Kansas City Chiefs (1-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-0)
The Chiefs are only 1-2, but they’ve had the misfortune of playing both the 3-0 Broncos and the 3-0 Packers. They could have easily beaten the Broncos and, while they lost in Green Bay last week, doing so is not that uncommon. The schedule doesn’t get much easier for the Chiefs as they have to go to Cincinnati this week and play another 3-0 team, the Bengals. However, I like the Chiefs’ chances much better this week than I did last week, for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is that, while the Bengals have exceeded expectations through 3 games, going into Cincinnati is not nearly as hard as going into Green Bay and facing Aaron Rodgers. However, the Chiefs are also in a great spot.
While the Chiefs have one of their easiest, if not their easiest game of the season next week, hosting the Bears, against whom they are listed as 12 point favorites in the early line, the Bengals have one of their hardest and their most important games, as they host the Seattle Seahawks. Given that the Bengals are expected to be home underdogs next week, this is a great spot for the Chiefs. Road underdogs are 67-33 ATS before being home favorites when their opponent will next be home underdogs since 1989, including 20-7 ATS before being favorites of 6 or more points.
It also really helps the Chiefs that they are in their 2nd straight road game. Teams are 117-83 ATS as road underdogs off a road loss since 2008, including 96-57 ATS when it’s their 2nd of 2 road games. Historically, teams cover at about a 65% rate in that situation. This is because teams tend to do better in their 2nd straight road game than their first one, but lines don’t really adjust for this. Teams are 199-203 straight up in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.35 points per game, as opposed to 287-397 straight up in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 2.98 points per game.
This is my Pick of the Week, but I do have to admit that I’m usually more confident in my Pick of the Weeks. There just wasn’t an obvious line this week. The Chiefs are mere 4.5 point underdogs here. That’s sort of good news because it suggests that the odds makers might be trying to keep the line low to avoid big bets from sharps (and the public is barely on Cincinnati even still), but it doesn’t give me quite as much breathing room as I was expecting. Still it’s such a good spot for Kansas City and I think the effect of Kansas City having cornerback Sean Smith back from suspension and Cincinnati not having safety George Iloka with injury can’t be overlooked. I’m pretty confident I have the right side here.
Cincinnati Bengals 24 Kansas City Chiefs 23
Pick Against the Spread: Kansas City +4.5
Confidence: Pick of the Week