Jaguars vs Chiefs Spread, Predictions: Best Bets for AFC Playoffs Matchup
Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes.
- The Chiefs are favored by 9.5 points against the Jaguars in the AFC Divisional Round.
- Our betting analysts have you covered on all fronts with Jaguars vs. Chiefs picks.
- Check out our best bets for Saturday afternoon below.
Jaguars vs Chiefs Odds
|Moneyline||+385 / -500|
|Over/Under||52.5 (-114 / -106)|
|Time||Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel.|
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Jaguars vs. Chiefs Picks
Case for the Jaguars
Two of our betting analysts are aligned on the Jaguars to cover, while Brandon Anderson wouldn’t be against a little sprinkle on the moneyline.
Simon Hunter: No. 1 seeds with a winning percentage above 80% cover the spread less than 25% of the time in Divisional Round playoff games. So, if I refuse to ride the Giants, then yep, you bet I will be riding the Jaguars in Kansas City.
Brandon Anderson: Last week, my top bet on the board was fading the Jaguars. That one looked pretty sweet… for about a half. This week I’m going back to the well with Jacksonville — but this week I’m backing the Jags as my top bet.
It’s not like the Jaguars suddenly found a pass defense. Patrick Mahomes shredded this defense when they played earlier this season, and most top offenses did. That was a concern last week, and it’s a concern again here.
But the Chiefs pass defense looks almost as vulnerable. Like the Jags, Kansas City has faced one of the softest schedules in the league defensively, and the Chiefs ranked only 24th in passing defense and overall by DVOA against offenses in the top 12 like Jacksonville. Kansas City’s secondary has struggled to hold up when the pass rush can’t get home, and with Trevor Lawrence’s growth as a passer, he’s getting the ball out quickly and efficiently.
The Jaguars can score with the Chiefs, and Lawrence can match Mahomes score for score. That means the backdoor will be open, and it means nine points is asking a lot. Remember, Mahomes is just 13-19-1 (41%) against the spread (ATS) as more than a TD favorite.
And Lawrence might get more help from his defense than you think. As good as Kansas City’s offense is, the one fly in the ointment is the line. The Chiefs rank just 16th in pass protection and faced only one team all season in the top quarter of the league in pressure rate.
That team was these Jaguars, who rank seventh on the season and third over the final two months in that stat, and the Chiefs had a season-high three turnovers that game. Josh Allen — the other one — has a sack in five of the last six games. He’s a nice bet to snag another at +130.
Normally, the Chiefs are a good bet for hidden reasons — coaching and special teams. But those reasons might point to Jacksonville here. Kansas City has been abnormally poor on special teams, especially in the kicking game, and Doug Pederson is the more reliable game manager and postseason coach. He’s 6-0 ATS as a playoff underdog, including an amazing 5-1 SU.
Remember all those stats at the top about fading the home 1-seeds? The Chiefs are a bullseye of red flags. They fall perfectly into the range of favorites with overinflated lines this round, where underdogs of 7-to-11 points are 12-21 straight-up the last 19 years with an awesome 61% ROI on the moneyline. Jacksonville also fits a trend of teams that missed last year’s playoffs going 26-12 ATS (68%) in the Divisional Round.
We should get plenty of scoring. I lean over, though we’ve missed the best price now that the line has risen. Mahomes playoff overs with a total of 54 or below are 4-1 (80%), covering by 15.7 PPG, and eight of his 11 playoff games have seen at least 51 points.
Jaguars vs. Chiefs Player Props
Our staff has identified four player props to bet, and good news: They’re all overs.
Cody Goggin: In my opinion, Kadarius Toney’s current lines way undervalue his likely involvement in Kansas City’s game plan.
Of course, there is risk involved with betting Toney props. You never know if his touches will come via the ground game or passing game, but I think he gets enough of both to make his overs a safe play.
If you are looking for another way to bet this game, Travis Kelce overs are also a strong option.
As we saw against the Chargers, Jacksonville struggles to cover the middle of the field. The Jaguars had a league-low 38.1 PFF coverage grade against tight ends, while Kelce was the highest-graded TE at 91.1. Patrick Mahomes has a 92.4 passing grade (best in NFL) when targeting players lined up either in-line or in the slot; Jacksonville is 31st by the same metric.
Still, I prefer Toney as Kelce is already a well-known commodity and the lines for his props reflects that. You could play either one or roll the dice with a same game parlay and look to capitalize off a big game for the Chiefs’ passing attack.
