Broncos vs. Chiefs Odds: Your Sunday Night Football Betting Preview
Getty Images. Pictured: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
- The Kansas City Chiefs host the Denver Broncos for a Sunday Night Football showdown.
- Will the reigning Super Bowl champions cover this 13-point spread with ease?
- Our NFL betting analyst Stuckey previews the matchup below.
Broncos vs. Chiefs Odds
At least the Broncos will have a quarterback on Sunday Night Football with all signs pointing to Drew Lock returning under center after practice squad receiver Kendall Hinton was forced into action last week against New Orleans.
Hinton’s outing went about as well as you would have expected, as the Broncos became the first team to finish with more interceptions than completions since the Ryan Leaf-quarterbacked Chargers of 1998.
Meanwhile, the defending Super Bowl champions sit at 10-1 with another division title all but wrapped up. They’ll clinch the AFC West with a win on Sunday night, but obviously have their sights set on bigger goals — starting with the lone bye in the AFC. That would require them to catch the Steelers, who currently own a one-game lead.
The Broncos have lost 10 straight to the Chiefs, including three straight in blowout fashion.
Let’s take a closer look at the matchup.
Let’s just throw the obvious out there: Denver’s offense is miserable.
The Broncos rank 32nd in Football Outsiders’ DVOA in overall and passing offense. Outside of a few meaningless late-game situations, Lock hasn’t been good by any measure. And while the running game has been a bit better, it’s worth mentioning Philip Lindsay is questionable, as is wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.
Garett Bolles has been a bright spot on the offensive line, grading out as one of the NFL’s best tackles to date, but rookie center Lloyd Cushenberry has really struggled. That could be problematic against Chris Jones, who could wreak havoc in the backfield with interior pressure.
On the other side of the ball, Denver’s defense has been tremendous despite losing Von Miller before the season and dealing with a slew of other injuries. The progress in Year 2 of Vic Fangio’s scheme is evident — by most metrics, Denver has been a top-10 overall defense this season.
The defense is a bit stronger against the pass than the run, but the Broncos won’t have the services of cornerback Bryce Callahan on Sunday, who has graded out as one of the best in the NFL this season. That hurts.
The Broncos still have one of the league’s top safety duos, but A.J. Bouye is no longer an elite corner on the other side of 30. And per Pro Football Focus, Essang Bassey and Michael Ojemudia have graded outside the top 90 out of 125 qualified cornerbacks. Callahan will be sorely missed against the Chiefs.
Denver’s best interior defensive lineman Shelby Harris should be back, but Fangio has stated Harris won’t get his normal reps.
Kansas City Chiefs
I don’t need to spend much time on the Chiefs.
They’re the best team in the NFL. They are also basically the same team as they were last season.
Their offense is elite, starting with the league’s best quarterback by a wide margin. The offensive line, skill positions and great play-calling also don’t hurt.
The defense still has weaknesses — the unit remains very vulnerable against the run (32nd in DVOA) with a weak group of linebackers and interior defensive linemen outside of Jones. However, that won’t lose you games if teams don’t jump out to a lead and get stops against the Chiefs offense.
I’m a bit concerned about the lack of edge rush. It’s basically become nonexistent. Frank Clark has been awful all season and hasn’t generated a single pressure over the past two games. But while this defense needs work, with Patrick Mahomes and that offense, it ultimately might not matter.
Not every game has betting value, especially in the NFL. This is one of them — I make this spread Chiefs -13 with a total of 50 points, so it’s a pass for me from a pregame perspective.
It’s also difficult to even picture how this will play out: Can the Broncos get a few scoring drives early on by running down the Chiefs’ throat, which would also keep Mahomes on the sidelines? If so, Denver can probably stay within this number and Kansas City may become an intriguing live target.
If Denver can’t start fast, though, Kansas City should build a lead. If so, do the Chiefs go ultra conservative in the second half? I would think so. No need to show anything more here — that would open up a backdoor shot for Drew Lock late.
So, this is a pure “stay away” for me from a side and pregame perspective. Follow along on the Action app to see if I come in on anything live based on how this game plays out, as I do think there might be some opportunities to jump in.
Since I do want to provide some actionable advice heading into the game, I dug into potential props and came up with two targets:
- Noah Fant
- Sammy Watkins
Fant could have a big day against a Kansas City defense that can be exploited by good tight ends.
As for Watkins, Fangio’s primary focus is preventing the big play, keeping everything in front of the defense and making teams work their way down the field. I assume Fangio’s game play will be focused on taking away Tyreek Hill deep with a safety always over the top of wherever Hill goes.
Fangio will also likely bracket Travis Kelce. Now, a lot of teams probably try to do that, but as I mentioned before, Denver has the luxury of having two of the league’s best safeties. This should be a high-volume day for Watkins, who has historically had nice outings against Denver — 4.5 catches, 70 yards, 0.5 touchdown on average — and he should be open all night underneath.
I would look at touchdown props for both Fant and Watkins, in addition to the overs on their reception and yardage props.