Is it already time to pull the chute on the Denver Broncos? They beat the football odds in Week 1, but the early action is on the Kansas City Chiefs for Week 2.
Jason's 2015 record as of Sept. 13: 4-1 ATS; 1-1 Total
Uh-oh. That low rumbling sound you hear on the horizon can only mean one thing: The hordes are coming for Peyton Manning's head. He looked every bit his 39 years of age in Sunday's 19-13 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Denver still covered as a 4.5-point home chalk, causing us our only ATS loss heading into Monday's doubleheader, but Manning was held to 175 yards passing, zero touchdowns and a pick-six. This will not do.
The sharps have taken notice. Our early consensus reports show 60 percent support for the Kansas City Chiefs as 3-point home faves for Thursday night's matchup (8:25 p.m. ET, CBS/NFLN) with the Broncos; at those NFL odds, the Chiefs are considered slightly better than Denver on neutral ground. We've also seen the total dip as low as 41.5 points, down from 44.5 at the open NFL odds. Two-thirds of bettors remain on the UNDER as we go to press.
Denver Broncos: The Old Man and the D
These line movements could end up putting money in our pockets. Is Manning truly washed up, or have people overreacted to the events of Game 1? Actually, concerns about Manning's arm strength have been building since the preseason. He seemed to have some good mustard on his throws against Baltimore, though.
As usual, America's arm fetish is taking over the conversation we really should having about Denver's offensive line. Manning got sacked four times on Sunday, the first time he's eaten that much turf since 2007. Despite that, the young line didn't completely fall apart in response to Baltimore's pressure, and new LG Evan Mathis should help kick-start the development of first-year LT Ty Sambrailo and center Matt Paradis. Baby steps. Meanwhile, Denver's defense has Manning's back. CB Aqib Talib scored the winning TD on a pick-six of his own.
Kansas City Chiefs: Emergency Mallett
The Chiefs looked quite a lot better in their 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans, cashing in as 1-point road faves; Kansas City was up 27-9 at the half and stayed there until Houston made the score respectable in the last five minutes. The big story was perennially underrated QB Alex Smith throwing three TD passes in that opening half, including two first-quarter strikes to TE Travis Kelce.
Actually, here at the home office, the big story was how bad Houston looked with Brian Hoyer at quarterback. Ryan Mallett came in late in the game and engineered those two fourth-quarter scoring drives. Either way, the Texans are a step down from the Ravens when it comes to level of competition, so just as we shouldn't dump on the Broncos too much, we have to temper our enthusiasm when it comes to the Chiefs. This could be a good NFL pick for pro bettors to sprinkle some money on Kansas City and push the spread to –3.5 before unloading on Denver.