Bengals vs Chiefs Picks & Prediction | NFL Week 17 Preview

Bengals vs Chiefs Picks & Prediction | NFL Week 17 Preview article feature image

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Bengals vs Chiefs Picks & Prediction | NFL Week 17 Preview

Sunday, Dec. 31
4:25 p.m. ET
Pick: Chiefs -6.5 (-120; Play to -7)

Bengals vs Chiefs odds have Kansas City installed as a 6.5-point favorite on the spread with an over/under of 44 total points. I'm targeting the spread for my Bengals vs Chiefs picks & prediction in an obvious rebound spot.

The Chiefs will try to right the ship against the team they have hosted in the last two AFC Championship games. This contest between Kansas City and Cincinnati will look quite different than any previous meeting in recent years with both offenses operating a lower level. The vulnerable Bengals defense will be the target in this game that swings the handicap in favor of the Chiefs.

Bengals vs Chiefs Picks & Prediction

Pick: Chiefs -6.5 (Play to -7)

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Bengals vs Chiefs Odds

Sunday, Dec. 31
4:25 p.m. ET
Bengals Odds
-110o / -110u
Chiefs Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Bengals vs Chiefs Preview

Patrick Mahomes has enjoyed an unprecedented level of success during his first five years as a starter, but this season has brought a number of unforeseen challenges that has stymied his production.

Mahomes’ distrust in his wide receivers is evident, and his waning faith in his offensive line has only compounded the Chiefs’ offensive issues. The good news for the Chiefs this week is they should find momentary reprieve in the form of the league's worst defense. 

The Bengals defense is ranked last in the NFL on a yards per play basis. Their best run defender up front, D.J. Reader, is out for the season and it's resulted in the Bengals regressing to one of the league’s softest run defenses. Cincinnati is allowing 4.45 yards per carry to opposing running backs, which is 28th in the league, and its run stop win rate is down to 29%, which is 26th, according to ESPN. 

To further illustrate their defensive struggles, the Bengals defense also ranks last in yards per pass attempt allowed (8.2) and yards per completion allowed (12.4). Over their last two games, the Bengals have been carved up by Nick Mullens and Mason Rudolph to the tune of 9.2 and 10.5 yards per attempt, respectively.

The average depth of target from opposing passers against the Bengals is a league-high 9.6 yards, meaning quarterbacks have been completely comfortable pushing the ball downfield. According to Fantasy Points, 51.8% of all pass attempts against Cincinnati have been deemed highly accurate, a metric that takes into account how often a receiver is hit with a pass in the numbers or in stride. The Bengals rank 27th in this category.

Bengals vs Chiefs Picks | FanDuel

Bengals +6.5 (-102)

Chiefs -6.5 (-120)

While the Kansas City offense has dealt with a number of problems, its defense has been playing at an elite level. Only one team has been able to score more than 21 points against them this season, and it’s highly doubtful this week will bring the second.

The Chiefs lead the NFL in adjusted sack rate (10.0%), which factors in down and distance, among other factors, into defensive pressure rate. Jake Browning has come back down to earth after a hot start, but like most backups who enjoy early success, adjustments have been made now that several games of film are available to be studied.

Browning has thrown five interceptions over his last three games and now has to take on the strongest pass defense (according to DVOA) that he has faced since taking over as the starter. I expect the Chiefs' front seven to pressure Browning and cause him to make mistakes, which in turn will help create short fields for Kansas City's offense.

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Bengals vs Chiefs Pick & Prediction

This spread has dropped down to 6.5 at some books, and I couldn’t disagree more with the line movement. A motivated Kansas City team has proven to be highly profitable to back after a down performance. Patrick Mahomes has covered the spread at a rate of 73.3% over his career in the game following a performance below the threshold of 20 points scored. 

For all of the turmoil the Chiefs offense has dealt with, we must focus on the matchup in this game. This version of the Bengals defense has given up 26.1 points per game over their last seven contests despite only facing one team ranked inside the top 12 in offensive DVOA. The last time Mahomes played a defense this poor, he passed for 424 yards and four touchdowns against a reeling Chargers team back in Week 7.

We are getting the Chiefs at the very bottom of the market. Back them with confidence in a tremendous bounce-back spot.

Pick: Chiefs -6.5 (Play to -7)
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