out while tackle Ja’Wuan James (knee) is listed as questionable.
Sammy Watkins (hamstring) has again been ruled out along with a few others along the Chiefs’ offensive and defensive line: Left tackle Eric Fisher, left guard Andrew Wylie (ankle) and defensive tackle Chris Jones (groin). Cornerback Kendall Fuller (thumb) will also be on the sideline. — Justin Bailey
Broncos Rush Offense vs. Chiefs Rush Defense
The Broncos have very quietly won consecutive games and sit just two games behind the division-leading Kansas City. Their pass rush came alive last week with seven total sacks in a 16-0 shutout of Tennessee, but replicating that performance will be much more difficult, placing a premium on time of possession.
Translation? Run the ball.
Over the last three games, the Broncos have the ball 46.4% of the time, the sixth-highest rate in the NFL. Despite only averaging 3.4 yards per carry, the Broncos rank the ball over 50% of the time in Week 6.
Denver features a pair of uber-efficient running backs with Philip Lindsay and Royce Freeman ranking inside the top 25 in True Yards Per Carry (per PlayerProfiler). Lindsay also ranks inside the top 12 at the position in rushing yards and eighth with five carries of 15 or more yards.
They’ll face a Chiefs defense that ranks second-worst in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA — worse than even Miami. They just allowed Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson to combine for 150 rushing yards on just 31 carries (4.84 yards per carry), the follow-up to another sieve performance to the Colts’ Marlon Mack, who totaled 132 yards on a 4.6 YPC average.
Even with Bradley Chubb (torn ACL) out for the season, head coach Vic Fangio has continued to limit opposing offenses, having failed to allow a QB1 fantasy performance this season. The defensive scheme aligns perfectly with a strong rushing attack.
The Chiefs are shorthanded defensively, and after being gashed on the ground in consecutive home losses, their focus will clearly be on stopping the run. If they want to avoid a third consecutive loss, they’ll need to provide Patrick Mahomes extra chances by winning the clear mismatch against the Broncos’ rushing attack. — Mike Randle
Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds
- Projected Spread: Chiefs -3
- Projected Total: 48.5
This is an intriguing matchup between two teams going in opposite directions. After an 0-4 start, the Broncos have now won back-to-back games while the Chiefs are losers of two straight after a 4-0 start.
It’s not a surprise to me that the public is heavily backing the Chiefs to bounce back here as 78% of the tickets have been on them thus far (see live public betting data here). But despite the lopsided action, the spread has actually dropped from the opener of -4 down to the most critical key number at -3.
Looking at the context of this matchup, I’d still be willing to take Broncos +3. Their run-heavy offense is able to attack the weakness of the Chiefs’ defense. They’ve allowed a 100-plus yard rusher in four straight games (and nearly five with Josh Jacobs’ 99 yards in Week 2). The thunder and lightning combo of Lindsay and Freeman should take advantage of this and move the ball effectively.
Mahomes has been dealing with an ankle injury that’s clearly limiting him. He was visibly limping on it again in Week 6 after he got trapped under a defender. The Chiefs don’t have their bye until Week 12, so it’s something he has to play through in the meantime. I’m thinking the short week will prevent him from making a full recovery and limit him again, but after 10 days of rest on the other side, we should see the MVP-caliber Mahomes emerge in Week 8.
I’m going to speculate a bit beyond my power ratings and lean toward the Broncos and under here. — Sean Koerner
Randle: Under 49
There’s already sharp money supporting the Broncos. And if they can keep this close, it’s likely a low-scoring game. Fangio has yet to allow an opposing quarterback to produce a QB1 fantasy line, which includes games on the road against Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers.
The Broncos should be able to run the ball efficiently against one of the NFL’s worst run defenses. Lindsay and Freeman present dual threats against a short-handed Chiefs defense that’s allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
With Fisher and Wylie out, the Chiefs offensive line is still severely undermanned. These are two teams going in opposite directions with a struggling Kansas City offense traveling on the road to face a division rival with a brilliant defensive head coach.
I’m taking the under and would be comfortable betting it down to 48.