Chiefs vs. Broncos Odds, Picks, Predictions: An Expert’s Guide To Betting Saturday Afternoon’s NFL Game
Getty Images. Pictured: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and Broncos WR Courtland Sutton (left to right)
- Chiefs vs. Broncos odds have moved a half-point in the final hours before kickoff, now positioning Kansas City as an 11-point favorite.
- The latest spread is still within our expert's recommended betting range, though.
- Find his picks and predictions for Saturday afternoon's NFL matchup below.
|Time||4:30 p.m. ET|
After a 3-4 start to the season, the Chiefs appeared to be in the midst of a full-fledged Super Bowl hangover.
The defense continued to struggle, and for the first time during the Patrick Mahomes era, we saw the offense take a step back, leaning many wondering if the Chiefs would even make the playoffs. But things change quickly in the NFL, and in the blink of an eye, the Chiefs flipped a switch with an eight-win streak that ended with a last-second 34-31 loss to the Bengals last week.
Despite squandering multiple 14-point leads on the way to that heartbreaking defeat, the Chiefs still sit at 11-5 on the season and have a chance to clinch the AFC’s 1-seed, only first-round bye and home-field advantage with a win and Titans loss.
The Chiefs will travel for their second straight road game to take on the Denver Broncos, who sit at 7-9 and have been eliminated from playoff contention after last week’s 34-13 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Nonetheless, oddsmakers have installed the Chiefs as 10.5- to 11-point road favorites with a total of 45 in this AFC West divisional showdown. Will the Chiefs close out the Broncos as they look to build momentum for the postseason? Or will the Broncos play the role of spoiler?
Let’s analyze both sides and find out!
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Chiefs vs. Broncos Injury Report
- RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder): Out
- OL Lucas Niang (knee): Out
- CB Ronald Darby (shoulder): Out
- CB Patrick Surtain II (calf): Out
- CB Nate Hairston (illness): Questionable
- DE Shelby Harris (ankle/illness): Questionable
- P Sam Martin (COVID-19): Questionable
- K Brandon McManus (COVID-19): Questionable
Chiefs vs. Broncos Matchup
|Chiefs Offense||DVOA Rank||Broncos Defense|
|Chiefs Defense||DVOA Rank||Broncos Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Chiefs Fighting For AFC’s 1-Seed
The Chiefs were among the league’s best defenses during their eight-win streak. Their defense ranked third in EPA/play, fourth in drop back EPA and third in drop back Success Rate while holding teams to just 12.87 points per game. During the eight-game stretch, only two teams put up 17 or more points on Kansas City.
That all changed last week in the Chiefs’ 34-31 loss to the Bengals.
Despite being heavily pressured, Joe Burrow completed 30-of-39 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns while star rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase proved to be unstoppable with 11 receptions for 266 yards and three touchdowns.
Even more troubling for the Chiefs were the 10 penalties for 83 yards that kept the Bengals’ drives alive and ultimately sealed them the win. Nonetheless, the Chiefs will have to get their defense back on track and clean up the penalties against the Broncos. The Chiefs are still sixth in pressure rate (26.5%) and eighth in ESPN’s pass rush win rate, so they should be able to get to Drew Lock behind a Broncos offensive line that is 17th in ESPN’s pass block win rate.
This Broncos offense isn’t anything to be afraid of with Lock at the helm, so I’m expecting a return to form for the Chiefs defense in this spot.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense appeared to return to their previously form recently. They put up 48, 34 and 36 against the Raiders, Chargers and Steelers, respectively, in consecutive weeks. And through the first half of last week’s game against the Bengals, they showed no signs of slowing down with 28 points.
They were seemingly unstoppable with Mahomes completing 26-of-35 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns while the Chiefs as a whole rushed for 155 yards on the ground. The Chiefs held 14-point leads three different times, but couldn’t hold on as they put up just three second-half points.
Digging into their second-half numbers, this feels to be a bit a fluke.
The Chiefs had three second-half possessions, with the first possession ending in a punt after six plays, the second ending in a punt after a holding penalty pushed them out of field goal range, and the third ending in points. Nonetheless, the Chiefs are first in EPA/play and second in Success Rate over the past four weeks, so I’m expecting their usual success to continue this week against a Broncos defense that just gave up 34 points to the Chargers.
Broncos Facing Uphill Battle
The Broncos are officially eliminated from playoff contention and sit at 7-9 on the season after three straight losses to the Bengals, Raiders and Chargers. While the defense allowed the Broncos to remain competitive against the Bengals and Raiders, the offense has completely fallen off a cliff as they’re averaging just 12 points per game over the last three games.
When looking at full season numbers, the Broncos are 16th in EPA/play and 18th in Success Rate (44.5%), and they aren’t generating many explosive plays, ranking 20th with just 8% of their plays going for 20 or more yards.
Making matters worse, the Broncos will still be without starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who is out with a concussion. That means that they will once again turn to Drew Lock, who is dealing with a shoulder injury but is still on track to start.
The downgrade from Bridgewater to Lock is significant, to say the least, with Bridgewater besting him in every statistical category:
- Completion percentage: Bridgewater: 66.9%, Lock: 63.2%
- TD% : Bridgewater: 4.2, Lock: 2.3
- INT%: Bridgewater: 1.6, Lock: 2.3
- Rating: Bridgewater: 94.9, Lock: 82.8
- ESPN’s QBR: Bridgewater: 47.0, Lock: 13.6
- EPA + CPOE Composite: Bridgewater: 0.128 (9th), Lock: 0.016 (39th)
The Broncos have also taken a step back defensively recently as they’re coming off a game in which they gave up 34 points to the Chargers, with Justin Herbert completing 22-of-31 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns. Over the past three weeks, this defense is just 18th in EPA, 20th in Success Rate, 22nd in Dropback Success Rate and 25th in Dropback EPA. The Broncos will be missing cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II (calf) and Ronald Darby (shoulder), which should make it tougher to deal with this explosive Chiefs offense.
All in all, it’s clear the Broncos are facing an uphill task on both sides of the ball.
Chiefs vs. Broncos Predictions
If Bridgewater were starting, I’d likely be looking to take the Broncos at an inflated number against a divisional opponent who they held to just 22 points in their first matchup. Unfortunately for the Broncos, they’ll be starting Lock, who is not only dealing with a shoulder injury, but is a significant downgrade from Bridgewater.
In many ways, the Broncos might as well be playing with one arm tied behind their back considering the absence of Bridgewater, as well as Surtain and Darby.
This feels like a game in which Mahomes and this Chiefs offense take this defense into the deep waters and drown them in a game where they can name their score. The back door might be open for this matchup should the Chiefs decide to bench their starters in the fourth quarter, but it feels like this gets away from the Broncos to the point where they can’t catch up.
I’ll lay the points with the Chiefs.
Pick: Chiefs -10.5 | Bet to: -12
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