Betting Value in Titans vs. Chiefs NFL Week 1 Betting Odds

Jason Lake

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 4:49 PM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 3, 2014 4:49 PM GMT

The Kansas City Chiefs got themselves a new head coach last year, and they did quite well for themselves against the football lines. The Tennessee Titans will try to do the same thing this year under Ken Whisenhunt.

Andy Reid didn’t need redemption. But he did need a new head coaching job after the Philadelphia Eagles let him go at the end of 2012, following 13 years of mostly exemplary service. Reid wasn’t unemployed for long; the Kansas City Chiefs hired him six days later, and the Chiefs went on to win 11 games last year at 9-7 ATS. So how ya like Reid now?

Enough that Kansas City is a 3.5-point favorite at press time for Sunday’s 2014 season opener (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) against the Tennessee Titans. However, take another look at our NFL odds board: The Chiefs were 5.5-point home faves at the open. Apparently the sharps aren’t too optimistic about Kansas City’s chances – not with the Titans hoping to produce a bounce-back season of their own.

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Easy Work If You Can Get It
Kansas City was definitely a sharp NFL pick going into the 2013 campaign. Reid took way more flak than he deserved in Philadelphia – being overweight didn’t help, because people are mean that way. QB Alex Smith (89.1 passer rating) was and still is viewed negatively by the public, but he put in a Pro Bowl season in his Chiefs debut, throwing 23 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. Betting on the NFL is easy when you get undervalued commodities like this.

That was last year. The Chiefs may have won 11 games, but in retrospect, they weren’t world-beaters in 2013. Their schedule turned out to be the softest of all the 32 teams. They got to play the NFC East and the AFC South, with a couple of games against Cleveland and Buffalo thrown in for good measure. Kansas City played just four teams that went on to post winning records, and went 1-5 SU and 2-4 ATS in those contests. Hmmm.

 

Sankey Spread
The Titans (7-9 SU, 6-8-2 ATS) were one of those AFC South teams Kansas City faced during that nine-game winning streak at the start of the season. The Chiefs won that one 26-17 as 2.5-point road faves. But these are not the same Titans. They’ve got a new head coach of their own in Ken Whisenhunt, who developed a good reputation with the Arizona Cardinals before encountering Reid-like turbulence, losing the Super Bowl and losing his job.

Perhaps Whisenhunt would still be in Arizona if he had someone to replace QB Kurt Warner. For that matter, perhaps Mike Munchak would still be Tennessee’s coach had QB Jake Locker (86.7 passer rating) not been limited to seven starts last year due to injuries. Ryan Fitzpatrick (82.0 passer rating) was under center when the Titans lost to the Chiefs. Not a major step down, but a step down nonetheless, and with Locker just starting to cash in on his potential.

Locker will be back in the saddle for Game 1, and he won’t be alone. The Titans have improved their offensive line, bringing in RT Michael Oher and drafting LT Taylor Lewan out of Michigan in the first round. They’ve also picked up a hot RB commodity in second-rounder Bishop Sankey; he’ll start the season at No. 2 on the depth chart behind Shonn Greene (4.1 yards per carry lifetime), but Sankey might be No. 1 before Sunday’s game ends. These improvements give Tennessee most of the upside in this matchup. And for good measure, Chiefs RT Donald Stephenson is out for the first four games because of a PED infraction. Naughty, naughty.

 

The Five Stars
Injuries/Suspensions/Travel: TEN
Defense/Special Teams: KC
Coaching: KC
Market Bias: TEN
Betting Line Value: TEN

Free NFL Pick: Put one unit on the Titans +3.5 (–102) at Pinnacle

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