Texans vs. Chiefs Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Will K.C. Cover the Spread in AFC Divisional Round?
David Eulitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes, J.J. Watt
- The updated betting odds for Sunday's Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs game makes K.C. a huge home favorite (spread: Chiefs -9.5) with the over/under up to 50.5.
- While the line has stayed somewhat steady this week, the over/under has been on the move.
- How are our experts betting this matchup? Below, they'll detail their picks and analysis to help you lock in your bets.
Texans at Chiefs Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions
- Odds: Chiefs -9.5
- Over/Under: 50.5
- Kickoff: 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday
- TV Channel: CBS
Odds as of Sunday afternoon and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
The Houston Texans’ regular-season win over the Kansas City Chiefs doesn’t seem to be impacting how bettors are approaching Sunday’s Divisional Round matchup: More than 55% of tickets and 60% of money are backing the AFC’s No. 2 seed to cover the 9.5-point spread as of Saturday evening.
Are our experts on the same side as the public?
They preview every angle in this matchup, complete with their projected odds and make their picks.
Texans-Chiefs Injury Report
Which team is healthier? Chiefs
The Chiefs listed DL Chris Jones (calf) and TE Travis Kelce (knee) as questionable.
Andy Reid said Kelce is dealing with a knee bruise, but is expected to suit up. The jury is still out on Jones, but the fact he still got in limited practices after hurting his calf on Wednesday is encouraging. His potential absence wouldn’t be great for the Chiefs since he leads the team in pressures, sacks and hurries (per Pro Football Focus).
The Texans only removed DL J.J. Watt (shoulder) and LB Jacob Martin (illness) from Friday’s injury report, otherwise, they listed every other player as questionable. TE Darren Fells was also a new addition on Friday with a hip injury. They have two tight ends, Fells and Jordan Aikens (hamstring), listed as questionable.
WRs Kenny Stills (knee) and Will Fuller (groin) both practiced in a limited fashion all week and were listed as questionable. Stills has continually played through this knee issue, so he should be trending toward playing. Fuller is expected to play, barring any setbacks leading up to game time. — Justin Bailey
Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds
- Projected Spread: Chiefs -8
- Projected Total: 48
Biggest Mismatch When Chiefs Have the Ball
Andy Reid/Chiefs Coaching Staff vs. Bill O’Brien/Texans Coaching Staff
Some were surprised I had Deshaun Watson third in my Divisional Round QB Confidence Rankings, and much of it was based on how successful Watson has been in spite of O’Brien.
Despite having a top-flight quarterback in Watson, one of the game’s best receivers in DeAndre Hopkins and a top-three graded left tackle in Laremy Tunsil — not to mention an above-average rushing attack — the Texans snoozed through first quarters throughout the entire season, scoring only 2.8 points per game in the opening frame (third-worst).
In two playoff appearances with Watson, they’ve been outscored 34-0 in the first half.
Even when O’Brien makes what looks like a good decision — such as opting to go for it on fourth-and-1 to ice the game rather than risking a 48-yard field goal last week — he calls a predictable Watson sneak right into the 650-pound heart of Buffalo’s interior line that never stood a chance.
Reid isn’t perfect — his knack for clueless late-game clock management errors is one of the worst-kept secrets in the NFL — but he’s widely considered one of the most innovative offensive minds in the game and is far more polished. In seven seasons under Reid, the Chiefs have gone over their Vegas win total every time. Give him more than seven days to prepare, and Reid is 36-25-1 since 2003 (per our data at Bet Labs).
Unlike O’Brien, Reid has led his team to strong starts this season. In the first half, the Chiefs average the third-most points (16.7) while allowing the sixth-fewest (9.2).
The rest of Reid’s staff is similarly excellent.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has constantly adjusted on the fly in his first year with the team, transforming a unit that finished 24th in points allowed in 2018 (26.3) to ninth-best this season (19.3).
