Raiders vs. Chiefs Betting Odds & Pick: Lay the Double-Digit Points With KC
Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr
Raiders vs. Chiefs Betting Odds
Editor’s note: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Saturday that a Chiefs strength and conditioning coach tested positive for COVID-19. We’re monitoring the news and will update this piece accordingly.
The Las Vegas Raiders hit the road to face the Kansas City Chiefs in a battle of AFC West division rivals. Unfortunately for the Raiders, this matchup hasn’t been to kind to them, as they’re just 2-12 against the Chiefs since 2013.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who is winless in six games at Arrowhead Stadium, had a sobering remark about his team’s lack of success against Kansas City. “To be honest, to call it a rivalry we have to win some games against them,” Carr told local media.
With Patrick Mahomes winning all four head-to-head matchups against Carr’s Raiders by a combined 22 points and oddsmakers installing the defending Super Bowl champion as a double-digit favorite, things don’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
Can the the Raiders finally make this rivalry competitive, or will the Chiefs continue their dominance? I’m confident it’s the latter, but let’s take a closer look.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders welcome the return of right tackle Trent Brown and wide receiver Henry Ruggs, which should go a long way toward helping this offense. In spite of their absences though, the Raiders have had some success, scoring 27.75 points per game, are 10th in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA and eighth in play success rate at 54%.
Carr has thrown for 1,095 yards, eight touchdowns and zero interceptions, with a completion percentage of 73.6%, which ranks second among all quarterbacks. Darren Waller continues to lead the team in targets, receptions and yards — he also comes into this game following a strong showing against the Bills in which he caught nine passes for 88 yards.
Nevertheless, the Raiders’ chances of getting the upset rests on the shoulders of Josh Jacobs, who is coming off his worst performance of the season, rushing for just 48 yards on 15 carries (3.2 yards per carry) against Buffalo. Jacobs has cracked four yards per carry just once over his first four games, but that could change against a Chiefs defense that’s giving up 5.3 yards per carry (31st in the NFL) and allowing 58% of runs to be successful this season, which is 26th overall in the league.
In last week’s matchup against the Chiefs, the Patriots rushed 35 times for 185 yards on 5.3 yards per carry, controlling the time of possession by a 31:34 minutes to 28:26 minutes margin. Given their upset win over the Saints, during which the Raiders held the ball for more than 36 minutes, this is certainly a game plan they’re capable of executing and one they will need to replicate to keep Mahomes off the field.
Anything the Raiders do on offense could be trivial based on their defense, though. Las Vegas is 31st in defensive DVOA, giving up 30 points per game (22nd), while also allowing 6.2 yards per play (28th), 7.3 yards per pass (26th) and 59% of rushing plays to be successful.
For a defense ranked 31st with just four sacks on the year and a pressure rate of 17.5% (29th), Kansas City will be forced to generate pressure without the services of Mo Hurst, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Kansas City Chiefs
With guards Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and rookie Lucas Niang opting out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns, the Chiefs offensive line has had issues all season. However, the loss of the duo hasn’t really mattered: Kansas City is still scoring 29.2 points per game (ninth in the NFL), averaging 6.1 yards per play (sixth) and Mahomes is still putting up another MVP-caliber season. In fact, the Chiefs star is on pace for 4,500 yards and 44 touchdowns.
Mahomes has his lowest intended air yards of his career, with just 6.9 yards per pass attempt. Still, the Chiefs remain dangerous offensively with weapons everywhere in Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. And against a Raiders defense that’s giving up 7.3 yards per pass and 5.0 yards per rush, the Chiefs should be able to generate plenty of offense.
The Raiders are 27th in rushing success-rate defense, allowing 59% of runs to be successful and 30th in explosive run rate (rushes of 20+ yards or more), so you can expect a big day on the ground from Edwards-Helaire.
If there’s been a surprise, it’s been the sudden dominance of Kansas City’s defense.
In the second year playing in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s system, the Chiefs haven’t allowed more than 20 points all season, yielding just 17.5 points per game (third overall) and 5.4 yards per play (12th in the league). The Chiefs are fifth in defensive DVOA.
Kansas City’s secondary has been missing veteran cornerback Bashaud Breeland. Injuries have hampered the Chiefs, with L’Jarius Sneed (broken collarbone) and Charvarius Ward (fractured hand) among the banged-up players. However, Kansas City is giving up just 5.5 yards per pass, which is third in the league.
If there’s a weakness on this defense, it’s Kansas City’s inability to stop the run, as the Chiefs are giving up 5.3 yards per carry. With their ability to gain leads, many teams find themselves having to abandon the run early.
Kansas City defensive tackle Chris Jones — the team’s sack leader — returns to the lineup after missing Monday’s game against the Patriots. With 3.5 sacks on the year, you can expect Jones to add to that sack total against a Raiders team that might eventually find itself playing from behind.
Sharp money has hit both the side and total, betting the spread down from -13.5 to -11.5. Despite Kansas City’s defense being better than the public realizes, I’m not seeing any value on the total and vehemently disagree with the move on the side.
The Raiders have given up 30 or more points to Teddy Bridgewater, Cam Newton and Josh Allen. Without the ability to rush the passer, I expect Las Vegas to be in for a long day against Mahomes and his high-flying offense.
The Chiefs have won 28 of their last 30 division games, which exemplifies their stranglehold on the AFC West. And according to our Bet Labs data, Mahomes is 9-4-1 (69.2%) against the spread in his 16 career division games as well.
My projections make Kansas City a -15.45 favorite. While I’m typically not a proponent of laying double digits in the NFL, the combination of the high total and Mahomes’ dominance over the Raiders makes me feel more comfortable.
PICK: Chiefs -11.5 (up to -13)