Preview and Pick for Bills at Chiefs
The NFL divisional round's main event features a much-anticipated rubber match between Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. The NFL odds have the Chiefs as the smallest of favorites. Debate raged across the internet about this critical AFC duel, the winner likely heading to the Super Bowl.
However, don't count us as one of those flip-floppers. In fact, of the four NFL pairings, just lock this one. Kansas City successfully defends Arrowhead Stadium and cashes as the best bet you can make this weekend.
What is Kansas City’s secret to success? Let's uncover it.
Lock of the Week: Chiefs Have The Best Value
According to the NFL betting lines, the smallest of Kansas City’s home favoritism in the Patrick Mahomes era is this game. Since taking over as the team's quarterback, KC is 19-17-1 against the spread as a home favorite, 30-7 on the money line.
Credit goes to Buffalo for "making" the home-standing Chiefs essentially a pick-'em favorite in this game. However, the Chiefs are going to deliver.
The Lock: Kansas City Chiefs (13-5, 9-9 ATS)
Spread: -1 (-125)
Why They’re Locks: The Chiefs endured just about everything this season, including injuries, a terrible defense and an underperforming Mahomes. The result? A 12-5 regular-season record (tied for the best in the conference), a top-three offense and a top-ten scoring defense.
The previous game against Pittsburgh was a microcosm of what the Chiefs have been. They committed turnovers and fell behind early, but ended the game winning by three touchdowns. Kansas City nearly matched Buffalo's perfect offensive game against New England with six consecutive touchdown drives of their own.
The Chiefs' defense has turned it up since losing to Buffalo, allowing just 11.7 points at home. Mahomes? Try a passer rating of over 100 in five of his last six games, with 15 touchdowns and two picks. Kansas City is peaking at the right time, showing its true colors against Buffalo.
Watch List: After falling out of the Chiefs’ rotation, Jerrick McKinnon has come alive, rushing for 61 yards and catching a touchdown against the Steelers. Buffalo has been susceptible against strong rushing attacks, and McKinnon’s emergence gives the Chiefs’ dynamic offense a three-headed monster in the backfield.
The Chiefs are 7-2 when they score both a passing and rushing touchdown and only 3-3 when they don't rush for one. McKinnon could further help expose Buffalo's run defense.
The Underdog: Buffalo Bills (12-6, 10-6-2 ATS)
Spread: +1 (-105)
Why They're 'Dogs: two Words: Recency Bias. The Buffalo Bills pulled off one of the greatest offensive performances against Bill Belichick’s Patriots, and now they are suddenly the best team in the NFL? Let's pump the brakes for a second.
For one, the Patriots were a declining team, having lost three of their last four. The defense failed to pressure Allen and Buffalo has been known to overwhelm sub-par opponents (7-1 against teams below .500). While the Patriots weren’t south of the record equator, their last month was not good.
Buffalo is just 2-5 against winning teams, if we exclude the Miami Dolphins. The Bills' defense has also allowed over 100 rushing yards in seven games, losing four of those. It's hard to bet on NFL teams that have shown a weakness against the run game, even if we live in an era dominated by aerial attacks.
Keep An Eye On: The Bills’ offensive line. They were dominant against New England, but it remains to be seen if they just exploited a helpless Pats' pass rush.
Buffalo allowed Allen to get sacked almost twice a game in their first 14 games, but have permitted just one sack in their last four. If Allen can enjoy this kind of comfort, he will be able to carve the Chiefs' defense. However, if the O-line struggles, then "bad Josh Allen" may just make an appearance.
Lock it up for . . .
The Kansas City Chiefs. Sorry, Buffalo. You are an explosive offense with a fearsome defense, but as the past games have shown, you either smash the weak or lose to the strong. The Chiefs are back in elite form on both offense and defense. They can match Buffalo if the Bills go on a scoring tear, or they can neutralize them. Whichever way this breaks down, Kansas City is equipped to win.
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -130