Bills vs. Chiefs Odds, Picks, Predictions For NFL Playoffs: 3 Bets For This Divisional Round Sunday Showdown
Getty Images. Pictured: Bills QB Josh Allen and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (left to right)
|Time||6:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
There are no easy games in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. After all, the winner moves one step closer to the goal of playing in the Super Bowl. On Sunday night, the Chiefs will host the Bills again in the playoffs after Kansas City’s 38-24 win over Buffalo in last season’s AFC Championship Game.
To secure the victory, Kansas City took advantage of a 21-point outburst in the second quarter. And with Kansas City appearing in the last three AFC Championship Games — and winning the last two — it’s fair to say that any path to the Super Bowl likely involves getting past the Chiefs.
The Bills are well aware of this and even tailored their roster with beating the Chiefs in mind. I’ll delve a bit deeper into the composition of their team and explain why I view the visitors as a live underdog in this matchup.
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Bills vs. Chiefs Injury Report
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Bills vs. Chiefs Matchup
|Bills Offense||DVOA Rank||Chiefs Defense|
|Bills Defense||DVOA Rank||Chiefs Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Bills Positioned Themselves For This Matchup
To learn more about these teams, let’s take a moment to revisit last year’s AFC Championship Game. Things looked promising for Buffalo as it jumped out to a 9-0 lead. However, there was a bit of an ominous feeling when the Bills failed to convert the extra point as Tyler Bass’s kick hit the right upright. The missed extra point attempt seemed to swing momentum back in favor of the Chiefs, who marched 80 yards down the field for their first touchdown.
Although the Bills lost the game, they did manage to get a sense of what it’s like to play against the Chiefs. The loss also highlighted where they needed to improve.
In the offseason, the Bills kept the nucleus of their team intact. They then drafted high-impact players like defensive end Greg Rousseau (30th pick) and offensive tackle Spencer Brown (93rd pick). Both rookies are already starters on the team and they’ve helped to solidify the Bills’ line play on both sides of the ball.
After the loss in the AFC Championship Game, there were two gaping areas the Bills wanted to improve:
- Rushing attack
- Pass defense
And when you compare their numbers over the past two seasons, it’s evident to see the strides they’ve made. Buffalo has gone from 21st in offensive run DVOA to fourth. The Bills also improved defensively from 13th in pass DVOA to first in the league. That’s a big reason why Buffalo routed Kansas City 38-20 at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 5.
On Super Wild Card Weekend, we saw the Bills put together a perfect offensive display against a Patriots team that entered the postseason ranked fourth in defensive DVOA.
The #Bills just put up an offensive performance that is nearly unprecedented in NFL history.
Their drives went TD, TD, TD, TD, half, TD, TD, TD, end.
No punts, no turnovers, no FGs. A game like this hasn’t happened since the 1940s, if ever. Not enough data on those games. pic.twitter.com/jJV5nXT6tg
— Nick Veronica (@NickVeronica) January 16, 2022
On Sunday, Buffalo will face a Kansas City defense that finished the regular season ranked 24th in DVOA. And with the Bills riding high on a five-game winning streak with double-digit margins, I’m not sure they could put themselves in a better position to avenge last season’s AFC Championship Game loss.
Chiefs Have Had Up-And-Down Season
After a seemingly sluggish 3-4 start to the season, the Chiefs bounced back to win nine of their next 10 games to finish 12-5. At first, it was a bit of a roller coaster as the slow start was attributed to the poor play on defense. Through Week 7, Kansas City allowed 29 points per game. But from Week 8 to Week 14, that number dropped to 10.83 points per game. However, it was around this time that the offense started to struggle.
Between Week 7 and Week 13, the Chiefs averaged 19.7 points per game. And if you take out their Week 10 performance against the Raiders, that number drops to 15.4 per game. The offense regained its footing in Week 14 as Kansas City has averaged 36.5 points in its six games since then. However, those troubling signs on defense emerged again as the Chiefs allowed 475 total yards — including 415 passing yards — in Week 17’s 34-31 loss to the Bengals.
The following week, Kansas City needed an 86-yard fumble return touchdown to escape Denver with a 28-24 victory. Then, in the wild-card game against the Steelers, Kansas City’s first four possessions included three punts and an interception.
If the Chiefs have a similarly slow start against the Bills, they could be in for an uphill battle to climb back in the game. And while stopping the Chiefs is easier said than done, teams that can get off the field on third down give themselves a chance. That’s precisely what the Bills excel in as their opponents have the lowest third-down conversion rate (32.02%) against them.
The Chiefs will also have to be sure they protect the football. In four of their five losses, they registered at least two turnovers in those games. It’s worth noting that Buffalo will have a better turnover margin (+0.6) compared to Kansas City (+0.2) heading into the game.
Bills vs. Chiefs Predictions
You can sum this game up into the four points I’ve already highlighted:
- Running the football
- Defending the pass
- Third-down conversions
- Limiting turnovers
However, I’ll mention another key to the game briefly, and it’s red-zone scoring. Only two teams in the league have a higher red-zone conversion rate than Buffalo (65.06%), while Kansas City ranks 10th in this category with a 62.50% conversion rate.
Based on my keys to the game, Buffalo has outperformed Kansas City in all five areas. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things the Chiefs do better than the Bills. My takeaway is that I feel Buffalo has a better chance of negating Kansas City’s strengths than the Chiefs would against the Bills.
Given how I project this game to play out, I believe the Bills are worth considering, especially if you buy them up to +3 (-135) at DraftKings. I’ll also have two other plays as I’ll be backing the Bills in the first quarter +0.5 (-130) at BetMGM. Buffalo is 12-6 against the spread in the first quarter for a 27.56% return on investment (ROI).
Lastly, Bills quarterback Josh Allen should play a critical role in the running game. Allen has rushed for at least 63 yards in his previous four games, and he’s rushed for at least 59 yards in the past two games against the Chiefs. BetMGM has his yardage prop set at 50.5 (-115), and I like my chances with the over.
I’ll be risking a half-unit of my bankroll on each play.
- First Pick: Bills ALT Line +3 (-135) | Bet to: +2
- Second Pick: Bills 1Q +0.5 (-130) | Bet to: (-135)
- Third Pick: Josh Allen Over 50.5 Rush Yards (-115) | Bet to: 52.5
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