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That’s important because we should expect Kirk to play nearly every snap possible in a playoff game. Last week he played on 99% of Jacksonville’s snaps in their comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Jaguars may have to attempt another comeback as nearly a double-digit underdog against Kansas City. There’s a real chance not only will Kirk be on the field for nearly every snap, but Jacksonville may have to throw the ball at an extremely high rate.
The matchup also favors Kirk, as the Chiefs rank second-worst against the slot in a geometric mean of yards per route run, yards per game, and touchdowns allowed.
What’s more, the Chiefs play man defense at the eighth-highest rate in the NFL. That’s should suit Kirk well, as he has more than a full yard per route run against man coverage than against zone coverage. In fact, in the five games against teams that play man coverage at a top-10 rate in the NFL, Kirk gained a minimum of 74 yards receiving.
That includes a 105 yard game in Kansas City in week 10, when the Chiefs played man coverage 45.1% of the time.
If you plot a graph of the percentage of time the Jaguars faced man defense against Kirk’s receiving yards, there is an extremely strong linear correlation.
I have Kirk sailing over this projection, and would bet it up to 67.5.
Sean Koerner: Lawrence was able to overcome a disastrous 1st half where he threw four interceptions and led the Jaguars to a 31-30 comeback win over the Chargers. The Jaguars have made it a habit to get off to a slow start all season. They rank 23rd in average 1st half margin (-1.7), but rank 4th in 2nd half margin (+4.5). Meanwhile, the Chiefs typically get off to a fast start and rank 4th in 1st half margin (+4.5) and coming off the BYE week likely means they will get off to another fast start here as Andy Reid typically thrives when having extra time to prepare.
Therefore, Lawrence will likely find himself in a pass heavy, trailing game script (early on) again this week. The Chiefs offense plays at the 3rd fastest (situation neutral) pace, so they tend to allow added play volume (9th most plays per game) and their pass defense ranks 20th in DVOA. Nothing about this matchup is too concerning when it comes to Lawrence’s passing yards prop and while we could see some light snow/rain, there shouldn’t be too much wind, so I wouldn’t be too concerned about the weather. I’m projecting him closer to 260.5 yards. I would bet this up to about 252.5.
John LanFranca: I love playing a player prop that should cash regardless of game script.
If the Jaguars hang around in this game, it will be on the arm of Lawrence to create big chunk plays. If the Jags fall behind, which is most likely, Lawrence will be playing catch up in an effort to pull off another comeback.
Every single game this season in which Lawrence has reached 33 or more passing attempts, he has cleared this number. There is a reason the Chiefs defense faces the third most passing attempts per game in the NFL this season (36.3). The overall passing volume has to increase in order for teams to try and keep pace with the Kansas City offense.
The Chiefs defense also happens to be 27th in the NFL in terms of opposing quarterback QBR. In Week 10, when these teams met, Lawrence was an efficient 29-of-40 for 259 yards. This line is simply too low — it is my strongest player prop position of the playoffs thus far.
I’d bet this over up to 249.5.
Matt Trebby: Here’s how Travis Kelce has produced in his last six playoff games over the last two postseasons:
|2021 Divisional Round||Browns||8 catches, 109 yards, 1 TD|
|2021 AFC Championship||Bills||13 catches, 118 yards, 2 TDs|
|2021 Super Bowl||Buccaneers||10 catches, 133 yards, 0 TDs|
|2022 Wild Card Round||Steelers||5 catches, 108 yards, 1 TD|
|2022 Divisional Round||Bills||8 catches, 96 yards, 1 TD|
|2022 AFC Championship||Bengals||10 catches, 95 yards, 1 TD|
Kelce is projected by our experts, Sean Koerner and Chris Raybon for 7.2 receptions, and he’s facing a Jaguars defense that ranked dead last in DVOA against tight ends during the regular season.
I’ll keep this one simple. BetMGM has the best number available on over 6.5, as of Friday at 5 p.m. ET.
Tony Sartori: In a game where the Jaguars have to go on the road as nine-point underdogs, the passing game will undoubtedly be heavily utilized whether they keep the game close or are trailing big by halftime once again. Jacksonville’s passing ability should keep them in this contest, especially against the Chiefs’ pass defense.
In the regular season, Kansas City finished just 20th among defenses in Pass DVOA. If you are looking to back someone in the Jaguars’ pass game, there is arguably no better person to back than tight end Evan Engram.
Engram is a matchup nightmare for opposing teams due to his ability to beat a linebacker since he is basically a wide receiver that happens to play tight end. Turning into one of Lawrence’s favorite targets, Engram has hauled in at least five catches in five of his last seven games.
With the Chiefs’ poor pass defense and the fact that the Jaguars will most likely trail late in the game, Engram should have no problem racking up at least five catches once again.