And under special teams coordinator Dave Toub, the Chiefs have finished top-four in Football Outsiders’ special teams DVOA in six of seven seasons and ninth in the other. — Chris Raybon
Biggest Mismatch When Texans Have the Ball
Texans Offense vs. Chiefs Linebackers
An underrated storyline heading into this game is the torn ACL suffered in Week 17 by Juan Thornhill, who appeared to be the only safety Spagnuolo felt comfortable placing in single-high coverage this season.
Once Thornhill went down, Spagnuolo predictably went back to mostly two-deep safety looks, which puts an increased burden on his shaky linebacking corps in coverage.
According to Pro Football Focus, Kansas City’s best linebacker in coverage is Ben Niemann, who ranks 71st in yards allowed per snap out of 120 linebackers to play at least 50 snaps in coverage, with Anthony Hitchens 80th, Reggie Ragland 100th and Damien Wilson 103rd.
In Houston’s 31-24 victory in Week 6, Watson thoroughly tore up Kansas City’s linebackers, completing 15-of-17 passes for 177 yards (10.4 per attempt) with one touchdown and 11 first downs.
Compounding the issue is that only Ragland (29th) graded out better than 87th in run defense (min. 50 snaps), which has led to Spagnuolo using dime as his base look. Added speed could help somewhat on scrambles by Watson, but it does the Chiefs no favors when he hands off to Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson, who combined for 150 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries in the first meeting, with 88 of those yards coming after first contact.
This has been an issue all season: The Chiefs run defense held only three opponents to fewer than 4.0 yards per carry and finished 29th in schedule-adjusted efficiency, according to DVOA.
This deficiency has left the Chiefs unable to offset a market that has started to catch on to Arrowhead unders, which went just 3-5 in 2019 — the first time in Reid’s seven seasons that it failed to be profitable. More than 55% of bets and 60% of money has hit the over as of writing, driving the total up from 49 to 51.5 (see live public betting data here). — Raybon
Sean Zerillo: Chiefs -9.5
Specific coaches excel with additional time to prepare for games, and Reid is one of the best at making his teams shine in those spots.
Dating back to 2003-04, when Reid’s teams have gone more than a week between games (eight to 15 days), they are 36-25-1 (59%) against the spread (ATS), generating a consistent $100 bettor $951 of profit.
With more than a week to prepare, Reid is the second-most profitable coach against the number, behind only Bill Belichick (46-31-3, 59.7%) and ahead of Jim Harbaugh (25-15-2, 62.5%).
Furthermore, Reid is 13-4 (76.5%) against the spread with at least that much rest, while also closing as a favorite of a touchdown or higher.
With 11 or more days of rest, Reid is 15-9 (62.5%) ATS overall, and 7-2 (77.8%) ATS while favored by at least one touchdown.
And, finally, with extra rest in the playoffs, Reid’s teams are 3-1 ATS — that includes Kansas City’s 31-13 victory in last season’s Divisional Round over the Colts.
This is also a particularly strong matchup for the Chiefs, who rank No. 3 in weighted DVOA, against the Texans, a bottom-10 NFL team (No. 23) per Football Outsiders.
O’Brien is just 3-8-1 ATS (27.3%) as an underdog of a touchdown or more, and 17-20-1 (45.9%) ATS as a road underdog.
This game looks to be a coaching mismatch on paper, and the historical trends bear that out.
I’ll lay -9.5 or better with the Chiefs, anticipating that this line will move to or through -10 before kickoff.
Mike Randle: Chiefs -9.5
The only place for this line to go is up. Buffalo failed to exploit Houston’s vulnerable pass defense. The Bills threw for only 253 yards and their only touchdown pass came from John Brown.
Basically, the Bills didn’t have the offensive personnel to attack Houston through the air.
Kansas City certainly does.
The Chiefs ranked second in pass offense DVOA and will be at full strength after their bye week. And as Sean mentioned above, Reid has been superb with extra time to prepare for an opponent.
In their earlier Week 6 matchup, Patrick Mahomes tallied 273 passing yards and three touchdowns against Houston. He did this despite playing with an injured ankle and with Tyreek Hill just returning from a broken collarbone.
I grabbed the Chiefs -9.5 and would continue to bet up to 10.5.
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