Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) at Carolina Panthers (3-5)
Ordinarily, I love fading significant week-to-week line movements, as they tend to be overreactions to a single week of play. This line has moved from 2.5 in favor of the Panthers on the early line last week to 3 this week, which doesn’t seem like a huge line movement, but it is when you consider that 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal. This time though, the line movement is legitimate, as the Chiefs will be without top receiver Jeremy Maclin and starting defensive end Jaye Howard with injury.
In fact, I think we’re still getting good line value with the Panthers, who are the better of these two teams, despite their records. This line suggests these two teams are even, but the Panthers rank 14th in first down rate differential, while the Chiefs rank 24th. Three of the Panthers five losses have come by 3 points or fewer, so they are legitimately a few plays away from being 5-3 or even 6-2 like the Chiefs. The Chiefs, meanwhile, are 6-2 with the help of a 3-0 record in games decided by a touchdown or less and a league leading +12 turnover margin, two things that tend to be unsustainable long-term. There’s not enough for me to put money on the Panthers at 3, especially since the Panthers are hosting the Saints in 4 days on Thursday Night Football (favorites are 50-80 ATS since 2008 before Thursday Night Football), but I would consider it if this line dropped to 2.5.
Carolina Panthers 24 Kansas City Chiefs 19
Pick against the spread: Carolina -3