The undefeated Kansas City Chiefs are getting eight points on the Sunday Night Football lines versus the once-defeated Denver Broncos. Guess which side the sharps are on?
Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to November 12 inclusive:
1-1 ML (+0.71 units)
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We’re all adults here. We know that wins and losses aren’t the best indicator of a quality football team. But it’s still strange to see the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs (9-0 SU, 6-3 ATS) getting eight points on the NFL lines for Sunday night’s Mile High matchup against the Denver Broncos (8-1 SU, 5-3-1 ATS). Eight points?! More like Eight Miles High.
Forgive me for being blunt (ahem), but the NFL sharps have been blazing a trail to the ticket window, and they’re lighting up the Chiefs at a 66-percent clip according to our consensus reports at press time. That generous NFL odds have already been burnt all the way down from as high as 10.5 points (+115 for Denver) in early trading on Monday. Let’s all take a deep inhale and contemplate whether the Chiefs can skunk the Broncos on their own grass.
First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that the Broncos are the best team in the NFL – according to the efficiency numbers through Week 10, that is. Football Outsiders has Denver ranked No. 1 overall and No. 1 in offense; if you look at all the stats going back to 1989, the Broncos have the No. 6-ranked offense in that time frame, one slot behind the 1998 Broncos team that went 14-2 and won Super Bowl XXXIII. Primo stuff.
But this is not a perfect team by any means. The Broncos are also ranked No. 20 in defensive efficiency, preventing them from completely shredding the NFL betting lines. Injuries have been part of the problem; CB Champ Bailey has played just two games this year and remains week-to-week with a sprained foot. The Broncos are still solid against the run (No. 9 overall), but without Bailey in Pro Bowl form, their pass defense has slipped all the way to No. 24 on the efficiency charts.
Shake the Dope Out
The Chiefs, meanwhile, are only No. 8 in overall efficiency (No. 18 offense, No. 7 defense, No. 4 special teams), taking advantage of the softest schedule in the NFL up to this point. How soft? Here are the nine teams they’ve beaten, listed by their efficiency rankings through Week 10:
No. 11 Dallas Cowboys
No. 15 Philadelphia Eagles
No. 25 Buffalo Bills
No. 26 Cleveland Browns
No. 27 Tennessee Titans
No. 28 New York Giants
No. 29 Houston Texans
No. 31 Oakland Raiders
No. 32 Jacksonville Jaguars
That’s right: seven of the eight worst teams in the NFL, plus a pair of NFC East teams who lead their division at 5-5. That 9-0 record in Real Wins translates to 6.6 Estimated Wins when you look at point differential and strength of opposition. Meanwhile, Denver’s eight Real Wins become 9.4 Estimated Wins – although it must be pointed out that the Broncos have played the second-softest schedule in the NFL. The football gods were very kind to the AFC West this year.
Kansas City’s offense might also be a little off-kilter Sunday night (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) after WR Dwayne Bowe was arrested earlier this week for speeding and – what else? – possession of marijuana. However, it doesn’t appear to be a serious enough offense to keep Bowe from playing this week. He’s second on the team with 33 catches and a pair of TDs; most of the heavy lifting is being done by RB Jamaal Charles (4.3 yards per carry, 47 catches) as QB Alex Smith dinks and dunks his way downfield.
Dinking and dunking isn’t sexy, but it works. I’m going with the sharps here; I’m a big Peyton Manning fan, but he’s got a sore ankle, and many of his teammates on offense are playing hurt. The Chiefs defense will bring even more pain on Sunday. But not to worry, Denver fans. There’s no shortage of medicinal compound available in your state.
NFL Pick: Take the Chiefs +8.5 at BetUS
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