Chiefs vs. Broncos Picks: How Our Experts Are Betting Thursday Night Football
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tyreek Hill
Chiefs at Broncos Betting Odds
- Odds: Chiefs -3
- Over/Under: 49
- Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: FOX, NFL Network
Odds as of noon ET on Thursday and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
After an 0-4 start, the Denver Broncos have won back-to-back games while the Kansas City Chiefs are losers of two straight after a 4-0 start. But which team is being undervalued on Thursday Night Football?
Our experts reveal how they’re betting this AFC West showdown with three picks on the spread, one on the over/under and one on Patrick Mahomes’ passing touchdowns prop.
Chiefs vs. Broncos Picks
Matthew Freedman: Chiefs -3
This line feels like a clear case of recency bias: The Chiefs have lost two straight while the Broncos have won two straight. But the Chiefs are still 4-2 while the Broncos are 2-4, and going back to last season, the Chiefs are 16-6 whereas the Broncos are 8-14.
And the Chiefs are one of the league’s few teams to score more points on the road than at home. Under head coach Andy Reid (since 2013), the Chiefs have an NFL-high road/home offensive differential of +3.3 points.
Given their penchant for road scoring, Reid’s Chiefs have been the league’s best visiting team against the spread during his tenure, racking up a 33-17-1 road record, good for an A-graded 29.7% return on investment.
Sean Koerner: Broncos +3
I’m gonna disagree with Freedman here.
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’m 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 Phillip Lindsay and Royce 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 also look to bet the under, but am waiting to see how high the total goes before pulling the trigger.
Koerner: Patrick Mahomes Under 2.5 TD Passes (-120)
This is a scary prop to bet the under on simply because if you’ve been watching Mahomes the past two seasons, you have at least pondered if he’s potentially the greatest quarterback we’ve ever seen. We have a long way to go before having that discussion, but in terms of throwing TDs, he’s been in a league of his own.
Through 23 games, he’s thrown for three or more TDs 14 times — that’s a 60.8% over rate for this prop.
Now let’s break down why I like the under tonight. The Chiefs’ team total is 27, giving them roughly 2.79 projected offensive TDs in my model. Can we attribute all of those TDs to Mahomes? Of course not. League-average for percentage of offensive TDs via the pass ranges from 64-68% for your typical team. The Chiefs aren’t a typical team, though, so we can expect roughly 73-75% of their offensive TDs to come via the pass when Mahomes is under center. That leaves us with a projection of 2.09 passing TDs.
So how do we figure out the value of under 2.5 TDs? I did the math and created the following chart using the expected distribution for his passing TDs:
Given Mahomes’ nagging ankle injury that’s made him noticeably limp the past two games, the short week likely won’t give him enough time to make a full recovery. On top of all of this, he has a brutal matchup in Denver, facing a defense that’s suppressed the output of all QBs it’s faced this season, allowing two or more passing TDs only once while allowing zero passing TDs in three of six games.
I’m not expecting the typical shootout from the Chiefs tonight, so it’s a rare time you’ll see me betting on the under for a Mahomes TD prop. It’s worth betting until -150 or -160.
Collin Wilson: Broncos +3
What in the world is wrong with the Kansas City Chiefs?
The short answer: defense. Specifically, the Chiefs have had issues defending the run, ranking dead last per Pro Football Focus. Kansas City also ranks in the bottom-five in defensive line categories such as stuffed rank and second level yards, both of which are run defense efficiency metrics.
Running the ball is exactly what Denver wants to do, ranking sixth overall per PFF and top-five in line yards. The Broncos have eclipsed 100 rushing yards in three of their games, including 191 on the Chargers.
A pair of two-point losses to Jacksonville and Chicago are all that separate Denver from a 4-1 record.
Mike Randle: Under 49
There’s sharp money supporting the Broncos. And if they can keep this close, it’s likely a low-scoring game.
Vic Fangio has yet to allow an opposing quarterback to produce a QB1 fantasy line, which includes on the road against Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers. And 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 Eric Fisher and Andrew 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.