NBC has the right in the back half of the season to flex” a game that’s not in prime time to the Sunday night slot. And the network decided to do just that for Sunday’s Chiefs-Broncos matchup with both at 7-3 and currently holding down playoff spots. They also are a game behind AFC West-leading Oakland. The total for this game between two good defenses is the lowest on the NFL betting board.
Kansas City at Denver Lines, Free Pick & TV Info
Why Bet on Kansas City?
Kansas City has won 17 of its past 20 regular-season games and looks to bounce back from last week’s upset 19-17 loss to Tampa Bay. Jameis Winston sliced up a Kansas City defense missing top cornerback Marcus Peters as the Chiefs’ five-game winning streak ended. It was the Buccaneers’ fifth straight win over Kansas City dating to 1993, and it snapped a home winning streak for the Chiefs that dated to a loss to Chicago on Oct. 11, 2015.
Alex Smith was 23 of 30 for 268 yards in another inconsistent performance, while Spencer Ware was bottled up much of the afternoon. The bruising running back finished with just 69 yards rushing. Chiefs co-OC Brad Childress said teams have schemed to take away Smith’s rushing ability this season, and that hasn’t exactly helped him in the passing game.
“I think they’ve done a nice job of closing up some of those rush lanes,” Childress said. “In a couple of cases there’s been somebody standing on the other side accounting for him … we haven’t seen as many of those giant creases.” After rushing for 498 yards last season, Smith is on pace for just 90 this year.
The Chiefs played again last week without top receiver Jeremy Maclin and he’s not expected Sunday. Maclin originally injured his groin during practice on November 2. That Sunday, he started against Jacksonville, but left the game after just two plays. Since then, second-year player Chris Conley has taken the reps as the Kansas City Chiefs’ No. 1 receiver, leading the team in snaps at the position now three weeks running. The Chiefs will get Peters back. He was last season’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
The Chiefs won last year’s meeting in Denver, knocking off the Broncos 29-13 in Week 10. The Chiefs’ defense recorded five interceptions and five sacks in that game. The Chiefs are currently in the midst of a seven-game winning streak against division opponents, including having won nine of their last 10.
Why Bet on Denver?
Denver, which had a bye in Week 11, pulled out a dramatic victory over New Orleans in Week 10. Broncos rookie Justin Simmons blocked an extra-point attempt with 1:22 remaining in the fourth quarter and Denver rookie Will Parks returned it for the game-winning two-point conversion in the 25-23 win. It marked the first game-winning defensive two-point conversion since the rule was adopted in 2015. Simmons was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in that game.
The Chiefs have scored 72 points off of those takeaways, which rank second in the league to the Broncos. The Broncos have scored 93 points this year off their 20 takeaways, which have them in a tie for second in the league in that category.
The Broncos have allowed 21 or more points in four games this season, and they lost three of those games. They’ve had four games in which they’ve allowed between 17 and 20 points, and they’ve won each of those games.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian has completed 60.1 percent of his passes for an average of 213 yards per game with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions, four of which have come in the last three weeks. The Denver running game has struggled this season. Just 0.75 percent of their runs have gone for 20 or more yards, the lowest figure in the league.
In addition, the Broncos have more giveaways in their last three games (seven) than in their first seven games (five). Since Week 7 of the 2015 season, the Chiefs have averaged a league-leading 2.32 takeaways per game — nearly a full takeaway better than the league average in that span (1.38 per game).
But Denver is as healthy as it’s been all year coming off the bye — even though top running back C.J. Anderson is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.
Kansas City at Denver Free Pick:
Under is 7-2- 2 in the last 11 meetings.
Chiefs are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
Take Denver and the under total in NFL betting.