NFL Pick: Broncos vs. Chiefs Betting Odds Report

Jason Lake

Monday, November 24, 2014 6:32 PM UTC

Monday, Nov. 24, 2014 6:32 PM UTC

The Denver Broncos are enjoying another strong season in the AFC West, but they’ve been having some trouble beating the NFL odds. It won’t get any easier Sunday night when visiting Kansas City.

Jason’s record after Week 11: 29-43 ATS, 13-17-1 Totals

Profit: minus-45.95 units

It’s too bad they don’t have a reliable (and safe) test for durability at the NFL Combine. If they did, maybe the Denver Broncos could make it through the whole season without falling apart. They limped into Super Bowl XLVIII after some untimely injuries; horror of horrors, history might be repeating itself as the Broncos (8-3 SU, 5-6 ATS) prepare to visit the Kansas City Chiefs (7-4 SU, 8-3 ATS) in a key AFC West battle.

Even with a depleted roster, Denver is getting the benefit of the doubt on the Week 13 NFL odds board. The Broncos opened as 1.5-point favorites, although you can get them at anywhere between –1 at BookMaker and +1 as we go to press. Our consensus reports show 58 percent of early bettors on Denver’s side.

Mr. Anderson Persists
The injury parade at Mile High began earlier this month with the loss of several “skill” players on offense. First it was the backfield: RB Ronnie Hillman (foot) and RB Montee Ball (groin) were knocked out of action and have yet to return. This is pretty much par for the course in Denver. Not that running backs are a dime a dozen, but they are relatively replaceable parts these days, and RB C.J. Anderson (5.6 yards per carry) is doing a fine job in relief.

You can say the same thing about receivers – at least to some extent. The betting market tends to overvalue these players, as well, but it certainly didn’t help Denver’s cause when TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was injured early in Week 11 against the St. Louis Rams. Quality tight ends are harder to replace, and the Broncos ended up losing 22-7 to the Rams (+8 at home) before eking out a 39-36 victory over the Miami Dolphins (+6.5 away) last week.

Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Thomas could be cleared to return for Sunday night’s matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC), and the Broncos appear to be in good hands with Anderson while they try to get Hillman and Ball ready in time for the playoffs. But now there are bigger problems to deal with. Remember how Denver made some major defensive upgrades during the offseason after getting bulldozed by the Seahawks? The most important of those upgrades, CB Aqib Talib, injured his left hamstring against the Dolphins. He’s considered questionable for Week 13.

Also in limbo: LB Brandon Marshall. He suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter against Miami and went immediately to the dressing room under league protocol. When you consider that LB Danny Trevathan (knee) isn’t eligible to return from injured reserve until Week 14, and that CB Kayvon Webster (shoulder) was also knocked out of the Dolphins game, the Broncos defense could be back to Square One at Arrowhead.

Forget the Titans
As for the Chiefs, they’ve had to make do this year without LB Derrick Johnson (Achilles) among others, but they’re the picture of health compared to Denver. They’ve also had a few extra days to heal up and prepare for Sunday’s matchup after losing a 24-20 shocker to the Oakland Raiders (+7.5 at home) last Thursday. However, that upset makes it unlikely that Kansas City will overtake the Broncos for the AFC West title, given the tiebreakers involved.

Not that it matters much when we focus on the football odds for Sunday’s game. The Raiders notwithstanding, Kansas City has done a masterful job this year of fighting off the regression monsters and beating the spread. The Chiefs even covered in Week 2 when they lost 24-17 to Denver as 13-point road dogs – although that line was inflated because of Kansas City’s season-opening loss to the Tennessee Titans (+3 away). No such bargain this time. We’ll scour the newswires for injury reports and return later this week with our NFL pick against the spread and total.

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