Lions vs. Chiefs NFL Picks: Fade Detroit Against Surging Kansas City Team

Kevin Stott

Friday, October 30, 2015 6:18 PM UTC

Friday, Oct. 30, 2015 6:18 PM UTC

The Detroit Lions and Calvin Johnson head across the pond to Jolly Old England to play Eric Berry and the Kansas City Chiefs at Wembley Stadium. How should we place our NFL picks for this game?

Both teams are suffering through poor seasons and Lions faders have actually cashed winning tickets 6 times have as we hit the halfway mark of the season. So is fading Detroit the logical thing to do here or is maybe the Total a better look in what could be a very low-scoring game? Let’s dive in head first and try to come up with a decent NFL pick for what may not be a decent football game.


Odds Overview
Detroit Lions vs. Kansas City Chiefs, Wembley Stadium, London, England [Sunday 14:30] (FOX, 9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT): Our attempts at enticing Mother England into another war will surely increase after this lame NFL export between the Kansas City Chiefs (2-5 SU, 2-5 ATS) and Alex Smith and the Detroit Lions (1-6 SU, 1-6 ATS) and Matt Stafford from Wembley Stadium in London, England (Partly Cloudy, Chance of Light Showers, 63°, Winds E 3-8 mph, 81% Relative Humidity) in a Week 8 game which pretty much puts an end to the losing team’s season (as if it wasn’t already done). Oddsmakers here have installed the Chiefs as 4-point Favorites (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) with the Total here set at 45 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). The Chiefs opened up as 3½-point favorites in this game in the renowned Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook NFL Games of the Year, while the Advanced Line out last week had the Chiefs as 2½-point favorites and this this game opened up at (Chiefs minus) 4. On the Money Line, Kansas City are -190 favorites with the underdog Lions priced at +171 on the takeback (Pinnacle). The Chiefs Team Total Points here is 24½ (Stan James) while the Lions Team Total Points is at 20½ (Stan James). The First Half Total Points has been set at 22½ (William Hill).


Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs (400/1 to win Super Bowl, William Hill) head into this game with their share on Injury problems with RB Jamaal Charles out for the season and WR Jeremy Maclin (Concussion, Probable) possibly coming in a bit tentative, meaning Chiefs QB Alex Smith will probably be looking to guys like TE Travis Kelce, RBs like Knile Davis and De’Anthony Thomas and WRs Chris Conley and Albert Wilson for production. Besides the absence of Charles and Maclin’s issues, Kansas City also has OL Ben Grubbs (Neck), DL Mike DeVito (Concussion) and LB Ramik Wilson (Knee) listed as Questionable while four other Chiefs besides workhorse RB Charles—including DB Phillip Gaines (Knee) and OL Paul Fanaika (Undisclosed)—sit on the Injured-Reserve List. Kansas City (150 Points Scored) has been getting decent play from its Defense (172 Points Allowed) with players like veteran S Eric Berry, LB Justin Houston and LB Derrick Johnson, that’s to be expected but so far this season has been a challenge for Head Coach Andy Reid (20-19 ATS) and the Chiefs and facing the Texans, Broncos, Packers, Bengals, Bears, Vikings and Steelers would be a tough trek for any NFL team in Weeks 1-7. Here in London, Kansas City will definitely be glad to be playing someone like Detroit.


Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions (800/1 to win Super Bowl, William Hill) have been through much this season already, but having three of their first 4 games on the Road against decent opponents (Chargers, Vikings, Seahawks) helped hamstring the season before it even started. Then a Home date with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday Night Football pretty much sealed the deal of a dismal Regular Season, with the AFC side winning 24-12 and making the NFC side reminiscing of the glorious days of just last year. Memories. And besides this somewhat brutal Scheduling reality, Head Coach Jim Caldwell (8-14 ATS) and the whole Lions (11-6 SU, 8-9 ATS in 2014) season has been stifled by the health of starting QB Matthew Stafford.

Besides Stafford (Hand), CB Rashean Mathis (Concussion) is also listed as Probable for Detroit while WR star Calvin Johnson (Ankle), electric RB Joique Bell (Ankle), TE Brandon Pettigrew (Knee), T Corey Robinson (Ankle) and CB Josh Wilson (Concussion) are all listed as Questionable for Sunday’s game. LB DeAndre Levy (Hip) is Out Indefinitely while four Lions are on the Injured-Reserve List including C Darren Keyton (Knee), RB Zach Zenner (Chest), CB Alex Carter (Ankle) and DT Tyrunn Walker (Ankle). One thing the Lions may benefit from eventually is the replacing of Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi with Jim Bob Cooter, but it will probably take some time for the Offense and players like WR Johnson, WR Golden Tate and Rookie (Nebraska) Ameer Abdullah to get used to the new OC and being thrown into the fire when in last place in your division and with the least number of Wins in the NFL (1) isn’t exactly an ideal situation. And the upside for all of us out here in the fields? We get to say and write “Jim Bob Cooter.”


Series Numbers, Recent Relevant Trends and Game Expectations
These two teams don’t play often, but the last time they met, the Chiefs rolled, 48-3 as 3-point underdogs in Detroit in 2011 when Todd Haley—now Steelers Offensive Coordinator—was still the Chiefs Head Coach. Trend-wise Kansas City is 5-1 ATS in the L6 meetings and the Under is 12-4 ATS the L16 games for Kansas City in November, but this is a tough call with both teams being on the downswing and the neutral site.

The Chiefs are 13-5 ATS in their L18 games in Week 8 while the Lions are 0-8 in ATS in their L8 games on Grass (the playing surface at Wembley Stadium is Grass) and with Detroit so down this season both physically (Stafford, Johnson, Bell, Pettigrew) and personnel-wise (Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, CJ Mosley) compared to last year, it seems the Chiefs are in a better head space and with NFL odds makers validating that reality by making them legitimate favorites in a game they would likely have been favorites in last season (at a neutral site against the 2014 Kansas City Chiefs), it shows who the better team (theoretically) is. But they’ll have to play this game to figure it out and with Kansas City (+1 Turnover margin) being much more responsible with the football and less mistake-prone than the Lions (-7 TO margin, Tied for #29 in NFL), backing the Chiefs at the lowest amount seems sage advice in what could be a low-scoring and boring affair in London.

Predicted Final Score: Chiefs 23 Lions 17

NFL Picks: Chiefs -3 (-150) at bet365

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