Chiefs vs. Washington NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Struggling Defenses Give This Week 6 Over/Under Value
Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes.
- The highest over/under of NFL Week 6 still isn't high enough according to our betting analyst.
- After analyzing the Chiefs vs. Washington odds and matchup, he makes three picks on this game.
- Find out why he likes the Chiefs and Football Team -- and their struggling defenses -- to clear this total.
Chiefs vs. Washington NFL Odds
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
It’s hard to imagine that the Kansas City Chiefs are 2-3 and sitting in last place of the AFC West.
Last week, they were embarrassed at home in a double-digits loss to the Bills. But Week 6 offers the Chiefs an opportunity to get back to their usual winning ways against a Washington Football Team that they’ve had success against historically.
However, this Chiefs defense is likely the worst we’ve seen under Andy Reid. When you combine that with Kansas City’s 3-13 run against the spread (ATS), it’s more prudent to explore other ways to bet on this game.
What’s Gotten Into The Chiefs?
Despite its slow start, Kansas City is still one of the more respected teams in the league. In fact, Football Outsiders has it ranked 14th overall in total DVOA. However, if we isolate the offense and defensive units separately, we’ll find one of the most interesting dichotomies in all of football: The Chiefs are ranked first in offensive DVOA, but last in defensive DVOA.
I’m not sure that’s ever happened, but those two units couldn’t be any further apart.
We know how good Patrick Mahomes is at running the offense. Despite all the talk of him turning the ball over, he’s just 0.3 points behind Matthew Stafford (75.1) for the league lead in ESPN’s Total QBR metric. As a result, it’s much more beneficial to do a deep dive into why this defense has been so disappointing.
The Chiefs deploy a “bend but don’t break” kind of defense. They try to keep everything in front of them to avoid explosive plays over their heads. Then, when they get into the red zone, they’re able to tighten up defensively because they have to cover less space.
That’s how it’s been over the years, particularly under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. In 2019, Kansas City won the Super Bowl in his first season with the club after finishing 14th in defensive DVOA. Then in 2020, the Chiefs were 22nd. This defense has gotten progressively worse in each of the last three years.
Chiefs Problems Start Up Front
I’ve searched for a reason why this defense has been so bad, and my conclusion is that the answer is very complicated.
Let’s begin with the offseason changes that included shifting Chris Jones from defensive tackle to defensive end. The thought was to move him to the outside to be less occupied with defending the run and focus more on the pass rush. However, the Chiefs may have removed one strength and exchanged it for weakness because Jones is getting to the quarterback far less this season — his sacks (two) and quarterback pressures (eight) are behind his pace of 7.5 and 44 last season.
Furthermore, the defensive duo of Jarran Reed and Derrick Nnadi hasn’t worked on the interior. They’ve combined for zero sacks and just five pressures this season.
The other big issue is that the Chiefs haven’t gotten the level of performance at cornerback as they got last year from Bashaud Breeland. Per PFF, Breeland ranked as the 18th cornerback in the league last year. And although it might’ve been the right decision to part ways with him given his current grade (42.1), L’Jarius Sneed hasn’t been much better given his PFF player grade of 52.2.
I’d hate to make this about one or two players, but there’s a chance that the Chiefs overestimated their roster. Everything starts up front in football, and until they can sort out their defensive line, these woes will likely continue throughout the season.
As far as injuries are concerned, Kansas City will have two defensive starters inactive: Cornerback Charvarius Ward will miss his fourth straight game with a quad problem, while Jones will also miss consecutive games with a wrist injury.
On offense, Clyde Edwards-Helaire is on injured reserve with a sprained MCL. On a positive note, it looks like wide receiver Tyreek Hill will play after being a limited participant in Friday’s practice.
Striking Similarities Between WFT & KC
The Washington Football Team has its own problems, but it doesn’t have a quarterback like Mahomes who can erase most errors with a flick of the wrist.
However, Washington does deserve some credit in its own right. For one, it’s remained aggressive in throwing the ball down the field since Taylor Heinicke took over for the injured Ryan Fitzpatrick. Heinicke’s 8.2 intended air yards per pass attempt are even more than Mahomes’ (7.9).
Washington is still within the league’s top half in terms of offensive pass DVOA. It also ranks 12th with 24.6 points per game. That’s not too bad considering that it scored at least 21 points against the Bills and Saints, teams that rank first and third in defensive DVOA. Thus, it’s fair to expect even more points against this Chiefs outfit.
On the other side of the ball, Washington is only marginally better than Kansas City in defensive DVOA. Its ranked 28th in this metric and 31st in allowing 31.0 points per game. However, The biggest problem for Washington is it struggles to get off the field on third down. WFT ranks 31st in allowing opponents to convert 56.16% of their third-down plays.
This week, the Football Team will be up against a Chiefs team that boasts the best third-down offense with a 58.82% conversion rate. The Chiefs are seven percentage points ahead of the Cowboys, who are ranked second at 51.61%. That’s a scary thought if you’re a Washington fan heading into this game.
When you look at the structure of both teams, it’s tough to envision where the stops will come from.
Washington’s injury report is somewhat misleading on the surface, as it rules out two wide receivers: Curtis Samuel is dealing with a groin problem and Cam Sims has a hamstring injury, but while both are listed high on the depth chart, they’ve seen only eight (!) targets between them this season. It will also be without the starting right tackle, Sam Cosmi, as he recovers from an ankle injury.
NFL Picks: Chiefs vs. Washington
The profile of this game suggests we could see plenty of points. Thus, it makes sense to look for derivatives that correlate with the over in mind. As a result, the first thing I’d look to do is get involved with the total.
We’ve highlighted the defensive issues of both teams as neither should have any problems moving the ball. In Kansas City’s last five games, the total is 4-1 to the over and 4-0 in Washington’s previous four games. Some sportsbooks are offering this total at 54 as of writing (shop for the best line here), but that number seems short to me, so I’d look to play this over at 54.5 or better.
Second, I like Mahomes to go over his passing touchdown prop, which BetMGM lists at 2.5 (-135). The Chiefs quarterback threw for two touchdowns against the Bills. He was critical of his play in that game, and it was the first time all season he didn’t throw for at least three touchdowns, which makes this an excellent spot for him to bounce back.
Kansas City should also be less inclined to run the ball, even in goal-line situations, with Edwards-Helaire sidelined. Thus, there’s a more significant potential the Chiefs will keep the ball in Mahomes’ hands.
Lastly, l like BetMGM’s first half prop of both teams to score at least 10 points (+100) in the first half. Both teams have combined to reach this mark in eight of their 10 games this season.
3 Picks: Over 54 | Mahomes Over 2.5 Pass TDs | Both teams to score at least 10 1H points (0.5 units for each)