Kansas City Chiefs (8-0) at Buffalo Bills (3-5)
Damnit. I was so ready to pick an upset here for Buffalo. Buffalo is better than their record, especially at home. In 4 home games, they’ve beaten a pair of top-15 teams on these Power Rankings (Carolina, Baltimore) and almost beat another pair of top-10 teams (New England, Cincinnati). I don’t think the Chiefs are significantly better than the teams the Bills have played close and beaten here in Buffalo.
The Chiefs are 8-0, but they aren’t nearly as good as their record. They are overly reliant on winning the turnover battle (+12), recovering fumbles (63.6%), and winning close games (3-0 in games decided by a touchdown or less), in addition to their cupcake schedule (5 of their opponents are in the bottom-10 of my Power Rankings). In the past 2 weeks, they won at home by a combined 7 points over two 3rd string quarterbacks (Jason Campbell, Case Keenum). They are just 10th in DVOA, as opposed to 17th for Buffalo.
There’s a reason this line is only 4. It’s clearly a trap line and the public is all over it, with a huge amount of the action on the Chiefs. It makes sense. The general public looks at this and is like “the Chiefs are 8-0 and the Bills are 3-5, how can they not win by more than 4? FREE MONEY!!!” That’s how not it works. If it was, everyone would be rich and the odds makers would be out of business, instead of building giant casinos in the desert. The Chiefs are also in a bad spot. Road favorites are 24-41 ATS since 1989 off of 3 straight home games. They won’t be used to a hostile environment after nearly a month at home.
However, Thaddeus Lewis is not expected to play in this one with injury and illness, meaning undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel will get the start. He was understandably awful in Cleveland in the only action of his career, going 8 of 20 for 80 yards and a pick six. You couldn’t pay me to bet anything on him (that’s not true, I’d bet the amount of money you paid me to bet on them), especially since the line hasn’t really moved. I’d still take the Bills out of principle if I had to because I still believe it’s a trap line, but Jeff Tuel sucks.
Kansas City Chiefs 16 Buffalo Bills 13
Pick against spread: Buffalo +4