NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Cases For Both Sides of Chiefs-Bengals Spread, Plus Dolphins To Cover vs. Titans
Chris Unger/Getty Images. Pictured: Bengals RB Joe Mixon, Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase
- In search of the best bets for Week 17? Our experts analyze the latest NFL odds in order to make their picks and predictions.
- Find out why the Dolphins to cover against the Titans are among their favorite bets for Sunday's early afternoon games.
- Our staff is split on the Chiefs-Bengals spread, though, so find cases for both sides below.
Chiefs at Bengals
|1 p.m. ET|
Chris Raybon: Including the postseason, the Chiefs are 7-14 against the spread (ATS) as favorites since the midpoint of last season, and I don’t think the Bengals will be an easy team for the Chiefs to beat — much less cover against. The Bengals are the first above-average defense the Chiefs have faced since the Cowboys in Week 11, a game in which the Chiefs scored only 19 points.
Historically, it has been profitable to fade teams that have scored 30+ in three straight games, like the Chiefs have done (per our Action Labs data):
The Bengals also match up well on offense, as they lead the league in yards per target versus man coverage (11.4) while the Chiefs defense plays man at the fifth-highest rate.
I like the Bengals to +3.5 (check real-time NFL odds here).
Chiefs at Bengals
|1 p.m. ET|
Raheem Palmer: After starting the season 3-4, the Chiefs have won eight straight while covering six in a row.
Since Week 8, their defense is third in Expected Points Added (EPA) per play, fourth in Drop back EPA and third in Drop back Success Rate while holding teams to just 12.87 points per game. Over this eight-game stretch, only two teams have scored 17 or more points against them. The Chiefs are also seventh in pressure rate and 10th in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate.
Against the Bengals’ 30th-ranked offensive line in ESPN’s pass block win rate, the Chiefs should be able to get to Joe Burrow.
The biggest reason I like the Chiefs in this matchup, however, is on the other side of the ball. Patrick Mahomes and a full-strength offense with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill should be able to capitalize against this Bengals defense.
The Bengals are 14th in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA, despite playing the 14th-ranked schedule of opposing offenses. They gave up 34 points to the Jets, 41 points to the Browns and 41 points to the Chargers. The Bengals otherwise have a track record of struggling against above-average offenses, which should continue against the Chiefs.
I love this spot to lay up to 5.5 points with the Chiefs.
Chiefs vs Bengals
|1 p.m. ET|
Billy Ward: After their offensive explosion last week, the Bengals feel like the hot team coming into this one. However, that was against an extremely depleted Ravens team playing with their third-string quarterback.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs are winners of eight straight, including a win over a Chargers team (in LA) that dominated the Bengals (in Cincinnati). I’m not suggesting there’s a “transitive property of football,” but this line does have a heavy dose of recency bias. The Chiefs have been the NFL’s best team for the last two months — the Bengals have had two good games against mediocre teams.
I also like how the Chiefs match-up here. The strength of the Bengals is in shutting down the run, but the Chiefs are a dominant passing offense. On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs passing defense — which ranks 13th in DVOA on the season — has played extremely well lately. In their last seven games, only the Chargers have scored more than 14 points against the Chiefs.
This game could get out of hand quickly if the Chiefs get points on the board early — which they almost certainly will. I’d play them up to 5.5 as the Chiefs should win this by at least a touchdown.
Dolphins at Titans
|1 p.m. ET|
Brandon Anderson: The Titans are rooting for the Bengals to win this Sunday, because Tennessee is quietly only one game back in the race for the AFC’s 1-seed and hold the tiebreaker over Kansas City as the team responsible for the Chiefs’ most recent “L.”
That Titans win came back in Week 7, though, and they haven’t been the same since.
Derrick Henry played only one more game before landing on injured reserve. The Titans have missed A.J. Brown and Julio Jones much of the time since, too. Brown is back now, but Jones wasn’t activated off the COVID list in time to play this Sunday. And the Titans are shorthanded on the offensive line.
Tennessee’s offense ranks fourth-lowest over the past six weeks, including fourth-worst in passing. Ryan Tannehill has six fumbles and six interceptions over that stretch. This is his first game against his longtime team, the one that drafted him, but Dolphins fans must be starting to feel pretty good about their new quarterback.
Tua Tagovailoa leads the league in Success Rate over the past six games and ranks top-five in EPA and Completion Percentage Over Expectation (CPOE) at RBSDM. He has the Dolphins on a seven-win streak, going 6-1 ATS over that span.
The Dolphins also have the top defense over that stretch, allowing only 11.7 points per game, though they haven’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of QBs (i.e. Tyrod Taylor, Lamar Jackson, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton, Mike Glennon, Zach Wilson, and Ian Book). Even the shell of Tannehill is near the top of that list, but he has struggled mightily under pressure, and no defense brings more pressure than the Dolphins.
The season-long metrics say these teams are about dead-even, but they’re headed in opposite directions. Tennessee no longer has the run game to hurt Miami where its weak, and the Dolphins should be able to pass on the Titans.
I like the Dolphins to +3.