Cincinnati Bengals (4-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-8)
Almost every year, we have one team go from in the playoffs to 5 wins or fewer. Right now, every playoff team from last year has at least 4 wins. That means one of two things. We’re not going to have a team like that this year (only happened 1 other time in the last decade) or either Detroit, New Orleans, or Cincinnati is about to go 1-6 in their next 7 games.
I’m sticking with the latter for now and I think the Bengals are going to be that team. The Bengals still do not impress me, ranking just 20th in rate of sustaining drives differential, with an even yards per play differential. They’ll probably only be favored in 2 of their remaining 7 games, so it’s possible. That would mean that the Bengals will have to get upset by either the Chiefs or the Raiders in the next 2 weeks.
Can they lose here to the Chiefs? As weird as it may sound, they can. Neither of these teams is really in a good spot. The Bengals beat the Giants as home dogs last week, which opens up 3 trends. One, road teams are 7-15 ATS off a win over the defending champs since 2002. Two, away favorites are 74-97 ATS after being home dogs since 1989. Three, teams are 55-71 ATS off of a win as home dogs since 2008. Meanwhile, road favorites off of 3+ straight home games are 23-41 ATS since 1989.
For the Chiefs, home dogs before being home dogs are 29-42 ATS since 2008. They host the Broncos next week. Home dogs are 6-16 ATS off a close loss (1-3 points) as double digit road dogs. Meanwhile, excluding road dogs, teams are 18-45 ATS off a road overtime loss (6-13 ATS as home dogs) since 2002. However, teams are just 5-5 ATS off a Monday Night game in this spot since 1989. That trend is much more relevant with a team coming off a Sunday game.
Neither team is in a good spot, but we are getting line value with the Chiefs. The rate of sustaining drives differential method gives us a real line of Kansas City -2.5 and the yards per play differential method gives us a real line of Cincinnati -3, both of which are less than this line of Cincinnati -3.5. The Chiefs, as bad as they’ve been this year, can be competitive if they can avoid losing the turnover battle like they did last week. If they can do that again this week, they can definitely win and turnovers are inconsistent enough for that to happen. On top of all that, the public is pounding Cincinnati and the public always loses in the long run.
The Bengals aren’t good enough to be road dogs really anywhere as the calculations of real line show. Besides, since 2007, the Bengals are just 10-22 ATS as favorites. Since Marvin Lewis took over in 2003, the Bengals are just 11-24 ATS as favorites of more than 3. The Chiefs are in one good spot as a 1-win team off a loss as dogs by a touchdown or less. Teams are 65-43 ATS in that spot since 2002. I think the Chiefs have a chance to win here (and keep open the possibility that the Bengals go 5-11) and I like the money line of +165. I also don’t trust the Bengals in this spot and as favorites, especially as road favorites, so it’s a small play on the spread.
Public lean: Cincinnati (80% range)
Sharps lean: CIN 12 KC 3
Final update: No change.
Kansas City Chiefs 17 Cincinnati Bengals 16 Upset Pick +165
Pick against spread: Kansas City +3.5 (-110) 2 units